When to allow chickens to roost

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by bcostley, Jun 9, 2015.

  1. bcostley

    bcostley Out Of The Brooder

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    A 4H judge told my daughter last summer that you shouldn't allow chickens to roost until they are 6 months old. Something about the keel bone could grow crooked if they roost too early. I've found nothing that indicates anything about age to allow roost. Is this anything someone can confirm/deny/explain?
     
  2. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    I hate to cast doubt on your daughter's 4-H instructor, but I've never heard of that, I put a roost in the brooder and the chicks love it. Mama Hen begins to teach them to roost at a few weeks old when they no longer fit under her, and I doubt that she'd wait 6 months for that to happen. So I dunno here.......
     
  3. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Hey there bcostley I am with Blooie on that one .. my mumma hens did not get that memo! [​IMG]

    I am, however, interested to hear other responses and if anyone else has heard of it.
     
  4. bcostley

    bcostley Out Of The Brooder

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    It certainly seemed odd to me too.
     
  5. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    It depends on the breed you have, your instructor is correct. If you have a heavy breed like Sussex, then yes, wait for them to roost. Plus for the adult heavy breeds, the roost should be no higher than 12 to 18 inches off the ground so they don't injure a leg when hopping down. Less height for chicks. A search thru Google books under the subject "roosting chicks" will bring up a bunch of articles on the subject. https://books.google.com/advanced_book_search?hl=en the keel in a young bird is soft cartilage. So it can be caused to bend and be crooked by roosting when too young. Or on too narrow a perch. The perch should be 2 inches wide as chicks, 4 inches wide as adults for heavy breeds.
    Best Regards,
    Karen
    Here ya go, lots of info on the subject of roosting chicks.:
    https://www.google.com/search?tbo=p&tbm=bks&q="chicks+roosting"+subject:"poultry"&num=30

    Page 118 by Mr. Lamon, a legend in the poultry world.
    https://books.google.com/books?id=K...q="chicks roosting" subject:"poultry"&f=false
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2015
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  6. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:
    I think just the opposite. If chicks loll around or plop down all spread out on the floor too sleep I think that increases the likelihood of a crooked or whop sided keel bone.

    I would like to see scientific evidence to the contrary. A roost pole too wide however could have this effect.

    The heavier breeds I have only raised for the market and they were never allowed to roost.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2015
  7. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    My Light Sussex do not have roosts. They have always nestled on the ground of the coop. However, I have seen in a conversation where this may be a contributing factor in the males not positioning their wings as high as they might. I guess I can see that as it would take more balancing to stay on the roost and maybe that would cause them to hold their wings up tighter and higher against their bodies. I have no other evidence for that than one conversation, tho. I am going to check it out further.
    Best,
    Karen
     
  8. rubbleanddebris

    rubbleanddebris Out Of The Brooder

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    I have never heard that. My first flock had a roost pole since day one, it took them quite a while to use it. My current flock had the same and started using it in the first week... at almost 4 months they all seem quite mobile and healthy.
     
  9. Chibabies6

    Chibabies6 New Egg

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    Jun 6, 2015
    found this little snippet on the google books search..

    If roosts are to be used in laying houses, start chicks roosting by 4th week. Allow at least 4 inches of roosting space per chick in the brooder house. Mature leghorns need 6-7 inches of roosting space per bird, heavies at least 9 inches per bird.
     
  10. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    If it is a problem, I think that it goes to a lack of muscle tone in the wing structures. I would never force a 10 pound plus chicken to make a 2 point, or counting the keel bone a 3 point landing when it de-camps from the roost. On the other hand a 4 # Leghorn or game hen can easily fly 10 - 20 feet vertical and 200 feet horizontal.
     
    1 person likes this.

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