When will the girls start using the roost?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bertman, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. bertman

    bertman Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2011
    Four days ago we moved our six pullets (12 weeks old) from the tractor, where they had a pile of straw to nest in, to the new run and coop.

    First night we had to go in after dark and physically put them into the coop because they were huddled on the ground in the run. That worked out fine because we had placed two nesting boxes filled with hay into the coop. I guess that reminded them of their old sleeping arrangement so now they go into the coop and pile into the one nesting box all on top of each other just like when they were much younger. There's a roost in the coop but they don't use it at night.

    Does anyone have any idea how long it will be before they begin to "unpile" and start sleeping on the roost instead of in the box?


    Edited for clarity (hopefully)
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2011
  2. smokeykk

    smokeykk Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 15, 2011
    Um, they may never now. You have to have the boxes covered until about 16 weeks, or well, um.. They will want to sleep on there instead of the roosts. (which may cause egg crushing in the future)
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    At 12 weeks old it will be a few more weeks yet until they need those nestboxes. I would suggest you close the boxes off altogether so they can't sleep in them. Sleeping in nestboxes is a bad habit that will lead to poop covered eggs.

    Once the boxes are closed off to protect your future eggs, don't sweat it. They'll eventually come around to the idea of sleeping on the roost.

  4. lulumammato2

    lulumammato2 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 7, 2011
    Tulsa, OK
    My girls did that too so I closed off their boxes for about a month and just recently re-opened them but they stay on their roosts They havent disturbed the bedding or ceramic eggs at all and i'm patiently wating for my firstegg:)
  5. bywaterdog

    bywaterdog Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 29, 2008
    I have roosting bars in my brooder, 2-5" high, the girls start sleeping on them at 3-5 weeks old. Chickens do what they know, just give them time and they will go to them.
    I hope you good luck with yours...[​IMG]
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2011
  6. ChicksterJo

    ChicksterJo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 19, 2011
    Grounded on Earth
    Is your roost higher than the nest boxes? I have a mixed age flock and two of my girls are probably going to start laying very soon, so I had to have a nest box in there. But the younger 11 week olds don't sleep in the nest box - they want to be on the highest part of the coop.
  7. dianaross77

    dianaross77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2010
    Grand Blanc, MI
    I had to teach some of my older chickens to roost. I just waited til bedtime and popped them up there together. They figured it out.
  8. bertman

    bertman Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2011
    Thanks to everyone for their replies on this. My apologies for taking so long to get back to you.

    Should I cover the boxes or just remove the nest boxes and the straw from the coop? I'm afraid if I just cover the boxes they will just roost on top of the covers on the nest boxes since they're so used to them. Now there are six fairly large girls piled on top of each other in one nest box that is about 14" by 18". It is pretty hilarious but I don't want them to develop the bad habits others have described. There is a roost about 12 inches off the floor with plenty of room for them to roost on the end away from the nest boxes.

    Keeping my fingers crossed.
  9. dianaross77

    dianaross77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2010
    Grand Blanc, MI
    If it's as easy as just taking them out, I'd do that. You're right, they will sit on top of them and poop.
  10. epeloquin

    epeloquin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 11, 2011
    Western Massachusetts
    Try putting them on the roost now and then. When I put my girls out in their run/coop I put a couple of them on the roost and after a few nights they were roosting on their own and have been since. You probably only need a couple to start roosting. If your girls are anything like mine all you'll need is one or two to start roosting and the others will follow suit to be sure. That seems to be the case with everything. Once one or two of them try it the others can't seem to resist doing same. It's like they don't want to miss out.

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