Where do chickens like to sleep in cold temps?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Two Birds One Stone Farm, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. Two Birds One Stone Farm

    Two Birds One Stone Farm New Egg

    8
    11
    9
    Nov 13, 2017
    About 6 weeks ago we brought home 6, 18 week old brown laying hens. At first the girls didn't want to go outside, and laid their eggs on the ground, but now they've go the hang of things and spend their days doing chicken stuff. However, at night they wanted to sleep in their nesting boxes. My husband and I would go in at dusk and remove them and put them on their roost where we presumed they stayed all night, judging by the poop underneath. After a few weeks they were starting to get the hang of it and most of them would be on the roost when we would check in the evening. We live in Nova Scotia, Canada, and currently temperatures are dipping down to around 20'F at night, and since the temperatures have been getting cooler they have taken to the habit of sleeping in their nesting boxes again. During the day the temperature doesn't seem to faze them, and I want them to be warm, but I don't want them sleeping in the nesting boxes and then laying eggs in the poop. My question is: Should we continue to attempt to train them to sleep on their roosts (is it too chilly for them there?), or should we build them a little box where they can sleep in and cuddle? We have ample roosting space for just six chickens, two branches about 5' long, one is 2' off the ground, the other is 3' off the ground and they are firmly anchored. Thank you! Sarah
     
    BYCforlife likes this.
  2. BYCforlife

    BYCforlife Overrun With Chickens

    1,402
    4,278
    296
    Mar 18, 2017
    Canada
    Welcome to BYC! Could you share a picture of your roost? :)
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    20,765
    4,375
    536
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    It's not to cold for them to sleep on the roosts. However they do not like to sleep in a direct cold wind. Is that an issue?

    How high are your nests compared to the roots? Is the problem that your roost are too low?

    A photo could help quite a bit. And welcome to the forum! Glad you joined.
     
  4. Two Birds One Stone Farm

    Two Birds One Stone Farm New Egg

    8
    11
    9
    Nov 13, 2017
    Thank you! Happy to be here! It's dark here, but I'll add a photo tomorrow
     
    BYCforlife likes this.
  5. Two Birds One Stone Farm

    Two Birds One Stone Farm New Egg

    8
    11
    9
    Nov 13, 2017
    Thank you!! The nesting box is about 3' off the ground, and their coop is large for just six chickens, but there are no drafts and it's dry... I'll add a photo tomorrow. Cheers!
     
    BYCforlife likes this.
  6. Two Birds One Stone Farm

    Two Birds One Stone Farm New Egg

    8
    11
    9
    Nov 13, 2017
    Here are their roost. The first one is about a foot and a half off the ground, and the second one is a foot behind it, about 2 and a half feet off the ground. I do have a ramp there too, but removed it to get a picture. The second picture is their nesting boxes, and I know we have too many for six chickens, they usually only use one, but we are planning on getting more chickens in the spring and figured that we'll just make them all now. The bottom corner of the boxes to the floor measures 2 feet. Thanks you very much for your help! Cheers, Sarah IMG_4743.JPG IMG_4686.JPG
     
    Kenny_ and Wolfgang B. like this.
  7. RollTideChicken

    RollTideChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    187
    223
    116
    Mar 21, 2017
    North Alabama
    You have your nesting boxes higher than your roosts. Your roost should be at least a foot higher than the nesting boxes. Chickens roost on the highest thing they can get to. Also, as you live in very cold climate, you might want to consider taking the branches out and putting 2x4s in for roosts. Mount them so the wide side is up. Your birds might get frostbite on their feet if their feathers cant completely cover the toes.
     
    BYCforlife and sourland like this.
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    20,765
    4,375
    536
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Thanks for the photos. My suggestion is to move the roosts higher. Chickens like to sleep at the highest point available. I'm a little surprised they are not sleeping on top of the nests where that basket is if you don't have that screened off so they can't. And maybe go with a thicker branch for that top one, it looks like it may be a little limber. Are they sleeping in a top nest? That would be a good indication height is a problem.

    My chickens don't need a ramp to get to my 5' high roots, also tree branches. They just fly up. You don't have to put a ramp for them, they have enough room to spread their wings and fly. If you had Silkies that can't fly, you would need a ramp but you don't. Still, if you wish you can put in a ramp. Some might use it.

    These photo is years old but mine had no problems flying up 5' to this roost. And they sleep up here with temperatures a little below zero Fahrenheit with no frostbite issues. Even on the smaller area when they squat down and fluff their feathers in cold weather their feet are covered.

    Roost1.JPG


    Roost2.JPG

    Even when you rise the roosts you may need to do some more roost training but this time it should work for all of them, not just most, and hopefully it will stick.

    Good luck!
     
    Kenny_ and RollTideChicken like this.
  9. Two Birds One Stone Farm

    Two Birds One Stone Farm New Egg

    8
    11
    9
    Nov 13, 2017
    Thank you! I'm going to do some finagling today, and I have some 2x4s laying around so I'm going to try raising it. Cheers, Sarah
     
    aart, RollTideChicken and sourland like this.
  10. Two Birds One Stone Farm

    Two Birds One Stone Farm New Egg

    8
    11
    9
    Nov 13, 2017
     
    BYCforlife likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by