Why won't they roost?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by thechickenchick, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. thechickenchick

    thechickenchick Born city, Living country

    Mar 8, 2008
    Eaton, Colorado
    I hope someone can help us! The girls are 9 weeks old. They have been in the coop for 3. They were not roosting at night but were sleeping under their light. It has been cold here so we also added a space heater to warm it to the appropriate temp. At bedtime I would go out and add some fresh bedding to the spot under the light and while I sat there they would settle in. They looked comfy, not crowded . Sometimes one might use the other for a pillow! I had read on here that they would roost on their own when ready. I assumed they were not ready due to the cold and they just needed the light still. Well 3 nights ago I went out to put them to bed and they were stacked 3 deep(there are 11) in a corner of the coop. I was terrified they would suffocate. My one remaining bantam was, of course on the bottom. I did everything I could think of and they just kept going back to this spot. The last 2 nights the same thing, but I pick one up at a time and place them on the roost and say OK now PLEASE be a chicken tonight![​IMG] Later I go back and peek in with a flash light and 8 of them are still roosting. Sound asleep and so cute! The remaining are piled on top of each other in the corner! I thought at first maybe they were to hot and trying to get away from the lamp, but they would be hotter sleeping on each other. Can anyone help? Am I going to have to put them on the roost every nite? Do they learn this or is there something that I am missing?
  2. zatsdeb

    zatsdeb Songster

    Oct 2, 2007
    Lincoln, Illinois
    is your roost too high for them? I have a black polish hen with a gimpy wing, and she has a hard time getting up, my husband made rungs, like a ladder for our roost so there is a rung starting from close to the floor and leaning like a ladder against a wall.. the angle... and they just jump up one level at a time. they are about 5 feet long roosts, and we have 4 levels. angled so they don't poop on each other.
  3. Love my Critters!

    Love my Critters! Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    Carlsbad, NM
    What kind of chickens do you have? If they are silkies, they will not roost. I have silkies and they all sleep together in the nesting boxes. [​IMG]
  4. thechickenchick

    thechickenchick Born city, Living country

    Mar 8, 2008
    Eaton, Colorado
    Thank you for the fast replies!! It sounds like our roost is the same as yours. In fact ours is an old wooden ladder from a grain bin. It too is angled. We thought that might be the problem to so he lowered it so it is about 8 inches off the floor. I even thought that maybe they didnt like the round rungs so hubby added boards to every other rung to make them a flat surface. This way we thought we could see what they like best and change the rest. Love My Critters They are buffs, Australorps, Black Stars,EES and a bantam. Thats good to know about the Silkies because I am getting 2 next week. I am excited as my 8 new babies will arrive on the 29th or 30th!
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2008
  5. zatsdeb

    zatsdeb Songster

    Oct 2, 2007
    Lincoln, Illinois
    our rungs are not round, they are square. we have a few hens that sleep in the nesting boxes, along with an old guinea. I have read that if you have a light in the chicken house, you can put a smaller wattage bulb on a timer that when it gets dark, the smaller wattage.. maybe like a nightlight, would be enough light for them to find the roost when it is dark? I had chickens that when it got dark they just simply couldn't find the roost!
  6. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    Give them some time. They'll figure it out. They always do.

    This latest batch of birds took about two weeks from the time the first ones starting flying up on to the roosts until the last one finally got the idea. My roosts are all about two feet off the ground and they all manage it fine now.

  7. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

    Feb 11, 2008
    Waterloo, Nebraska
    I have 7 week olds that still sleep under the light. I put a baby roost about 6 inches off the ground right under the light. During the day the light is off. When they nap during the day, they sleep in a pile. When the light is on in the evening, they all squeeze onto the roost.
  8. Matt A NC

    Matt A NC Crowing

    Feb 22, 2007
    Morganton, NC
    I just keep putting them on the roost everynight till they learn. Some get it immediately, but some take a little time.

    Every bird here roosts on a perch at night. When I had silkies, they roosted too. You just have to teach them.

  9. Portia

    Portia Songster

    Feb 29, 2008
    South Central PA
    My girls are 8 weeks old and some have been roosting consistently since they were 2 weeks. What temps do you keep them at, mine are fine in their coop down into the mid 30's and they all sleep on the top roost that's 3 feet off the ground. The other day I had to put them back in their coop during a thunderstorm and it is the only time I've seen them all huddled together sleeping versus on their roost. I assumed they were either cold from the damp weather or scared from the storm. Within a couple hours I checked in on them and they were all back up on the roost. I guess they kind of know best what it is they need as long as its available. My roosts are made of 2x3's staggered 1 foot apart in both depth and height; so I have a roost at 1 foot, 2 feet and 3 feet. They sleep on the 3 foot roost...all of them.
    The roosts
  10. thechickenchick

    thechickenchick Born city, Living country

    Mar 8, 2008
    Eaton, Colorado
    It sounds like I just need to be patient! What about the crowding though? Will they hurt each other? They actually crawl on top of each other. You would swear there was 3 chickens in that pile, there is actually 11! You can hear protesting from the bottom of the pile, until they go to sleep. Then I think they might be dying so I panick and start putting them one at a time on the roost!
    Oh yea I meant to say.. Nice coop! Thanks for sharing pictures.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2008

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