young chickens (9 weeks old) using a tiny area of coop for sleeping

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by tri tockice, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. tri tockice

    tri tockice New Egg

    Aug 4, 2013
    Dear all,

    I have 10 medium build chickens (the kind used for both eggs and meat), aged 9 weeks. I have built them a coop, cca 1m2, a run (4m2) and fenced part of the yard (20m2) for now. The coop has two roosting bars, at 30 and 50 cm, but all chickens are sleeping on the floor at night, in one pile on top of one another, using maybe 15-20% of the coop floor area. I do not know why do they do this. In the brooder they used to enjoy the roosting bars i put for them (these were not so high, though). I know that they can fly up to the bars, as they can handle even larger heights easily.

    should i ignore this or do something and what? I tried putting them on the roosting bars, but it is not easy to reach all of them and also this seems to upset them.

    please note that it is at least 30 degrees centigrade (and at least 25 during the night) so they are not cold.


  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Mine often do not start roosting at night until they are 10 to 12 weeks old, with some starting earlier and some much later. Until they start to roost, they enjoy sleeping together on the floor. It’s very possible yours are just not roosting yet. That should happen when they mature some more. They are still babies. I have had a broody hen take her chicks to the roost at 2 weeks and they slept up there no problems, but brooder raised chicks usually take a lot longer.

    In the brooder were they sleeping on those small roosts at night or just playing on them during the day? There is a difference in them perching on them during the day for fun and sleeping on them at night.

    I’ve tried converting the metric into a system I better understand. I don’t think your coop or roosting area is going to be big enough. If you are going to use the coop only for a sleeping area and have the food, water, and nests other places, you might barely get by with a coop that size for 9 chickens but you can’t leave them locked in there when they are awake.

    When they are older you will need about 20 cm for each chicken on the roost bars as a minimum. I try to provide more. They won’t take up that much space when they settle down up there but they need some extra space to spread their wings when they jump/fly up there. You may be challenged to even fit that much roost length in your 1m2 coop.

    Good luck!
  3. tri tockice

    tri tockice New Egg

    Aug 4, 2013
    sorry about measurements :)

    my present coop is 3x3 ft. It houses 10 chicks at present, only during the night. everything else: food and else is in the 7x7 ft run. the have access to the run at all times. They now have a total of 6 ft roosting bar length, lower bar is 1 foot off the floor, the upper one 1.7 feet.

    I know this is not enough long term, but I will only have 5-6 chickens long term. This is a summer, movable coop, i plan to build a winter one in the autumn (to have it insulated and everything) but also bigger.

    In the brooder, they have been sleeping on the roosts, but not in this new coop. But these were smaller roosts, maybe like 2 and 4 inches high. I wouldn't mind so much if they did not squeeze in so small space: they really do not seem comfortable all sqeezed like that.

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