Young chickens don't roost


9 Years
Nov 23, 2010
I have 9 RIR pullets that are just over 7 weeks of age. They have been in the coop/run for over a week. The coop is elevated over half the run, and accessed up the ramp. The 2X4 flat-side up roosts are in the coop. The chickens stay in the run 24X7 and just huddle together in a corner at night and do not go up the ramp and into the coop to roost at night. Will their instinct to roost eventually kick in and they'll start going into the coop at night to roost?
They may be used to huddling if that is what they did in the brooder. You might want to give them a hint that they are supposed to go in the coop. you could get them used to the ramp by coaxing them up it with treats. If they are reluctant to go in the coop you could also help them explore it by giving them treats in side the coop. If they continue to stay outside at night, I would pick them up and put them in the coop when they are settling down in their chicken pile and in a groggy state once it is dusk. You could put them on the floor if it seems easiest (although I have put a sleepy chicken on the roost in the past) Hopefully once they get used to the coop they will figure out what the roost is for.
Try a light in the coop. This was suggested to me last week when I had the same problem. They didn't to want to move from dark to darker willingly. For the past four nights they all go in, then I go out at about 8:30, do a head count and lock up the coop.

As to the roosting problem, they play on the roosts but don't sleep there. So I dunno yet.

In my opinion, I think roosting is a developmental trait. I have 4 leggerns who were introduced to our new coop at 6 weeks and automatically started roosting at night, were as my 2 red stars and 2 buff orph's (same age as legs) only roost in the day, and huddle on the floor at night. Leg horns develop faster than the other breeds. I wouldn't worry to much, they will eventually catch on.

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