Young Flock Going to Roost Early

HeatherKellyB

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May 31, 2019
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I have 4 separate flocks living in separate coops, but within 5 to 6 foot of each other. My bachelor flock consists of three 13 month old roosters, my big girl flock consists of five 12 month old hens, my teenager flock is a mixed flock of three 9 month old cockerels (always kept separate from the pullets except for after dark/sleeping/roosting) and six 9 month old pullets, and my baby flock which is a mixed flock that consists of five 3 month old bantam cockerels and five 3 month old bantam pullets. The teenager cockerels free range all morning and afternoon and then the hens and Pullets free range during the evening. The baby flock does not free range and I've found that this flock is consistently going to roost for the night around 5:30pm. Sunset isn't until 8:30pm. They can see other chickens walking around so I'm not sure why they're doing this. The free rangers seem to wait out the very last light before going back up and I'm OK with that as long as I'm out with them. They've only been outside full time for about 4 weeks now and have been like this the entire time. Whenever I was bringing them inside at night, they would be outside until I finished getting everything done, usually around 9:30pm, so it's not a habit, I don't believe. I've had to stop someone from trying to scare them out as I want them to feel safe in their coop. I do put food in their coop, but I know they don't get down from the roost because it's so dark and anytime someone has fallen down, they stay on the floor until I come out to check everyone before bed, and I give them light to see to get back up. I don't have a problem with this, but I worry about them being cooped up for so long. Sunrise is at 6, but I don't let anyone out until 6:30 am since I've learned about how active predators are at dusk and dawn. Thoughts? Thank you
 

HeatherKellyB

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I do plan on creating a better balance of the baby flock by separating at least 4 of the cockerels, but to be completely honest, I don't believe this is the problem.
 

NatJ

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Mar 20, 2017
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Is it darker inside the babies' coop? That could make it feel like "bedtime" sooner. (Maybe the opening faces a different direction, or something casts a shadow at that time of day, or there are a different number of windows, or something like that.)

Maybe they're each trying to be first on the roost, to get the best place.

Maybe it has something to do with being younger.

If they seem healthy and content, I would just figure it's one of those weird things chickens do, and not worry about it.
 

HeatherKellyB

🐓Chronic Rambler🦆
Premium Feather Member
May 31, 2019
3,841
7,708
567
Moore County, NC
Is it darker inside the babies' coop? That could make it feel like "bedtime" sooner. (Maybe the opening faces a different direction, or something casts a shadow at that time of day, or there are a different number of windows, or something like that.)

Maybe they're each trying to be first on the roost, to get the best place.

Maybe it has something to do with being younger.

If they seem healthy and content, I would just figure it's one of those weird things chickens do, and not worry about it.

Thank you for your reply. That's the wierd thing about this, the baby coop has the most light shining through, so it's brighter than any of the others. I do believe you're probably onto something when it comes to trying to get the best spot. There are 2 roosting bars and they all attempt to get on the highest one, with being beside the window, being the "prime" spot, even though the window is closed at bedtime. There is always more room at the opposite end of the bar, but they all squeeze onto the same bar, trying to get at the same end. I didn't even think about that being a possibility, but I feel like this is it. There was always a cockerel at the window for a while, but now it varies day to day, I guess according to whomever gets there first. Thanks again for your help. Maybe once I separate some of the boys from this flock, they may change this anxiousness to get to the roost, or maybe not. Thanks again
 

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