Why won't my chickens roost? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 04-28-2009, 11:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are brand new chicken owners and our only prior chicken experience is a summer job my husband had inoculating chicks on a neighboring farm when he was 16...so looking for a bit of advice. We just got 3 Rhode Island Reds, they are 5 months old and lovely, perky things. We are letting them forage around the yard during the day and putting them in the coop at night. The coop is about 3 feet high inside, 3 feet deep and 2 feet wide. We have a roosting bar (an old wooden broom handle) about 18 inches off the floor, and about 12 inches from the back of the coop. None of the chickens are using it.
I put one of them on the bar one night and she stayed up all night and jumped down in the morning, but did not go up the following night...none of the others have followed suit. Last night I held one of the chickens up to the bar, but she would not step on.
So, I am wondering if it is ok if they sleep on the floor or in the nesting boxes...they are not laying yet and the nesting boxes give them an extra 3x1 of floor space. Also, is the roosting bar adequate for them or is there maybe a reason that they will not use it. It is secured well and does not roll around.
Thanks in advance!
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#2 of 15 Old 04-28-2009, 11:27 PM
 
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They will start to roost eventually, they are just young yet!

I have definitely had hens that didn't start to roost until after they started laying!

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#3 of 15 Old 04-29-2009, 05:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by amandapearl View Post
The coop is about 3 feet high inside, 3 feet deep and 2 feet wide.

We have a roosting bar (an old wooden broom handle) about 18 inches off the floor, and about 12 inches from the back of the coop. None of the chickens are using it.
!
It's possible that it's too small in diameter. I had a broom handle at first too but they were pretty unstable on it.

I collected some driftwood (yes, illegally but I picked up trash too!) & the one they settled on is 5" in diameter. Our roost is 2 1/2 feet from the roof & 3 feet from the floor.

Mine were still confused about the roosting phenomenon when they were young too, but at 4 months old on the 2nd day I had the driftwood peice in there the big girl got up by herself. The others would jump all over me to get up there. I ended up using the other peices & remnants of 2x4's to make a rampish maze, which helped the stupid one finally "get the net"

Try making them a ramp & if that doesn't work maybe change the diameter of the roost.

I don't see anything wrong with roosting in nestboxes, though. It might even do them good to like their nests.

I grew up in Ohio with "free range" chickens. We didn't even have a coop, they were just chickens & did their laying in the nestboxes in the barn. In the winter especially we'd find them in there at night sleeping away.

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#4 of 15 Old 04-30-2009, 06:05 PM
 
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Ours are almost three months old are will not use the roost. We also have one chicken (the bottom of the pecking order) that is kicked off the roost for some reason. There is another roost but all 7 layers squish onto one roost leaving the 8th to the other one. She sleeps on the floor next to them I think so she won't be alone. I'm hoping when the babies start roosting on the other roost she will go and join them. Every time I try to put them up there they never stay.

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#5 of 15 Old 04-30-2009, 06:08 PM
 
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my chickens generally have not roosted until they were around 6 months or older.

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#6 of 15 Old 04-30-2009, 06:39 PM
 
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My new babies, Welsummers, who range from 2-5 weeks old are flying up to sit on the edge of the box they're currently living in. I don't remember my barred rocks doing this until much later. I wonder if breed has anything to do with it? The Welsummers are champion scratchers already, too.
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#7 of 15 Old 04-30-2009, 06:51 PM
 
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My new babies, Welsummers, who range from 2-5 weeks old are flying up to sit on the edge of the box they're currently living in. I don't remember my barred rocks doing this until much later. I wonder if breed has anything to do with it? The Welsummers are champion scratchers already, too.
I am not sure if this is considered roosting. Are the chicks sleeping or just sitting there exploring their surroundings? (to me roosting=sleeping) not to get technical or anything they will eventually roost somewhere whether it be on a homemade roosting perch or trees.

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#8 of 15 Old 04-30-2009, 07:34 PM
 
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Two of them have been sleeping up there during the day, but I think mostly they're just intensley curious and like to look around. In the AM I find them huddled together in the box. So cute.
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#9 of 15 Old 04-30-2009, 07:40 PM
 
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Ours seem to like the closet pole best. The pole used to hang clothes on. It's about 5" around.
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#10 of 15 Old 04-30-2009, 08:06 PM
 
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Can I butt in and say that when I read the title, I read it as "Why won't my chickens roast?" and I was going to suggest turning the oven up higher.

:
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#11 of 15 Old 05-01-2009, 12:30 AM
 
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Most people use the flat side of 2x4's for a roost. Chickens don't "perch" like other birds, they have bad balance. They generally SIT on their feet on the roost and prefer the wider board. (A 2x4 is really about 3.5" wide)

FWIW my grandma had a ledge, like a shelf, for her chickens to roost on.

Sometimes young chicks raised without adults need to be trained to roost, but that's usually when they are younger. Either no one trained them or they don't like your broom handle.
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#12 of 15 Old 05-01-2009, 03:44 AM
 
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Most people use the flat side of 2x4's for a roost. Chickens don't "perch" like other birds, they have bad balance. They generally SIT on their feet on the roost and prefer the wider board. (A 2x4 is really about 3.5" wide)
Interesting! Mine definitely prefer the 5" diameter driftwood to the 2x4's in their nest boxes (that they have yet to use or even "SIT" upon).

I wonder if it is a breed thing, too. My 4mo Orpingtons herd themselves into their coop just before dusk to preen & are all roosted up by sunset. The stupid one perches herself just below everyone else &, obviously, gets pooped on. She's going to be the first to roast, for sure

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#13 of 15 Old 05-01-2009, 03:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by irishmommy View Post
can i butt in and say that when i read the title, i read it as "why won't my chickens roast?" and i was going to suggest turning the oven up higher.

:


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#14 of 15 Old 05-07-2009, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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looks like they were just too young, or maybe getting used to the new environment before....i looked in on them last night and all 3 were happily roosting! Thanks for all of the advice
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#15 of 15 Old 05-08-2009, 01:59 AM
 
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Hillarious. 3 of mine are now "roosting" on A nest box (all together). That's 3 6-7# birds perched on top of a wee box. "Roaster" is still getting pooped on.

Whoever said chickens were smart... ummm....

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