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chicken roost? did i wait too long?

 
Andrew Greaves
Posts: 48
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is it possible that my chickens have forgotten that they need/want to roost? i didnt have a place for them to roost until this morning and they are now about 7 or 8 months old. they dont seem interested in roosting. i was looking around on this forum for a bit before posting though, and it seems that there is a consensus that roosting only occurs in the early evening/evening hours and i was not aware of that. thanks for all your help
also, is shredded paper a viable option for your chicken litter?
 
Barry Fitzgerald
Posts: 43
Location: Welland, Ontario, Canada
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Yes Andrew you did wait too long.
I have had chickens that want to roost around 3 to 4 weeks, it does help if they were hen raised. These were Old English Game Bantums. I could not believe it when I saw them up there under their mother's wings.
I have also had incubator hatched Chanteclers that never wanted to roost, they would just huddle together at night and they would often do this in the run. I sold them for that reason because if they will not roost, they may not come back to the coop at night if you let them loose.
 
Mountain Krauss
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Location: Northern California
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This is easy. Chickens are social animals, so they will learn from the other chickens in their social group. Bring in a chicken (or ideally, chickens) who roost, and the rest of your chickens will follow her (or their) lead. Alternatively, bring in a new batch of baby chicks and give them access to roostable areas. Somewhere between 2 weeks and 2 months, they should develop the instinct get off the ground at night, and when they do, your older birds will imitate.

If you're absolutely opposed to any new chickens, it's a little harder, but still probably doable. Create a bunch of different levels of roosting spaces, including some that are barely off the ground. That should make exploration and experimentation really easy for your chickens, and their instinct to get off the ground will almost certainly express itself.
 
Chris Sargent
Posts: 45
Location: SE Alaska
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Chickens don't take to new things very fast. If you just put it in today it may take them a few days to get over being afraid of it. It's possible they will find it own their own with time. But they might just continue to ignore it too.

Maybe you can try a 'training roost' Something like a wide shelf that is low to the ground. Encourage them to get up on it by scatting treats or feeding them on the shelf. You can also go out at night, once they're asleep, pick them up and place them on the shelf. It might get them use to the idea that they can get up off the ground at night. When they're use to the shelf you can try raising it higher. Once they start looking up they might find and use the regular roost.
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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Don't worry, they'll figure it out. Once one of them figures out the roost is better, the others will join it. I've had a few that prefer to sleep on or in a nest box and just a couple that prefer the floor. The floor birds will also figure out that they shouldn't sleep under the roosting birds or they risk being crapped on. Once cold weather sets in, they tend to want to bunch up for keeping warm. That usually convinces the floor birds to move up even if it isn't their preference.
Either way... they'll do what they do, and they'll be fine.

Good luck

 
Cj Sloane
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Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
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Barry Fitzgerald wrote:
I have also had incubator hatched Chanteclers that never wanted to roost, they would just huddle together at night and they would often do this in the run. I sold them for that reason because if they will not roost, they may not come back to the coop at night if you let them loose.


My Chanteclers are a little too wild but they do roost - they just do it in trees. Any Chanteclers are have left are hen-hatched but I've found them impossible to contain with electro-netting and I'm switching to a heavier breed (dark Cornish).
 
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