Where Do Chickens Sleep in the Wild?

December 28, 2023

During the day chickens sit anywhere they like – on fencing, feeders, in bushes, and in trees. By night, though, they tend to perform a balancing act on roosting bars or pecking posts, which replicate the feeling of sleeping on a tree branch in their wild backyard.

In the wild, chickens sleep on roosts to protect them from ground predators, who might try to grab them in their sleep. This is why backyard chickens need a secure coop, as they are often exposed to nocturnal predators that might otherwise be able to reach them, such as foxes, coyotes, raccoons, opossums, stray cats (wild and domestic), weasels, and bears. Sleeping off the ground, tucked away in a dark place where they are hard to spot, keeps them much safer and more comfortable.

Chickens that are awake and moving around during the day may sleep during the night, but this is unusual. A chicken that sleeps during the day is more likely to become ill.

Chickens can sleep on many different types of roosting perches, including wooden dowel rods, natural branches, tobacco sticks, and two-by-four boards. The most important thing is that the roosting perch is wide enough for the chicken to fit its feet flat on, and the surface should be smooth and free of splinters. Rough surfaces can lead to bumblefoot, which is painful for chickens to walk on. In addition, the roosting perch should be high enough to keep the chicken from covering itself in its own poop.

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