Where Do Chickens Sleep?

November 2, 2023

During the day, chickens can be found perching on fences, feeders, bushes and trees, but at night they all flock to roost. If your flock isn’t roosting, they may have lost the instinct to sleep on a roost, or their coop might not be predator-proof. It’s also possible that they are pecking each other too aggressively and avoiding sleep altogether. Lastly, if your chickens sleep on the ground, they are at risk for infections caused by mites and other bacteria in their own poop and muck.

Despite the fact that chickens in the wild don’t have the prowess to fend off predators, sleeping high is an instinctive behaviour that has lingered since they were domesticated over 5000 years ago. A roost is an elevated bar, branch or narrow plank on which chickens perch to sleep each night. It’s a balancing act for chickens, as they need to hold on to their roost with their feet without letting go. This is why it’s important to provide a safe, solid roosting place for your chickens.

A roost should be at least 8 inches wide and tall so chickens can grip it with their feet and remain balanced on it. Wooden dowel rods, natural branches and tobacco sticks are all good roosting choices. If you have heavy breeds like Orpingtons or Wyandottes, they may not feel able to fly up to their roost at night. If you have a flock that’s having trouble getting on their roost, try putting in more roosting spaces.


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