In a bid to rear a happy flock, farmers will often prepare a comfortable coop for their chickens. From providing nesting boxes to feeding areas and a roosting bar, there’s nothing happier for a chicken farmer than to see your flock roosting comfortably at night.
However, you may notice one or more of your chicken refusing to roost when darkness falls. Knowing that you’ve already ticked the boxes in preparing the perfect coop, you may now wonder what causes this. And there are a few common reasons why they will not roost at night, and it’s not because they’re unwell or dislike what you’ve prepared.
If a chicken will not roost, it is often your chicken’s way of telling you the coop is dirty or there are pests inside. But chickens will also refuse to roost if the coop is overcrowded, or perhaps they just don’t consider the coop to be their home yet.
In this article, we’ll go into detail about these issues. I will also share some simple ways to resolve it quickly.
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The Coop May Be Dirty or Have Unwanted Pests
Picky as they may be, one of the reasons why chicken won’t roost at night is that the coop is dirty.
Of course, it’s not that your chickens are bothered that the coop isn’t sanitized, but it should at least be reasonably poop-free for them to roost comfortably. Despite earning the reputation of being “dirty” birds, chickens too want a clean place to sleep in.
If you’ve already cleaned the coop but notice that your chicken is still refusing to enter, you may want to consider running the coop through a pest mitigation process. As pests like mites or lice may often bother your chicken at night as they try to roost, having them around the coop would be a turnoff to your chickens.
The Coop May Be Overcrowded
Subsequently, if your chickens are being placed in an overcrowded coop, they may refuse to roost inside it. Chickens regularly enjoy more space between each other, so be sure to have a coop that is wide and comfortable enough if you want them to roost at night.
You’ll also want to check that there are enough feeders and water to go about for all your chickens, or they may still refuse to roost even if there’s a lot of space for the flock.
Crowding can also be a matter of some chickens not feeling safe around others in her flock. As you pay close attention to your flock, you may also want to see if there is a “bully” among your chickens that is causing unrest to the other chickens. This may also be one of the reasons why your chickens are refusing to roost at night.
A good way to handle this is by separating the aggressive chicken from the rest. You may opt to have a different coop for the “bully” or leave them out but be sure to keep the yard safe from any predators’ reach if you do so.
Your Chicken Has No Idea Where “home” Is
Finally, one very common reason why your chicken doesn’t roost in the coop is simply that they’re not aware of where they should return to in the night.
This is common with new chickens as it takes time for them to get used to their new environment. If you’ve just brought a young chicken home from a brooder, the young chicken may be confused and unsure where to sleep. Sometimes they will follow the flock home in the evening, but not always.
You should give new chickens time to learn where the coop is before they are let loose in the garden. Once they’ve picked up on the message that your coop is their new home, most new chickens will be comfortable roosting at night with the rest of the flock.
How to Get My Chicken to Roost at Night?
Now that you know why your chickens refuse to sleep in the coop, perhaps it’s a good idea to determine how you can get them to do that. Below are some tips for you to encourage your chicken to start roosting in the coop at night.
Clean Your Coop Often
I’m not saying you’ll have to sanitize your coop daily but cleaning your coop often should encourage your chickens to roost at night. It’s recommended to do a daily sweep of any chicken poop you see – whether to control the odor in the coop or to deter pests from disturbing your roosting chickens.
Ever so often, it may be a good idea to run a pest control process to reduce the possibilities of mites or lice grow rampant in the coop.
Don’t Overstuff Your Coop and Keep It Safe
It goes without saying that chickens are quite private when it comes to laying eggs. This may occasionally extend to roosting, as some chickens prefer more space to move about.
You’ll also want to be sure that your coop is safe from the reach of any predators, as this will further encourage your chicken to want to roost. Should your chicken be spooked by a predator once, it may be difficult for them to want to return after.
Help Your Chickens Recognize Their Coop
If your chickens are refusing to roost because they can’t recognize their coop, an easy way to help them familiarize themselves with the new environment is by keeping them inside for a few days.
Check that it isn’t too hot a day for you to keep your chickens in the coop and keep them inside for 3 to 4 days so your chickens will recognize the new coop as home. Once they have gotten used to your coop, your chickens are likelier to roost at night.
his process may take some time, so patience is key when it comes to teaching your chickens to remember where their new home is.
Attract Your Chicken with Food
Finally, attracting your flock with food may be a good idea to encourage them to roost at night. Come evening, you will want to move the feed indoors so your chickens will follow the food and roost at night.
Over time as your chickens have gotten used to roosting in the coop, you can then slowly stop feeding them at night, and they will likely return to roost.
Like helping your chicken recognize where home is, attracting them with food is a habit that will take time to instill in your chickens, so you will have to be prepared to wait for the results.
In conclusion, if your chicken doesn’t roost at night, you don’t have to be alarmed. By taking the time to understand what the reason behind their refusal to roost could be, you’ll be able to find a way to combat the situation at hand.
Of course, this will take some time before your chickens get used to the living , so be sure to sprinkle your flock with some patience as they grow into the habit.