During the day, your chickens probably spend most of their time cooling off in the shade or roaming around your property foraging for insects. Chickens aren’t known for their flying abilities, so they tend to stay close to the ground unless they’re forced to a higher perch by the threat of a predator.
But your chickens shouldn’t get into the habit of sleeping on the ground at night, because they will usually defecate as they sleep. If they’re snoozing on the floor of the coop or in their nesting boxes all night, they will be exposed to their waste for long periods of time. This can be very unhealthy, not to mention uncomfortable for chickens, so they should get into the routine of sleeping on an elevated roost at the end of each day.
You can encourage young chicks to return to their roost at night by taking the time to physically nudge them towards their roost when the sun begins to set. Some chicks will be hesitant to rest on the roost at first, because they will still be finding their way around the coop. You may have to go as far as placing them on their roost to give them the right idea. You may also have to remove sources of light from your coop to discourage the chicks from moving around once you leave. This will get them in the habit of settling down and perching on their roost at night when you close their coop.
Within just a couple of weeks, young chicks should start to learn that returning to their roost is part of their nightly routine. This will keep them healthier in the long run, and consequently help them to produce better eggs. It may take some patience on your part, but by teaching young chicks to return to their roost, you can keep them safe and healthy as they grow to maturity.
Do you need to order new chicks or speak with someone about chick care? Chickens for Backyards can help you with your order and provide you with any additional information you might need. Call us at (888) 412-6715 today to learn more.