I’ve always kind of wished I had an infrared camera in the coop, so I could see what the chickens look like when they sleep. Chickens are driven by instinct to sleep on the highest perch they can find, so standard wisdom is to make their roosts the highest perchable object in the coop. They need to be able to get up; they need to be able to get down; there needs to be room for all of them.
Also, you need a poop plan. Chickens do 60-90% of their pooping while asleep. They may be on to something; what a time saver!
Ever since the girls have reached maturity, I’ve noticed that Tallulah had poop stains on her back. Unacceptable! How/why was this happening? Tallulah is a Light Brahma, and a Very Big Girl. It seems she was unable to get up on to the roosts at night with the other girls, and was spending the nights roosting on the lip of the poop pit. Here’s a pic of the poop pit/roosts before they went into use:
This was unacceptable for another reason: with truly cold weather coming on, Tallulah would need the combined body heat of the flock to make it through the nights. The Man and I were agreed: she needs a special step ladder/stool.
We haven’t quite gotten around to that yet, as the list of chores is very long around here, and it can take months for a task to rise to the top of the priority list. So, I’ve been going inside the coop at dusk, just as the girls are all flapping up to the roosts, and giving Tallulah a boost up.
I swear, I do. Every night.
And she expects me now, holding out her wings for me to grab her as soon as the coop door slides open. It’s endearing.
Tallulah was the head hen from very early on, and that changed somehow, because she isn’t any longer. I don’t know if it was her inability to sleep with the other girls (the head hen SHOULD be the first up on to the roosts, to pick the best spot), or her late maturation (only Buffy laid later), but she definitely lost her status.
So, I’m happy to help her out. I decided to take a pic after helping her up tonight. It’s grainy and blurry, but I thought you might be curious to see what the girls look like at bed time. Tallulah is at far left.