Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Twister for Chickens

In my jammies saying goodnight to Oyster Cracker

These last couple of nights I have desperately been trying to figure out the girl’s sleeping arrangements.  They always seem to be mixing it up.  Finally, I am finding all four Silkies sleeping side by side on one roost together.  No one is sleeping in the nesting boxes. It has taken months to achieve this and I find myself feeling like I need to do some sort of celebration dance.  However, the other three who have roosted religiously since they were little are no longer roosting.  Last night was the first night I really decided to investigate just what is going on with their bedtime sleeping arrangement.

As I peered through the open lid of the nesting box, I found Tilly on the roost across from the Silkies.  She was asleep facing the wall.  Directly in front of Tilly were the two Buff Orpingtons laying in the shavings.  All I could see was a big round golden fluffy butt in front of me.   I reached in as far as I could.  I ruffled her tail and tried to get her to move.  She was as still as a statue.  I reached in with my other arm to see if I could gain a few inches in my reach.  It was not working.  They were content.  I began to weigh my options.  I had let them sleep like this for two evenings already.  I did not want them to start this new habit.  I determined I had to try and get them to roost.

I knew that I could not reach the girls through the nesting boxes.  I knew the Silkies were happily sleeping on the roost in front of the large double doors.  I was left with only one option; the pop door leading into the run.  I climbed into the run and opened up the pop door.  I whispered to the girls.  They replied back with sleepy chatter.

With my left arm, I reached in past Tilly’s fluffy bottom on the roost and headed straight underneath the non-compliant Buff Orpington.  It was Sunshine.  I gently nudged her upward.  Her head was underneath of Oyster Cracker’s bottom.  She was toasty warm, but she probably could have suffocated under all that fluff!  I nudged her upward and she stood.  No sooner, had Tilly stood up on the roost.  Then I saw Oyster Cracker.  Oyster Cracker was peering at me through Tilly’s legs!  She looked as though she wore Tilly’s butt fluff as a Polish Hen hat.  She cocked her head from side to side.  Sleepily she stared at me as if to say, “What are you doing Mom?”  I felt as though I had suddenly entered a game of Twister with the chickens.  Sunshine had now found herself a place on the perch and I reached in to guide Oyster Cracker out from underneath Tilly.  She is one heavy girl!  I had to reach in with my other hand and guide her to the roost.  Finally, everyone was on the roost.  I waited for a few moments.  No one stirred.

I have no idea how or why the bigger girls ended up in that sleeping arrangement.  Strangely, they all seemed comfortable.  I guess it must be how little kids feel when they play Twister.  They are so limber.  Their bodies can easily place one hand on red, reach over their friend and put another hand on blue while their legs are still on yellow and green.  I for one, find myself achy from just sleeping the wrong way at night.  But I can tell you that I am getting much better at Chicken Twister.  As I write this, I have just returned from locking up the girls for the evening.  I peeked in.  I knew exactly what to do.  I peered in through the pop door.  I confirmed Oyster Cracker’s head underneath of Tilly.  I backed out Sunshine.  She climbed on the roost.  I backed out Oyster Cracker.  She climbed on the roost.  They all settled down and this time, I had this game of Chicken Twister down to a science.  Like a well oiled machine, the girls and I performed tonight’s round of Chicken Twister to an audience of four fluffy Silkie butts.  Ironically, the Silkies missed all of the action as they were obliviously facing in the wrong direction, happily sleeping wing to wing on their roost.

Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest

Hello friends, welcome! Follow along on our chicken, beekeeping, gardening, crafting and cooking adventures from Cape Cod.

  • Anonymous

    Having grown up on a farm with hens this story gave me a good deal of laughter! Your Blog is absolutely delightful!!

    • These girls are definitely always making me smile! They are magical! I only wish that I had hens earlier in my life. Thank you for the lovely compliment.

  • Silly question time. Why are you so concerned with their place of sleep?

    • No questions are ever silly! I am glad you asked 🙂
      In a nutshell, all chickens (unless broody on a clutch of eggs) should sleep on the roosts. This helps with hygiene and curtail mites and lice. In the Winter, they stay warmer off the floor and their feet are protected in their feathers. It is also instinctual, as chickens without a coop will roost in trees at night for safety.

  • Okay…I have to ask… why is it important that they roost?

    • It is better for them in many ways. In a nutshell, all chickens (unless broody on a clutch of eggs) should sleep on the roosts. This helps with hygiene and curtail mites and lice. In the Winter, they stay warmer off the floor and their feet are protected in their feathers. It is also instinctual, as chickens without a coop will roost in trees at night for safety. So glad you asked. Have a wonderful weekend!

  • I love "tucking" them in at night! My 7 (3month olds) sleep side by side on the top roost. Each 1 facing a different direction. 🙂 I don't know what they will do when they are full grown! They barely fit now!

    • How cute! I remember when my girls were doing that in the Winter. They would nuzzle so closely. At one point all seven of them were squished together on one 3 foot roost! Are your girls laying yet?

  • Oh my goodness! The visual that this presents is hilarious. I am laughing still. Glad you have your routine well oiled now. On a serious note though – excellent information. My little ones are all sleeping in the nesting boxes. I am going to start putting them on the roosts from now on. Break them of this habit now while they are small.

    @ 3Beeze Homestead

    • Hi Snooks! One tip that I might share is to block off the nesting boxes completely until the girls are about 20 weeks and old enough to start laying eggs. I am glad you enjoyed the post.

  • very few of my chickens roost, they all pig pile into one big lump! I cant get them to change, Ive given up. I have two babies in there and they are always squirreling their way to the bottom of the pile, I assume for warmth. I dont know how they dont get squished!

    My duck likes to sleep with one silkie under each wing.

    • Oh yes, Rain. I can COMPLETELY understand 🙂 There are many days when the Silkies are all broody and once and they pile into all the nesting boxes. Sometimes I don't even bother 🙂

    • I can COMPLETELY understand! Sometimes when the Sikies are all broody at once, I don't even bother to put them on the roosts at night. How sweet that your duck is so loving 🙂

  • The first sentence had me believing you were talking about kids [ took me a sec ], but the thing I am left with is: why? Why move them….? I don't raise chickens and am really interested in the why?

    • Oh, that is funny! The best place for them is on the roost. t is better for them in many ways. In a nutshell, all chickens (unless broody on a clutch of eggs) should sleep on the roosts. This helps with hygiene and curtail mites and lice. In the Winter, they stay warmer off the floor and their feet are protected in their feathers. It is also instinctual, as chickens without a coop will roost in trees at night for safety. Thanks for asking!

  • I just want to say thank you. Your blog has been a wealth of information to my husband and I who are new to chicken farming. We currently have 20 chickens (2 roos, and the rest hens). I love receiving notification that you have posted a new blog post. It's always so delightful to read your post. Thank you and I look forward to many more.

    • You are so sweet Deanna! I am very happy that you are enjoying the blog. It means so much that you took the time to comment. Thank you so much for your kind words. I am so glad to have you on our adventures with us.

  • Hi! New to your blog, I found it by searching "bathing a chicken". 🙂 I have really enjoyed reading through your blog. We are first time chicken owners and have four almost two year olds. We got them when they were about 18 months and they RARELY roost. I know the importance of it but couldn't figure out how to get them to do it. It sounds like you basically put them up on it yourself? Our Wyandottes are still a little skittish…… 🙂