When it starts to get dark outside, it clues your chickens to go home and sleep.
A chicken coop is a great place for these birds to sleep as it is dry, secure, and warm.
If your chicken habitually goes to the coop every night for bed, they will normally return to the coop every night as it starts to get dark.
However, if you have a chicken that is hesitant to go into the coop without your push, there are a few reasons why it might prefer to sleep on the ground.
In this article you’re going to discover the following
- Why your chickens are sleeping on the ground (In detail)
- How to get your chicken to sleep on the roost
- Is it normal for chickens to lay in dirt?
Let’s get started!
Why Are My Chickens Sleeping On The Ground? (Possible Reasons)
New chickens who you have just brought home or young chicks will have a harder time learning to sleep in the coop in the beginning.
It may take a few days for them to adjust and learn that the coop is their safe space.
Over time, they will quickly learn to head to the coop at night instead of sleeping on the ground.
If you have an older chicken that you’ve had for a while that is sleeping on the ground, there are several reasons why it might suddenly decide it would rather sleep on the ground outside than inside the coop:
- A dirty coop. No one wants to live in a dirty home and chickens don’t want to either. A dirty coop that has a lot of droppings that haven’t been cleared will produce an ammonia smell. This is dangerous for your birds and can make it difficult for your chickens to breathe inside the coop.
- The coop is no longer safe. Pests like rats and mites bother and bite the chickens as they try to sleep inside the coop. And if your chickens have had a recent predator scare inside the coop, it will make them less likely to roost in the coop. Chickens want to go home where they feel safe.
- Bullying. A chicken that is quite low on the pecking order may be bullied by the other hens. Some hens may stop this chicken from entering the coop at all. And this chicken may simply not feel safe laying with all the other chickens that bully it.
- Broody hen. If a broody hen has decided to find a nesting spot outside of the coop, it will not want to come into the coop at night. As the broody hen will want to stay with its eggs day and night, it will be very difficult to get it to come inside the coop.
- Preference. Each chicken has its own personality and its own preferences. Some chickens just prefer sleeping on the floor as opposed to inside the coop. As long as there are no predators around, this shouldn’t be an issue.
How To Get Chickens To Sleep On The Roost (Awesome Tips You Can Try)
If it is unsafe for your chickens to sleep outside due to predators or the cold, you will want to convince your chickens to sleep on the roost.
Whether your chickens are sleeping on the floor due to their nesting instincts or bullying, there are ways to get chickens to sleep on the roost instead.
With new chickens, lock them inside the coop for a couple of days so that they learn that the coop is their home.
It also helps to use food as motivation to go into the coop once it starts to get dark.
If your chickens refuse to go into the coop at night due to it being dirty, the solution is simple: clean the coop.
Lay new hay into the coop and air out the coop so that the chickens no longer feel that they can’t breathe inside their home.
A pest problem is problematic.
It makes sense why your chickens will refuse to go into the coop if all they do is get bitten in there!
Give your coop a good clean to rid of any pests and make sure you board up any holes that mice and snakes can sneak through.
Once you have cleaned and boarded up their home, the chickens will start to feel safer.
Again, use food to motivate the chickens to head back into their coop at night.
A chicken that is lower on the pecking order is not going to have a great time in the flock.
If it’s having a particularly hard time, you may need to look at improving the bullied chicken’s quality of life as a whole besides getting it to sleep in the coop.
But with regards to sleeping at night, having a little separated area in the coop for your bullied hen can be an option.
With broody hens, you can try using ceramic eggs to lure your broody hen inside the coop.
“Breaking” your broody hen by getting it to stop its broody behavior could do the trick as well.
Finally, if your chicken just prefers to sleep outside, you will need to convince it that the coop is a better place to be at night.
The best way to do this is by giving it food.
Lay a few tasty treats inside the coop and over time, the chicken will learn that the coop is the best place to be.
Is It Normal For Chickens To Lay In The Dirt?
It is completely normal for chickens to lay in the dirt.
In fact, it is in their instinct to do so.
You’ll often find chickens digging holes in the dirt.
They do this for many reasons: to take a nice dust bath, to keep cool, or maybe even to lay eggs.
So don’t be alarmed if you notice that your chickens are laying in the dirt.
This should only be a concern if the chicken seems sick and lethargic.
Before I wrap up, here’s some other chicken related articles which I think you’ll find interesting so do check them out!
Do chickens sleep during the day?
Chickens want to have a safe space to sleep and for many, this is the coop.
But there are some reasons why a chicken may choose to sleep outside on the floor instead.
This is not necessarily something to worry about, but there are many ways to convince a chicken to come back inside the coop if needed.