Like humans, birds need proper sleep to stay healthy, fresh and pleasant and not a crancky pants! (Yep, that’s me if I get lack of sleep!).
As we like to sleep in our comfortable bed, chickens need too as well!
They need a designated sleep area to rest at night without fearing predators.
But birds have their own preferences for spending a restful night.
Their sleep clock is strictly tied to the sun hours, i.e., they are up with the first ray of sunlight and return to their coops minutes before or at sunset.
So let’s get into detail on where you should let your chickens sleep at night
Carry on reading
Where Should I Let My Chickens Sleep At Night?
Days are hectic for chickens too.
Although chickens have short naps during the day sitting on the ground, night sleep is crucial for their health and the eggs you love to harvest daily.
Chickens love to sleep on a roost bar (a few feet high above ground level).
They wake up at sunrise and have lots to do during the sun hours.
So, if you are raising chickens in your backyard or commercially, do not forget to build enough firm and serene roost bars for your chickens; they all have enough space to sit comfortably.
On the ground.
Do not leave your chickens to sleep on the ground because venomous snakes, spiders or other insects can bite on their claws which could be deadly to death.
Don’t leave your chickens to sleep outside in the open area as it would be an invitation to predators, and they would readily avail the chance of attack.
There must be a designated coop for the chickens with an airy and bright environment, gauzed windows and skylights so that the predators can’t approach them.
Roosting bars — are the best option for chickens to sleep at night.
You have to arrange for firm roosting bars to keep your birds safe from approaching predators and provide the chickens with a restful fearless night’s sleep.
Where Should Hens Sleep At Night?
Raising hens requires proper safe and stable arrangements for their living, feeding, nesting, hatching and safety.
The most important of the arrangements is their safety at night.
You need a safe coop to protect them from predators and a restful sleep at night so they can be fresh for the day ahead.
Here’s an article I think you’d find interesting – When do hawks hunt chickens?
Can Chickens Be Left Outside At Night?
Hens are constantly moving around in or outside the coop and exploring every corner approachable during the day.
But they can’t be left outside at night.
Because chickens can hardly see after the sunset and are nearly blind in the dark
There are a couple of disadvantages of hens not sleeping outside the coop.
- Cats — the worst enemy of chickens, they can get an advantage of sleeping hens and enjoy the delicious feast of the night because they can see perfectly in the dark.
- Deadly reptiles (snakes, rats etc.) can attack hens sleeping on the ground. They can nibble and bite the hens’ toes, legs or backs.
- Hens may get contaminated in their poop if they sleep on the ground at night and can get bacterial infections.
- Ticks, mites and lice can get on them and cause the worst night’s sleep.
Is It OK For Chickens To Sleep In The Nest Box?
Sleeping in the nesting boxes looks harmless, but it can bring some problems if not considered.
It is not favourable for chickens to sleep in the nest boxes but knowing the exact reasons will facilitate dealing with the issues of chickens roosting in the nest boxes.
Why Do Chickens Sleep In The Nesting Boxes?
If you have already built roosting bars and still some of your hens prefer to sleep in the nesting boxes, then you need to figure out why your chickens constantly roost in the nesting boxes.
- Coop may be overcrowded or poorly designed.
- Roosting bars have rough edges or are not enough for the chickens.
- Nesting boxes are higher than perches.
- Artificially hatched chicks don’t know how to roost properly.
- Maybe some chickens cannot reach the roosting bar because of any unknown injury or weakness.
- Keeping the chickens in the coop forever. They get bored and enjoy staying in the nesting boxes.
Problems Of Roosting In The Nest Boxes.
Sleeping in the nest boxe is not a good practice for several reasons.
- One of the most important reasons is that chickens poop all night and will soil the nesting boxes
- By sleeping in the nesting box regularly, chickens can get into a habit of breaking or eating their eggs, and it could cause an actual loss.
- Looking for a high spot to roost, chickens can pile up and get smothered in the nesting boxes, which can cause them suffocation and overheating.
What Time Should I Put Chickens To Bed?
As we know that chicken’s body clock is set with the sun hours.
They naturally follow the sunrise and sunset patterns to know that it’s time to go to sleep or wake up.
They wander wherever around the yard throughout the day, but they will be back in their coops a few minutes before the sunset.
They will naturally jump to their roosting perches to sleep.
But initially, you need to take care of the newly hatched chicks, especially if they are an incubator production and don’t have a mother hen to teach them.
Chickens can barely see after the evening; therefore, you need to take them to their coop before the evening falls to avoid any mishap.
Raising chickens is a profitable business, but it requires proper safety measures to protect your flock from predators and keep them healthy.
Roosting bars are crucial for hens to have a restful sleep because neither can they be left outside in the open area to sleep, nor it’s healthy for them to sleep on the ground.
Moreover, the behaviour of being “the higher, the safer” is already ingrained in your chickens
Chickens are the birds of sunlight whose sleep pattern strictly follows the sun hours.
For instance, they can sleep longer in winter when the nights are long
Similarly, they wake up with the sunrise in summer when nights are shorter than days.
It all depends on the sun, and they naturally follow it.
So ensure that you have a safe coop for your chickens and if you let them out in the morning, ensure they are back before sunset