Why Do Chickens Sleep in Trees?

Chickens are birds of habit. They will return home every evening as sunset sets in and retreat to a place where they feel comfortable and safe. While every chicken keeper would love that safe and comfortable place to be inside a cage, their birds might choose to roost in a different place, like high in the trees.

Chickens love sleeping in the trees because that’s where they feel secure and comfortable.

Is it OK to Let Chickens Sleep in Trees?

Although wild chickens sleep in trees because that’s where they feel secure and comfortable, domesticated chickens shouldn’t sleep in trees. Sleeping in trees might seem safe for your chickens, but your birds aren’t safe while roosting in trees.

Some predators like cats, owls, raccoons, and snakes could be hiding in the branches, ready to attack your chickens. Because your chickens won’t see anything at night, a predator may climb up the trees and attack them at night.

So it would be best if you discourage your chickens from sleeping in trees and instead encourage them to retreat to a safe and comfortable cage when night approaches.

How do Chickens Get into Trees?

Chickens get into trees by flying to the low-hanging branches and climbing high in trees to where they feel safe. They will remain up in the tree until morning. Nonetheless, chickens can’t climb tall trees because they can fly up to the higher branches.

They will choose to roost in smaller trees that are easy to climb up and down. However, they will only choose to sleep in the most secure and comfortable trees at night.

How to Stop Chickens Roosting in Trees?

Chickens value their safety and comfort, especially at night when these creatures are susceptible to predators. They will spend the night in the weirdest places, including up in trees, provided they feel safe.

Nonetheless, sleeping in trees can be problematic since there is no assurance that predators won’t get your birds from the trees at night. Therefore, it’s good to break the bad habit of your chickens sleeping in trees. Some of these things you can do to stop your birds from sleeping in trees include:

– Make the Coop Secure

Chickens won’t roost in their coop if they sense danger or feel the coop isn’t secure. Instead, they will avoid roosting in the coop and choose to roost in trees or other places where they feel much safer. That means if your chickens are sleeping in trees and you have a coop for your birds, they don’t feel secure sleeping in the coop.

Therefore, you must make the cage safe for your birds if you want them to spend the night in the cage rather than in trees. You can, for example, seal holes that predators exploit to enter the coop. Check whether the door is loose because predators like cats and dogs will try to open the door to enter the coop.

Use a sturdy chicken wire that doesn’t have big holes, making it impossible for smaller predators to enter the coop. The more secure the coop is, the more willing your chickens will be to roost in the coop.

– Cut the Trees

Chickens tend to sleep in high places, and that’s why some of your chickens will opt to roost in trees. It’s difficult to make your chickens sleep in their coop when they are used to sleeping in trees. It’s a habit that your birds will find challenging to break away from.

That’s why you should cut the trees near the coop so that chickens have no trees to roost at night. Alternatively, you can trim the low-hanging branches to discourage the birds from flying on such branches and then climb up in the trees to shelter them at night.

Your birds will have no choice but to retreat to their coop at night because they will have nowhere to spend the night when you cut nearby trees. Furthermore, have some roosting poles in the coop for the birds to perch on at night. Chickens like sleeping off the ground because sleeping in such high positions helps make them feel secure.

– Use Treats

Free-range chickens usually retreat to their coop a few minutes before sunset. At that time, the bird can see things because there is still light. You can place treats like grains and mealworms near the cage to encourage the birds to get into the coop and spend the night there.

Put some treats near and inside the cage before your chickens return to their home to roost. Treats can work wonders in stopping chickens from sleeping in trees because your birds will always get something in the coop to encourage them to roost there.

– Use Fake Predators

Placing fake predators such as fake owls or raccoons high on trees can discourage your chickens from sleeping in trees. Fake predators will give your chickens the impression that predators are waiting to attack them at night.

Because chickens value their safety, they won’t dare roost in trees because they will feel insecure. Rather, the birds will retreat to the coop, where they feel secure and away from predators.

– Keep the Cage Clean

Sometimes chickens can sleep in trees if they feel the coop is too dirty or if the air quality in the coop is too awful. Keeping the cage clean will encourage the chickens to sleep in the cage rather than opting to sleep in trees.

Where do Chickens Like to Sleep?

Most chickens love sleeping in a secure coop and on roosts instead of roosting on the floor. Keep your chickens in a secure cage and provide roosts to keep them feeling safe at night.

Why Don’t My Chickens Sleep in the Coop?

Your chickens could refuse to sleep in the coop because it could be unsafe for the birds. Chickens can also refuse to sleep in their cages if the air quality is terrible. Furthermore, pests such as mice and other rodents can scare away chickens from their coops, prompting them to look for alternative roosting spots.

Conclusion

Chickens sleep in trees for many reasons. The most apparent reason for many chickens sleeping in trees is safety. Your birds won’t hesitate to spend the night in trees if they feel unsafe sleeping in the coop. So encourage your chickens to sleep in the coop by using treats, cutting nearby trees, and keeping the cage clean.

Chickens   Updated: October 5, 2022
avatar Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too.

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