Why Do Chickens Wake Up Early?
When you are rearing chickens, it is best to understand their sleep patterns so that you can plan your activities around these. You will notice that your birds will wake up early. Everyone is familiar with the rooster crow, which is the natural alarm clock signifying the start of the day.
But what does this crowing mean for your flock? Here are answers to the common questions you might have on why your chickens wake up early.
What Time Do Chickens Wake Up In The Morning?
Your birds will often wake up with the sunrise between 4 am, and 8 am. Nonetheless, this primarily depends on the location and season in the chickens’ surroundings. Chickens will mostly wake up early because of the sun’s rays.
When the first light hits your chicken coop, your birds know it is morning because their eyes’ retinas have rods and cones. The cones are color-sensitive, while the rods are light-sensitive.
The rods and cones make the eyes of chickens better at detecting light intensity than humans’. For this reason, your flock will notice the sunrise about an hour before you see it.
Besides their eyesight, hens should wake up early because they need enough sunshine for egg production. Hens need at least eight hours of daylight when laying eggs. This explains why egg production will naturally reduce in the winter unless you install artificial lighting in your coop.
Waking up early for chickens is also attributed to safety. Chickens have poor eyesight in the dark, so they wake up early to find food during daylight when they can see their predators and protect themselves.
When Should You Let Your Chickens Out?
Ideally, you should let chickens out of their coops when they wake up. This means opening the cage at sunrise or just after sunrise between 4 am and 8 am, depending on your location and season.
Though challenging, it is advisable to let your chickens out of their cages at the same time daily. Doing this allows your chickens to form a habit and know when they should get out of their cages or go home.
If you find it challenging to always let your chickens out of their cages at the same time, consider getting an automatic door opener. These openers are set to open and close at the same time daily. They will thus act like chicken keepers that keep your flock safe without demanding so much from your busy lifestyle.
Why Are Chickens So Noisy In The Morning?
Most roosters will crow in the morning with the hens clucking to communicate with each other. This isn’t very pleasant when you want to catch up on sleep. Thankfully, the personalities of chickens are different, so not all of them will be very vocal.
You might be lucky to get a flock of many introverted chickens that will not be so noisy. Nonetheless, below are a few reasons for the noise chicken make in the morning:
- They want to confirm the safety of other chickens.
- They are excited to be let out of their coop for the day.
- They are thirsty or hungry.
- The hens are singing for their eggs or laying them.
When chickens are laying eggs, hearing noises from your coop is almost inevitable. When not laying eggs, you can reduce the noise from your flock by ensuring they have enough food and water in the morning. Letting the birds out of their cage early in the morning will also reduce the noise.
How to Make Your Chicken Sleep Longer?
Chickens will start moving back to their cages when the sun sets because daylight levels control their built-in clocks. In the dark, the birds know they are not safe from predators.
Chickens need approximately eight hours of sleep daily though the exact timeframe depends on the season and the number of pests or predators around them. Older birds will also sleep for more time than chicks. If you want your flock to sleep for longer, here are the steps you can take.
- Lure the chickens into the coop early with food.
- Keep the chicken’s cage clean.
- Fumigate the coop regularly to get rid of pests that might disturb sleep.
- Make the cage predator-proof by closing any spaces or gaps through which predators might enter.
- Maintain a 2-3 square feet distance between chickens, so they have enough sleeping space.
- Install a comfortable elevated space for the chickens to sleep on so they feel safe.
Will Chickens Wake Up Later If They Go To Sleep Later?
No, chickens will not wake up late simply because they slept late. Remember that the sleeping patterns of your flock will rely on daylight. As such, they might sleep earlier than usual in the winter but will still wake up at sunrise.
In most places, the sun might rise later in the winter than on other days because days are shorter. In this case, your flock will wake up later than usual, not because they slept late but because the sun rose later.
Some chicken owners will leave the lights on in their coop longer to trick their birds into believing it is still daylight so that they sleep late and wake up late. Unfortunately, this does not work and only disrupts your birds’ circadian rhythms while reducing their sleep times.
Your life as a chicken keeper will be quite busy as you struggle to ensure your birds have everything they need. Like all animals, chickens should get enough sleep to remain healthy and produce as many eggs as possible.
It thus is essential to learn the above tidbits about their sleeping habits so that you can create a conducive environment for them and maximize your egg production.
Even with the ideal sleeping environment for your flock, pay attention to your birds’ behaviors and appearance when they wake up. A less than bubbly chicken might be one that is low in the pecking order, but it can also indicate illness or injury.
You will only notice a deviation and seek a vet when you know how your chickens behave in the morning.