How Much do Baby Chickens Sleep?

The duration that baby chickens take to sleep depends largely on their stages of growth and development. For instance, a week-old baby cheek will spend more hours sleeping while a little older chick will sleep for fewer hours.

In this article, you are going to learn more about how many hours baby chicks sleep, how they sleep, and how to tell if they are sleeping or dying.

How Many Hours Do Baby Chickens Sleep?

On average, expect your baby chicks to sleep between 30 minutes and 90 minutes (1 ½ hour) at a time followed by active periods that last about the same duration. In this case, you should consider setting up a brooder at least 48 hours in advance before your first batch of baby chicks arrives.

Generally, baby chickens can sleep for about 9 hours within a day and this includes the occasional nap while in the sunshine. Below is a table showing the sleeping time in hours that baby chickens need at different ages of their growth:

Baby Chicken Age (In Weeks) Sleeping Time (Hours)
Week 1 12-9
Week 2 9-8
Week 3 8-7
Week 4 8
Week 5 8
Week 6 8

The total time may vary considerably depending on different factors. The surrounding temperature, time of the day, and the health status of your baby chicks will influence their sleeping pattern.

How do Baby Chickens Sleep?

In general, chickens sleep in different ways. The chicks sleep in a similar manner as their parents. In this case, they can sleep while curled up in a position that resembles a little ball, sit down, or simply stretch out on the floor/ground with their necks and legs extended. Mostly, baby chicks spend their sleeping time curled up under or beside their mothers.

No matter how your little birds sleep, their comfort is the most important factor to consider. Therefore, their brooder must have all essential requirements that keep them comfortable, safe, and healthy.

Chicks, just like mature chickens, sleep when it gets dark and wake up as soon as they see light in the morning. The presence of light signals them to start their usual routine alongside their mother hens.

Baby chicks and chickens in particular prefer sleeping at night. This is attributed to the fact that chickens cannot see well in the dark, especially when night falls. For that reason, they will instinctively take a rest in their brooder as soon as the lights go out.

Baby chickens, especially those that are used to a heat lamp will fall asleep when it becomes bright outside. However, these baby chickens grow out of this sleeping habit as time goes by.

Keep in mind that there is no proper sleeping style for chickens at different stages of their development. So, if you come across your baby chicks sleeping in different questionable posses,  you should not get alarmed.

Provided that your baby chicks are behaving normally, there should be no cause for concern. This is because their sleeping style and habit are a matter of personal choice.

Is It Normal for Baby Chickens to Sleep All Day?

In most cases, it is normal for your baby chickens to sleep long hours across the day and even at night. Chicks are like babies, so they spend most of their time sleeping. Their sleeping hours become less and less until they mature.

For that reason, make sure to provide a conducive environment for your baby chickens to enjoy their sleep. Provide the right source of heat in addition to light, bedding, and all other basic needs that help baby chicks to grow healthy.

However, it is not always normal for your baby chickens to sleep all day long. When this happens, likely, your chicks are not perfectly fine. Take your time to examine your baby chicks whenever they sleep unusually longer. If you notice something unusual with them, contact your local vet for more advice.

Do Baby Chickens Wake Up at Night?

Yes! Your baby chickens can occasionally wake up at night when they feel disturbed. For instance, when you access their brooder while asleep they will most likely wake up in a state of panic.

On the other hand, they can wake up when they see light (especially those used to sleeping when it is dark). Any type of noise can also make them wake up at any time of the night. The type of light in your baby chickens’ brooder is also a determining factor when it comes to sleeping peacefully.

Typically, young chicks prefer red light over white light. With the red light in their living space, these little birds will have a deep sleep throughout as opposed to being subjected to white light. This is attributed to the fact that the red bulb calms them more than the white bulb does.

You may also combine both red and white bulbs to create a comfortable setup for your baby chickens when sleeping at night. Make sure your little birds are in a safe place away from any form of intrusion to enable them to enjoy their sleep across the night.

Nevertheless, baby chickens tend to sleep more at night than during day time. This happens more often as they grow older. Mature chickens enjoy deep sleep at night because they are already used to everything in their surroundings.

Do Baby Chickens Need Light at Night?

Yes! As explained above, baby chickens prefer sleeping under the light. They prefer the red light more than other light colors because it makes them feel relaxed and comfortable. Also, the light at night helps keep them warm throughout. The same light allows them to find their way around, especially when kept in an unfamiliar brooder.

As a source of light and heat, the heat lamp should be placed over the brooder and not be shut off during the night. This source of light is critical for baby chickens because they have fewer feathers to keep themselves warm. Again, they cannot easily regulate their body temperatures.

So, they depend solely on a constant source of heat from a heat lamp to stay warm if they are not kept with their mother hens.

Do Baby Chickens Sleep Standing Up?

In some instances, baby chickens sleep while standing up. In fact, a good number of chicken owners have reported seeing their chicks start to sleep in a standing position before slowly going down on their feet.

In reality, chickens don’t sleep while standing. Instead, they perch on tree branches or roosts in what appears like a standing position.

Do Baby Chickens Sleep on Their Back?

Even though it is common for your baby chickens to sleep on their backs, you are advised to pay attention to this behavior among your flock. Baby chickens are known to tip over as soon as they fall asleep. If this happens to your baby chicks, rest assured that something is wrong with them.

Laying on their backs can be a sign of nutrient deficiency (lack of vitamin E) or a sign of illness (such as coccidiosis). In both cases, you will identify accompanying symptoms of sickness and deficiency. If no symptoms or other issues exist, lying on the back should be treated as a weird sleeping position rather than something of great concern.

How to Tell if Baby Chicken is Sleeping or Dying?

A sleeping baby chicken will always wake up when you approach it. But a dying one will remain motionless even in your presence. Such a chick will not even have the strength to move its body or even breath normally.


Baby chickens should sleep for about 12 hours a day, especially during their first weeks after hatching. As time goes by, their sleeping hours reduce until they become mature. For your baby chickens to enjoy peaceful sleep, they should have all basic requirements in their brooder.

Provide them with a reliable source of light, heat, food, and water. Don’t forget to vaccinate them against infectious poultry diseases to help them stay healthy.

avatar James
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. Learn more

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