14-Week-Old Rhode Island Reds

Posted by: Red Cake

14-Week-Old Rhode Island Reds - 06/23/10 12:56 PM

My pullets are doing fine except at night they all huddle into a corner to sleep. I have a roost (they use it durning the day), just put up nesting boxes, and a couple rest in them durning the day. Is this normal? I'm not sure why they want to sleep on the floor at night. Also, when I bought the chicks, they were to be sexed, and I was to get one cockerel. Shouldn't he have found his voice yet?

I hope someone can help.

Thanks, Red Cake
Posted by: Rogo

Re: 14-Week-Old Rhode Island Reds - 06/23/10 03:16 PM

There's not much 'normal' in the critter world! Some cockerels have crowed at 6 weeks, some much later.

I've got a batch that just turned 4 months and although there's 6 cockerals, only one started to crow at 3 1/2 months. Some of the others may crow, some may not. I've found when I have a bunch of the boys they don't all crow. I often wonder if it's a matter of, 'he's doing a great job, why should I exert myself!' -G-

When I first got birds years ago, I didn't put in the nest boxes until the first egg was laid. That way the birds didn't sleep in the boxes. Just a suggestion.

I don't have a coop; my birds roam free. So they find their own comfort zones. Our sun temperatures will be up in the hundreds until October. Roosts are at various levels, yet they still may at times sleep on the patio cement or in the dirt where it's a bit cooler to them. At least that's MY reasoning! They don't have to read books to know what's good for them! Come to think of it, I've never read a book on poultry.

It's like having human children; if a neighbor's kid walked before one of mine, I knew it wasn't something to be concerned with. My husband was a doctor and always said the longer they crawl, the better. Since eyes were his specialty, he was concerned with their future vision. They're all 50 or close to it and are doing just fine! -LOL-

Don't sweat the small stuff!

Posted by: TTC

Re: 14-Week-Old Rhode Island Reds - 06/23/10 09:21 PM

I'm sure you roo will start crowing when he's ready, and when it starts, you'll more than likely get sick of it, especially if he starts up at three in the morning each day.

All the birds I have were given to me by a local shop keeper, and until they came home with me, they were free ranged completely and yet they always slept on the ground at night. Now after I've had them for about two months, they've all recently started using the perch. I think they were just too proud to admit that my idea of a perch was good...lol.

Are your perches higher than your nesting boxes, because I have read on here that the birds will usually want to perch in the highest spots.

As the previous poster mentioned, I also didn't use any nesting boxes until I started receiving rent in the form of eggs....lol. Even now, I only have one nesting box, but as there's a broody in there now, I'll add another nesting box either today or tomorrow.

Good luck and just keep enjoying your flock.

Posted by: Sarah's Coop

Re: 14-Week-Old Rhode Island Reds - 06/28/10 04:49 PM

My 3 month old Rhode Island Red hens had been sleeping on the roost in their pen until about two weeks ago when I heard a lot of thumping going on in their house one night. They were all trying to huddle on the tops of plywood dividers for the nest boxes and their backs were hitting the slanted roof. So I put a cover over the nest boxes so now they can huddle in the corner more peacefully. Don't know why they left the roost - maybe felt safer in the corner? They are all very healty, and spoiled.
Posted by: CJR

Re: 14-Week-Old Rhode Island Reds - 06/28/10 06:00 PM

How are your roosts designed? Far enough from the wall, so the growing pullets have room for tails without touching the wall?

Roost board, 1" by 2" or 3" for a nice flat foot rest, not a round pole. Chicken feet are not designed to roost on poles (yes, some will, but it is not safe or comfortable.)

Do you have a droppings board beneath, to catch the night time poop? This is easy to scrape clean and not drop the poop on the floor of their coop.

Do you have a roost board for the birds to first fly up to, before getting on their roost. And is there room for all to sleep side by side comfortably?

Hope they will roost again, as it is natural and healthier for the birds.

Good luck, CJR
Posted by: Sarah's Coop

Re: 14-Week-Old Rhode Island Reds - 06/28/10 06:28 PM

Okay, well then I have another question. These 7 reds are in a tractor that is becoming too small for them. The larger house has four buff orpingtons in it. I've been letting the two groups interact out loose in the yard, not much interaction. The buffs run off when the rambunctious little ones get moving. Anyway it is more than hot here in Texas and I'm needing to make a move before it goes over 100. I want to put them all in the big house but they probably want to be separate. So the buffs would fit in the tractor and the little ones in the big house. Would you try to put them all together? The big house has a inside of 9 x 10 plus 6 boxes and the outside is 10 x 10. Roost is 10 foot long and I could put another one in there. The buffs are over 2 years old and rather poor layers, already culled two.
Posted by: Sarah's Coop

Re: 14-Week-Old Rhode Island Reds - 06/28/10 06:33 PM

I have been using good sized cedar limbs for roosts perhaps that is part of the problem. There is a roost board but I use shavings to collect dropping.
Posted by: Foehn

Re: 14-Week-Old Rhode Island Reds - 06/28/10 10:23 PM

I have 13 hens in an 8x4 coop and they fit just right. It's only their sleeping/eating coop though. They have free range in my backyard during the day, so they are not stressed but crowding.
Posted by: Sarah's Coop

Re: 14-Week-Old Rhode Island Reds - 06/29/10 02:14 PM

I'm going to put them together this weekend when I can monitor actions. They can only come out three days a week when I'm home during the day, too many predators. Would like to use the electric netting to keep out raccoons and bobcats. Saw a hawk just this morning as I left for work. . . if they have something to hide under, well I guess a hawk could still get them.