How do chickens sleep?

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Aina Prat
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How do chickens sleep?



Hens can sleep sitting up, curled up in a small ball, or lying on the floor with their legs and neck stretched out. But precisely, how do hens sleep?



 

How do chickens sleep? What there is to know

 

Sleep habits

The classic sound of a rooster crowing is one of the iconic signs of sunrise, and there's a good reason for that. Like most birds, hens sleep whenever it gets dark and wake up at the first light of sleep.

Because'they can't see well when it's darkhens instinctively return to their roosts when night begins to fall, often after scavenging in the late afternoon for enough food until morning. Young chicks, especially chicks that have been raised near a heat lamp, will sometimes fall asleep even when it is light, but they usually grow out of this habit as they mature.



As mentioned above, there is no "right" way for a hen to sleep, so if you see your hens sleeping in a pose that seems unusual, that's probably nothing to worry about. As long as your hen is behaving normally during the day and not losing weight or stopping egg production anyway, the way she chooses to sleep is simply a matter of personal preference.

 

Chickens like to sleep high 

As a general rule, the taller a hen is, the more secure she feels, so providing resting perches in your coop is a great way to let them sleep comfortably while remaining within the protection of the coop.  

If chickens like to sleep up high so much, it's because in the wild, sleeping up high offers protection against predators.

 

 

The nest

If you have separate areas in your coop for nesting birds, you may notice that some of your chickens prefer to sleep in the nesting area. 

Usually if your hens are roosting in their nesting areas it is because there is a problem with their perches. While hens in the wild will roost in the branches of trees, hens tend to prefer flat and wide areas for perching, so a nest won't be their first choice, but a hardwood plank will be. If they feel uncomfortable on their perch for any reason, they are more likely to settle down for the night in the more stable pool provided by their nests.

Because hens are natural prey, they will instinctively sleep in the perch that allows them the greatest height advantage over the world around them. If your coop is built so that the perch is higher than the nest, your hens should naturally transition from sleeping in their nests to sleeping on the perch you have provided.



Some breeds of chicken, however, particularly Silkies, generally prefer to sleep on the floor. Due to their unique feathers, Silkies are not able to fly, even for the short-distance flight that most other chickens frequently display, and so they roost in groups where they feel comfortable. If so, don't worry about trying to get them to roost! 


 

To conclude on how hens sleep, they regulate their sleep patterns mainly to protect themselves from nocturnal predators, as their sleep cycle takes place at night.

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