Every animal needs to sleep to recover its body from daily activities. As for chickens, they will sleep when it’s nighttime. These birds don’t have very good eyesight, so they will be active during the day and sleep throughout the night. When chickens do go to sleep, each will sleep differently.
How do chickens sleep? Chickens can sleep in many ways. They can sleep sitting down, stretched out on the ground with the necks and legs extended, or curled up in a ball. As long as they are comfortable, chickens will sleep throughout the night and wake up as soon there’s light.
What Position Do Chickens Sleep?
All chicken have their own personalities and will sleep differently from one another.
Below are some of the positions that chickens sleep in:
Roosting Perch. This is the most common place where they sleep. The chickens will perch on the roost sleeping upright.
Nesting box. The chickens will lay in the nesting box with their wings tucked tightly close to them.
Huddled together on the floor of the coop. Chickens will sometimes huddle close to each other when sleeping. This is during the winter when it’s cold, and they are trying to keep each other warm. Also, this is a way to keep watch on predators.
Curled up in a ball. Sometimes, you may notice the chicken is sleeping in a curled ball shape. This is something that some chickens do, but it’s rare to see it.
Standing up. Chickens will sleep standing up sometimes, but it’s rare to see them do it. This usually happens when they can’t find a place to perch on or the ground is wet.
Do Chickens Need a Roost Perch?
Unlike ducks, chickens will require a roosting perch. The roosting perch or roosting bar, which is another name for it is basically a replica of a tree branch.
In the wild, chickens will sleep on the tree branch. This provides them with protection from predators.
For backyard chickens, their instinct will be the same, and look for something to perch on.
Therefore, to keep your chickens happy and feel safe, make sure to have a roosting perch in their coop.
Do Chickens Sleep Through the Night?
Chickens are diurnal creatures, which means they are active during the day and sleep at night.
Most chickens will sleep when it’s dusk and won’t wake up until dawn. They follow this pattern no matter which part of the country they live in.
Sometimes, they will wake up to take a drink of water. Be sure to always have water available in their coop, even at night. During the summer when it’s especially hot even at night, chickens will sometimes need to hydrate themselves.
Other times, they may awake due to something disturbing them. This can be a predator nearby or the sound of thunder.
If they don’t feed any threat, they’ll just go back to sleep.
A lot of chickens will sleep during the day as well, but it’s usually a light sleep.
How Many Hours Do Chickens Sleep?
How many hours a chicken sleep will be dependent on the season. The hours that they sleep will vary depending on how much darkness there is.
During the spring and summer months, there will be more light and less darkness. Therefore, chickens will sleep less during this time. You can expect them to sleep anywhere from 7-8 hours.
On the other hand, during the winter months, the day will be shorter and the night will be longer. For that reason, chickens will sleep more during the winter. You can find them sleeping from 9 to 12 hours each night.
The only exceptions are chicks and older chickens. They will sleep more hours at night and take frequent naps during the day.
Why Do Chickens Sleep in Their Nesting Box?
There are times you may notice your chickens are sleeping in the nesting box. This box is typically for hens laying eggs, but if other chickens are using it as their bed to sleep in, it means there’s a problem.
Also, chickens tend to poop a lot at night when they are sleeping. This means you’ll have to spend time cleaning out the mess from the nesting box.
If that’s something you’re dealing with, it’s usually one of the reasons below:
Their Perch Is Too Low
Chickens have a lot of predators, so they will usually find somewhere high to feel safe.
If the nesting box is higher than their perch, the chickens will most likely sleep in the nesting box.
Simply lower the nesting box lower or raise their roosting perch high. As long as their perch is higher than the perch, you won’t have a problem anymore with them sleeping in the nesting box.
Wrong Roosting Bar
This may be odd, but the wrong roosting bar could prevent them from sleeping on it at night. Chickens spend a lot of hours sleeping on the perch, so they will want to feel as comfortable as possible.
Some of the things that could be wrong would be the material used, the size of the bar, or even the texture of it.
Chickens in the wild will perch on branches of the tree. So it only makes sense to mimic the size and material of the tree branch.
The Coop Is Dirty
Again, chickens poop a lot at night. If you have more than ten chickens, you can be sure there will be a lot of it, and it will build up quickly.
A dirty coop will cause the chickens to find a place that’s clean. If the nesting box is where it’s the cleanest, they’ll make the box their sleeping area.
Each chicken is different when it comes to sleeping, Some will sleep on the roosting perch, while others will sleep on the floor with their neck and legs stretched out or curled up in a little ball. Wherever they sleep, just make sure it’s comfortable, so they will get a good night’s sleep.