I reckon I have the only chooks in Brisbane that do not roost at night. They quite happily just cuddle up together in the nest boxes. Here is my theory for this wacky chicken behaviour.
Ages ago I had two Isa Browns. Then I got Big Bertha the Plymouth Rock. Bertha jumped up on the perch the first night with the other two girls but she was so fat, she broke the perch, spilling all three birds uncerimoniously onto the floor. After that, Bertha wouldn't go near the damn perch, although the other two got back onto the new, more robust one.
When the Isas stopped laying, I sent them to live with Uncle Mark at Bridgeman Downs, and bought Winnie the Wyndotte. Well, Winnie wasn't going to climb onto a perch by herself. She cuddled up with Bertha. Baby, another Isa Brown, was adopted from a friend of mine. Guess what? She originally perched but within a few nights was down with the others. Ninja the Bond Black did exactly the same.
I now have a flock of four non-perchers. I feel a bit like a man who always sits down to pee.
I have had the pleasure of living close to some chooks this week - my daughters two Isa Browns and Elsie who is the same colour but bigger and apparently a different breed.
The two IB hang around together like BFF leaving Elsie (who is partially blind and non laying) shunned and left by herself during the day. At night though they will cuddle up on some straw on the cement back patio - between the bale and a lounge end. They ignore the (expensive) chook runs in favour of this set up.
They also like to sneak in the back door to get at the cat food. Forever chasing someone out.
Turns out the big non-layer Elsie is the Isa Brown and the other two are Hylines. Good little egg layers.
There's quite a few browns now - there's a Bond Brown as well.
Life is different when you live with chooks, Andrew. They can teach us a lesson or two, some of them have the choice of the most elaborate house to live in, and yet pick a cosy dusty little dark spot to nest.
Our shame is our male dog who still just stands there like a horse to relieve himself. He just likes to be different.
Lissa, are you still out in the sticks, with your daughter? Enjoying every day I hope. Today at our local library we have Morag Gamble doing a talk on fruit trees this morning. Hope to learn a bit more from her.
Here at AS until tomorrow when I fly back to Brissie at 12.30ish. Will miss the place, and my daughter. I've grown to like it immensely in just one week. Quite unexpected.
Enjoy the talk with Morag :) Stone fruit grows quite well out here apparently. Have only noticed citrus trees laden with fruit.
Over the years, we have had a lot of variation in who sleeps with whom. We're talking chooks now, right! Certainly had a few nest and floor sleepers. But agreed, never really had the whole flock together in the nests. I guess they have their criteria for working out the best spots. I still rue the day I never took a photo of four or so chooks up one end of the perch and a carpet snake coiled up at the other end.