One of the most essential factors in keeping chickens comfortable is providing them with a safe space to sleep.
Different breeds of chickens all prefer something different, and Silkie chickens are particular.
Often touted as one of the friendliest breeds, Silkies are pretty popular; however, they have unique needs for roosting.
Sikie chickens roost, though they often find it hard to get up high because of their inability to fly or jump well. Roosting provides benefits for safety and health, so take steps to offer them an easy place to roost in their coops.
Silkies are a fun and lovable breed that can roost well with just a few simple tweaks or additions to their coop.
Read on to learn how to create the perfect conditions to help your Silkie comfortably roost.
The Importance of Roosting for Silkie Chickens
Roosting is essential for all chickens.
It keeps them safe, warm, and healthy.
As such, it is a biological imperative to avoid having chickens sleeping on the ground as much as possible.
When Silkie Chickens sleep on the ground, it can open them to a whole host of medical issues:
- Difficulty Sleeping
- Sleeping in Fecal Matter
- Illness due to being wet, cold, or muddy from bad weather
- Suffocation from sleeping in a pile
- In danger of predator attack
Silkie Chickens will roost and avoid these issues if provided the right environment.
Providing perches, nesting boxes, and roosting bars which are “Silkie Friendly” will help them to be comfortable and thrive.
Why Will Silkie Chickens Sleep On The Ground?
Before we discuss how to help Silkies properly roost, we must first understand why they are often found on the ground.
Adult Chickens do not always roost. It is not uncommon to find them sleeping on the ground.
Many people report their backyard chickens like to sleep in a “Silkie pile” on the floor of their chicken coop.
There are many reasons for this occurrence.
Silkie chickens do not fly.
The same feathers which give them a beautiful silky feel and appearance are not strong enough to lift them into the air.
Not all birds fly, and this breed of chicken is especially bad for flying.
Their feathers lack the barbed structure to help them lift their weight off the ground; thus, they actually cannot get up to a roost unless it is quite low to the ground.
This inability is the main reason you find Silkies sleeping on the ground.
Another common reason Silkies may choose to sleep on the ground is their feathers can get in the way of their eyesight.
This makes it difficult to accurately jump to roosting bars creating falls that can frighten them,
Although these are significant speed bumps to roosting, they can be overcome quite easily.
Creating Silkie-Friendly Roosts
These fluffy chickens are a popular breed for so many reasons:
- They are incredibly friendly
- They like their owners and will even play with children
- Their feathers are soft and pettable
- They are wonderful mothers and will even incubate other chickens’ eggs
Their popularity makes them an ideal fowl for small farms and new chicken owners as long as their needs are met.
One of the most important ways to do this is by creating a Silkie-friendly roost.
Like other regular chickens, Silkies prefer to roost; however, their inability to fly creates a significant limitation.
Additionally, they can only jump about 10-12” inches off the ground.
There are many ways to get around this limit; the easiest is simply to place roosting bars that are not very high off the ground.
Low to the ground roosting bars, between 8-12” inches off the ground, are ideal.
Another useful tool for getting Silkie Chickens up off the ground is low perches.
Like with the roosting bars, it is best to keep these approximately 8-12” inches off the ground.
This is your goal for the lowest roost.
Finally, ladders and angled inclines will also help Silkies get higher off the ground and into more comfortable roosting positions and nesting boxes.
Be sure to keep the chicken ladder and inclines at a comfortable and not too steep angle to make it easier.
The more gradual the incline is, the greater the success at getting a Silkie up to the roost.
Most Silkies will happily roost as long as it is accessible to them.
As they get more comfortable, your Silkies may even begin to jump from one roosting bar to the next to get further off the ground.
When this happens, it is a sight to behold.
What To Do About Silkies Who Don’t Roost
Once an accessible roost is created, most Silkies will follow their instincts and begin to roost.
Seldomly one may come across an unusual situation where a Silkie just does not quite understand how to utilize all of the tools provided for them.
It is possible to train some Silkies to use the inclines and ladders by placing them on them and allowing them to get accustomed to them.
Once the Silkie begins exploring these items, they will become more inclined to utilize them.
It is acceptable to place Silkies on the low roosting bars, perches, ladders, and inclines.
Hopefully, once they become comfortable with the apparatus, instinct and nature will take their course.
Allow them plenty of time to accept new changes to their surroundings, as these birds are often skittish.
It may take months before you see them begin to use these lower roosting bars, nesting boxes, etc., with confidence.
Don’t be alarmed if they don’t immediately change from sleeping on the ground; just give it time.
Occasionally, you may find a Silkie who just refuses to roost.
Although it is unusual, it is not completely unheard of.
We recommend having them checked by a veterinarian to ensure the bird is in good health.
If illnesses and other pressing medical issues have been ruled out, don’t worry; just allow them to do what works best for them, even if it means sleeping on the ground.