Chickens tend to sleep in a coop, locked away from the world when they go to bed. So it’s easy to wonder, do chickens sleep standing up?
Do Chickens Sleep Standing Up?
You may be surprised to find that chickens, in fact, do not typically sleep standing up. While they do sometimes, they’ll usually sleep curled up in a ball, huddled on the floor of their coop, or stretched flat out.
In addition, although this refers more to the position they like to sleep in rather than stance, another interesting fact about chickens is that they like to sleep by “perching”. This means they snooze on a log or other similar space inside their coop. While perching, they’ll grip the rod with their claws and snore away.
What Position Do Chickens Sleep In?
Chickens prefer to sleep up off of the ground as a natural instinct of protection from predators. Even wild chickens will sleep in trees or other higher branches to keep safe at night.
If you do happen to see a chicken sleeping standing up, it is usually a midday doze; but this is not really a common occurrence. Some chickens, especially young chicks, will actually spend some time huddled together in a tight group on the ground. This can be for warmth or just a comfort thing.
Next, chickens can even sleep curled up in a ball, like a dog. This is another instinctual way for chickens to keep warm and for chicks to stay safe. Lastly, and the most strange position that chickens may sleep in is stretched straight out on the ground. They will put their necks as far out as they can and their feet far back as well.
It looks strange because the chicken may fool one into thinking it is dead, and no one wants to experience that! Usually a quick and light tap with a foot or stick will awaken the sleeping bird and send it on its way with a few squawks of protest.
All of this being said, you may catch a rare glimpse of a dozing chicken occasionally while it is out during the day. However, it is not the norm.
Where Do Chickens Sleep?
Chickens live in little dwellings called “coops”. This is usually a small building that has nesting boxes inside, and most of the time that includes a few perches of some sort. Some coops have attached runs to them so that chickens may explore outdoors without being subject to predators.
Inside the coop is where most chickens will do their dozing, up on one of the perches we previously mentioned. Perches can be made of metal, wood, or simply just strong tree branches.
Chickens need to have a dark, clean, and quiet coop so they can get adequate rest. Without it, they can become stressed and stop laying eggs or have other health issues.
There are also nesting boxes inside of most coops. Nesting boxes are square boxes, usually made of wood, where hens will lay their eggs and possibly hatch chicks.
However, chickens will typically not sleep there. If they do, it could indicate an issue. For example, if the coop is too dirty, they will not want to touch the ground. There could also be too many chickens in the hen house. Lastly, the perch just might not be the right fit for the chickens and they don’t like it.
Another reason a hen may sleep in a nest box is if she is “broody”, or sitting on a clutch of eggs. A hen could sit there for most of her time for the duration of the incubation period, which is 21 days!
Some silly birds may risk sleeping outside if they are free-range hens; meaning they are not kept inside of a coop all day, but that isn’t very wise since chickens have many vicious predators.
Usually, as long as there is an adequate perch, the chickens will sleep peacefully balanced on it at bedtime.
However, all flocks of chickens have a pecking order. This little matter of organization will determine which hens get the best sleeping spots, and the ones that are left are to fend for whatever they can find. Checking in on sleeping chickens can be an adventurous task!
When Do Chickens Sleep?
Chickens are famous for being up and down with the sun. They are usually active right when dawn breaks, and go to bed when twilight begins to glow. Chickens don’t have a set amount of time they sleep, unlike us. They typically are just sleeping when it is dark and out and up about when the sun is up.
Winter tends to induce a bit more snoozing, as there is not as much daylight. Chicks and older chickens also tend to get more sleep than actively laying hens, just like humans. Chickens do sleep through the night unless disturbed. They even may nap occasionally during the day, but these will not be heavy duty dozes.
Chickens must stay on guard for predators, so they will wake up pretty easily if they are alerted.
Some chicken owners like to leave heat lamps up in the winter for their flock, but others will argue this is not a great idea as the light and the heat can confuse chickens and make them stressed. Chickens really like to sleep in the dark and quiet of their cozy coop.
So, do chickens sleep standing up? Well, it seems the answer is “sometimes”.
You may catch a napping hen standing in the yard of their coop or out and about, but on a nightly basis, they will be up high safe on their perch. Roosting is the most comfortable and natural way for chickens to catch their z’s.
It is easy to see when chickens are content because they will all be in their predetermined spots on their perches, but together as a flock. If they are not sleeping through the night, it may be worth looking into. There may be a concern for safety, such as a predator; or simply some health issues within the flock.
Other interesting ways chickens sleep are in nesting boxes, cuddled up with their flock, or even flat out sleeping like the dead.