What time do chickens sleep?

Taking care of your chickens requires prior knowledge of their behaviors, habits, routines, diets, and more. They are also for making your life easier by not having to worry about the chickens too often.

One of the things you need to know is their daily routine. In particular, their sleeping routine should be kept in check. How long do they sleep? What time do chickens sleep? When do chickens awake from sleep?

A sleeping chicken
A sleeping chicken

What time do chickens sleep?

Chickens generally go to sleep when it gets dark, and the time varies depending on the season. They will cluck away and perch on the roost for a while, then settle to sleep.

Daylight hours are when the chickens are the most active. They usually wake up at dawn and enjoy their daily activities together.

For example, the chickens can eat breakfast, lay eggs, and wander around freely on pasture, forage for food like slugs, bugs, worms, and other things they can find.

After a busy and active day of eating, laying eggs within the 6 hours after sunrise, roaming, socializing, and grazing, it is bedtime for the chickens as the sky gets dark.

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Why do chickens go to sleep early?

It’s their habit

The time the chickens go to sleep depends on the chickens’ breeds and largely on the season. Most of them settle down into the coop when sunset occurs after a busy day.

But not all chickens in the same flock will follow the same rule or live the same schedule as other chickens. For example, old hens tend to get back inside the coop earlier than younger chickens.

With that being said, chickens generally know when to get to bed. And the keeper won’t need to do much to keep them in check. Once they know where their home is, they will go back to the coop on their own as the day reaches dusk.

The dark isn’t chicken-friendly

Furthermore, chickens aren’t fond of the dark. Just like humans, they can’t see very well in the dark, which makes them more vulnerable to predators.

This is why you need a secure coop for your chickens. Even a tiny gap, hole, or weakness can pose potential threats from a hungry and curious fox, rat, and more.

Some coops are higher above the ground and have ramps to lead to the coop. When the chickens return to their coop, they may get stuck. And that is dangerous in the dark. They will have a hard time going to their safe places.

The roosting spot

Chickens are social animals. Every flock has a pecking order, so if the chickens were to get to a place that was not formally theirs, they will be put in their place soon.

The chicken that is sitting at the top of the flock’s pecking order will often sleep in the middle with both of its eyes closed. The ones along the edges will sleep with only one eye closed to detect external threats.

Sleeping chickens
Sleeping chickens


Do chickens go to sleep by themselves?

They do it on their own

Chickens usually head back to their coop to sleep at their time and by themselves, whether you want them to go to bed early or not. They have their natural internal clocks that rely on light.

At dusk, most chickens will go back to their coop on their own. During the daytime, they won’t try to go too far away from their coop if their basic needs are fulfilled.

The owners’ roles

For the owners, you can encourage your flock to return to their home easily by providing the coop comfort and everything the chickens need, for instance, roosts at the right heights.

As the chickens enter the coop on their own and at a pretty predictable time, you can opt for automated doors for opening and closing the coop. The products are easy to install and can come with light sensors and timers.

How do I get the chickens to return to their coop?

If there are some stragglers, try to find out why they won’t go inside the coop and take care of them. Maybe they are injured so they physically can’t enter the coop. Or they are bullied or don’t go along well with other chickens in the flock.

It could also be that your chickens associate the coop with some predators they are frightened. Try to make the coop a comfortable place to live so the chickens can feel safe.

For some young chicks, it is the matter of forming the habit. They need time to adapt to the new home before learning when to go back inside.

In case you need to coax the chickens, you can try flapping your arms gently to herd them. Don’t wave your hands too hard since the chickens can see that as threats.

Also, you can try shaking a plastic dish with rolled oats or cracked corn as they are attracted to the treat.

It will be more effective if you offer treats daily at the time you want them in, which creates a routine of returning to the coop at this specific time for the chickens.


Chickens will go to bed usually at dusk since they have their own natural internal clocks that sense light. The time at which they return depends on the chickens’ breeds and largely on seasons.

Chickens return to the coop to rest since the dark is disadvantageous to them. They can’t see very well in the dark, so they will be more vulnerable to predators if they stay outside the coop at night.

If you want to get your chickens into the coop. you need to make the coop a comfortable place, and either flap your hands gently or use treats to encourage them to go inside.