Wondering, where do chickens sleep in the wild?
This answer to this question depends on the terrain and environment the wild chickens are living in, and also depends on whether or not a hen is protecting her eggs.
One thing we do know is that wild chickens are very adept at surviving, they’ve done it successfully for thousands of years.
They always find somewhere safe to sleep, which is usually high up so fewer predators can find them.
Here’s a closer look at where wild chickens sleep and why they’re so good at avoiding predators:
Where Do Chickens Sleep in the Wild?
Wild chickens will sleep just about anywhere they feel is safe within their surroundings.
Typically, this means high up - or at least high enough off the ground that predators unable to climb trees cannot get them.
This comes as a surprise to many, as domestic chickens, the breeds commonly kept in backyard flocks and on homesteads are not great at flying.
Wild chickens are also thought of as flightless birds, but they are better than most backyard breeds at flying.
This is because the breeds of chickens we keep have been selectively bred from wild chickens for hundreds of years to be fatter so they produce more meat.
Wild chickens like the Red Junglefowl, which is the species of chicken that is thought to be one of - if not the - first wild chickens are much smaller and lighter.
This enables them to fly further and higher than most chicken breeds. Enabling them to reach higher ground or make their way higher up into trees for safety.
The higher up a chicken is, the fewer predators and threats there are while they’re sleeping. It’s as simple as that.
You won’t see wild chickens soaring overhead though. The best they can manage is a few seconds in the air, they tend to flap a lot and work their way up a tree hopping from branch to branch.
Related - More on how high chickens can fly (+ how high a fence needs to be to stop them).
Where Do Chickens Make Nests in the Wild?
The exception for sleeping up high in the wild is if a hen is broody and protecting a clutch of eggs.
Even wild chickens are not agile or nimble enough to make a nest up in a tree as most birds do, so they make their nests on the ground.
A broody hen will make a nest anywhere she thinks feels safe. Again, this comes down to a chicken's natural instincts, and it’s served them well in the wild.
A hen might use a hollowed-out tree, under a structure like a building with a small entry point, or just hidden in some foliage.
Chicken eggs are very much sought after by predators, more so than chickens themselves.
Snakes, rodents, all kinds of opportunist scavengers would love to come across a nest with eggs as a snack.
Therefore, it’s often difficult to stop a wild chicken’s nest. It’s also going to be protected by the mother hen sitting on her eggs for 21 days, and roosters doing their part to protect them.
Where Do Free Range Chickens Go at Night?
If you’re keeping free-range chickens on your property and wondering where they’ll sleep at night, the ideal situation is in their coop.
If they don’t have access to a coop for some reason, then they’re going to sleep just about anywhere they feel safe, just like wild chickens.
If they can make their way onto higher ground or a tree branch, there is a good chance this is what they will do, I’m sure.
There aren’t many areas where chickens are safe being out all night though as they have a lot of predators.
It can cause them stress being on their guard for predators all night, so they really should have a secure coop.
Inside a coop, most chickens are the happiest sleeping on a roosting bar. This replicates the feeling they’d have in the wild of sleeping on a tree branch.
Some prefer a flat surface though, it really comes down to the individual chicken and what makes them feel most secure.
The cutest thing is when a bunch of chickens huddle up together to keep warm, that always makes me smile.
Related - Did you know that chickens sleep with one eye open?!
Some Related Questions About Where Wild Chickens Sleep
Do Wild Chickens Nest in Trees?
Wild chickens do nest in trees, yes. Chickens feel much safer sleeping off of the ground as it reduces the number of potential predators that can attack them.
Do Chickens Like to Sleep in Trees?
I think it’s safe to say that chickens like sleeping in trees. Their feet are designed to grip round branches, as they feel safe up in the trees.
Where Do Chickens Live In the Wild?
Chickens are native to tropical jungles in Southeast Asia, but today can be found all over the world in just about any environment. Even roaming wild in the Florida Keys and Hawaiian islands.
In the wild, chickens find the safest place they can to sleep. Chickens have a number of predators, so their priority is always safety.
This usually means sleeping high up on tree branches. Or if a hen is nesting, she will find somewhere discreet and hopefully well hidden to protect her eggs.