Can feathered feet affect perch balance?

JosieG

Hatching
Mar 5, 2018
9
8
9
Perth, Australia
I have a 14 month old d'uccle that refuses to roost on a perch at night and prefers to sit on the roof of the hen house. Not a problem over summer but I dont want her out at night as winter approaches. I have noticed that when I put her on the perch she will often try to turn around and is very wobbly and so often gives up. Im wondering if her enormous foot feathers are the problem. She and the japanese chick she was raised with both preferred to sleep on a shelf cuddled up together when they were little but the Japanese has now grown out of this. I went away for 3 months while they were both still little and a housesitter looked after them. When I came home her foot feathers had been trimmed really short - the flock had developed lice and as part of the de-licing treatment she got a haircut. At that time she was happy on the perch, but then she went broody twice in quick succession and so lived in the nest box, her foot feathers regrew and she hasn't wanted to perch since.
Her feathers are so long that I imagine if she tried to turn around she may step on the feathers of the supporting leg and it could all end in a nasty accident and I'm wondering if that explains her reluctance?
Had anyone else with d'uccles or other breeds with really feathery feet ever come across this problem?
 

CaramelKittey

Crowing
Feb 15, 2019
881
2,079
302
New Jersey
I have 4 five-month-old d’uccles Who live in a brooder while their coop is getting finished. They do try to perch on my arm and finger however, they are very clumsy and fall over. I can see how a feather-footed chicken would avoid perching since their feathered feet seem to make the job harder. I have 15 other non-feather-footed birds. Some of them use the perch and some of them don’t. I suppose it just depends on the chicken.
Hope this helped!
 

Redhead Rae

Chickens, chickens everywhere!
Jan 4, 2017
8,261
43,788
942
Braxton County, WV
She's gotten in the habit of perching there at night. Chickens are creatures of habit. Your best bet is whenever she perches there, to wait until after dark, catch her and put her on a perch in the coop. A few days to a week of this should retrain her that the coop is where she should go at night.
 

Stick Chicken

Songster
Aug 1, 2018
313
1,649
226
I have a ton of d'uccles who love to perch when able. I've also had cochins(large and bantam) who perch on roosts, so I think it may be a chicken's preference rather than ability that affects whether she perches or not. I do have sultans who will not perch, but I believe that is more in connection with their breed rather than their feathery feet.
 

JosieG

Hatching
Mar 5, 2018
9
8
9
Perth, Australia
Thanks for all the feedback and ideas. We have been moving her from the roof once it goes dark into the henhouse and have even built a small shelf for her to sit on at the far end so she can be by herself and not in pecking reach of the other girls - she is bottom of the pecking order being so docile and sweet. We've been doing this for a few weeks now but she's pretty stubborn so we will just persist and give her the option of the perch or the shelf. I think she would be very happy to spend the night on my arm if i would let her - i have to push her off as she immediately settles down and looks pretty comfy as soon as i grab her from the roof.
 

Stick Chicken

Songster
Aug 1, 2018
313
1,649
226
Stick chicken - how do your d'uncles turn around on the perch - do they step really wide to avoid their feet feathers on do they replace the first foot more or less where it is?
They do tend to step kind of wide when turning around, though they also sometimes simply jump down and jump back up in order to turn around.
 

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