Coop coming along nicely but need advice on Perches

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Reg, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. Reg

    Reg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good evening everybody

    My perch timber 2 1/2 x 1 1/2 which way round would my birds like to grip it ?

    Given the choice would they have a perch each or do they like to sleep next to each other ?

    How high off the floor should they be ?

    Thanks Reg
     
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Hello there! Here in Ohio, we get very cold winters, so I like to use a 2x4 board, broad side up for all my roosts (perches). I do this because the width of the board forces the chickens to stand flat footed, and then they cover their feet with their bodies, thus avoiding frostbite.

    Just a suggestion. My chickens really do like to roost together, and it's funny, because they jockey around for position each night. I guess so they can roost and sleep by their best feathered friend. Sometimes, you even see them putting a wing around eachother, like they're embracing. It's really cute.

    Good luck with your new coop!

    Sharon
     
  3. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Oh, I don't make my roosts too high up. Mine are around 3 feet from the floor. This is because it's not really good for a chicken to have to jump too far. The impact can cause an egg to rupture inside the hen, or possibly a broken bone.........

    Just my humble opinion!
     
  4. Reg

    Reg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Cuddling Chickens ! I have heard of these Sharon, they lay golden eggs aswel dont they ? [​IMG]

    Sounds like fun in your coop at bedtime

    Reg:)
     
  5. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    I don't know where Luton is so I don't know what you get for cold weather. But I, like chicmom, and most people who get cold weather use 2x4s with the 4" side up for the chickens to roost on. It is very important that they can cover their feet with their feathers to stay warm.

    Also, chickens aren't like other birds who like to grip a branch to sit on. Chickens seem to like to 'sit' on the perch/roost - thus having a flat and not having a rolled perch is better for them.

    I have three roosts - one is about 4 feet and one 5 feet off the floor and the other is 7 feet off the floor. I have a flat board that acts like a shelf under the lower two roosts so the droppings fall onto it and not onto any chickens that are walking around under those roosts. I have a ramp that is attached to that shelf. I have only seen my chickens use the ramp a couple of times over the last few years. They just fly up to the shelf or directly to the 4 or 5 foot roosts and then from there they fly up to the 7 foot roost. They like the higher roost better and so it always fills up first. The last chickens into the coop at night get the 4 foot roost... there is usually only a couple of chickens on it.

    My chickens crowd onto the roosts. Some face one direction and some the other but they are jammed in there like sardines... hot or cold weather.

    Larger breeds can certainly cause damage to themselves when flying down off a high roost. So, I've given mine the option to fly down level to level.. some of them do take that option (my brahma almost always does) and jump down from one height to the next lower one until they get to the shelf and then jump to the floor from there. Most just fly down from wherever they are. I've never had a chicken get hurt in anyway from flying down off the roosts. I do keep a good amount of shavings on the floor so that the landing is soft for them.
     
  6. Reg

    Reg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So i have the height sorted but if I dont get very cold winters would the birds prefer there perch 1 1/2 or 2 1/2 ?

    I,m cutting supports tomorrow so i need to know today Please.

    By the way i'm looking to buy birds with size 6 feet [​IMG]

    Reg
     
  7. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    I would still suggest a flat roost but if you want to go with your two options then go with the larger. It's hard for a chicken to grab onto a small circumference.

    You're going to have to post pictures so we can see your new project when it's completed;)!
     
  8. farmer_lew

    farmer_lew Hi-Tech Redneck

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    I would go with the 2x4, broad side up. As stated in previous posts, chickens like to sit rather than perch on the roosts. The broad side of a 2x4 gives them more room to do that and is more stable.

    Have fun with your project and post pics!
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Either way will work on your roosts. Just round off the sharp corners so they can grip it better and to remove any splinters. I use tree branches of various diameter, all about the same height. Position in the coop seems more important to mine than diameter. I have tried putting up boards and mine prefer the tree limbs. I have switched the tree limbs around to see what would happen, with larger diameter and smaller diameter areas switched. As I said, mine seem to worry more about position in the coop than diameter of the tree limb. When I tried the various things, boards or switchng tree limbs, I left them up for a couple of months so they had time to get used to them.

    There is a school of thought that if you give them something wide and flat for them to rest on, they will squat down in cold weather and cover their feet so their feet will stay warmer. When mine squat down on the smaller sections of the round roosts their feet are covered anyway, but flat won't hurt. Yours should be quite happy with that 2-1/2" wide section on top.

    They normally like to sleep next to each other, even in the heat of summer. You may find that the dominant group sleeps together rand the less dominant ones sleep on the other end of the roost, but they do seem to like to cuddle at night. The normal recommendation is a minimum of 8" of roost space for each full sized chicken, but I like to give a bit more. It is not that they take up that much space when actually roosting, they don't, but they need enough room to spread ther wings and get up there. Once they get up there, they do a lot of movng around and jostling to get next to the ones they want to sleep beside. They will walk right over another chicken or knock them off. Some extra room helps with this.

    I also find that they can be quite vicious in exercising their pecking order rights at roosting time. It is not necessarily the highest in the pecking order, but the ones in the middle seem to be the most vicious. Some extra room gives the ones lower in the pecking order more room to get away.

    How high should the roost be? As low as you can make it. The roost needs to be the highest thing they can get to since they like to sleep as high as they can. It is an instinctive survival thing. So the roost needs to be higher than the nest box for sure. In a small coop, 6" may be enough. In a larger coop, I'd suggest maybe 1'.

    You want them to be able to roost without being in the draft created by your vents. Hopefully you will have vents in the top of your coop for ventilation. So keep your roosts low enough that they are not in that draft.

    Chickens can get hurt getting down off the roosts, especially the larger breeds. They spread their wings when they jump down to slow ther descent, so it is not like they are tucking everything into a cannonball approach, but they can hurt their legs when they land. It actually happens quite rarely, but it does happen. Something else to consider. The higher the roost, the more clear horizontal room they need to fly down. If space is fairly tight and the roost is fairly high, they can bump into walls, nest boxes, feeders, or waterers. I think this injures more that them just jumping down. Chickens are fairly clumsy flyers. I've had young chickens launch off a 4 foot high roost, fly forward about 6 feet, turn a hard 90 degrees, fly out the door, and land in the run, so they can fly. But the bigger they are, they clumsier they fly. But whatever causes the injuries, keeping the roost as low as possible is a good idea.
     
  10. Reg

    Reg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:[​IMG] as soon as camera's are invented over here i will get to it [​IMG]

    I'm having problems getting planning permission for the forth floor [​IMG]



    I have a 9" plywood shelf in the middle & was adding two perches to give them choice.

    Sounds like i'm shopping for 4" x 1 1/2 tomorrow now [​IMG]

    This is why i love this site. Ask before you make a mistake.

    Saved me buying wrong wire, now saved me putting up wrong perches.

    Thanks Chrispy

    Reg [​IMG]
     

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