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  1. berettp

    berettp Just Hatched

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    If I'm using a 2x4 for a roost would it be better to install it flat (4) or vertices (2). I'm in NJ so winters can be cold.
     
  2. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member

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    [​IMG] Hi, best to use with the 4 inch sides up - IMO more comfortable for them whether your climate is cold or hot.
     
  3. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm going to suggest a different route. A chicken's foot is made to grasp / lock down on the roost to keep them from falling off. A 2 x 4 does not permit them to do that no matter which side you put up.

    Google "how a bird stays on a perch" and read up on locking tendons and such.

    Traditional roost bars were either 2" x 2" or even 1" x 2", skinny side up. I have provided one of each for the birds, and most of them roost on the 1" x 2" (full 1" x 2".......I used 5/4 deck lumber). The top of each roost bar should be slightly rounded over (I'd suggest a 3/8" or 1/2" round over bit in a router") or else hit the top two edges with coarse sandpaper to knock the edge down. This gives them a smooth bar not unlike a tree branch, which is the original "traditional" roost bar.

    As for warmth, as they roost, they will squat down on top of their feet, covering them with their feathers. What a person mostly needs to be concerned about with cold are the combs and waddles. Dampness leads to frostbite with those so you want a dry house. Well ventilated is dry and thus "warm".

    There is a lot of science behind good housing for poultry. Much of it largely forgotten or ignored as folks go about re-inventing the wheel. The very worst offenders being the builders of small pre-fab commercial houses who are all in for "cute", with no clue or concern about function.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    2x4 with 4" side up. [​IMG]
    When my birds were still young, they liked to perch on the smaller boards HowardE described. But by 2-3 months they all got on the 2x4. Of course there was a lot more room on the 2x4 so he may have the better plan.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I’m going to go yet a different route. Like Howard I’ve experimented. I put 2x4’s flat, 2x4’s on edge, and used tree branches. Chickens are creatures of habit so like to roost in certain places they are used to plus there are locations in the coop they prefer. The spot right in front of the window is prime roosting territory in mine, favored by the more dominant birds. To account for this I shuffled them around after a month or so to give them time to sort things out. Then shuffled them again. My conclusions. People care about this a lot more than chickens do. My chickens were quite happy to use any of them. Where they are in the coop and how high makes a difference. Whether they are 2x4’s flat, on edge, or tree branches doesn’t matter to the chickens.

    My tree branches are of varying thickness. They are probably over 3” diameter at one end and less than 1-1/2” diameter on the other. So I flipped them, put the thicker part near the window one time, the narrow part near the window the next time. Guess what. The diameter didn’t matter, location and height did.

    I’ve observed mine when they are squatting down in cold weather. Whether they are on a flat surface or the smaller end of my tree branches, their feet disappear in their feathers. Their feet are protected when they squat to roost.

    I’ve seen chickens sleep in trees in weather below zero Fahrenheit. They were not perched on a bare dead limb overhanging a bluff squawking defiantly into the teeth of a blizzard. They were in a sheltered valley in fairly thick trees with lots of limbs and could move around to get out of direct winds. These chickens did not have frostbite problems, feet, comb or wattles. You can’t get better ventilation than sleeping in a tree. Decent ventilation with breeze protection allows the chickens to keep themselves warm with their down coat, just like all the birds that overwinter where you are and hide in thickets when the wind is strong and to sleep.

    If you decide to use sawn lumber, I fully agree with rounding the corners a bit. I’m not too worried about making the round corners so the chickens can grip more comfortably, though that won’t hurt. I want to get rid of splinters. I hit mine with rough sandpaper.

    Whichever you decide will work fine. You’ll make some people on this forum happy if you put them flat, you’ll make other people happy if you put the 2x4’s on edge. You’ll make your chickens happy if you just provide them either way, high enough and with enough length.

    Good luck with it. As far as I’m concerned you can’t make a bad decision in this. They all work.

    Here’s one version of my main roosts. I normally go with two tree branches but I was down to a small flock at this time. My juvenile roost is a 2x4 on edge. You can get an idea of how their feet wrap around a round roost and maybe a rough idea of size. Maybe that close-up shot will give you an idea of the diameter part of the narrow part.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    I would add one thought, don't use treated wood at all for roosts - I started with rounded top painted treated wood - it was fine until a couple of my hens wore off the paint on the favored sites and developed mild bumble foot - changing to untreated wood solved the problem. I am totally convinced those roosts were the cause.
     
  7. berettp

    berettp Just Hatched

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    Northern New Jersey
    Thanks I like the idea of using a branch and I think I will experiment with all the ideas ( food for thought). My coop is modest. I only have four pullets around six weeks and they are using a 2x4 thin side up rounded corners but when sleeping I have seen them start leaning toward as if they are going to fall so being new to this I figured I maybe doing this wrong. I had them start out on 1x1 temp roost when they where younger and they moved up to the larger roost on there own. I am going to swap out the roost with a smaller wooden pole I have to see if they like it. The roost sits infront of a window up higher which seems to be the favoured spot. Thanks again
     
  8. DianaMallory

    DianaMallory Chillin' With My Peeps

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    flat 4" is easier on the chickens feet and allows them to cover all their toes with body heat, in the winter to avoid frost bite! I use flat 4" in mine after reading up on it, I have had no problems with Bumble foot and as far as grasping they get plenty of that on the roost in their run, that are not 2 X 4's!
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2016
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    My Coop
    Bumblefoot is caused by an open wound exposed to bacteria which can develop into an infection...it has nothing to do with roosts being treated or not.
    Tho a sharp, ragged edge or large splinter on roost could make a wound.
     
  10. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Even with the 4" side up, mine still fall off the roosts at night, sometimes. I go in the coop about 5am and it looks like they are all about to tip over onto the ground.
     

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