1. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 25, 2011
    Milner, Georgia
    Just been noticing folks have the ladders and roost made from mostly boards and 2x4's. That I don't understand. I remember back to my first contact with contact with chickens some 60 odd years ago. Mostly my grandmaw and her family. That was about 15 families all around one area of Alabama. The roost were made from small saplings. Considering the chickens feet seem to like gripping something round, that made sense. Plus the bark still on it gave the chicken a natural surface to grip. When they're sleeping looks like a better way to roost. And the ladder to the roost was just one run with cross pieces every 10 inches or so. That what I was planning on my new coop, but has something new and a more healthy been discovered

    I noticed all the ladders are made from boards with strips nailed to it to keep the chickens from slipping. Is there a difference. I've been away from chickens for a while and I'm gettin ready for about 12 or more hens. My instinct leads me back to the old times, but if the newer one is better, I'll go that way. I've pretty much drawn a plan I want but I do want happy chickens and I've gone with as much 1 1/2 rounds sapling as possible, for ladders and roost. Any long time keepers here to give me "new" advice on which is best?

    pt
     
  2. mamonson

    mamonson Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 14, 2011
    i'm not sure what the "proper" answer is but i have small tree limbs as roosts in my coop and some limbs in their outside run and the chickens readily use them and don't appear to be uncomfortable.

    I actually just put a ladder in their kennel for fun to see if they'd use it and a few of the hens have tried it on for size but don't spend much time there.

    i'm interested to see what others say, i'm curious what the pros/cons are of round vs flat roosts myself.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Northwest Arkansas
    I think you will get personal preference on most of this. Don't forget that a lot of the people on this forum have small backyard flocks of a very few chickens in a fairly tight space. For some, appearance is important. A lot don't even have access to tree limbs. We are all different with different circumstances and goals.

    The one comment I'll make that I don't think is personal preference is that under bark on a limb is a good place for roost mites to hide and it can be hard to get to them to treat for them.

    I use tree limbs as roosts. Parts of them are as narrow as the edge of a 2x4 and parts are wider that the flat side of a 2x4. I find my chickens don't really care how wide the roost is. Position in the coop and height are more important. I've read so much on here that you absolutely have to use the flat side of a 2x4 as a roost that I tried putting boards in various positions and moved my roosts around to see what would happen. When I moved my crooked limbs around, some chickens changed position, I think because of the height change. They pretty much avoided the boards all together, whether flat or on edge. I did leave them in the new configuration for a few weeks so they could get used to them. Some fairly young chickens at the bottom of the pecking order did use the boards, but I figure that was to get away from the aggressive older hens.

    One theory on this forum is that if you live in a very cold climate, if they roost on the flat side of the 2x4's, their feathers will cover their feet and protect them from frostbite. It sounds logical. My lowest winter temperatures rarely get much below zero Fahrenheit, but I've noticed that when mine are roosting on the narrower part of the tree limb roosts, their feet are pretty much lost in their feathers anyway. But I don't live in a really cold climate and, as I said, that sounds logical. I don't think it hurts anything for them to be flat, even in very hot weather.

    The only ladder I have is a tree limb in my grow-out pen. They can walk up a tree limb that is at a fairly shallow angle just as well as anything else. They usually don't use the limb as a ladder but just fly up to the entrance to the coop anyway, but it is there. They like perching in it during the day. If you have a board as a ladder and it is at a fairly steep angle, the strips nailed across will give them better traction. Limbs as you describe them will work real well too. They do need to be attached so they are not too flexible.

    I personally would not go with tree limbs much smaller than the 1-1/2". They do have big feet and it looks like it would be uncomfortable for them to wrap aroune something much smaller. Besides, thin tree limbs like that can be prety flexible if they span much distance and a few chickens can start to add up to a fair amount of weight.

    As I said, other than the roost mite thing, I consider this just my personal opinion. There are a whole lot of people on this forum that will disagree with me.
     
  4. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 25, 2011
    Milner, Georgia
    Thanks RR. That's exactly what I was looking for. As to the bark, once to limb dies my experience is the bark will come off anyway. Plus the roost mites I've never heard of.

    I didn't think about the folk cooped up in the city. I have 14 acres of trees so small saplings are not a problem for me. When I get done I'll stick a few pictures on here to show what I've been talking about.

    p
     
  5. JodyJo

    JodyJo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:[​IMG]

    Mine is made of Aspen tree branches...they love it, I agree, round seems more "comfortable for them"...
     
  6. greenbottle27

    greenbottle27 Out Of The Brooder

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    I am a total newbie and for what it is worth, I went with a round tree limb. My gut too was that round seemed more 'natural' to wrap around. Plus, I have never seen any other winged animal perching on a 2x4. But, I am a city slicker....

    I will be adding a caddycorner 2x4 roost, just for $hits and giggles to see who like what.

    Will admit though, I'm nervous nellie about the mites now that you mention it.... that never crossed my mind. grrrr...... could I lightly sand it and treat it with something? Maybe just tell me yes to put my mid to ease??? [​IMG]
     
  7. the4heathernsmom

    the4heathernsmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2008
    east texas
    Well we used both...i have always used branches and trees for roosts then i saw on here everyone used boards so I tried that too. Most like the tree roosts and well some liked the board....so who knows crazy chickens [​IMG]

    On some of the roosts we just painted to seal them well i worm and delice as a maintenance routine anyways so it kinda seemed like a waste to treat the branches. I guess I am lost too ..... (it's the chickens their craziness is catching!!!) [​IMG]
     
  8. TouchO'Lass

    TouchO'Lass Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oroville, Wa
    I'm new at this also, and at first it seemed that a round perch was, indeed, more natural.

    Main thing that changed my mind was the whole frostbite issue: If the roost is flat, the ladies can cover their little toes-es at night and not lose 'em to the cold. I'm about 8 miles from the Canadian border, so THAT is a concern.

    In their run, I have a number of different roosts, and they seem to love ANYthing that's not on the ground, from a branch to a bale of straw. [​IMG]
    In the coop, I plan to use 2x4's wide side up. In the run, it's all about play, soooo!

    But really, this is my first time ever with chicks, so I guess I'll find out...
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2011
  9. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Milner, Georgia
    Jody......that is beautiful work Exactly what I plan on doing. I started clearing yesterday for my new coop and still have 2 stumps to get up. One thing that slowed my progress are the yellow jackets. I got hit 7 times yesterday. I did something to really get their attention. Those little buggers do hurt. I've hurt all night from it. They really have an attitude.

    I plan on using sapling everywhere I can. But like you I will keep it at 2" on the size. Roost, ladder to the roost and the ladder through the door to the outside.

    Thanks for all the reply's. It really helps. Now I gotta find out about the mites.

    pt
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Since I brought it up, I'll give some information. This link may help.

    Ohio State – Mites and Lice
    http://ohioline.osu.edu/vme-fact/0018.html

    The three common pests on chickens are lice, fowl mites, and roost mites, though they sometimes have other names. The roost mites hide in cracks and crevices during the day and attack the birds at night. Since they don't live on the bird full time, you need to treat the coop as well as the chickens when you find these. Bark on the tree branches gives them a good place to hide and might make it hard to get to them.

    They do not live in each and every coop in the world. The fowl mites are more common, but roost mites do occur. And you have to check at night to see if they are present.

    Not all tree bark comes off easily when it dries. I used oak branches from a tree that broke down in an ice storm. If I had let it weather, maybe it would have come off easily, but I put it up so it could cure. That bark is still on there tight. I have not had any problems with roost mites yet. If or when I do, I'll probably have to scrape that bark off or get new roosts.
     

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