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Perch - Roost?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by haddiemoo, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. haddiemoo

    haddiemoo In the Brooder

    Oct 25, 2010
    I have a 5 x 10 coop that has a 5 x 4 box that includes the nesting boxes for my three hens. (This box has a floor which is about 3 1/2 feet off the ground and I have two doors on it to clean it out and such.) I started noticing that I do not have a place for the hens to roost or perch. I guess they sleep in the box pretty well but I wonder if I need some kind of roosting place for them. If so what would be a good place to put in a coop this size?

  2. Birds love platforms- could they roost over the nests? Enough room?
  3. haddiemoo

    haddiemoo In the Brooder

    Oct 25, 2010
    There is plenty of room over the nesting boxes as well as other parts of the coop but could they hop or fly up a foot or so to reach the roost or do I need to provide them a way to get up there?
  4. If you allow the nesting boxes to be used for sleeping, you are going to have a very messy box! [​IMG] You should encourage nesting box use to only be for egg laying. Most chickens like to perch on a roost at night. I use a 2x4 with the 4" side flat - easier on their feet. The roost perch should be higher than the nest boxes, so placing them above the box would be fine. My standard size hens fly/hop up to the droppings board easily, which is 32" high, then hop up the additional foot to the roost. The "babies" (20+ weeks) sometimes use the ramp.
  5. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Wish you had mentioned breed. Silkies don't roost. If you have regular large fowl breeds (RIR, EE, etc.) then yes you should give them a roost. What you need is about a 3' long 2x4 on its flat side (chickens' toes don't curl) about 3' off the ground. Mine is 30". They have NO trouble flying that high. Some people find they run into walls and ceilings trying to get high enough, but you have a wonderfully large coop so that should not be a problem. For RIR type breeds, set the roost about 12" from the wall so they can hang over.

    You will probably have to teach them to roost by setting them up there each night at dusk for several days til they get the idea.

    The problem with sleeping in nest boxes is poopy eggs. If for some reason yours don't get poopy (like they lay in one and sleep in the other) there is actually not a need for a roost. Most chickens, however, seem to prefer to roost; wilder ones will fly up into trees or sleep on a coop roof. They like to get up there during the day, too. Many people, esp. with smallish runs, also put a roost or two in the run for daytime use.
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    This is one of the very few things Ddawn and I disagree on. I use tree branches of various size as roosts and my chickens toes do curl around the branches.

    For three chickens, I would put a roost higher than the top of the nest boxes across the 5 foot width. They don't need that much but installation should be pretty easy. Besides, when you get more chickens, you will be prepared. A 2x4 will work fine, whether flat side or narrow side up. Just round the corners off, partly because it is more comfortable when the toes curl around them and partly to remove all splinters.

    My full sized chickens will fly up 4 feet to get to the roosts, but the top of my nest boxes are about 2-1/2 feet off the floor. Most of the time, the chickens hop to the top of the nest boxes then hop horizontally a couple of feet and vertically another 1-1/2 feet to get to the roosts. In the morning, they all fly/hop straight to the floor.

    The considerations I have for installing the roosts are:

    1 - Clearly higher than anything else you want them to roost on.

    2 - They need room to get on them and to get off them. They spread their wings to get up and get down. They need enough horizontal room so they don't hit walls, nest boxes, feeders. or waterers.

    3 - Out of the way if you are going in there. You don't want to bang your head when gathering eggs.

    4 - I made mine removable. That comes in handy when you want to clean or do other work in that area. There are many different ways to make them removable. I put flat supports on the walls, then drilled holes in the end of my roosts and matching holes in the supports. A 4" long nail then pegs them into place but makes them easy to remove.

    5 - They do need to be stable so they don't rock. Mine do a lot of positioning themselves after they get up there so they can sleep next to their buddies. If the roost is not stable, they will knock each other off even more than they do anyway.

    Hope this helps a bit.
  7. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    I use the 2x4s for roosts, always have. I don't allow nestbox roosting and have one hen I have been battling for two years over that.

    Dawn, just have to mention that I have two silkies, both roost. Jethro would sleep 4 ft. off the ground with the other birds if I let her. I don't mind putting her up there each night, but stopped doing it because I was afraid she would be injured jumping down in the morning. So, the silkies and the CX have a roost that's about 6 inches off the ground. And yes, with some training even the CXs have learned to roost.

  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I think it's probably semantics and you'd both agree to a large extent -- what if we say, "chickens can certainly curl/drape their toes around a roost, but they do not grip powerfully with their toes while doing that the way a sparrow or parrot would" ? [​IMG]

    It's not that you *can't* use a round roost, it's a flat-with-rounded-corners one serves the chicken just as well. (edited to clarify: in cold-winter places, it ought to be a very large-diameter round roost, so that their toes are still up enough to be covered by tummy feathers at night in january)


    Last edited: Nov 4, 2010
  9. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Thank you, all three of you, I have learned something. I am amazed that silkies roost at all; need to stop believing everything I read, stick with my own experience more, or at least differentiate when I comment. Also did not know, believe it or not, that chickens can curl their toes at all!

    Ridgerunner, those are great criteria for roosts; wish I had thought of some of them. Now I just need you to PM me with what else we disagree on, to see what else I'm saying on here that I might need to rethink!

    I love the look of a tree branch roost. Hmmm...
  10. sben451

    sben451 Songster

    Aug 26, 2008
    Anniston, AL
    I also have several Silkies who roost. I do provide a ramp for them to climb up. A couple of our roosts are 1 X 4 rough cut boards (because that's what we had on hand). They work fine for our Welsummers, Silkies, and Buffs.

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