Roosting: how to best serve your chickens

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by richard perkins, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. richard perkins

    richard perkins Hatching

    Dec 16, 2007
    I am building a coop. My first such effort. We have been raising chickens for only one year so we are inexperienced at all this. My understanding is that chickens prefer to roost 5-6' off the floor of the coop on a flat surface (such as a 2X4). Is that the consensus view?
  2. okiechick57

    okiechick57 Songster

    I am not sure of height..........mine is about 6 ft off the ground and they did pick it more than lower ones.......... mine didnt like the flat wide side down roosts,they prefer to balance on the 2 inch edge? go figure?
  3. chickflick

    chickflick Crowing

    Mar 10, 2007
    Hi Richard. I have 3 at 3ft, 4ft and 5ft. I have 16 chickens, and the top roost is full and the other two have who doesn't get to the top one first! I also have a couple of silkies and use a ladder to help them get up to the roost, but I do see a lot of the other hens using the ladder to get up. It's best to put the flat side of the 2x4 facing up.... this gives the chickens a way to keep their feet warm in the colder weather.
    Chickens will go as high as they can. You'll have to use some judgement depending on the kind of chickens you have. If you have the heavier breeds that can't jump high, or bantams, you have to adjust you height of the roosts.
  4. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    I used wooden fence posts - the big fat round ones - so there is no FLAT surface, its more like a tree branch so I figured more natural for their feet. Its fat enough that when they hunch down their feathers still cover their feet.

    Mine is only about 4ft off the ground, some of the girls can fly straight up to it, there is a lower post about a foot or so off the ground to help the ones that don't wanna fly get up there.
  5. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress

    Sep 6, 2007
    spring hill, florida
    I have one of those wire closet shelves at 5 foot high, with a 2x4 laying on top of it. Then there is a roost ladder going up to it. I really like the shelf, mine is 10 feet long, LOL
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    My roosts are at most 2.5 feet from the ground as I have a few large and infirm birds and don't want to risk leg injuries. They prefer to sleep where they can have their feet flat and use their feathers to cover up their toes to stay warm.

    Unlike other birds, chickens don't grasp their perch when sleeping, but rather just rest on their feet and keel. A flat or LARGE round roost would be the best. The ability of them to cover their toes reduces chances of frost bite in the winter in cold areas too.
  7. Buster

    Buster Back to Work

    Quote:Thanks silkiechicken. My roost is about 4 ft and thin. Same as the guy where I got them from and my roo has frostbite. I think I will lower and widen them ASAP
  8. richard perkins

    richard perkins Hatching

    Dec 16, 2007
    Thanks for the in-put. It seems that height of roosts varies according to the jumping abilities of the chickens. I have 6 buff orph's, 10 months old. The coop I have built is 8'X7' (and 7' high). They seem to be able to fly fairly well, so I plan on putting up a 2X4 about 4-5' off the floor, and another 2-3' up. I gather that they won't need a ladder. Anyway -- I'll give that arrangement a try.

    If you think I'll be making a big mistake by doing so, I'd like to hear from you about it.

    Again -- thanks to all who responded for my request for information.
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    I may be late here, but I think it's not whether its flat or rounded, but rather how wide and stable a roost is for the size bird roosting on it. I have some extremely heavy birds with very large feet. A 2" roost, flat or round or tree branch, would not work. And to avoid leg injuries and bumblefoot for heavy breeds, you want them to have a jumping up and down point lower to the ground. Believe me, you do not want to deal with bumblefoot! So good luck with building your roosts!
  10. horsewishr

    horsewishr Songster

    Jul 7, 2007
    West Michigan
    I used a 2x3" board with the 3" side up. I was afraid a 4" surface might collect more poop (call me picky and poop-phobic, but I like my coop tidy).

    As far as height goes, I think it depends on how much maneuvering room the birds have. If you've got a very small coop, I think it might be hard to fly down from a high roost. I picture my girls hitting the wall. It could be because their "mom" is a clutz. And I could be totally wrong, too.

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