roosts...natural branches or 2x4's?!?!

turtlefat

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 11, 2013
23
5
26
Gunnison, Colorado
My friend and I recently embarked on a chicken adventure together and are currently getting our coops ready for when our chicks are ready to be outside full time. We have been talking about different materials to use for the roosts and he is set on 2x4's while I would really like to use natural branches. His main concern for using branches would be that they will be harder to clean the poo off of. Is this really a valid concern? If it is true is this a make or break problem? I would like to use as many natural materials as I can, but really the most important thing is making sure my chickens are happy and healthy. It would be great to hear what peoples thought are or what their experiences have been with either choice. Thanks!
 

Blackjack1392

In the Brooder
6 Years
Feb 14, 2013
49
2
26
Jacksonville, Florida
When I built my coop, I thought it to be rather. . .stupid to go spend money on more wood when I have a forest of trees around my house. So I went out and cut down a tree that was about 4-5 inches in diameter and about 10 foot tall. I stripped off all the branches from it, cut it to the length I needed (8 feet), and attached it with some screws drilled into the ends from the outside of the coop. My chickens have been roosting on it since they were moved out there and so far there has been no poop on it, just on the floor of the coop.
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
579
448
South Georgia
I was lazy and had 2x4 scraps laying around that would serve the purpose. They work fine. I think either is a perfectly good solution. Somehow, branches seem more natural, don't they?
 

turtlefat

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 11, 2013
23
5
26
Gunnison, Colorado
My thoughts exactly Blackjack! I will be using a poop hammock under the branches so that should be helpful with the poo. Thanks for your input.
 
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Hayduke27

Songster
7 Years
Apr 11, 2013
425
115
192
Gunnison, CO
I am the other friend in this little adventure, and I should add a couple of things. For one thing, as far as the roosts in the coop are concerned, we live in an extremely cold place, and during the winters I know it's good to have something wide enough so the chickens can settle their feathers over their toes and stay warm. A thick branch and a 2x4 both seem to accomplish this. However, the other point I read was from a lady here on BYC who said her coop has removable 2x4's that were sealed and removable for easy cleaning. If poo on the roosting branches is a problem, I could see the 2x4's being a good answer. Otherwise, it does seem like branches are a little more ergonomic for chicken feet, right?
 

turtlefat

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 11, 2013
23
5
26
Gunnison, Colorado
Ha! I am the exact opposite flockwatcher. I have random thinner branches lying around that are not big enough to be made into rounds for firewood so why not use them for my coop. I am a firm believer of reuse and recycle!
 

4 the Birds

Songster
9 Years
Oct 15, 2010
1,490
104
163
Westfield, Indiana
Either is fine. Natural branches will need to be changed out every few years if they are not "beefy". I see a lot of coop pictures with a 1" round natural branch and several chickens sitting on them. They will rot after awhile and break. I use pressure treated landscape timbers. Rounded edges and you can span 8 feet! Natural branches look cool though.

 

BrownEggsnHam

Chirping
8 Years
Apr 7, 2013
54
15
99
Southern Sweden
I recently finished building my chicken tractor and having an overabundance of lilac it was easy for me to find a wonderful heavily textured bark branch about 3-1/2" diameter x 3 feet to fit between the walls.





With one year old Buff Orpingtons roosting on this branch I figured the heavy texture would be ideal for holding DE (diatomaceous earth) to further protect against red mites and thus far, after a couple of weeks not one inhabitant has soiled the roosting branch. It all drops well to the sandy floor where it is easily scooped up and out into the compost.

Being a professional woodworker/sculptor (30+ years), I don't see how my branch would ever rot, as it was dried already, natural dried vs kiln dried of lumber. So if you are looking for longevity... as '4 the birds' indicates, you should maybe look for a larger branch and preferably one from an already dead tree insuring dried wood. Otherwise, i would suggest stripping of the bark, which can allow for some rot to take place. The hen house itself, if ventilated properly and not getting poo on the perch should keep the branch for many years. Seeing that you are in Colorado, I would also select a hard wood rather than pine or fir. If there is any juniper around you, if I remember Gunnison correctly, that would probably be my first choice.
 
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JackE

Crowing
Apr 26, 2010
2,327
756
281
North Eastern Md.
I used 2X4"s wide side up. After all the money I spent building the rest of the coop, a couple of $s more for the roost bars, didn't even cross my mind. The 2X4s, are set into blocks, so they are easily removeable for coop clean up. I rounded off the edges so the chickens can wrap their toes around a bit better. Tree branches would work OK, but I've read about mites hiding out in the natural cracks and crevices that tree branches have. From those cracks and crevices the bugs can come out at night and have a ready meal just sitting there.
Jack
 

MANNA-PRO

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