Thoughts on Roosts?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by billfields, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. billfields

    billfields Songster

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    I have 18 chicks (a mixture of several breeds Wyandottes, Maran, Plymouth Rock, Welsummer, Orpington, Dominique, Campine, Buttercup, Lakenvelder, Andalusian, and Americana/ Easter Eggers) coming the first of May. Been working on my coop since last summer and with a break over the winter I'm getting back to it. Finishing off the nesting boxes now, next will come the roosts. The coop area is 8 by 8 (with a separate 4 by 8 store room). I'm thinking about what to use of the roosts themselves---2x4. 1x2 2 inch doweling or, as I have access to plenty, roughly 2 inch tree limbs or poles. Opinions? I need about 18 feet of roost total. I'm planning to stair step that across a roughly 3 by 6 corner section of the coop. Thoughts about how low the lowest should be and how high the highest (coop roof is about 6 foot at the lowest point) and how far apart they should space? I have a 3ft by 1ft cleaning access door that opens to the area under where the roosts will go. I'm going to try deep litter but I wanted the door under the roost so I could clean that area out as needed. Looking for ideas, experiences opinions before I actually put them in.

    Thanks!
     
  2. lovinRIRs

    lovinRIRs In the Brooder

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    i used 2x4 on the side and cut down small diameter trees for the perches. they love it and its not slippery for them. i was worried about using dowels because they are smooth and felt slippery to me.
     
  3. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Avoid dowels. 2x4s on their sides, flat side up, are perfect. Large branches at least as big around in circumference as your wrist are also good. Be sure to scrape off the bark so you can be sure mites don't sneak under there to live and bother your birds.
     
  4. billfields

    billfields Songster

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    Quote:So that the top is 2 inches or one inch?
     
  5. faykokoWV

    faykokoWV Mrs Fancy Plants

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    the part they roost on needs to be wide enough that they can sit with their feet flat. They shouldn't have to "hold on" to roost.
     
  6. billfields

    billfields Songster

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    Quote:But then I've also seen/heard/read that they actually do need to be able to "hold on", that it's instinctual for them. Maybe I should do half and half [​IMG]
     
  7. elmo

    elmo Crowing

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    Quote:But then I've also seen/heard/read that they actually do need to be able to "hold on", that it's instinctual for them. Maybe I should do half and half [​IMG]

    I'm not sure where you read that, but it doesn't sound right to me. A chicken's toes are not built for gripping like a perching bird (parrots, etc.). The chicken's foot is built for walking on the ground because that's where they spend most of their time. Their toes will wrap around something round, like your finger, but you can feel the lack of strengh in the grip (as compared with a true perching bird). They will use a round roost if they have to, but I don't think it's the most comfortable or healthy thing for their feet. You certainly can use natural tree branches but pick ones that are flatter and wider. I pick ones that are at least as wide, and perhaps a little wider, than my chickens' feet.

    The other benefit of a flat roost is that in winter the birds can cover their toes with their breast feathers and keep them from freezing.

    I hope you don't mind me raising another issue. Do you mean that half of your 8' by 8' coop is a storehouse, or that you have an additional 4' by 8' storehouse build onto your coop? I hope it's the latter, because 18 chickens in a 4' x 8' coop is rather crowded.
     
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:But then I've also seen/heard/read that they actually do need to be able to "hold on", that it's instinctual for them. Maybe I should do half and half [​IMG]

    Pick up a chicken. Perch it on your arm. What is it doing? There ya go -- and that is a lot grippier than they are on the roost.

    They do NOT need to hold on and frankly they cannot even DO it very strongly.

    That said, it is not clear to me that chickens have strong preferences about roosts, other than they prefer to be as high up as you're offering.

    The two biggest issues for chicken health -- not making the roost so narrow it concentrates pressure too much on too small an area of the foot, and in the North allowing the chickens to roost with toes flat enough to be covered with tummy feathers to prevent frostbite -- do not seem to even be on the chickens' radar, preference-wise. That does not however mean that WE might not ought to take them into account, since we know they DO matter.

    Pat
     
  9. countrylifelover85

    countrylifelover85 In the Brooder

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    I'm glad I read this! I was going to use some inch and a half wooden poles that we had laying around. Guess I will use 2x4s instead!
     
  10. Marct611

    Marct611 In the Brooder

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    I tried both, a 2'' round tomato stake and a 2x4 laid wide side up. They have chosen the 2x4 laid flat. I had both in there for awhile and they all kept using the 2x4. Now thats all I have in there with no problems.
     

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