URGENT roost 2x4s

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Gammond, Oct 15, 2016.

  1. Gammond

    Gammond Chillin' With My Peeps

    207
    63
    101
    Aug 31, 2016
    Central BC, Canada
    For using 2x4s for our roosts.... is it best for them to be on edge or flat?? My husband wants to put on edge and won't believe me about it being better flat... We're installing them right now.
     
  2. bethwood01

    bethwood01 Just Hatched

    43
    9
    16
    Sep 6, 2016
    NorCal
    Flat is better in colder locations. Allows chickens to sit on their feet to keep them warm
     
    2 people like this.
  3. PingoBags

    PingoBags Chillin' With My Peeps

    191
    52
    81
    Jun 27, 2016
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Most say to have them flat. Reason being, in the winter when the hens hunkers down for the night, they can fully cover their feet.
    Instead of having toes hung over the edge of the 2x4 exposed to the cold.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

    8,322
    3,117
    436
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    I prefer thick branches, 2" to 4" diameter, bark on. More natural, and can be free. Mary
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

    3,480
    857
    316
    Dec 6, 2012
    New Brunswick,Canada
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    18,045
    2,789
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri


    I have been using both types for about a year now to address the issue of entrenchment. The dimensional lumber is cheaper and generally easier to affix to whatever supports the roost. Orientation of flat versus edge does not matter even when edge is no more than 3/4 inch. Difference that may be real is outside where birds are more exposed to elements, particularly high winds at night. The the round type of roost maybe an advantage once you get past mounting to pen issue. Most of my birds roost outside and winds strong enough to knock them off roost are relatively rare. Most people do not keep birds outside where wind is an issue. Coops and buildings generally block winds very well.
     
  7. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,339
    580
    171
    Feb 18, 2016
    Missouri
    For those of you who advocate a 2 x 4 roost bar with flat side up, can anyone recite any type of scientific study or reference to support this, or is it more of an "urban myth" type of thing that someone once started and everyone globbed on to as it seemed to make sense? All of it seems to be predicated on the notion they need to keep their feet warm.

    I ask as the premise of doing so flies in the face of what we know about the physiology of a bird's foot and how birds perch on tree limbs and such without falling off. The tendons in their legs are designed to cause their foot.....front and back toes...... to lock down on the roost as they drop themselves down. That is how a bird keeps itself from falling off a roost or perch at night.....they lock themselves to it. 2nd part of that is that in order to be able to lock their feet to the roost, the roost has to be of an appropriate size. Those who were researching poultry husbandry 100 years ago determined the best size to be a 1" x 2" roost, with narrow size up. In most cases, the birds then were leghorns, so for many of the larger breeds many of us now keep, that has been upped to a 2 x 2, which is of course an actual 1 1/2" x 1 1/2", and ideally, the top two edges should be hit with a roundover bit in the range of 3/8" or so. Even if you do use a tree limb, it needs to be about that size so they can lock down on it. More like 1" or 2" and not 4" and up.

    As for keeping their feet warm, they do that when they crouch down. They cover their feet with their feathers.

    I've heard of frozen combs and waddles, but never frozen feet when a bird is perched on a wooden roost.

    But I've also been accused of being a grouchy curmudgeon wannabe, so I'll allow for the fact that I could be wrong about this. But mostly what I've heard in support of the 2x4 up is personal anecdotal evidence...........and no hard scientific proof.
     
    4 people like this.
  8. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

    8,322
    3,117
    436
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Roost height seems to be more important to many of my birds, reqardless of diameter. Most of my bantams roost eight feet up in the rafters of my old coop section, on 4" treated fence posts used as framing and rafters. A few of my standard birds also roost up there, and the other standard birds roost four feet up on saplings ranging from 2" to 3" diameter. It's all about location! Mary
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    20,627
    4,134
    526
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I’ll add my story to the entrenchment thing. After reading all the arguments on here about this, several years ago I put up tree limbs, 2x4’s flat, and 2x4’s on edge. Since, as Mary said, location is extremely important I moved them around a few times. My conclusion is that the chickens themselves just don’t care. They are quite happy with any of them. I now use tree limbs as my main roosts and a 2x4 on edge as a juvenile roost.

    As Howard mentioned when my chickens settle down to sleep at night when it’s cold, their toes are covered by their feathers. That’s whether they are on the tree limbs, 2x4’s flat, or 2x4’s on edge. I believe Centrarchid posted a good photo of that a few years back.

    Howard makes another good point too that people might miss. The roost should be made of wood for its insulation properties. Metal or plastic roosts can lead to frostbite regardless of shape or size.

    I also agree to round off the corners a bit on sawed lumber, whether flat or on edge. I just hit them quickly with sandpaper. To me that’s not for the comfort of the chickens, that’s to get rid of splinters that can lead to foot infections. We all have our own reasons to do what we do.

    I’ve also read a few ridiculous things on this. Some people really believe chicken’s toes don’t bend. They justify flat perches on the basis that the chicken can’t grip and have to balance. That’s easier on a wide flat surface. I even read where someone said that since chickens were ground based birds that they never evolved to perch so their toes did not need to bend. If you believe this let a baby chick perch on your finger or if your chickens are tame enough, let one perch on your wrist. See how much they can grip.

    In my opinion it just doesn’t matter. Use whatever you want as long as it is made out of wood. They do need to be strong enough so they don’t bend much. In my opinion, your chickens will not be harmed whatever you use.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    36,715
    10,457
    686
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I like them wide side up because it makes a more stable surface for the birds to navigate.....my big fat clumsy birds especially appreciate them.
     
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by