Help, perch width

CrealCritter

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NH Homesteader

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You would find a quick answer if you did a search over at BYC. I don't remember what the recommended width is... @sumi would know, too. I just remember being surprised because it was wider than I would have thought. My DH deals with building things... I'll plead ignorance here lol
 

Hinotori

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I have two 2x4s laid flat across a pair of sawhorses for their roost. I had a 2 foot by 4 foot board across the ends on one side once for teenage birds to huddle but had to remove it because it caused fights. Everyone wanted to sleep on the board.

My silkies do not roost. Even when I've offered low roosts they huddle at night.
 

tortoise

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We have a log, probably 5 or 6 inches diameter. They also roost on 2x4 fences and gates in our barn. More birds roost on the 2" perches than on the log.
 

baymule

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I studied intensively on BYC before getting chickens and before building my coop. I then build Fort Knox (our old house) and never had a chicken loss. I read that especially in cold climates, to use a 2x4, laid flat for a roost bar. It is wide enough to allow the chicken to nestle down on his/her feet, keeping them warm in winter. I don't have to worry about sub freezing weather for more than a few days at a time, but I liked the idea of warm toes, and have always used a flat 2x4.
 

Beekissed

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3-4 in width is a good width for large fowl birds of all kinds, the smaller, bantam and smaller layer birds may be more comfortable on a 2-3 in. My birds seem to enjoy the 3 in. width more than anything else.

I'd never go lower than 1 in. for any chicken, though I see that on ladder roosts all the time and those are even built on a slant, so the chickens are roosting on a pointed, slender surface every night. If they are heavy breeds, this can lead to bumble foot issues over time.

I use round roosts but have used 2x4s as well and those are laid on the 4 in. side for good comfort of footing.

ETA: Folks say chickens prefer flat footed sleeping, but when given a choice I've never seen that to be the case. Wild birds keep from falling off a limb as they sleep on a perch by the nature of how they perch....when legs are bent, the toes naturally flex around the branch and sort of lock them into place while they sleep.

Chickens are much the same....if you bend their legs, the toes will naturally curl and that's for the same reason. It's a built in safety feature for sleeping on a perch. If unable to do so and sleeping on a flat roost, they must balance their weight properly in order to get good rest and that can be difficult when your flockmate is shifting position or jostling you in any way. That's one reason I've always opted for plenty of round roosting in my coops...it's just the natural way of things.
 
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CrealCritter

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I guess I failed to mention my roosts are real 1x4 cut on my sawmill. Not 3/4 x 3 1/2 like is store bought. The lower roosters is also a real 1 x 12.

When it gets cold they like the 1x12 and the floor where they huddle together to keep warm I guess. In the summer they use the upper 1x4s pretty much exclusively and are spread out. I do not have any supplemental heat in the coop but I do practice deep bedding and throw down barn lime every now and then. That produces a little bit of heat but not very much.
 

milkmansdaughter

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Thank you everyone! My husband's been reading pretty extensively on chickens for almost a year before we got the chickens, but we had chickens and two coops before I was officially here on the property. I think it was on BYC where I read the 4"roost. I was looking for how to build our own roost box for our rooster. (I'm not a member there yet). I was surprised when I read that because ours seem pretty happy on the 2" bars. Only 1 hen flies up to a flat spot to sit during the day.

I put a 2x2 in the box. I think I'll add a 3 or 4" bar in the yard and see where the chickens sit most often. It's easy enough to make the roost wider.

Painting today, so maybe I'll finally get to cross this off of my to-do list, and get back to the garden.
Thank you for all your replies!
 

milkmansdaughter

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Turns out our rooster doesn't use any of the perches. We haven't seen him on a perch at all. At night he goes up into his roost and snuggles down in the wood chips in the back corner.

We did some experimenting with different levels, widths and heights of perches. On one popular 2" perch (8'long), we added a 4" section. We have not seen one hen sit on it since we added it, but many still on the two inch boards. However, moving some of the 2" perches higher seems to be a big hit (measured by the poo underneath the new perches.) Thanks for everyone's input. Hopefully it will answer someone else's question down the road.
 
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