The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Chicken dreams

daytime chicken roosting

I've always heard chickens like to roost at night off the ground and on some sort of stick.

Well for whatever reason our chickens don't seem to like the roost I made for them in the coop. They prefer hunkering down on the ground in the weeds instead.

The above stump has been a popular place at night, which is why I thought a roost extention might just be the thing to remind them how nice it is to sleep off the ground.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Round sticks seem to be difficult for chickens to grasp. Mine prefer a 2x4 with the "2" side up and the edges rounded over.
Comment by Karen Thu Nov 4 18:03:32 2010
That doesn't seem to be the problem with our hens. They roosted on branches just like this quite happily in their tractors, but I think they got used to the open air arrangement and don't like being cooped up. Alternatively, it could be our rooster's fault, since he was raised with a bunch of broilers, who, true to form, were too heavy to enjoy roosting anywhere except on the ground.
Comment by anna Thu Nov 4 18:43:14 2010

Our chickens didn't like the first roost I built for them either. I had one side propped against a chair and the other side nailed into the wall of the coop. One day I took the chair away and nailed in both sides. Now they love it. I used round sticks like yours. They tend to prefer the thicker branches over the thin ones, but if you get a tapered one then they'll have their choice.

My theory is that they knew an animal could climb up that chair to get to the roost. They don't want a predator staircase going to their roost, which is what my chair and your stump are essentially. I put one at about three feet off the ground and one about five feet off the ground. They prefer the higher one, but the lower ranked chickens have to stay on the bottom one.

Comment by Everett Thu Nov 4 20:36:31 2010

My chooks are like that too. I built a lovely house for them inside the shed, with a hole in the wall for them to access from their run. Only two of them sleep inside, and the rest stay outside in the low branches of the trees in their run!

They do mostly lay their eggs inside, though.

Comment by Darren (Green Change) Fri Nov 5 00:17:41 2010

Everett --- I like your thought process. Maybe they just don't feel like the roost is safe enough in the coop. Hmmm....

Darren --- Our girls are all laying inside now, although one of them keeps laying on the ground inside. And this morning they all came running out of the coop when I went to feed them. Maybe the beautiful weather just made them want to roost outdoors and look at the stars and this recent cold, rainy weather is going to train them to use their roosts.

Comment by anna Fri Nov 5 13:44:08 2010

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