It may not seem so, but chicken roosts are a very important part of the overall chicken coop. The chicken roosts is where your birds sleep and rest. Chickens that do not get enough sleep are often stressed. This stress can lead to lower egg production, less healthy chickens, and fighting among the flock. None of this has to happen. Here are some tips on chicken roosts and how you can use them to your advantage.
As you know, most chickens do not have any defense systems when compared to larger predators. For this reason, chickens like to sleep above the ground. They also like to sleep together. When given the chance to do so a chicken will want to sleep at the highest level available inside the chicken coop. And they will often fight over that space if they have to.
For this reason, you should install your chicken roosts at the same level throughout the chicken coop. This will keep the flock from fighting one another as all of the roost bars are at the same level.
When planning your roosting bars, try to give each bird at least ten inches of space. You may have to cross-join some of the roosting bars to make this happen, but overcrowding can lead to stress and squabbling too.
Under no circumstances should you place chicken roosts over your nesting boxes or incubators. Chickens defecate when they sleep and that mess will fall onto your nesting boxes or anything else that is directly beneath.
With this in mind, it is a good idea to put some type of tray or other waste catching material under the chicken roosts that you can slide in and out easily. This will make your clean up work a lot easier.
Chicken roosts can be fashioned out of many things. Wooden dowels are often a good choice but make sure they are strong enough to hold the birds. Some people will use 1×1’s or 2×2’s and round off the edges. These offer more strength than dowels if you have large, heavier birds.
By planning out your chicken roosts in advance, you can build the perfect setup for your entire flock. Doing this as you build your chicken coop is the easiest way to do it, but do not be afraid of making changes to the chicken roosts if you need to later on. Giving your flock a safe, dry place to sleep and rest will pay off big in both egg production and overall happiness of the flock.