Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Roosts for your Henhouses

Are you building new henhouses, and wondering what location, how high, thick, and what shape roosts should be for your poultry? Here are some guidelines from our experience

They should be at least 1 foot from the poultry coops walls, further if you have the room. This gives chickens more rooms for their tails and avoids damage to the feathers. It stops them pooping down the wall too.

This really depends on your breeds of chicken. Some breeds like silkies and cochins barely roost in the chickens coops at all or maybe 1-2 feet off ground with steps. Sumatras, Dorkings, Wyandottes and Chanteclers will happily roost 7 feet off the ground with no steps in between.

A ladder-type set up with many heights is best if you have room in your chicken coops. The multiple levels gives many comfort levels for the hens, and also give them smaller steps to get up to the top. Make the ladder as wide as you like. For most rare heritage chicken breeds, they will all try to roost on the top step and the dominant hens will roost highest in the henhouses.

If you have poultry coops roosts over 5 feet, make sure you have at least 6" thick shavings or bedding for the birds to land on. They can break bones and injure themselves coming down in the morning.

Shape & Size
Poultry coops roosts can be round or flat. If flat, square or rectangular, they should be at least 4 inches across. For example, a 2 by 4 laid flat. Any smaller and the birds will try to curl their toes around them and can cut the blood supply off with excess pressure on the corners. Birds are more stable on a wider roost and use less energy balancing. They can insulate their toes better in winter too with a wider poultry coops roost.

Irregular or round chickens coops roosts should be at least 3 inches diameter for many of the above reasons. You can use free tree limbs that are in good shape and the chickens will happily use them.

In general

* Don't put them over feeders or waterers
* Don't put them over other roosts - chickens will get pooped on when roosting!
* Wooden roosts are best, they are more comfortable in extreme temperatures.
* No sharp edges on the roosts
* Secure them well. Attaching them on a block of wood screwed to a henhouses wall helps stability and with the weight-chickens are heavy. Use 2 screws so they don't rotate!

You can see when you are planning your henhouses or poultry coops, your roosts need to be taken into account! Click here for easy henhouses plans designed by experienced chicken owners.

Tags: henhouses, henhouse, poultry coops, chickens coops, chicken coops

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