distance between chicken perches?

ceresone(missouri ozarks)August 3, 2005

please, can somebody, quickly, give me the proper distance--for heavy breed hens? i'm building perches this morning--no problem, you can find anything on the net, right? wrong!! feathersite wont come up, search brings no records--as does a search on the farm forum. i know there has to be a proper distance for perches for heavy-breed hens.

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mjw15618(Western Penn)

I'm not sure if there's a "proper" distance, but my six hens share two long perches about a foot apart. The coop is 4X4x4' and I have round wooden dowel rods spanning the length. They seem to like it just fine. Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 9:20AM
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I had to look up the same thing recently....it was hard to reconcile all the various bits of advice, but I did see several references to making perches for the big, heavy breed chickens 18" from the outside wall, and 18" apart if they are all on the same level. If they are "laddered" it was recommended to place them (gee, let me try to figure out how to describe this verbally) as if they were two points of a triangle with two shorter sides of 12" each, and the longer side is the slant upwards between the two perches. Oh, heck, does that make any sense at all? :~) Let me try another way: make a perch, measure out 12" into the air (ha) on the same level, then go straight up 12" and place the other perch, you will end up with them being about 16 plus inches apart but one a foot higher than the other so they have more room. And I saw lots of references to chickens, especially heavy breeds, preferring flat roosts and recommending making their perches out of 2x4s with the wide side flat and the corners rounded off.

Let me know if this is too confusing and I'll try again!


    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 9:40AM
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ceresone(missouri ozarks)

thanks for the prompt reply--my perches were in the process of going up!they are about a foot apart-and perches are diagonal, so it looks as if theres lots of room. i made them from rounded off 2x2's, set into 2x6's, on the diagonal.so--i used both suggestions, and i thank you very much for the quick reply--i knew i could count on this forum!!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 10:48AM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

I don't think you need to worry about "proper" distances. The main idea, as far as I can see, is to keep the perches far enough apart to prevent pecking and minimize squabbling. ("That's MY spot!" "No it isn't! I was here first!" "But that spot's better than this one and I'm higher on the pecking order - Move over!") The 2x4 perch works okay, although a number of my Speckled Sussex prefer the top of the nest box.

It's nice for them to have enough roost space so that they are able to spread out in hot weather. I had one hen who insisted on a whole perch to herself. She was delicious.

This spring, Brian went into our woods and cut two young ash trees and put them across the width of the chicken house - eight feet long, about five feet off the floor and about four feet apart. This has worked really well for us. The roosts stay clean, I stir the shavings under them regularly with a three-tined cultivator (I use the deep litter method) and becuase there is a natural variation in the diameter of the perch from about four inches to three inches, birds can find a spot that suits the size of their feet.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 10:55AM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

For large breed hens I always imagine perching a basketball on a roost. :) Banties are footballs. *L*

Allow enough space from walls and for tails. We use 2 x 2 squared off dowels for roosts, they seem to provide a more natural, comfortable grip than round ones do. Just sand the edges lightly to remove any splinters, because if it's there, a chicken will somehow find a way to hurt itself on it. We place all of our roosts at the same height, it eliminates the fighting for the highest roost--chickens will all want to perch on the highest spot, with the hens that are at the top of the pecking order winning.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 4:13PM
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I keep about sixty hens and a large coop. I have two sets of roosts, against the two windowed walls and two sets of nest boxes against the two un-windowed walls. Mine are attached to supports set diagonally against the walls and they stop at window level. I have three rungs on the perches to accomodate the larger number of birds I keep. the rungs are about 18 to 24 inches apart, and since they are diagonal to the floor, the perches aren't really high in the air. The rungs are not dowel-like but out of squared off timber, but sanded down so that the sharp edges won't bruise their tender breastmeat. Yes they do have their pecking order and the kingpins get the window seats, but that is just life in a hen house and they have their pecking order for everything else, so I didn't see a need to eliminate their caste system to perch.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 6:20PM
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ceresone(missouri ozarks)

well, the perches are up! i even routered the edges,--now i'm wondering how to get them to perch!! out of approx. 90-- 35 are using perches, rest prefer to sit on the floor.there's certainly plenty of room, maybe in a month or so, they will learn-and here i was-thinking they were so smart!!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2005 at 12:45PM
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They don't call them bird brains for nothing. LOL.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2005 at 6:45PM
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HerringboneD28(z7 Central AR)

My 16 hens went to their perches immediately when I moved them to their coop. My son, on the other hand, still goes in and puts his hens on the perches every night. They're 24+ weeks and still don't have a clue. Birdbrains is about right!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2005 at 3:37PM
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Thank you! We are finishing our coop and this answered our perch questions exactly! We plan to put up a shelf about 37 inches from the ground and mount our perches (of leftover branches from our apple tree) to the wall above the shelf. This should make for easy clean up under the perches. We are new at this, but we plan to put a layer of mulch on the shelf under the perches that can just be swept clean and the mulch/manure just added to the garden or compost bin. Now we know to be sure to leave plenty of room for tail feathers. I hope Archie and Alberta like their new perches!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2011 at 1:08AM
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