Adding Another Roost for Your Chickens: Pros and Cons.
One issue that I faced recently is the fact that my chickens always crowded onto the upper tier of their roosts, even though they had a lower tier available. This got me thinking, should I add another roost parallel to give them more room?
In this article, I will discuss the pros and cons of adding another roost and provide some tips on how to encourage your chickens to use all available roosting space.
The Benefits of Adding Another Roost
Adding another roost parallel to the existing ones can provide several benefits for your chickens. First, it will give them more room to roost comfortably, which is important for their overall health and well-being. Crowded chickens are more likely to become stressed and may even develop health problems such as respiratory issues.
Secondly, adding another roost can help prevent bullying or aggressive behavior among your flock. Chickens have a pecking order, and those at the bottom of the hierarchy may be excluded from the upper tier roost. By adding another roost, you are giving all your chickens a chance to roost at the same level and minimize the risk of bullying or fighting.
Finally, adding another roost can improve the overall cleanliness of your coop. When chickens are crowded together on one roost, there is a higher chance of feces and other debris accumulating on the lower roosts. By spreading out your chickens over multiple roosts, you can reduce the amount of waste on each roost and make cleaning your coop a little easier.
The Drawbacks of Adding Another Roost
While adding another roost may seem like a great solution, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider. Firstly, adding another roost will take up more space in your coop, which may not be possible if you have a small coop or a large flock. You will need to measure your coop carefully and consider how much space your chickens need to move around and roost comfortably.
Secondly, adding another roost may not solve the problem of your chickens all crowding onto the upper tier. Some chickens may simply prefer to roost at a higher level, and adding another roost may not change their behavior. In this case, you may need to try other methods to encourage your chickens to use all available roosting space.
Encouraging Your Chickens to Use All Available Roosting Space
If you are hesitant to add another roost, there are other ways to encourage your chickens to use all available roosting space. Here are some tips that have worked for me:
- Rearrange the roosts: Sometimes, chickens may prefer the upper roost simply because it is in a more desirable location. Try rearranging the roosts so that the lower tier is in a more visible or accessible location, and see if this changes their behavior.
- Provide incentives: Chickens are creatures of habit, and it may take some time to get them used to using all available roosting space. Try providing some incentives, such as treats or a cozy nesting box, to encourage them to explore the lower tier.
- Create a gradual slope: Chickens may be more likely to use lower roosts if there is a gradual slope or ramp leading up to them. This will make it easier for them to climb up and down and may encourage them to explore the lower tier.
- Add more perches: Chickens may prefer roosting on perches that are wider or have a more comfortable surface. Consider adding more perches of different widths and materials to give your chickens more options.
Providing adequate roosting space for your chickens is crucial for their overall health and well-being. Adding another roost parallel to your existing ones can provide many benefits, including more space, reduced bullying, and improved cleanliness.
However, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks, such as space limitations and the possibility that some chickens may still prefer the upper tier. If you’re hesitant to add another roost, there are other ways to encourage your chickens to use all available roosting space, such as rearranging the roosts, providing incentives, creating a gradual slope, and adding more perches.