Ceiling of Chickens


Chickens Roosting in South Field Shed

I was down checking the animals in the south field shed and looked up to see a ceiling of feathered butts.
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It was around five thirty in the evening so the chickens were starting to come in and roost for the night.

They are on saplings which despite appearances in this photo are setup as a ramp which let the hens, and roosters, climb from the low areas to the top of the rafters. They like the rounded sticks better than sharp angle edged milled lumber. Probably easier to hold on with a more natural grip.

Outdoors: 24°F/4°F 19″ Snow
Tiny Cottage: 67°F/62°F

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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12 Responses to Ceiling of Chickens

  1. Sue K says:

    Hope you were wearing your hat!

  2. JohnL says:

    Is that a CAT??? If it is how does it survive all those dangerous dogs?

    • No cats here, just chickens in this photo. We used to have cats although we have none at the moment. The dogs and cats have always gotten along well. In fact, our dogs greatly enjoy the two ferrets we have. They call them the little people / babies. Imagine playing with a creature as big as a house and with teeth longer than your head. That is what our dogs are from the ferrets’s point of view. Yet, they get along and play fine.

  3. Nicholas says:

    Hello Walter,

    Long time listener, first time caller..

    One of the most enjoyable things about raising animals is that there is usually no one right answer to a question, or only one way of doing things. There is always something to learn and I have learned a great deal from your blogs, here and on Homesteading Today.

    Your photograph today shows something different than how we do it so I was inspired to ask you a question. Have you noticed any of the chickens having frostbite on their feet? Many years ago I read an article about perch construction. It had suggested that in colder areas chickens would experience a much smaller chance of frostbitten feet if their perches were made out of a 2″ x 3″ or 2″ x 4″. The article reasoning was that the chicken’s feet would remain flat against the lumber and then be covered by their feathers when they settled in.

    Something about this stuck with me and since then we have always made their perches out of dimensional lumber. I normally use random 2″ x 4″s from some demolition that took place, but guess the lumber could be used in a better way on some other project.

    Thank you for your insight, and thank you for all of the knowledge that we have gained from your writing. We have recently expanded into raising pigs (on pasture of course!) and are immensely grateful for the information that you share with all of us.

    Nick.

    • Good question. No, I’ve not seen frost bite on their feet. In the photo above you’ll notice that the chickens who have settled down all the way have their feet completely covered.

      Many of the chickens roost in this area on the branches up in the rafters of the south field shed. But others do prefer to sit on dimensional lumber fences and some even balance on stock panel wires which personally I would think would be tricky to do in your sleep and cold. Yet, they do it with no ill effect. Almost all of them choose roosts out of the wind but there are a few who are in windy spots of their own choosing. Since they’re free to roam I get to see some variety in the lifestyle choices of chickens.

      The one thing we have seen was frost bite on years ago was tall combed roosters. For this reason we favor the smaller combs as they don’t get frost bit.

    • Patrick says:

      I see it the other way around: perching on a 4×4 natural board, their feet flatten out and then they sit on them. This fully covers their mitts.

      They prefer a round perch and ignore the large square one in warm weather. During winter, most birds move from the round to the square. Some don’t seem to care at all and sleep on the roof in all but the worst of weather (making them awesome targets for Barre Owls, FWIW).

  4. skeptic7 says:

    I heard that chickens don’t really need supplemental heat except to keep the water from freezing, but I am still surprised that there are chickens that find a perch outside instead of at the top of the enclosed shed.

    • Surprises me too because some of the places they pick are clearly in the wind. But, since they have freedom of choice and don’t seem to die of their choices I’m not incline to interfere.

    • Patrick says:

      I gave up trying to get certain birds inside the coop, runs or any protected areas. The only time they came in was after an owl took out two in two nights – and then they were right back out again a few days later (chickens are dumb).

      Mine also hang out in cold places, and perch in the open. Some even will perch on a limb in the cold rain or sleet or snow, with a dry and sheltered coop door literally three feet away. We use no heat, and the coop has openings on three sides: two 2×2 doors and a single large mesh opening in front at the top measuring 7’x2′ and running the length. Never had a problem, and this winter was below zero many nights. Our wind comes from the side that has no openings. Keeping off wind is key (but some birds perch on the windy side in the open).

      We just ran water to them for a while, but then later they learned to get over to one of two non-frozen hose bibs and line up there. They are not smart, but they learn patterns well enough to save us slogging water over ice.

  5. Chiral says:

    Do pigs sleep underneath? I’d think they wouldn’t like getting crapped on. Before I redesigned my roosts to make it easier for the birds to scratch everything together, I could get an inch of chicken poop underneath them in a couple of days.

    We’re not as cold here, tending to get down to about -10F in the winter, but my chooks sleep in what is basically a large hardware cloth box. I don’t have any issues, even with frost bitten combs. The cocks’ combs look much worse now because they are fighting over access to the hens.

    I also use 2x4s. I had scrap and found them easier to work with. The birds don’t seem to mind, although I have some leghorn pullets that prefer sleeping on the upturned pallets I use for my compost bins.

  6. Christiane says:

    That is too funny. I ceiling full chicken butts! Hope you had a hat or umbrella with you! I really love keeping up with the happenings on your farm. Thanks, Walter, for letting us city folk peek into your life!

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