Earlier this week we changed the perch at the back of the chicken shed. Things never go according to plan and we found that the job wasn’t as simple as I thought it would be.
Because we had two parallel perches my idea was to use them as a step up perch and a roosting perch as we have on either side of the chicken shed. I must admit that my husband suggested we just move the complete thing down low but for some reason I had it in my head that it should be the same arrangement as the side perches so that the little girls would be at the same height as they were used to.
This meant buying a shorter pair of brackets for the top perch. You can see the marks above where the brackets were before. The back perches now matched the height of the side perches.
The new lower perch arrangement
We got the job completed just as the girls started coming in at bedtime. I soon realised my mistake.
There wasn’t enough of a gap for Emerald to fit comfortably.
The three amigos went straight to the new perch and were happy with it. Freckles is always the last in and hadn’t come in yet. Emerald wasn’t at all comfortable and kept turning and getting up and down. Emerald is the biggest girl and there wasn’t enough room for her tail to fit comfortably. Speckles solved the problem by facing the back of the shed but Emerald wanted to face outwards.
The side perches would have enough depth for Emerald but she is a creature of habit and this is her spot and this is where she wanted to be. It is totally random which way Speckles faces but not so with Emerald. Emerald always faces outwards.
I felt awful for Emerald and stupid for not realising the gap would be too small! We decided that the only thing to do was to lift all the girls out and alter the perch again.
This was our second attempt
We changed to the longest perch on the longest brackets and put it in at the height of the lower, step up, perch at the sides.
All the girls on the lower back perch
Emerald and Speckles couldn’t wait to get back in their spot and the three amigos quickly took the other end of the perch together. I then picked Freckles up and put her in the middle. I just managed the photo above before she jumped down and returned to her usual spot.
Freckles back in her usual spot
It was good to see the three amigos snuggled up together again
I think it is going to be impossible to change Freckles habit so I will leave her to perch alone. I feel happier though that the three amigos are perching together again.
The next night
I watched the girls go in the following night. The same thing happened. Emerald and Speckles settled in their corner and didn’t seem bothered by the perch being lower. Apricot was first to the back perch. Cinnamon was next and Dandelion soon followed.
Lastly Freckles sauntered in and headed straight up to her spot on the side perch.
Freckles in her usual position
The three amigos are snuggled up together again
A view of all the girls
In the end I think this is a success and I am happier with this arrangement. It seems that the three amigos did want to perch at the back but Dandelion couldn’t get up there before. It is much better that before winter the three amigos are perching together again and can keep each other warm.
It’s a shame that Freckles is on her own but she has been used to this spot since she joined the flock and I don’t think we can change her habit. She is the largest of the little girls so I think she will be okay.
This also means that if we have new girls in the spring they can use the right hand perch during integrations.
Although it was a hassle moving the perch twice I feel that we got it right in the end. The chicken shed has had many perch changes since we have had it but sometimes we need to evolve things to suit the changing needs of our girls. The girls seem happy with this new arrangement.