A change in bedtime roosting positions

We got our new chicken shed in July last year. At the time we had seven little girls and three bigger girls. Before getting seramas I did a lot of research about them. I read that a broom handle is just right the size for bedtime perches for them.

With this in mind we put a broom handle perch across the back of the shed for the little girls and a wider perch across the side for the three bigger girls. This worked like a dream and the seven seramas were always perched at the back and the three bigger girls were always perched at the side.

The little girls filled the back perch and I knew that this was the maximum size of flock for this shed and in fact would have preferred a bit more space but the girls found their positions every night without any problems.

As time went on we lost three of the little girls. Now the four remaining little girls looked rather lost on their perch. There was loads of space on their back perch.

At this point Ebony started roosting on the back perch in the right hand corner where the two perches are close together. I worried that this wouldn’t be good for her feet and every evening I lifted her and placed her on the side perch.

Ebony protested at being moved and sometimes if there was enough light she would move back. I knew that the reason she was doing this was because there wasn’t much space on the three bigger girls’ perch whereas there was lots of space on the little girls’ perch. It made sense, as our biggest girl, that Ebony wanted to perch where there was more space.

I considered if it was possible to make the back perch wider in the corner that Ebony liked to perch. I went back to researching the correct size perch for different breed’s of chicken.

My research showed that different sized breeds, such as standard sized birds and bantams, need different sized perches and in a mixed sized flock there should be different sized perches available. It said that the way to measure it is that the hens toes should not meet around the perch. There should be a gap between their toes but equally their toes shouldn’t be stretched out so that it would be difficult to grip the perch.

With this in mind I checked Ebony’s toes on the smaller girls’ perch and found that there was still a good gap between her toes. I tried Flame and Speckles on the smaller perch too and it was the same with them. I also checked the little girls’ toes on the small perch and the size looks perfect for them.

This has put my mind at rest that Ebony is fine on the little girls’ perch. It will be less stressful for her to leave her to choose where to perch at night. Since I been leaving her to it she has roosted in the back corner spot every night.

The girls when we first got the new shed in July 2019
A few weeks later

Notice how different Spangle looks in the photo above and the photo below. She has lost most of the black plumage. She is our most, changed girl, ever.

The girls current preferred positions at bedtime
I had been moving Ebony to this position
Ebony back in her preferred position

I am happy with the space that the girls now have and having checked their feet on the perches I am now happy to let Ebony perch where she wants to.

Sometimes it is good to research these things again for peace of mind. I want our flock to be as happy as they can be.

On another note I am really pleased with this shed. I recently cleaned out the shavings and replaced them. It is so quick and easy to do this and it only takes one small bale of pine shavings instead of the large bale that the old shed took.

This shed is so easy to keep clean and to keep red mites at bay. I have also checked if there is any condensation over the winter and there hasn’t been any. This is definitely the best chicken shed we have had. The girls look happy with it too and the space is perfect for them.

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6 Responses to A change in bedtime roosting positions

  1. m says:

    They certainly look peaceful, and the shed looks so warm and cosey.

  2. sophie says:

    The shed was a really good decision. I cannot believe the change in Spangle!!xx

    • Carol says:

      In hindsight the shed was the best decision ever. The change is Spangle is amazing. Seeing those photos reminded me of how different she looked. xx

  3. david says:

    It looks perfect for them; mine are at their worst, when settling for the night – it certainly exemplifies ‘pecking order’!

    • Carol says:

      It certainly does. Smoke is top serama and the most aggressive of the little girls. She will peck at any little girl next to her and often ends up on her own at the left hand end of the perch as the rest of the little girls keep out of her way. Ebony is the only aggressive one of the bigger girls and will also peck at the little girls but not the bigger girls though. Oddly enough Marmite who is bottom little girl ends up next to Ebony. If you check back to the photos above that is the typical order most nights with Salmon and Spangle together in the middle.

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