What is The Best Size Perch for Chickens?

What is The Best Size Perch for Chickens?

When considering a perch for your coop, it's important to take a moment to understand the basic mechanics of a bird's foot. Read on to ensure comfy roosting.

You’d be forgiven for thinking there isn’t much to consider when it comes to chicken coop perches. Find an old piece of wood and the birds will roost on it, right? Well, with decades of experience keeping chickens, we know there's a bit more to think about than this! Not only do laying birds need sufficient space on and above their perch, but they also tend to be rather fussy about the shape of it, too.

Photo: Andrei Niemimäki
When considering a perch for your coop, it’s important to take a moment to understand the mechanics of a bird’s foot; perching chickens have four toes that wrap around their perch. They don’t fall off their perch (even when asleep) due to two specially adapted flexor tendons in their legs. These tendons extend down the leg, right to the tip of their toes.
When the bird hops onto its perch, it bends its legs, causing the tendons to tighten and ‘lock’ the toes around the perch. If the legs are bent, these tendons stay locked. When the bird jumps off its perch, the tendons relax, and the toes can straighten.

The Perfect Perch for Chickens

For a bird to perch comfortably, the perch needs to replicate a branch of a tree (the natural roosting place). Sharp, 90-degree edges on perches are uncomfortable for chickens, so an artificial perch should ideally be square with rounded off corners, to allow their toes to wrap around it and grip effectively. A 30-40mm diameter is ideal for the average-sized laying chicken; if the perch is too thin, their toes will overlap underneath, and if too thick, they won’t be granted enough grip to effectively clamp them into position.

Photo: Jocelyn Auld

The height of the perch should also be considered. It needs to be located above the nest box, so hens aren’t tempted to roost in there overnight, but shouldn’t be so high that the heavier birds don’t struggle to reach it.

Allow adequate space between perches, so there’s plenty of room for the birds to flutter up and settle without pushing against each other. Remember, some of the heavier breeds, such as Brahmas and Orpingtons, may not want to roost on perches at all.

Nestera FSC Certified Perches

Nestera perches are available in a variety of sizes, depending on the size of coop you've chosen. Our perches are made from FSC-certified pine and extruded into a 36mm square section with rounded off edges - ideal for use by your chickens in your Nestera coop.

Check out our chicken coop accessories here.

Time to read: 2 minutes

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