All You Need To Know About Chicken Roosts

I've noticed lately that quite a few people have found my blog by googling "chicken roost".  This led me to believe there are questions out there about roosts, which has, in turn, led me to write this article.  Hopefully this will answer questions to those of you who may have them.

Chickens prefer to be up off the ground, particularly when sleeping.  Those who don't have coops to return to will usually roost in trees.

Lori on the outdoor roost

Our girls love their indoor and outdoor roosts at all times of the day.  It seems to provide a bit of entertainment for them while allowing them to be up higher to see out and around the property.  {We used a leftover 2x4 that my husband ripped down to about 2 1/2" then rounded the edges - see photo below.  We have also provided them with 2 flat shelves - very popular.  They are first come, first served.}

Material - Many things can be used as roost material - an old wooden ladder, tree branches, wooden dowels or new lumber with the edges rounded and sanded so they can't get splinters.  Chickens will also roost on flat surfaces such as a 2x4 or a shelf.  This can also help prevent frostbite in cold coops because rather than their toes wrapping around the roost they lay flat and their feathers cover them.  Metal pipes don't work as well as wood because they can't get a good grip.

Size - they should be about 1 inch in diameter for bantams or 2 inches in diameter for regular and larger breeds.

Height - A couple of feet off the ground is sufficient.  If you are going to make the roost much higher than 3 feet, staggering the roosts at different heights {like stairs} will make it easier for heavier breeds to get up and down from the roost without injuring themselves.  Just make sure to not put the roost directly under one another or the chickens on the lower roosts will end up covered in droppings.

Make sure they have sufficient head room as well.  If you have a rooster, they will want to stretch their neck up and crow from the roost and, therefore, will need a bit more room.

Space Requirements - typically, about 10-12 inches of space per chicken will be sufficient.

Location - when planning your coop, you need the roosts to be separate from the feeders, waterer's and nesting boxes because they will drop a large amount of droppings when they sleep. 

Hopefully this information is helpful to those of you building or renovating coops.  When we moved our flock from their old coop to the new coop they were extremely confused.  They had no idea what to do.  We placed every single chicken on their new roost the first night.  After that, it was habit.

Additional Chicken-Keeping articles that may be of interest:
Chicken Coop 101:  13 Lessons Learned While Building Our Coop
Chicken Water
Introducing New Chickens To The Flock
So You Want To Raise Chickens: Part 1
So You Want To Raise Chickens:  Part 2
The Chicken Coop at Cobble Hill Farm
All You Need To Know About Nesting Boxes


  1. Our indoor roost is a platform my dad built for the girl. Outside, we had a "pole" from our old Re-enactment tent that fit perfectly across the corner of their run. They love it.

  2. I would like to see more... homesteading posts! You are such an inspiration!

  3. I love all your stories about your farm and animals. I would enjoy more Jack stories! lol

  4. I found your wonderful blog while looking to build a chicken coop. I have tried to steer as many people to your great chicken posts as I can!

  5. Great info, as usual! Pinned under "dream life". ;0D


Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on this post!