Chicken Roost Ideas

chicken roost options

Like us people, chickens need a safe place to sleep at night. But unlike us, or other animals, they seek out a roost as their preferred place to sleep at night. So in addition to building your chicken coop – making a nice roost is also part of the process – but a very FUN part of it!

What’s great about chicken roosts is there are dozens of options and variations that can be used! Most commonly used are tree branches, 2 x 2 board, 2×4 board, and more. Other ideas can be wooden fence posts, scrap lumber from your shed, and more.

The best roost is one that is round or slightly rounded vs a square shape as it allows them to better grab onto it. Pictured below are a few of the more common, easily accessible roost ideas that most chicken farmers use.

Branch Chicken Roost
A 3 To 6 Inch Branch Makes A Great Roost
Board Chicken Roost
2 x 4 Roost
2 x 2 Chicken Roost
2 x 2 Roost
Wood Post Chicken Roosts
Wood Posts Like This Fence Post Make Excellent Roosts

For my own coop, I used a 2 x 4 and rounded off the top two edges with a circular saw, and these are working like a champ. The rounding off step is not necessary, but I’ve found that they are able to grip onto the roost better when it’s slightly rounded. A view of my roost and walkway leading to the roost is pictured below.

2 x 4 Roost With Rounded Edge. Ladder From Floor To Roost For Easy Access

I made sure to place the roosts where the droppings are not in my way when I enter the coop so I don’t have to clean it off my shoes after being inside. Depending on the type of coop you build, you may also want to consider positioning the roosts where you can easily clean up the droppings.

Where To Buy Roosts

If you don’t want to mess with the hassle of making a roost, you can buy one at your local farm store or online. Buying a roost may cost a bit more than making it yourself, but it also saves a lot of time…something to consider in our busy lives!

How Long Should The Roost Be?

To estimate the length of roost needed, figure that each chicken needs roughly 8-12 inches of roost space. The more space the better. But from what I’ve observed, even if you provided a 100 feet of roost space, they’ll likely just huddle up next to each other anyway ? Go figure!

Maybe it’s because the coop can get a bit chilly at night, or maybe they feel safer that way…I just found it curious.


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Chicken Ladder

Chickens seem to like roosting higher in the coop at night, so I positioned mine about 4 feet off the ground. I then constructed a ladder (or walkway) leading up to the roost.  Since we clipped their wings (more on this in a bit), they are reliant on walking instead of flying, although they can still fly a short distance.

So I thought it might be more convenient for my flock to build a ramp that will allow them to climb to the roost.  The ladder design is very simple – basically an 7 inch wide board (or wider) which angles up from the floor to the roost with some make shift “steps” nailed on and spaced every 5″ or so – just something they can use to “grip” onto as they walk up.  Also pictured is a cool idea of simply using roofing shingles – very clever, and perhaps less work to put together!  (See image below)

Ramp using shingles

Wing Clipping

Back to wing clipping, just briefly – we clipped the outer part of the wings – on one side only. Don’t worry – this does not involve pain for the chickens in any way, and it prevents them from taking flight.  The wings are clipped toward the outer part of the wing where there is no blood supply. We didn’t clip their wings at first because we thought it would hurt them.

But they kept flying over the fence, however, and and we lost one to a neighborhood dog. Thus, the wing clipping, and consequent ramp from the floor to the roost inside the coop. There is a great illustration on wing clipping on the Backyard  Chickens website link below.

How-to-clip-chicken-wings

What NOT To Use As A Roost

Most of the most common roosts are listed above and are made of wood, which seems to be the best type of material. It’s hard enough to hold the weight of the birds, and also allows something for the chickens to hold onto.

There are many other similar looking materials that seem similar to wood, like 3 inch PVC piping or round steel posts. But these materials are not the best.

Plastic Piping is too slippery for the chickens to get a good grip on. Plus, the piping is rather flexible and can more easily bend in the middle of the span if the pipe is long.

Chicken Roosts
PVC Not A Good Roost Option. Photo by Cavai

Steel is not the best material either as it is very cold in the winter and, if you live in a cold climate, can potentially cause frost bite  in their feet.

Roost Idea
Steel Post Not The Best Chicken Roost Option (photo at Pixabay)

As you can see – it’s pretty darn simple to buy, build, or find a chicken roost. They can be built with a lot of materials you have all around you! You could cut off a branch from a tree in your yard…or check for a stray 2 x 4 in your garage. Making a chicken roost is one of the most simple yet satisfying tasks when building your coop!

For more on building, buying, or designing your coop check out this article.

Leave a comment below on roosts that have worked for you or that you’re planning to use for your coop – thanks for stopping by!

8 Comments on “Chicken Roost Ideas”

  1. I find the renewed interest in raising chickens a bit of a novelty as taking care of chickens was such a pain when I was a kid.  Who knows why as it was easy, but just something I didn’t like.  Of course, the quickness to try and peck you when you startled them in the coop may have contributed.

    The suggestions you have given sound like what I remember from the chicken houses we had.  Growing up on a farm, we had our share of chickens.  The eggs were sure worth it.  Being more certain of what the chickens were fed, and letting them roam free was a great way to have chickens.  On the farm, we didn’t have neighborhood dogs usually, but they would get in the tractor shed and roost in the tractor seat.  I don’t suppose we had varmints as I don’t remember shutting them in at night. How big do you suggest a chicken coop be?

    1. Hello Sami – I see you have memories of chickens growing up, and sometimes not always positive:) It wasn’t as much fun for me as a kid either, more like work! And yes, if they are free ranging all over the yard, things can sure get messy. But as I get older and have more control over things, I’ve grown to enjoy it. As for space needed, the suggested size is 2 to 3 square feet per chicken for the inside of the coop and around 8 – 10 square feet in the run. Thanks for your comments.

  2. i find the way you write about your chickens to be evident of the love and care you have for them. Thanks for another great article. It had never occurred to me that there are certain building materials that are not ideal to make a chicken roost. We use good old logs and thick tree branches at home. The idea of clipping wings is new to me, but seems like it has some benefits to it. Is the clipping done once or it has to be repeated over time as the feathers grow back?

    1. Hello Nozipho – thanks for your kind comments. Yes, wing clipping is quite easy but it does have to be repeated every so often. I’m not sure of the frequency but I’m guessing around once per year. We usually notice when they are starting to take flight and just repeat the process. Or, you can simply pick one up and examine their wings to se if the wings are growing back and, if so, just clip them again.All the best to you!

  3. A whole lot more that I have discovered in this site. This is another very informative post and though I must be honest that I had little to no idea about all of these before but it actually makes sense to actually read here especially on what to do and what ought not to be tried when making a roost for chicken. Thank you for sharing here

    1. Hello Kimberly – We are grateful you’re getting some valuable information here. Roosts are one of the more fun coop accessories to put in because with a little imagination, there are so many things that can be used. AND, they are relatively easy to put in. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I found your article on chicken roosts to be very interesting. I have come across several wooden roosts but never steel nor PVC. With this new knowledge about the disadvantages of the non-wooden materials, I will keep a watch out.

    I am just wondering. Should the roost be in a straight line or can it be somewhat slanted?

    1. Hello Carol, thanks for your interest! The design of the roosts can be any configuration that works in your coop. But having it level or close to level will make it easier and more comfortable for your chickens. 

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