The new perches gave proved a huge success. For over a year I have been dealing with a temporary set up while we built the coop. Thats not completed yet but in a moment of clarity I realized that what we were probably going to build wasnt going to be practical.
The traditional perches have a major problem. Often impossible for handicapped chickens, as is our Ronnie with his amputated toe and Sweetie with her lame leg, to jump upto perch. Other chickens struggle with the pecking order and are often knocked from the perch and in the process can get injured.
Cleaning too can be difficult, having to bend beneath the perches. I realized that a couple of metal tables we had from the local brocante would also prevent the issues we recently had of a small invasion of red mites, swiftly removed as lurking only in one of our rotting ladder ends, and mean floor space was still available but cleaning was great for me as no bending. My back isn’t great but I needed a solution for when I get older.
So we made a very light and portable tabletop perch. It also incorporates three types of perches. Some chickens like narrow perches, about 5cm wide. Others prefer flat so they can sit and cove their feet with their feathers, especially in cold weather. So we have flat, squared and rounded.
Ronnie had to be guided up the ramps we made. He was a little wobbly but it was the first time in a year he could actually sleep with his girls. Usually he has a ground level bed. It’s ok but he looked so happy once he had taken poll position up front. The rest followed, and argued and squabbled about hierarchy, but as soon as lights were out, everyone settled. In the other coop Napoleon and his girls had settled too, also finding the new perch fine.
The next morning cleaning time reduced from fifteen minutes down to just a couple, plus I used less hemp. A win, win for us all. The good thing is that these perches can be moved to the outer coops in summer, so the girls can benefit from a cool breeze. In winter I can easily tuck them away from any draft and tuck them way back inside where its warmer. A quick coating of anti-white solution every few months and I have a portable, sterile and flexible system. So relieved.