Chickens Roosting on the Feed Barrel
Kevin Felts 12.08.16
Chickens will roost on anything they can, including stuff they are not supposed to. In this case, I keep a metal trash can in the chicken house to store feed. The chickens get on top of the barrel and roost there overnight.
If a chicken needs to poo at night, they stand up slightly, then poop. This causes the lid of my feed barrel to get covered in chicken manure. When I go to get feed the chickens, manure will get on my hands. Sometimes, the poo will fall into the feed barrel when I take the lid off.
This is just one of the many problems chickens cause. They are their own worst enemy.
My solution was to build an angled cover over the feed barrel. Chickens like to roost on something that is flat and level. If they are having to move to get a firm footing, they can not sleep.
Chicken Feed Barrel Cover
I the lid off the feed barrel, placed a 1×4 on top of the barrel, then measured from the outside of the barrel to the inside wall. This came out to be something like 24 inches.
Two 2x4s were cut 24 inches long, placed on top pf the 1×4, leveled with a two foot level, then held against the wall stud with c-clamps. A single 3 inch long screw was ran though the 2×4 and into the wall stud.
On the outside end of the 2x4s, another 2×4 spanning the width was secured using 3 inch long screws.
I had a piece of plywood on hand that was 34 inches long. Rather than cut the plywood shorter, I left it that long and measured from the tips of the 2×4 frame up to the wall stud at an angle.
The greater the slope, the less likely a chicken is to roost on something.
Once I had an estimated length, the sloped 2x4s were cut to length, placed on the frame and against a wall stud to get the angle, trimmed, assembled, held in place with c-clamps, then 3 inch long screws were used to secure the boards.
To reinforce the plywood lid, 1x4s were ran the length of the plywood. 1 1/4 long screws were ran through the plywood and into the 1x4s.
Hinges were spaced 1/3rd the length of the plywood. 1 1/4 long screws were used on the hinges.
The lid was placed on the frame. 1 1/2 long screws were ran through the hinges and into the 2x4s.
Snakes will get into places they feel safe. This is usually inside or under something. To make sure I can see the top of the feed barrel, I used wire mesh on the sides. I wanted the sides open so I can see if there is a chicken snake on top of the feed barrel.
The wire mesh was placed on the sides, stapled in place, then trimmed to fit.
This also prevented chickens from roosting on the sides of the cover.
That night I went out to the chicken house and none of the chickens were on the feed barrel cover. From now on the barrel lid will be nice and clean.
The next issue I have to address is the chickens sleeping in the laying boxes, but that will be for another article.