Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Alternative perching options

Chickens like perching.

These are our chickens 10 months ago. As soon as they learned to fly, they started exploring their perching options.

12-days old chickens exploring their perching options.

A perch is for chickens what a bed and a sofa is for humans. It's not absolutely necessary for survival, but it makes life much, much more enjoyable.

Unfortunately our farm has only one proper perch - the one inside the coop. That perch is chickens' bed at night and their sofa during the day. From the chickens' perspective, however, having just one combined bed-sofa perch is terribly inconvenient - to reach a perch during the day, when they are mostly out in the run, they have to walk all the way back to the coop.

As always, chickens proved resourceful in identifying alternative perching options. Here's a collection of them, as spotted in the past ten days.

Alternative perch No. 1: Gate

The gate-perch is a bit shaky but it does fulfill the minimum Perch Requirements.

Alternative perch No. 2: Goat's royal seat.

Goats (quite like chickens) like high places. Natchan the Goat had her personal pedestal, on top of which she would stand, enjoy the view and feel like a queen.
Now that Natchan is not here, sometimes a chicken jumps up on the goat's pedestal, looks around and tries to feel like a queen. But something doesn't feel right. No wonder, it's the goat's royal seat. It's too flat for a true chicken perch. But better than nothing.

Alternative perch No. 3: Roof (of a low structure)

In the back of the picture, you can see a low wooden structure with a chicken on top of it. We expected that chickens would notice the perching potential of this roof at some point, and indeed they did. It actually took them longer than we thought.

Alternative perch No. 4: Absolutely mistaken choice

Chickens sometimes go too far in their inventiveness.

One day we worked in the coop until late afternoon, with the door between the coop and the storage room open. Slowly, chickens started to gather in the coop, jumping up the perch and getting ready to sleep, which mainly involves who-gets-the-best-sleeping-spot fight. Then one chicken discovered The Door.

"I got the best spot!" (top right)

The hen was seriously determined to sleep on her new perch, so we had to politely help her off. We apologized for inconvenience, but I think she was angry with us for taking that perfect spot away from her. Some perches are simply too good to be true.