Hens: 1, Owner: 0
Today, the P-hammock (as I have come to refer to it) came down. It’s a great idea that my chickens roundly gave the middle toe to.
Every morning for the past week when I opened the coop door, I hoped to see the usual 4 or 5 birds that have occupied that portion of the roost without fail for the past five years neatly lined up with their rear ends properly aligned.
Instead, what I had every morning were a dozen birds (even those on the roost not covered by the P-hammock) lined up with their heads cocked over their backs – tails pointing away from the wall and into the coop – giving me the stink eye. It might be tempting from this to assume that this is just the way my chickens have always roosted and I placed the sling on the wrong side of the perch.
Nope. All generations of the birds I have kept in this coop for 10 years have always roosted facing into the coop. Never ever did they roost facing the wall. To really appreciate the ability of the chicken to transmit its approval (or disapproval in this case) of a change in its environment, the new alignment of all of my chickens means that every single one of them flew up or jumped up from the ramp below, which is against the wall, and then turned around on the perch to settle into looking at the wall…. an acrobatic maneuver that has certainly never been the norm in this coop.
Oh, occasionally in the last week I have caught my one hen, Goldie, sitting over the hammock and depositing a token dropping, but in general, the chickens have spoken. More frequent mucking out of the litter will continue to be the order of the coop – no new-fangled ideas like P-hammocks.
On a less silly note – really the problem is that the way I have my coop set up, it’s not conducive to effective use of a hanging net or screen under a roost. A careful examination of the pics that Linda D provided on the Chicken Wire shows that those perches are lower, and have the screen set up so that it doesn’t matter which way the birds orient (or so it seems from the pics). My coop has restricted access for the birds to reach the perch, which is quite high off the ground (to maximize them being at the warmest parts of the coop in winter) and it is a long piece of willow that spans the whole coop horizontally. I think because of the height and the way the birds access this, their main roost, the screen was just too visible to them, and they could not (would not) overcome their suspicions of such an odd thing hanging in their coop.
It’s always worth a try, though, to take an idea that works in one coop and see if it works in yours. Or not.
That is strange. I would think that the hens would put their butts towards the wall/hammock. Usually they want their backside towards a wall, and their face towards the doorway. Have you thought about switching the hammock to the other side?
Ah yes, this is why I knew they were determined not to accept this time-saving (for me) device. They never roost facing the wall, but persistently did so after the screen was installed…they definitely did not like having it under them. The way my coop is configured, it is not possible to have the screen under both sides of the perch: the chickens would not be able to fly up to the perch, and I would not b be able to access their water or clean the majority of the coop. It’s a great idea that doesn’t fit my coop – nor apparently, my chickens’ notion of what constitutes acceptable living quarters.
I have used poop boards for quite a few years now. The boards are situated a few inches under the roost so it collects most, but not all, of the droppings. We to have our roost up high to make the most of the heat in the winter. We use the deep litter method of bedding and the boards keep the coop a bit more clean. We scrape the boards clean with a 4″ putty knife. Recently we replaced the boards and used ones that were painted and found those easier to clean.