Chicken Roost Ideas and Designs – 18 Different Options for Any Size Coop

Looking for a few good ideas to install a roosting bar in your chicken coop?

Three chickens perched on a roosting bar made of round wooden dowel blue background

Chicken roosts are an important part of the overall design of your chicken coop. They cater to your chicken’s natural instinct to keep off the ground and out of danger. They also provide a place for birds to sleep, roost and rest.

Learn how to design your own chicken roost from materials that can be collected from your own backyard, farm, or homestead.

Indoor Chicken Roosting Bar Ideas – Explore These DIY Options

When adding sleeping space to the chicken coop, one of the most common choices for roosting bars is lumber.

Three silkies on a wooden board

Two by two, two by three, and two by four are all good choices, depending on the breed and preference. But there are plenty of other materials you can use to build additional roosts for your chickens.

Check out these easy DIY ideas to create roosting bars for your chicken coop.

Tree Branch Chicken Roost

One of the most popular DIY ideas is to use a tree branch as a roosting bar. The rough surface prevents chickens from slipping and you can choose the size which best fits your chicken’s feet.

chickens in a row on a tree branch inside the hen house

There are a few configurations you can install using tree branches.

  • Select a branch that is the width of your chicken coop and attach it to the wall on either side.
  • Build a ladder-style chicken roost with several branches.
  • Create a grid out of the branches and hang it from the ceiling.

The branches should have a fairly uniform diameter of at least 1.5 inches and up to 4 inches thick. Base the diameter on the size of your chickens.

Clean it up by removing any smaller branches and sanding down any sharp spots. Optionally treat it with tea tree oil or diatomaceous earth to discourage insects.

A Roosting Tree

A variation on the tree branch idea is to leave the side branches attached and use the whole tree. This can work in a chicken coop with more room to give your chickens a unique and natural place to sleep.

Bamboo Poles

bamboo growing outside

Bamboo is an excellent material that can be sourced relatively inexpensively. It also has a great texture for gripping and is easy to cut to fit the length of your chicken coop.

Look for garden centers or neighbors that use bamboo as a privacy hedge. It grows so fast, many times they will be happy to let you chop down a few lengths for free.

Wooden Pallets

Pallets are a great source of wood that can be used in the construction of your chicken coop as well as to build an inexpensive chicken roost. What is nice about using pallets is the frame is built-in.

stack of wooden pallets

Remove several of the interior boards so there is adequate room in between the rungs.

Wooden Ladders

Ladders make great roosting bars for chickens. They are easy to modify and have just about the right width for getting a good grip.

Ladders can be attached horizontally or used vertically at an angle.

Window Frames

If you have access to unused building materials, window frames can be used to create a grid-style roosting bar.

Attach several window frames together to span the length of your coop or suspend them separately from the ceiling.

Fence Posts

Chickens naturally perch on our fences when outside. So, it makes sense to repurpose these boards inside the chicken coop.

four chickens up on the fence

If you live on a farm or homestead, it’s pretty likely that you have a few extra fence railings or posts hidden away in the barn. And if not, they are pretty easy to come by.

The wider round fence railings make especially nice-sized roosting bars.

Wooden Spindles and Deck Railings

Look in your local hardware or home improvement store for wood spindles. They can be purchased in varying lengths and widths.

For example, this 36 in. x 2 in. x 2 in. Pressure-Treated Wood Square End Baluster from Home Depot is a good option. Each is under $2 which is super affordable, even if you need to add several to your hen house.

Depending on the style this can make for an elegant touch to the chicken coop.

Wooden Dowels

Larger round wooden dowels can also be used to make perches inside the coop. Choose the thicker diameters of 2 inches or more.

Need a Few Small Chicken Coop Roost Ideas?

Not all of the above designs may fit in the smaller backyard setups. If you have limited space inside the chicken coop, the next few ideas are for you.

Wicker Furniture

two chickens perched on the handle of wicker furniture

The frame of wicker furniture can make a small perch for a few chickens. And it can double as a place for you to sit as you visit with the chickens at the end of the day.

Just be sure it is sturdy enough to take a little weight if more than a few birds decide to share the space.

Shoe Racks

Shoe racks can make good training roosts for younger birds or chickens that don’t like to sleep higher up in the coop. They fit easily in the smaller chicken coops

Wooden Drawers

You can repurpose old wooden drawers to make smaller roosts for your chicken. Cut the wider side down to the appropriate width for your chickens.

Ready-Made Roosting Bars

If you can’t find the right supplies to make your own chicken roosts, there are a few places where you can buy a ready-made roosting bar for your coop.

The 30-inch solid wood roosting bar below is a popular choice and is made from American poplar.

Backyard Barnyard 30″ Chicken Perch Roosting Bar

  • Perch Diameter is 2.5 inches
  • Mounting Boards are 5.75 inches
  • Made in the USA

Find it on The Backyard Barnyard Store on Etsy.

If you want a quick and easy alternative to making your own chicken roost, check out this prebuilt perch from the Backyard Barnyard Shop on Etsy.

Outdoor Roosting Bar Ideas for the Chicken Run

Chickens like to roost in the daytime as well as when they sleep at night.

If your chickens are confined to a run during the day, add a few outdoor chicken roosts to give your girls a place to nap after a long day of foraging.

Two options for adding a roost inside the chicken run

Adding roosting bars to the chicken run will let them rest above ground where they feel safer and can keep a good eye on their surroundings.

Garden Trellis

A garden trellis can make an excellent perching space both inside the chicken coop and in the run. Just be sure to add an easy way for them to hop up to the higher perches like a fence or ladder.

Vines can be trained to grow up the trellis offering even more perching options.

Chicken Swings

Adding a swing to your chicken run can offer your chickens a little entertainment as well as a place to rest. You can build a swing fairly easily or buy one at your favorite farm store.

Chicken Swing by AplusRdesigns

  • 24 inch long by about 3 inches wide
  • Includes 15 feet of 550 pound paracord on each side.
  • Install outside in the chicken run or inside a larger coop.

Find it at the APlusRdesigns Store on Etsy.

Jungle Gym

Outdoor playsets typically have the right size frame for your chickens to use as a roost. Look on craigslist or freecycle websites to find a good bargain.

Jungle gym welded together to make a chicken roost with plenty of space

Plant a Small Tree

Since free-ranging chickens love to perch in trees, so why not add one in your chicken run? It doesn’t have to be too tall, you may be able to find a dwarf variety with nice thick branches.

A small tree can also provide much-needed shade in the summer months.

Chicken Roosting Ladders

Want to build your own chicken ladder? Check out this simple build on YouTube that uses extra materials they had leftover from another project.

The design is four feet wide by three feet tall. It’s also double-sided, so chickens can side on either side of the structure.

What I like about this design is the hinges on top that give you the flexibility to make it taller or wider as needed. It also collapses and can be removed for cleaning.

What Makes a Good Chicken Roost?

Roosts should be comfortable for the chickens, stable, and easy to clean. Try to avoid using metal or plastic material that can be too slippery to maintain a good grip.

Chickens struggling to remain on unsteady perches can end up with bumblefoot or other infections. It also doesn’t promote a restful environment if have to keep adjusting their feet.

Tips For Making Your Own DIY Chicken Roosts

  • Choose a sturdy material, free from sharp edges or angles
  • Make sure the surface area is wide enough to support the weight and comfort of your chickens. The experts recommend between 1.5 as a minimum and up to 5 inches wide. The most common is 2.5 inches.
  • When using natural materials or older wood found outside, inspect it for burrowing insects and consider treating the wood to prevent mites or pests.

See our detailed article on chicken roosts for specific guidance on the size, shape, and length of a good roosting bar.

Chicken Ladders vs Roosting Bars

Ladder style chicken roost with different levels

When choosing the style of your DIY chicken roost, consider the social dynamics of your group.

Offering multiple heights for your hens can sometimes lead to squabbles about who gets the highest perch. In this case, adding several roosting bars all at the same level is a better option to promote peace.

However, if you house multiple breeds of chickens, a ladder-style roosting bar or multiple levels can be beneficial. Not all chickens have the ability to fly to a higher perch.

The best idea is to check with farmers in your area to determine what height works best for each breed.

And always give your chickens a ladder or hopping bar to access the top levels.

What’s Your Favorite Chicken Roosting Bar Idea?

We hope this article inspired you and gave your a few good ideas to source your own chicken roost.

Have a favorite design or new chicken roost idea? Let us know in the comments!

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Chicken Roost Ideas - Collage of roosting bars in chicken coop and run
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