To remain safe from predators, chickens naturally seek roosts for sleeping. Chickens sleep quite soundly, and are neither speedy nor agile, making a hasty escape from the jaws of danger nearly impossible. Proper roosting areas also aid in maintaining your chickens health by reducing exposure to pathogens, bacteria and parasites such as ticks and lice. Outdoors, chickens will roost in trees as high as 40 feet off the ground. Inside your coop, place perches at varying heights, and stagger them for ease of access.
Select the location of your roosts. Place your lowest perch at least 18 inches above the floor, and your highest perch at least 15 inches below the ceiling. Allow 15 inches of headroom between perches and avoid placing them over nesting boxes, food dishes or water bowls. Do not obstruct access points such as doorways and don't place perches directly in front of ventilation areas.
Determine how many inches of roosting perches you will need. Although chickens prefer to roost together for balance and warmth, allow 8 to 10 inches of perch length per chicken. For example, if you have 10 chickens, you will need 80 to 100 inches of roosting space, divided between the number of roosts you want to install. Depending upon the number of chickens you have, the amount of perch space your chickens will need and the configuration of your coop, you may choose to install one, two, three or more individual roosting perches. Again, as an example, if you install three perches that are 25 inches long each, you would have a total of 75 inches of perch space, enough for seven or eight chickens.
Cut 2-by-4 boards to appropriate perch lengths. Check the boards for splinters or rough edges and sand them if necessary.
Attach the boards to the interior of your chicken coop. Place the 4-inch side of the board facing up, since chickens prefer to sleep flat-footed and don't wrap their feet around the perch as other birds tend to. Use nails or screws to hold the perches in place, attaching them from the outside wall of the coop, through the wall and into the perch. For stability, fasten both ends of the roosting board to the coop walls. Use at least two screws or nails to attach each end of each board. The length of nails or screws you use will depend upon the thickness of the material you are attaching the roosting board to. Generally, you will want fasteners that are at least 2 inches long.