Victoria Miller wrote:Hi Sarah,
Ah, very good question about roosts. Things like "broilers don't need roosts but layers do" have gotten copied and pasted all over the Internet to the point where everyone thinks it's a fact. Really what they mean is, if you want to raise broilers in a chicken tractor or other mobile coop, the birds will survive without roosts. You're right that is very stressful for birds to sleep on the ground, partly because they simply don't feel as safe. It is also, in my opinion, healthier for the birds to be up off the ground. The air can circulate around them, their poop drops to the ground and they're not sitting in it (a big problem with crowded chicken tractors that you rarely see mentioned anywhere), and during colder weather their feet get very cold when they're on the ground. On a roost of the right size, a chicken's toes go only partway around the roost; then the bird settles down with her feathers covering her feet so they stay nice and warm and dry.
Is there some particular reason you want to use chicken tractors? If you can let them range a bit during the day they will get all the benefits of being pasture-raised, and then they can go into a roost area where they can be safe and warm at night.