We’re adding a roosting box to our garden in hopes of relieving a few of our local birds from the cold. We really want to see some hot chicks out there rather than the poor fluffed up pathetic looking chicks we see daily. I’d originally planned to build a birdhouse to keep one little bird family nice and toasty, but I’ve learned that a roosting box for several birds is really the way to go. I had no idea. Being the cool chick that I am, I just assumed that all chicks preferred a peaceful little house with a nice nest to snuggle down into. I was wrong. To keep warm, many of the birds in my garden like to flock together into roosting boxes with little perches inside. The more the merrier. Evidently, that’s how hot chicks roll. Who knew?
Since we now know how to best meet the needs of our particular birds, we took up roosting box building for a weekend project. Here’s our roosting box design for hot chicks. There’s definitely more than one way to build a roosting box, but this was how we did it.
Roosting Box Materials
We gathered up the items we’d need to build our roosting box. We used a salvaged 6″ wide and 1″ thick fence rail for most of the box. We used 3″ wide fence pickets for supplemental pieces, too. Besides that, we needed some screws, and we needed to incorporate a hinge. The hinged portion of the roosting box allows us to access the inside of the box to clean it when needed, which is a feature specific to roosting boxes. Hot chicks know how to party in those boxes, and somebody has to clean up after them.
How to Build a Roosting Box
We cut a sturdy back and base from the fence rail. Then we screwed the basic framework together so it was nice and solid. We also used the chunkier wood for the top of the box.
We used pieces of the smaller fence pickets for the front and sides of our roosting box. The front of the box is hinged and can be opened. The big, rusty hinge was repurposed from an old barn door, and it gives the box a lot of character. With the hinge, this roosting box may indeed be the coolest roosting box around.
Once we secured the hinged front, we were down to the details. We drilled several 1/4 ” holes into the back of the box, and we inserted 1/4″ dowels into the holes for perches. We used wood glue for the dowels so they would stay in place.
Hot Chicks Guaranteed
We drilled a hole into the bottom of the front of the box for an entry/exit. This feature is one of the primary differences between roosting boxes and birdhouses. Since roosting boxes are specifically made for warmth and not for nesting, the entry hole is at the bottom. Heat will rise, and less heat will be lost when the hole is low. Once the birds enter the box and choose a perch, they fluff up their feathers, and their little bodies generate heat for a warm little roosting box. Hot chicks galore!
The best placement for a roosting box is in a location where the box will receive warm, southern sunshine. A source of food nearby is a plus, too. So, we are mounting our little roosting box to a fence post 5 feet off the ground near some trees. The trees provide a source of food and shelter. We hope that the cold little birds will discover our roosting box so they’ll become hot chicks themselves.