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Advice needed for perch height change in coop please!!!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi there,
My husband and I bought 6 day old chicks last March. All of them grew to be healthy and happy. Unfortunately today we found one chicken, Ruby, dead in the bottom of the coop, around the area where they fly down from the perch. She was happily perching last night and showed to have a twisted neck but no other signs or symptoms of infection or disease. We are so sad. We have an indoor coop that is open to an outdoor run, and we let them free range in the yard most days. We live in a moderate climate so have no concerns about heat or cold. The indoor part of the coop is about 4 feet by 5 feet. The nesting boxes are about 18 inches off the ground on one side of the coop. Initially my husband had put up different perch heights up to about 7 feet tall. Of course they all scrunched together on the 7 footer and seemed distressed getting up and down. Also one got bumblefoot. So we lowered that highest perch to be about 6 feet. That way they had more head room but were still protected from the window drafts. Today we felt like maybe Ruby died from hitting something while flying down from the perch. They always try to fly out the opening to the run from the high perch and seem a little distressed by this. So today my husband changed the perch to be about 4 feet off the ground, with no other lower perch but they can hop on the nearby nesting boxes to get up. We watched them get up to the perch and they hopped up but all seemed very confused that there was no higher perch and a couple of them flew up to the top of the coop flapping their wings looking for a higher perch. This was distressing to us! And they could obviously be hurt by this. Will they adjust and remember tomorrow that there is no higher perch?! How long will it take them to adjust to the lower perch? Is it safer for them to be on a lower perch although now they are level with one of the windows?! Do we need to provide a step ladder or some other lower perch so they can easily fly up?! Although they seem to like to climb up they always seem to fly down in one swoop and we are concerned that they can do this safely. The bottom of the coop is cement but has a few inches of straw. Thank you all for your advice on our cute birds, we love them so and want to do what is best for them.
Monica and Derek
post #2 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by MonicaTay View Post

Hi there,
My husband and I bought 6 day old chicks last March. All of them grew to be healthy and happy. Unfortunately today we found one chicken, Ruby, dead in the bottom of the coop, around the area where they fly down from the perch.
She was happily perching last night and showed to have a twisted neck but no other signs or symptoms of infection or disease. We are so sad. We have an indoor coop that is open to an outdoor run, and we let them free range in the yard most days. We live in a moderate climate so have no concerns about heat or cold.
The indoor part of the coop is about 4 feet by 5 feet. The nesting boxes are about 18 inches off the ground on one side of the coop. Initially my husband had put up different perch heights up to about 7 feet tall. Of course they all scrunched together on the 7 footer and seemed distressed getting up and down. Also one got bumblefoot. So we lowered that highest perch to be about 6 feet. That way they had more head room but were still protected from the window drafts.
Today we felt like maybe Ruby died from hitting something while flying down from the perch. They always try to fly out the opening to the run from the high perch and seem a little distressed by this. So today my husband changed the perch to be about 4 feet off the ground, with no other lower perch but they can hop on the nearby nesting boxes to get up.
We watched them get up to the perch and they hopped up but all seemed very confused that there was no higher perch and a couple of them flew up to the top of the coop flapping their wings looking for a higher perch. This was distressing to us! And they could obviously be hurt by this. Will they adjust and remember tomorrow that there is no higher perch?!
How long will it take them to adjust to the lower perch? Is it safer for them to be on a lower perch although now they are level with one of the windows?! Do we need to provide a step ladder or some other lower perch so they can easily fly up?!
Although they seem to like to climb up they always seem to fly down in one swoop and we are concerned that they can do this safely. The bottom of the coop is cement but has a few inches of straw. Thank you all for your advice on our cute birds, we love them so and want to do what is best for them.
Monica and Derek

Welcome to BYC!

 

Small coops and high roosts don't mix, because of lack of landing area..... as you have learned.

Move the roosts down to about a foot above the nests.

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #3 of 5

I'm very sorry to hear this.

post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by aart View Post
 

Welcome to BYC!

 

Small coops and high roosts don't mix, because of lack of landing area..... as you have learned.

Move the roosts down to about a foot above the nests.

 

 

Hello,

 

I have a follow up question to this statement about the landing area.

 

How much room would they need then, or how much area should be dedicated to allow the birds to come down off of the roost?  Our final coop is going to be in the corner of our barn at about 6' tall, and being 10' x 8'.  We are still not decided on roost placement, or size.  We do know where we want the nesting boxes as well as the door into the coop.

 

Thanks for any advice and I'm sorry the OP lost a chicken and I don't mean to try to hijack the thread :)

Please see our coop and farm here

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1082178/building-a-chicken-moat-run-around-the-garden-in-stages

 

Our flock currently, 3 buff orpingtons, 3 barred rocks.

Reply

Please see our coop and farm here

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1082178/building-a-chicken-moat-run-around-the-garden-in-stages

 

Our flock currently, 3 buff orpingtons, 3 barred rocks.

Reply
post #5 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by OEF5 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by aart View Post
 

Welcome to BYC!

 

Small coops and high roosts don't mix, because of lack of landing area..... as you have learned.

Move the roosts down to about a foot above the nests.

 

 

Hello,

 

I have a follow up question to this statement about the landing area.

 

How much room would they need then, or how much area should be dedicated to allow the birds to come down off of the roost?  Our final coop is going to be in the corner of our barn at about 6' tall, and being 10' x 8'.  We are still not decided on roost placement, or size.  We do know where we want the nesting boxes as well as the door into the coop.

 

Thanks for any advice and I'm sorry the OP lost a chicken and I don't mean to try to hijack the thread :)

There's no hard numbers for a landing area.

My coop is 6' wide and roosts are 3' high and I had birds crashing into walls. 

Granted, was a new coop with mesh walls and new adult flock, so part of that was stress and unfamiliarity with the new environment.

But, I put up ramps and most birds use them most the time, some of my birds are biggies and not so agile and they use the ramps all the time.

 

There's a 'stack up' aspect to coop design that can be very helpful:

Bottom of pop door should be about 8" above floor so bedding doesn't get dragged out of coop.

Nice to have bottom of nests about 18" above bedding to allow use of that floor space under them(doesn't count if your nests are mounted on outside of coop).

Roosts should be about 12" higher than nests so birds won't roost(sleep) in nests and poop in them.

Upper venting should be as high as possible above roosts so no strong drafts hit roosts in winter...and hot/moist air and ammonia can rise and exit coop.

 

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
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BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance › Advice needed for perch height change in coop please!!!