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roost spacing

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

What is the optimal space per chicken on a roost? I'm building a new coop. The two-story wood enclosed part is 8'x4'. It will have  four 8' roosts. Two high and two lower in the upper story. The lower area (2 broody pens when needed) will have two 4' roosts. The wire encased area is 8'x8'. It is covered with shade cloth. That area will have four 8' roosts. Two high and two lower. It will also have two 8' roosts that span the distance between the higher and lower roost (U shaped). I want an "open" roost area due to the heat here in southern Arizona. The "open" area will be tarped during monsoon season. At present I have 10 medium sized adult chickens, 4 adolescent medium chicks, 4 Bantys, and 1 Silky. I plan on having another 20 medium sized hens. Will I have enough space either inside or outside to house that many chickens? Coop is only for sleeping. Their run is 42'x42' and they have access to the horse stalls and barn and free range on 1 acre during the day. Sorry for such a long post but I wanted to give the best information. Thanks

post #2 of 12

All those numbers made my head hurt! tongue   But I used 12" per large-breed hen.  Of course, they all want to be on the top roost! I have 15 hens and at least 9 of them usually perch on the top row. roll

Susan

"In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not in its taste, but its effects." -J. William Fulbright
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Susan

"In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not in its taste, but its effects." -J. William Fulbright
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post #3 of 12

Our roost is about 5 feet long for 4 birds.  They cram themselves onto about 18 inches of that.  My girls are 3 standards & a banty.

post #4 of 12

They do like to snuggle, don't they? smile

Susan

"In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not in its taste, but its effects." -J. William Fulbright
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Susan

"In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not in its taste, but its effects." -J. William Fulbright
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post #5 of 12

The standard answer is 10", give or take, per standard bird.  So, you would need about 400" of roost.  Sounds like you will have just shy of that in the inside coop and plenty more in the outside area.   I don't know if the flock will roost in two different places, maybe someone can enlighten us on their experience with that.

What I don't understand is how you can get 4 roosts into a 4' wide area across the entire length of the coop.  Where do you put the nest boxes, feeders, and waterers?  You don't want your roosts over your feeders or your waterers.  Plus, it almost sounds like you have two roost poles over the top of two others.  This won't work, as half your chickens will either get pooped on all night or they will all try to roost on the top two.  You should have at least 12" between roost poles and between poles and walls.

post #6 of 12

That was great information to help us help you.

Even in Arizona I'm seriously concerned about the sheer number of chickens you have and want to add to that small space.   Even if they free range or are outside during the day you should try to keep 4 sq. feet per standard size chicken and 2-3 sq. ft. (I prefer the 3 feet) per Bantam for inside coop space.   You reasonably have enough space for 8 standard size chickens!  If you ever (like in a monsoon) had to shut them up inside, for even a day - I think they'd kill each other over the complete lack of space.  You'd certainly get lots of feather pecking.

As to your roosts, you've gotten good advice from the others above.   I agree that you don't want to have any roost over another roost, the nest boxes, feeders or waterer.

Australorps, Andalusian, Black Sex-link, Brahma, Buff Orps, EE, SS Hamburg, RIR, Red Sex-link, Silkies, Sussex, Welsummer, White Leghorns, Wyandotte and Guineas!
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Australorps, Andalusian, Black Sex-link, Brahma, Buff Orps, EE, SS Hamburg, RIR, Red Sex-link, Silkies, Sussex, Welsummer, White Leghorns, Wyandotte and Guineas!
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post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

The chickens free range on just over an acre of heavily vegetated desert. There are many mesquite and ironwood trees and more than two dozen creasote bushes, along with other plants. They have daytime access to 2 15'x15' enclosed horse stalls and a 15'x20' barn area. They will never be confined to just the coop area. It is there for night time predator protection only. Their actual run is 42'x42'. It has shade cloth, netting, or wire over part of it. They also have 2 4'x8' lattice hiding panels in the run. These are 8" off the ground. All waterers are located outside of the coop area in the run.  I do not feed in containers. I toss their feed out on the ground 3 times a day. If I put it in containers the wild birds just eat it all. Two levels of nest boxes are located outside of the coop. The openings are in the coop wall, with a slanted dropping board shading the nest openings. Access to the nest boxes for egg collection is from the outside. The inside coop area is just for chickens. Clean out is from either end through doors. We are at the end of monsoon season and the chickens have never spent time in the existing 6'x8' coop except to sleep and lay eggs. When it has rained heavily they all go into the stalls with the horses and goats. In just a light rain most of them just hang out under the bushes. I may have to rethink the inside roosts if I need 12" between roosts etc. The actual dimensions are outside coop - 104"x 96" and inside coop - 104"x56". Thanks for all your good advice.

post #8 of 12

Sounds good to me!  smile

post #9 of 12

You can reduce the space between roost poles if you stagger the height.  You could probably get away with 9" spacing if there is a 6-9" height difference between roosts.  Having the roosts on different levels will keep the chickens cooler too.

post #10 of 12

We have two 7 foot long roosts for 15 birds and they ALL roost on the same one!  The second one sets unused lol.  Silly birds!

Have had chickens for a whole six years now!  This year decided to try out ducks too!  WOW messy they are, but totally worth it, their cuteness overpowers all the messes they can make :D  Check them out at:  autumnbreezechickens.blogspot.com

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Have had chickens for a whole six years now!  This year decided to try out ducks too!  WOW messy they are, but totally worth it, their cuteness overpowers all the messes they can make :D  Check them out at:  autumnbreezechickens.blogspot.com

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