A couple questions regarding roosts

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Mom 2em All, Apr 21, 2008.

  1. Mom 2em All

    Mom 2em All Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2008
    Southeast Michigan
    My husband finished my coop yesterday, but I have to add the interior design- roosts and nest boxes. It is 6'LX3'WX 6'h(5' on the front side). The door is on the end. It looks like a lean-to. (I saw a lean-to storage shed called YardSaver by Arrow that I had him mimic). I am having him cut out two vent holes in the back 6'L wall, and one on the 3' end opposite of the door. My pophole is 12X12 on the front 6' wall, four inches up from the floor.

    I added a dual light inside so I can give light during the dark winter days, and for early morning feeding/etc. I was going to put a red/low watt bulb in one side, for a nightlight- just for evening so they can get settled and roost before it is completely dark. I have to figure out a way to put roost areas in and still be able to access nest boxes with no other door. If I keep the seramas or the banties, how high should the highest roost be? I was going to put in six nest boxes- I will keep no more than four hens. What if I put nest boxes on one side, and roost on the opposite? They could use the top of the nest box as their way to get to the higher roost? Three foot wide is not very wide, but because this is a 'secret' operation, for concealment purposes, I couldnt go wider.

    Oh shoot- I have one other question, but I probably should have put it in the Predator thread..do you have cats and do they bother the banties? The one unknown chicken we have looked like a snack for only one of my 5 cats, but an entire bucket of water fell on her head while she was focusing on the chicken, (she didn't see me), and she has ignored her since. My proposed area for the secret banties has my house on two sides, and a 6 foot privacy fence on the third side. Split rail fence (covered with hardware cloth) on the fourth side, with a gate. I really have no way to cover this area (anything higher than that privacy fence and all the neighbors will be on the phone with animal control, anything lower and I cant walk in there). The cats are really going to be my only predators.
     
  2. peepkeeper

    peepkeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 5, 2007
    upstate New York
    Your space is at a premium so why 6 nest boxes for 4 hens? 1 or 2 will do fine. Banties can roost just fine, mine roost with my other chickens, a roost about 2 feet off the floor, maybe a little less, will do. Again, you don't need much space for a roost. You have 4 hens and they probably will snuggle up to each other, for 4 hens a roost 3 feet long will do, will give extra space for the arguing for space that goes on at bedtime.
     
  3. Mom 2em All

    Mom 2em All Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2008
    Southeast Michigan
    Really? I don't know why I came up with needing extra boxes to give them a choice- well, thats even better to free up roost-me getting around in there- area.
    Thank you.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:If the chickens' run or pophole will be along the side of the building that corresponds to the low side of the roof, I'd suggest putting gutters on it (doesn't have to be commercial gutters, you could even make something yourself by slicing up pvc or screwing and caulking lengths of wood). And a downspout (ditto) to direct the water elsewhere. Even just a 3x6' roof will catch a surprising amount of rainfall and you don't want it all deposited in exactly the place where the chickens will make the maximum mess of it and vice versa [​IMG]

    I added a dual light inside so I can give light during the dark winter days, and for early morning feeding/etc. I was going to put a red/low watt bulb in one side, for a nightlight- just for evening so they can get settled and roost before it is completely dark.

    What a whole lot of people do, when providing additional winter 'day'length, is to add all of the extra hours in the *morning*, before dawn. That lets them go to roost naturally with the gradual dimming of actual dusk, and thus you don't need a nightlight. (I assume there is at least one decent sized window?)

    If I keep the seramas or the banties, how high should the highest roost be? I was going to put in six nest boxes- I will keep no more than four hens. What if I put nest boxes on one side, and roost on the opposite? They could use the top of the nest box as their way to get to the higher roost?

    As peepkeeper says, that is an insane number of nest boxes [​IMG] -- two, or one large one, hsould be just fine.

    To conserve space, you could put the roost above the nest boxes, with the top of the nest boxes flat and covered in vinyl flooring scraps -- presto, it becomes a droppings board, scrape the poo off every morning (very easy, esp. if you sprinkle a dusting of shavings on it after you clean it the previous day) into a bucket and remove it from the coop, and it will keep your coop cleaner drier and less smelly, too! [​IMG]

    Personally I would put the roost-over-nestboxes arrangement (if you used that) on the short end of the coop opposite the people door. While chickens can hop fairly well, they are not helicopters, and are going to have a tough time getting to a 2-3' (or higher) roost that is set a foot out from the wall with only a MAXIMUM of 2' in which to do it and that's if they back up and smush themselves against the wall before taking off [​IMG] Whereas putting the roost and boxes on the short wall lets them use most of the length of the coop. 3' of roost space is PLENTY for four banty or serama hens!!

    My proposed area for the secret banties has my house on two sides, and a 6 foot privacy fence on the third side. Split rail fence (covered with hardware cloth) on the fourth side, with a gate. I really have no way to cover this area (anything higher than that privacy fence and all the neighbors will be on the phone with animal control, anything lower and I cant walk in there). The cats are really going to be my only predators.

    There will be some sort of roof or mesh/wire top on this area, yes? Because otherwise when the chickens fly up and over the fence and get loose, which they *WILL* unless you clip their wings quite effectively and/or are extraordinarily lucky, there goes the 'secret' part of the secret chickens. Just checking... [​IMG]

    Sounds nice, though -- post pics! [​IMG]

    Pat​
     
  5. Mom 2em All

    Mom 2em All Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2008
    Southeast Michigan
    Can they go higher than six foot? I am not too worried about the split rail side- (okay, really, I am-but I am going to plant some type of shrubbery, so I can make that side higher inconspicuously).

    The roof has a nine inch overhang, and I planned on running a gutter of some type on it, or putting in pea gravel for drainage. The only thing going against me here is my husband. He grew up on his granny's farm, and the chicken coop must have been something like four plywood boards tacked together...for as much as he grumbled making this one. And milk crates for nest boxes?

    I could do the roost four foot in, what-3-4 ft high? That gives them a range of 2-3 foot head room. Nest box on the back wall, I could even do a second roost above that, as you suggested, and a foot higher.

    I only have to worry about the one neighbor in the morning hours. He is a thorn in my side, and I plan on giving him eggs (I actually plan on getting eggs from my brother-in-law...heh heh, a couple bantie eggs probably wouldn't keep him happy.) My day starts around here at 4 a.m., but my neighbors' do not. When I was turned in for having three hens before, the pound guy said, "Neighbor complaint that the chickens kept him up all night." Well, we know they are silent at night so they won't get eaten- but I figured I had the girls out too early in the morning and caught him on a bad day. I tried to talk them into getting chickens themselves- fresh eggs, change your mind and I can always give the hens to my b.i.l., etc. But that didn't work. This time around, better coop (converted my kids playhouse last time)- and better location-away from our shared fence. I don't mind him knowing I have them, my goal is to not get him mad so he won't call on me. They know I am hatching for my BIL anyhow.(the reason he knows anything is because his kids come over and play with my kids).
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:I don't have banties myself but other peoples' are notorious for being great flyers. It is especially easier for them when they can make an intermediate stop atop some other object - for instance, yours would only have to be able to get up *5* feet, to the lowest part of coop roof, and then up up and away to freedom [​IMG] If they feel like it. Sometimes chickens stay home, sometimes they don't, hard to predict. But if escapees would be a real problem, then I'd put a cover on the run for SURE.

    He grew up on his granny's farm, and the chicken coop must have been something like four plywood boards tacked together...for as much as he grumbled making this one. And milk crates for nest boxes?

    What, he thinks milk crates are too expensive and fancy to be used for nest boxes? [​IMG] They do make *good* nest boxes.

    I could do the roost four foot in, what-3-4 ft high? That gives them a range of 2-3 foot head room. Nest box on the back wall, I could even do a second roost above that, as you suggested, and a foot higher.

    Not directly above, right? Set out a foot or foot and a half? (Honestly I don't see the point for just 4 chickens though -- they will roost on the highest rung, period, so more than one seems like overkill and just makes the coop harder for you to work inside)

    Good luck, and send pics [​IMG],

    Pat​
     
  7. peepkeeper

    peepkeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 5, 2007
    upstate New York
    I use milk crates for nest boxes, they work great.

    I must respectfully disagree with Patandchicken's idea of early morning instead of late afternoon light. First, that means a very early wake up for you, do you really want them awake and fussing and carrying on wanting to be fed and let out at 4 in the morning? Second, this is a covert operation. If the neighbors hear your chickens carrying on at an ungodly dark hour the jig is up.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2008

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