A couple questions: roost style and roost/perch for nest boxes

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by DreamsInPink, Mar 9, 2016.

  1. DreamsInPink

    DreamsInPink Chillin' With My Peeps

    We are fine tuning some designs for the inside of the coop. We aren't quite there yet, but I want to be ready when we do get there.

    1. Roost style - I had considered doing a poop board and one height roosts. Upon further research, I've found that maybe having varied/staggered roost heights might be better. My question is, what do chickens prefer? Or do they? And if they don't care one way or the other, which do YOU recommend and why, please?

    2. I've been looking at lots of pictures of nesting boxes. Some/many have a little perch, roost, step, whatever you want to call it, right in front of the box opening. Is this necessary? Is it easier for chickens to hop up on that little stoop and then hop into the nesting box rather than having to jump up and hit the opening of the nesting box?

    Thank you all so much for all the help you've given me thus far!!!
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Hi, in response to your questions, based on my experience...

    1. I have my roosts on one level. The main reason for this is that some of my flock are dual purpose birds and hence are like Sumo wrestlers and a high roost (as i used to have) seemed to cause temporary lameness now and again. If you have bedding around for them to land on it softens the landing, i should add.

    Whilst i have read that having roosts at different levels helps to minimise squabbles, this was not my experience.

    2. Yes, a small perch is important. As you may have observed, chickens are not the most graceful once airborne, so they need that perch to aim for and then they can hop into a nest - it would be very difficult for a chicken to fly directly into a nest.

    Other members will undoubtedly have different opinions and experiences - very little in chicken keeping is caste in stone.

    All the best
  3. GodofPecking

    GodofPecking Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2015
    put nest boxes close enough to the ground and easy access for CHICKS. hens go broody.
  4. chickencoop789

    chickencoop789 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2012
    New Jersey
    1. So my opinion on this is I prefer the staggered roosts. The birds at the top of the pecking order will take the top roost and the birds at the bottom of the pecking order will be on the bottom roost. Plus I think it saves a little more space in the coop by being able to put them closer together than you would multiple roosts at one height. Since I see that you're in Ohio and I assume it gets pretty cold over there in the winter, one thing that I want to point out is that the ideal roost would be a 2x4 with the wider side facing up. This allows the chickens to roost and sit on their feet, keeping them warm and preventing frostbite in the winter. I originally had thinner round poles as roosts but switched them out for 2x4s after the first winter.

    2. Yes a perch on the nesting boxes will be a big help to the chickens. Another thing that would help them out is a wooden ladder leading up to the perch on the nesting boxes. This way the chickens wont be forced to fly up and down from the boxes unless they really want to. But this is only if you have elevated nesting boxes. Some coops, like mine, have the nesting boxes on the floor of the coop. They just walk right in. No flying required. Another thing I want to point out is that if you choose to go for the elevated nesting boxes, they still have to be lower than the roosts. The chickens will pretty much always try to find the highest place for them to roost, and if that place happens to be the nesting boxes, then they'll be sleeping in the boxes.
  5. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2008

    Here is my set up. After 40 years of having chickens I found this set up has worked the best for me.

    My roost start at 30 inches from the ground which all but probably silkies can fly to. I have a dropping board with vinyl scrap flooring over the board. I love having this dropping board it keeps the coop so much cleaner for a lot longer. I take a dust pan and brush and clean about twice a week.

    I do have an old ladder I prop up to the roost but honestly most of my hens don't use it. I love having the roosts elevated like this. It is so much easier to get a rake and broom under there and to catch a chicken if need be compared to if the roost came all the way to the floor like a ladder.

    As you can see the nest boxes are little higher than most folks have them. This was done for my ease of collecting eggs. I honestly have very little problems with hens wanting to roost in them. When I lock up if a hen is sitting on the perches in front of the boxes or in the box I simply move her and raise the perches. But like I said rarely do they roost there.

    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
  6. DreamsInPink

    DreamsInPink Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thank you all so much for the information!! There is a lot here to process, but such a wealth of knowledge!! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2016
  7. DreamsInPink

    DreamsInPink Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ok, a couple more questions... I read somewhere that putting the nesting boxes isn't a good idea, that it encourages egg breaking/eating...? Is that true? I know I need to keep my nesting boxes lower than the lowest roosts.. What is a good height to shoot for?

    I don't know how many roosts to do, or how high to make them. I am going to go with the staggered heights. How far apart do I need to make them? I will have mostly standard size chickens, but I also have Silkies. Will the Silkies use the same roosts?

    And what about my Cornish Crosses? Will they even roost?? Another question about the meat chickens, will they go into the coop in the evening to roost?? Or are they so lazy I'll have to put them away every day??
  8. chickencoop789

    chickencoop789 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2012
    New Jersey
    Putting them where??

    I'd say a good height is probably below waist height for the nesting boxes and a little higher for the roosts. They should be easy for the birds to get into. The roosts should be at least 18in apart so the birds don't poop on each other when they're asleep. How many roosts you have depends on how many chickens will be roosting. About a foot of roosting space pet bird is a good rule of thumb. I have zero experience with meat chickens so I can't answer those questions but I'm assuming they will go into the coop at night just like all of the other chickens. Whether or not they will roost I do not know.
  9. DreamsInPink

    DreamsInPink Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oh gosh, sorry about that... I meant putting them on the ground.

    Ok, so 18" between roosts.. thank you. That's very helpful. Do you know if the Silkies will roost with the rest of them? It seems like I read something somewhere that they need particular roosts... or something. I'm not sure.
  10. chickencoop789

    chickencoop789 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2012
    New Jersey
    I don't think that putting the nesting boxes on the ground is a big deal. That's where mine are now and I never really had a problem. Raising them up a little would just prevent you from having to bend down as far to collect eggs.

    I read a couple other threads on byc and people were saying that their silkies don't roost with the other birds but I've never had any silkies so I can't speak from personal experience. Maybe someone else who has silkies will chime in on that one.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2016

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