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Any suggestions for roosts?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MirandaMarie, Oct 11, 2015.

  1. MirandaMarie

    MirandaMarie Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 1, 2012
    Minnesota
    Here is a picture of our current set-up:
    [​IMG]

    As you can see, we have a roost right in front of the nesting boxes. We also have roosts running along the windows on the other 3 sides of the coop. We are planning on removing some windows from the coop because we think it makes our chickens feel too exposed. We are also changing the nesting boxes. The ones pictured above have lasted us 3-4 years, but they are starting to smell and it's time for a change. We are planning on using the 5-gallon bucket idea for our new boxes for easier maintenance and cleaning. We plan to lower the boxes and raise the roosts. I have a few questions I would love to get some opinions on!

    1. Do the windows really need to come out? This is a project I'm working on with my dad and he thinks the windows need to come out. I think if we just give them higher places to roost, they won't feel so exposed. Here is a picture of our coop when it was first out in place. You can kind of see just how many windows we have. Any thoughts?
    [​IMG]

    2. Does anyone have suggestions for the roosts themselves? My dad is looking for specifics like how high they should be, how far away from the wall they should be, and what material should they be (wood planks, branches, etc.)? I would love to see/hear what you all have done to get some ideas. Photos would be extremely helpful if you have them!

    Thank you so much in advance!
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    The chickens don't feel exposed because of the windows. Chickens often prefer to sleep outside. The more windows the better. They should also be open covered with hardware cloth for the most ventilation you can get.

    Definitely lower the nests and raise the roosts. If the nests are at the same height or higher than roosts, the chickens will sleep in them which means feces in them.

    All of my nests have been in the buildings as long as the buildings have existed. I used to use excelsior nest pads and shake them out occasionally. Now I use plastic nest pads and they are easy to clean.

    Put your roosts where the chickens don't have to walk under them to go to the nest so they don't track feces into them.

    2X3 or 2X4 with wide side up work best for roosts.
     
  3. dogkahuna

    dogkahuna Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 11, 2015
    Southworth, WA
    I use straight tree branches for roosts--the chooks can grip them more easily than boards or other smooth surfaces. We snipped branches off of old Christmas tree trunks and they work great! Just nail them up in the coop for stability.
     
  4. MirandaMarie

    MirandaMarie Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 1, 2012
    Minnesota
    Thank you so much for your reply! I'm relieved that we don't have to take any windows out! That will save us a lot of time!
    We have been having a problem with them sleeping in the boxes and crushing the eggs they produce, so we will be definitely lowering the nests and raising the roosts. And thank you so much for the tip about keeping the roosts away from the nesting boxes, I never really thought about them tracking feces in!
    We are trying to cut costs with this project so we are hoping to be able to find some sturdy branches that will work for roosts. Do you recommend branches at all, or is there a reason not to use them?
     
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Chickens aren't really perching birds like sparrows.
    A wider surface does a couple of things. It gives better roosting stability but more importantly, they can cover their toes with their feathers to prevent frostbite and I see you live with cold winters.
    You can use branches but they have to be of large enough circumference that no toes are exposed at 20 below F.

    Crushing the eggs leads to egg eating. Poopy eggs are never a good thing.
    Your nests, if properly positioned and with good nest material should never be stinky enough to have to replace them.
     
  6. MirandaMarie

    MirandaMarie Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 1, 2012
    Minnesota
    Having a wider surface to allow more sability and toe coverage makes a lot of sense. We do have some fallen trees in the area and maybe those will provide branches that are wide enough. If not I will definitely go with a 2X3 or 2X4 as you suggested. Thank you again for all of your help!
     
  7. henless

    henless Chillin' With My Peeps

    What are the measurements of your nests? If they are starting to smell, take them out and give them a good washing. If you can find some dishpans or tubs that fit, use them to put in the nest box. Then, if they get nasty, you can just take out the pans and wash them.

    Here are my nests with the large dish pans. I had a double nest box w/6 nests. I was redoing it and making a single row of nests. The girls were anxious to use it, so I let them in before I put the top on.

    [​IMG]

    Here it is finished. When I get ready to change the shavings, I take out the tub, flip out the old shavings and put in new. I've had a couple of eggs broken, and when that happens, I take out the tub, rinse it and let it dry. Works really well.

    [​IMG]


    As far as your roosts go, try using both the 2x4 and a large branch to see which ones your chickens like best.
    My top roost is about 3 1/2 ft. off the ground. I use 2x4s, large side up. It's easier for me to get and they don't cost that much. I put mine in a ladder style. Everyone roosts on the top two roosts, and usually all on the top. I have 9 chickens in the pen below. Just remember, they need at least 10-12" of roost space per chicken. They may not use it all, but they do need room to get up/down and flap their wings to get comfy. They will huddle up when it's cold, and space out when it's hot.

    [​IMG]

    I think your windows are great!! You can open/close them as needed for ventilation. As you can tell from the pics, my coop is totally open! I use 1/4" hardware cloth, and put up clear plastic and tarps in the winter. I have more problems with the hot summer here in East Texas than we do with winter. It does get in the teens, but not for very long. It's 92 here today. [​IMG] I love fall, and will be glad when it arrives.

    Here is my first coop (I have 3). It's 10x10 and has a 10x20 attached run. All 3 are the same size. As you can see, no walls. My chickens have no problems having a bedroom with a view. [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    eta: If you look close, in the last pic, you can see what looks like a pop door under the roost. I rearranged this coop, and the original pop door was there. I could have left it, but if I did, they chickens would come in from the run and walk right through the night poo area on their way to the nests. Poopy eggs are yuck, so I had to move the pop door.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2015
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    St. Louis, MO
    Good points. 2X4s are about a dollar.each.
     

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