Before they break their fool necks

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by joebryant, Nov 6, 2008.

  1. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    Several people on here have emailed me and sent me messages about my my roost in my east coop. If anyone duplicated it, I hope you're reading this. My three hens and rooster have NEVER used the ladder to reach or leave the roost. instead they fly up from the lower 2x4 and fly down five feet and out six feet. I've had to change the entire setup to keep them from breaking their legs and/or necks because no matter how much I've tried to train them, they will not use the ladder. I gave up, and replaced the ladder with a landing platform. They still flew off the roost out six feet and down five, sometimes smacking into the front door. @#&^%
    I have now installed a temporary plastic screen to stop them from going beyond the landing platform; hopefully, they will start flying out one foot and down almost three feet to first land on the platform(s) and then hop down two feet to get to the floor of the coop. Betcha ten to one that they first fly into the plastic screen. @#&^%

    Here's the original setup:

    Here's the new landing platform with a welcome mat on the front of it.

    Here's the plastic screen closing off the front of the coop.
  2. sillybirds

    sillybirds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 5, 2008
    That's interesting to hear, Joe, because I had come up with a similar design which I'm in the process of building, with a roosting "loft". When I was designing it, those thoughts crossed my mind. That is, whether they'd be able to fly down. My wife didn't think it would be a problem, but I've had concerns, as they're not helicopters after all!

    I'm so far along in construction, I don't think I can really change it too much. I'm planning on putting intermediate posts extending from the wall to assist them. I hope they'll use them! Maybe that would work for you too, to put a post extending perpendicularly from the wall on the right. Maybe the ladder was too steep for them to be comfortable using it?
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2008
  3. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

    Jun 11, 2007
    Joe, your chickens are bound by the laws of chicken physics. From a certain height, they need a certain length in which to launch themselves from the roost, flap their wings and land without breaking their fool necks.

    Your chickens are also bound by the limitations of their fool coop-builder who didn't figure in chicken physics. So who's smarter?
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    My chickens hop up on things reasonably well, but are not at all big on hopping down; if it's more than a foot or so, they prefer to sort of fly down, like a ballistic hop with wing-flapping added. They do need a certain amount of horizontal space to do that in, yeah (which requires a certain amount of elbow room as well).

    I wonder how many people with ladder type arrangements have chickens that DO hop down step by step. I would guess not all that many, if any [​IMG]

    Last edited: Nov 6, 2008
  5. AllChookUp

    AllChookUp Will Shut Up for Chocolate

    May 7, 2008
    Frozen Lake, MN
    Buff Hooligans wrote:
    Your chickens are also bound by the limitations of their fool coop-builder who didn't figure in chicken physics. So who's smarter?

    In my case, the chickens. I wound up with at least a couple things about my coop where I thought I was being "so smart", and chicken physics proved me wrong.

    So, my question is this; If chickens have a brain the size of a pea, and yet they are able to out-smart me, what does that say about my "brain"?..


  6. DTchickens

    DTchickens Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 23, 2008
    Bailey, Mississippi.
    i dont know if its possible to break their necks/Feet on landing. I have chickens that will fly up in a 30? (or maybe 40?) Foot oak in my front yard and roost... every morning theres about 15-20 hens and the rooster i let roam the yard jumping out of the tree. and in my brood pens for shows and stuff like that. the roosts are 4 feet high (which is for bantams.. compared to the chicken size and height if it were large fowl it would be like a 8 or higher roost). and they have no problem with it.. i always thought it was good excercise. none of mine or poor nor fat, Just right :}

  7. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

    Jun 11, 2007
    Quote:I believe they can outrun you too...
  8. Cuban Longtails

    Cuban Longtails Flock Mistress

    Sep 20, 2007
    Northeast Texas
    In the main coop:

    Mine will use the ladder to get up to the roost, but to get down they fly down. [​IMG] This is not a big deal because there's plenty of space and the roost are set at around 4 ft high.

    In the leghorn coop:

    The leghorns are adjusting, which indicates that they are smarter than I originally gave them credit for. I placed a roost at 4 ft and one at 6 ft. They'll use the small roost and then hop to the taller one to sleep on. To get down (because I didn't use chicken physics to allow for them to fly down) they hop on top of the nest box (at 4 ft) and down to the floor.
  9. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    My birds are talented with a ladder - obviously, above average IQ's.

    I was surprised tho' since the birds in the past had a ramp. The ramp was always in the way so I replaced it with a ladder with rungs. The current pullets only came inside after they were about 16 weeks old so they didn't grow up practicing getting up and down the ladder.

    The key is probably that the roost is only 30" above the floor and so there are only 2 rungs. I am amazed that they stride down those 2 rungs looking like lawyers on their way down the marble steps at the county court house [​IMG].

  10. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2008
    Chickens naturally will kinda jump out when leaving the roost. I am not really sure why but I suspect it has something to do with giving them more time to flap their wings and slow down the momentum of jumping and coming to a "lighter" landing. I have a four foot retaining wall in the middle of my yard and when the chickens go from the upper portion of the yard to the lower part it is always to the ground in about a 45 degree angle and they push off the wall.

    If you watch wild turkeys leave the roost they will jump out away from a limb before flapping their wings. I worked at a local tourist attraction and we had jungle fowl running freely (I really don't believe they were jungle fowl just pretty feral chickens someone told them they were jungle fowl) and these birds where great flyers, flying 40-50 yards or to the top of a building with ease. When they flew down from a building it was always out and then flapping to the ground at a nice low grade to the ground. I have noticed this same behavior in peacocks and guenia fowl.

    I think in many coops the distance from the roost to the oppisite wall simply isn't long enough to provide a more gracefull landing. I know my birds are definately more gracefull flying down from my wall, from tree branches or any other object in the yard they get to the top of than coming off their roosts and yes mine have a tendency to launch theirselves from the roost they slept on then hopping down the ladder stlye roost they have.

    By looking at the pictures I believe the ladder was too steep and the birds did not feel comfortable going up or down the ladder.

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