building a roost without a coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by wilsonbh, Jun 13, 2007.

  1. wilsonbh

    wilsonbh Hatching

    Jun 13, 2007
    Hi, I have two pet chickens in my backyard. The have free run of the back yard and do not have a coop. They roost on my kitchen window sill (and try to get in our house). I don't really care about getting eggs--I just like to watch them. Do I need to build a real coop? I would like to build a covered but not enclosed roost for them. We do have possums and racoons that get into our fenced yard sometimes (I'm not sure how) so I want to make sure they are safe without fencing them in. How far off the ground should the roost be? Does anyone have a plan for a covered roost that is racoon and possum proof. On a side note--how long does sperm live in the hen's reproductive tract? One of the hens began brooding two weeks ago but hasn't been with a rooster since April. Should I throw the eggs away and make her leave her nest (I had moved the eggs to a dog crate which I open and close every night but she rarely leaves it). Thank you! Beverly
  2. Sunshine Hen

    Sunshine Hen In the Brooder

    Mar 26, 2007
    Stamford, CT
    I think you need some kind of protection other than a covered roost. Even a dog house would work if you built a door and shut then in at night. Something like that could work. Sorry I'm not much help.
  3. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Songster

    Apr 8, 2007
    She will go broody whether the eggs are fertile or not, if she hasnt been with a rooster since April, the eggs wont be fertile.

    They will definately be safer shut in a coop a night. Even a modified dog house would work. It also protects them from teh elements. Roosts are usually a couple/few feet from ground. At least mine are. I totally understand wanting them to run around, they are quite fun to watch, you just run a high risk of loosing them to predators-even during the day.

    Good luck and enjoy your chickens!
  4. mudhen

    mudhen confidently clueless

    Jan 15, 2007
    Shepherdstown, WV
    Let me just throw in my 2 cents worth on the coop issue.
    Yes. If you want your chickens to be safe from any predator, they should have a coop and an enclosed run.
    Any free ranging chicken is an easy target for the predators you mention, plus hawks and owls and dogs and etc.
    They may be able to survive for a while roosting in trees, or the like, but you are setting yourself up for heartache and them for some creature's meal.

    If the eggs aren't fertilized, then your broody hen is wasting her time. Any chance you could give her fertilized eggs to sit on? (If you do, again, I strongly encourage a coop and enclosed run)

  5. wilsonbh

    wilsonbh Hatching

    Jun 13, 2007
    I did actually try the dog house (up on saw horses). They would fly up and sit on top of the dog house. When I tried to put them in it they jumped right back out and on top of the house. I live in the suburbs (illegal chicken pets) and don't have a problem with flying predators. They are large chickens and my rat terrier is afraid of them. I may just add a shelf to the wall of my house with a little roof over it for them to sleep on. Right now they are about 6 feet off the ground. Any idea what the minimum height would be to keep the crawling predators away?
  6. Jsto

    Jsto Songster

    Apr 30, 2007
    North Carolina
    Raccoon and possums can and will climb. Even from the ground, if they spooked your girls and they got off the roost, they'd be dinner. There isn't really a way to protect against them without a coop.

    If you already have the dog house, lock them up in it for a couple days and they'd get used to it. Just put a door on.

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