Calling all roost & poop board designers! ;)

sillygolucky

Songster
Feb 3, 2021
54
227
106
NE Indiana
Of course I have already pored over dozens of threads on this subject! But since we all have different spaces and limitations to work with, I thought I'd toss my situation out there in case some of you have some excellent ideas 💡

We LOVE our coop, it's very well made, and extremely predator-proof and also has great ventilation. Long story short, we ordered it back in January before we'd done a ton of research on coop "amenities" lol, but we wanted to get on the list to have one in time for our first flock this year.

My big issue is with the roosts. The coop is advertised to house 28 chickens (honestly I don't think I'd ever put that many in there!! We have 11.). As you can see in the photo, the roost doesn't allow for easy cleaning nor does it give any space for chickens to fly down. Not to mention the lower roost which is directly across from the nesting boxes! Plus any walking around they'd do would be in the line of poop fire!! The roost is not attached to the wall or floor, but you can lean it to one side to clean. It's heavy and cumbersome. And it's also too big to fit out the door! Its dimensions are: 79w"x36H (that's the height of the top roost). As you can see the top roost is only inches from the windows and wall 💩💩. There is only 10" vertically between each roost, and only 5-6" horizontally! Definitely a complete recipe for getting pooped on. lol.

Our chickens are--RIR, NHRed, Ameraucanas, and Barred Rocks. No bantams. So we'd like to give them about 12"+ of space each, if they want it, and room for wing flapping. The building itself is 4'x10', but the inside only allows us about 3'5"Wx8'L to work with (that L is leaving us about 1.5' at our entrance so we could dip into that if needed).

Since our chicks are only 4.5 weeks old, I'm not sure what their roosting habits will be, but as of now they do seem to cram onto the chick roosts we have for them in the brooder, leaving some open when they could have more space. So, I'm wondering if we could build just one 8' roost with a 24" wide poop board under it. That would leave us about 17" along the right to walk in and clean, etc... But wouldn't give them a lot of elbow room if they need or want it.

Ideally, I'd love two 8' roosts (preferably parallel, but could stagger), but with only about 24" width available for the poop board total, we wouldn't have the proper distance away from the wall for the roosts nor between them.

Another idea I saw on a different thread showed shorter roosts arranged perpendicular to the wall which seems like it could work well in our space! See my chicken scratches below if you can decipher it all 😆 (Here's the link to the post with that design: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/roost-diagrams-needed-for-large-coop.981682/#post-15286690) Would probably put the poop board around 30" high and the roosts 8ish" above. The poop board would only extend on the ends (is 6" enough?). If my maths are correct, this setup would leave around 14ish" between the inner roosts.

I still don't feel like that leaves a lot of room for them to get up and down, but I don't know how else we could give them more floor space. We could put some ramps in there to help. Any other ideas for that?

So that's my sitch! Any crazy out-of-the-box or super simple ideas welcome! Thanks in advance!! I'm leaning toward the perpendicular roosts as of now...🤓
 

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Cryss

Eggcentric
Nov 12, 2017
4,852
12,062
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Northwest New Jersey
I learned the hard way that overcrowding chickens is a recipe for chicken infighting. I stand by the standard of 4sqft/ bird. That is floor space that doesn’t include nesting area. Your coop is big enough for a maximum of 7 chickens. On the same thought, the standard for the run is 10sqft/bird.
I highly recommend a poop board! Chickens do the majority of their indoor pooping at night as they roost. Daytime is mostly outdoors. Naturally they do poop on the floor too but a poop board with PDZ on it and some pine shavings covering the floor will control it. I scoop the poop board every day, takes about 5 minutes. I clear the pine shavings once a year whether it needs it or not. (Yeah, it needs it.)
I’d try putting an L shaped or U shaped roost just under the windows remembering to keep it higher than the nests. L shape might be better because ideally it should be 2 feet deep. That’s because you never know which way they will face and you want a foot of space for their business end whichever way they turn. Plus they need that space away from the wall for balance. Put a roost all down midway raised 6-8 inches above the poop board so they don’t drag tails in it and don’t want to walk under it.
Like I said I learned from my newbie mistakes. I ended up having my son in law build a new one to my specifications based on how many chickens I planned to stop adding to. ( so much for that, darned chicken addiction). If you want a look this video is my coop inside. It’s 8x12.

 

sillygolucky

Songster
Feb 3, 2021
54
227
106
NE Indiana
I learned the hard way that overcrowding chickens is a recipe for chicken infighting. I stand by the standard of 4sqft/ bird. That is floor space that doesn’t include nesting area. Your coop is big enough for a maximum of 7 chickens. On the same thought, the standard for the run is 10sqft/bird.
I highly recommend a poop board! Chickens do the majority of their indoor pooping at night as they roost. Daytime is mostly outdoors. Naturally they do poop on the floor too but a poop board with PDZ on it and some pine shavings covering the floor will control it. I scoop the poop board every day, takes about 5 minutes. I clear the pine shavings once a year whether it needs it or not. (Yeah, it needs it.)
I’d try putting an L shaped or U shaped roost just under the windows remembering to keep it higher than the nests. L shape might be better because ideally it should be 2 feet deep. That’s because you never know which way they will face and you want a foot of space for their business end whichever way they turn. Plus they need that space away from the wall for balance. Put a roost all down midway raised 6-8 inches above the poop board so they don’t drag tails in it and don’t want to walk under it.
Like I said I learned from my newbie mistakes. I ended up having my son in law build a new one to my specifications based on how many chickens I planned to stop adding to. ( so much for that, darned chicken addiction). If you want a look this video is my coop inside. It’s 8x12.

Awesome coop tour!!! I love it. Your son-in-law did a great job. Your specs are very well thought out and the flow in there is great. Plus it's nice and open, too. Happy chickens!!

I agree, knowing what I know now, our coop's design is out of proportion space-wise (there are also 8 nesting boxes!! Overkill!). Originally we ordered 8 chicks, but the hatchery sent us 11...so there's that. lol. If chicken math strikes in the future, guess we'll be getting another coop...hahaha! Our attached run is 120sqft, which is "enough" for our 11...but we are in the process of adding a very large one out the back. So they'll have tons of space! Our goal is twice the space recommended, so 20sqft/chicken.

I definitely want a poop board which is why we are going to dismantle the current roosts and rebuild. Great info on the single roost idea and the poop board specs--thank you! I considered the L-shape, but wasn't sure if it would be okay to put part of that above the pop door?

I already use PDZ in their brooder so I'm definitely aware of how amazing it is!! I most definitely plan to use it in the poop board area.

Thank you for sharing your lessons and upgrades! This is why I love this forum 🥰
 
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aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
105,199
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SW Michigan
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Yes, floor level on the right. Thankfully accessible from outside!
Putting the poop board right above the nests would work without a ramp.
Wouldn't be easy to clean tho(myachinback!).
The roost layout you propose would not be easy to clean either,
unless you hinge the roost assembly....
.....and it's still only 7' of roosting area when you need 11' for 11 birds.

If you want to go higher with board, you could hinge a ramp at end wall and have it come down in front of board.

I keeping thinking..... 5 pound bag, 10 pounds of stuff.
 

3KillerBs

Addict
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Jul 10, 2009
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I keeping thinking..... 5 pound bag, 10 pounds of stuff.

Same.

How about investing some of the money and effort you're putting into the big run into adding on to the coop? For 11 chickens you want 44 square feet inside with 11 feet of roost and 11 square feet of permanent, 24/7/365 ventilation, which is best located above their heads when they're on the roost.

6x8 -- essentially doubling the width -- would give 48 square feet.

Alternately, you don't have to keep all the chickens that the hatchery sent. I intentionally ordered more than I wanted to keep and will sell the extras as POL pullets once I decide which ones I like best.
 

K0k0shka

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
Jul 24, 2019
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If space is tight and tricky, and poop boards are yet another thing to awkwardly squeeze in there, consider not using poop boards. I don’t, and I’m very happy with my choice! I clean the coop twice a year. I have a very deep layer of pine shavings on the floor and they dry everything out, so it doesn’t smell. About once every month or two, I toss new shavings on top. That’s all. I have lots of permanent ventilation, and it really doesn’t smell. Dry is the key. Consider trying that.
 

sillygolucky

Songster
Feb 3, 2021
54
227
106
NE Indiana
Putting the poop board right above the nests would work without a ramp.
Wouldn't be easy to clean tho(myachinback!).
The roost layout you propose would not be easy to clean either,
unless you hinge the roost assembly....
.....and it's still only 7' of roosting area when you need 11' for 11 birds.

If you want to go higher with board, you could hinge a ramp at end wall and have it come down in front of board.

I keeping thinking..... 5 pound bag, 10 pounds of stuff.

"I keeping thinking..... 5 pound bag, 10 pounds of stuff." Indeed...😩

Well I have to admit after reading all the suggestions so far, I felt pretty stressed and overwhelmed. lol. As a first-time chicken mama and someone who is trying her darndest to 1) create a healthy environment for the chooks and 2) make it as easy as possible for us to keep it that way, I'm frustrated that the coop we bought (that wasn't cheap!) is lacking on so many basics as far as usability inside. I wish we'd done more research ahead of time; but it is what it is, and we will work with what we have.

So we've nixed the perpendicular roost idea. Just more complicated than we prefer; and yep, we'd have to have them hinged which is no big deal, but still yet another thing to take apart to clean, etc... Simple and efficient is what we are after. I think it would be 12' of roosting area if they also used the ends, but still, simplicity is what we really want! (My drawing is looking down from the top, if that got confusing! 🤪 The 14" is the room between the roosts.)

Thanks for your input!! And btw, yesterday morning I read through your coop page. What a fantastic transformation and evolution. Do you still have the same layout, etc...?
 

sillygolucky

Songster
Feb 3, 2021
54
227
106
NE Indiana
Same.

How about investing some of the money and effort you're putting into the big run into adding on to the coop? For 11 chickens you want 44 square feet inside with 11 feet of roost and 11 square feet of permanent, 24/7/365 ventilation, which is best located above their heads when they're on the roost.

6x8 -- essentially doubling the width -- would give 48 square feet.

Alternately, you don't have to keep all the chickens that the hatchery sent. I intentionally ordered more than I wanted to keep and will sell the extras as POL pullets once I decide which ones I like best.

Believe me, changing the current coop we have to be larger would be amazing. 🥳 But construction is NOT our forte, which is why we bought this one pre-made. We have a lot of skills--that is just not one of them! Plus, the chicks will be ready in about a week to go out, so we're kind of short on time. They are already spending 6+ hours a day in the run and here in Indiana our nighttime temps haven't been getting below 60.

Great idea to reduce our chook count if needed. That may possibly happen if more than one of the freebies we got turn out to be roos. lol. And I'm sure some of our neighbors who have chickens would take an extra layer or two if needed!!

I'm hoping our ventilation is more than adequate. I hadn't heard of the sqft specs for that before--so is it whatever the minimum roosting requirement would be? (E.g. 11" of roosting, therefore 11sqft of ventilation?) We have two 24/7 open copulas and a permanently open vent under the gable in the back. We also plan on adding another vent on the opposite end of the coop, too.
 

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