Coop Design - Where to put the perch

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by AngieB, Jan 3, 2010.

  1. AngieB

    AngieB Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 29, 2009
    My DH is building the coop, and we are trying to nail down the layout of the inside of the coop so we can put the chicken door to the outside run, etc.

    We will start with 7 birds. How wide a perch will they need? I know it should be higher than the nesting boxes, but what height is ideal? I know heat rises, so in the winter higher is good, but I would think we want to stay lower than the vents so they don't get a draft. Then in the summer when heat rises, will they want to perch lower where it's cool? So should we offer several heights?

    There will be a window on each end of the coop, and somewhere we read they like to perch in front of a window, but then it seems it would be hard to get to the window to open it in the summer, and maybe too much poo would get on the window?

    Thanks for any suggestions on inside layout!

  2. MsMelvin

    MsMelvin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 15, 2009
    Hi Angie,

    We have a 2x4 (4 side up) that runs the length of the coop; it's just over two feet off the ground. It's infront of the window but not close enough where they can poop on the crank (I had to adjust it). So figure far enough away so the tailfeathers don't reach the glass. (Don't forget to cover all potential openings with hardware cloth {wire})

    Also, do yourself a favor and put 2x6's on end below perch, creating a box (tailfeathers measurment important here too [​IMG] ), cover with hardware cloth and build a drawer type poop collecter that you can pull out from the outside. Little door that locks. I just put a little sawdust in the metal tray I found, to keep poop from sticking, then slide it back in...good for a week. ( 4 RIRs)

    Majority of poop in the coop will always be under the perch(es).
  3. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    Quote:Without more details, hard to assess. For sure have the roosts down enough to avoid any drafts from permanent full-time ventilation. I have 24 chooks and did 1 sq ft for every 4 birds, full-time ventilation. I did two soffit vents full length of 18 ft x 1" wide. Also a 16" turbine vent in center of roof, and two 12 x 12 gable vents at peak of each gable. My coop is 8 x 16 x 7 1/2 ft tall. I also have 4 windows that add another 40 sq ft for warm weather ventilation.

    Keep roosts 12" from walls and do a 24" wide poop plank the length of the roost. I did mine with OSB and covered with linoleum. I scrape it daily. [​IMG] This removes excess humidity and ammonia gas from coop to keep lungs of chooks healthy and to reduce chance of frostbite. Roosts can be 2x4 set flat, but 2x2 is fine if not in a real cold area. Mine are 2x2 in Tenn. Mine are at ht of 48" while nests are at ht of 24" on opposite wall.

    You could get by with a 4x8 coop for 7 birds. I would make it 6 ft tall so as to avoid having roof decking heat too close to the roost area. Do a nest-box bumpout to max out floor space. Two nests will suffice. Do roof overhang to protect the hinges of the nest lid from rainwater. May want to do enough to protect you too if you gather eggs in the rain. Gutter on that side too. If a shed roof, then full length soffit type ventilation front and back, with hardware cloth mesh to prevent predators from crawling in. If gable, then two 12 x 12 vents at tops of gables will suffice. Two windows good as long as they open. Do put hardware cloth screens in them to prevent them sitting in them and clogging the windowsills with poop. Do not be concerned with perches in front of each window regarding poop. They will not use them much anyway because after dark, they will be on the highest roosts. Do make windows so that they can be opened/closed/locked from outside. Good idea too if can get to poop plank to remove it yearly. Daily scraping with an 8" drywall knife:sick works for me, as the smears dry quickly and then contribute no further humidity or odors [​IMG] Can remove once a year to scrub when litter is changed. Litter can last a year if poop planks designed right and cleaned daily. A slide-out sheet metal one would be great too. I put no litter on mine, but I do scrape daily as I said.[​IMG] My coop is not stinky and that is only because I scrape poop planks daily and throw two windows open in AM for total air changeout. You can walk into my coop any time except at dawn and smell only the litter/grass smell. I use deep litter method and use grass clippings only. Free and smell good too and never any trouble using them. Would use wood chips if could get them free, but I cannot.

    Could do a shed roof and have a generous overhang on nest/egg side with a counterweight. Then do hinges on that side too and open the roof like a lid to access inside of coop. Big end doors would allow same type of access with better reach to the floor area. Do linoleum over OSB for floor. Allow 3:1 slope for walkboard. Inside will need no walkboard if poop plank done at around 24" ht and roost at around 48" ht. (Or go with 18" and 36") They will simply hop from one to the other as mine do. My two interior walkboards are never used. Some breeds do not hop up well tho so that is a consideration.

    Ask lots of questions, take long breaks, short puffs, work safely, and have fun.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2010
  4. Scoop

    Scoop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 16, 2009
    Central PA
    Think carefully about where the perch is. When you open the door with treats in hand and they
    fly down they can give you a good scratch in the eye. Happened to a friend of mine. I have to watch that in my coop also.
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Hi. If you're in an area that gets fairly cold winters, then you'll want to make sure the roosts are below the vents (to avoid drafts). Windows on each end will be great, to take advantage of cross breezes in the summer. And if you get cold winters, you can always cover them with plexiglass or something seasonally. Most people seem to place roosts around 3 feet off the ground. You can go higher if you provide a chicken ladder or stepped roosts. I agree with Msmelvin...a dropping board or dropping pit is SO convenient!! As she suggested, 90% of the poop will be below the roosts. It takes me less than a minute to scrape their dropping board into a bucket, and then another few seconds to throw on a light sprinkle of shavings (to help absorb loose poop). Feel free to check out my dropping boards pics on my coop page...they're very simple.
  6. AngieB

    AngieB Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 29, 2009
    I love looking at everyone's coops! So many great ideas. I will have DH read through the suggestions. Thanks so much for all the ideas! I will post pics when it's done. [​IMG]

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