Coop Questions from newbie

Shelley Joleen

In the Brooder
8 Years
May 23, 2011
Texas Coast
I have had a few chickens for many years, but this year we have added a lot of chicks to our flock. Our chickens free range all day and have free access in and out of the coop for the birds who are large enough to fly up to the lowest roost and use their door (when they all get big enough they also have a floor level door which is blocked off for now). My question is how much space is needed for my chickens to be happy in the coop at night... how much roosting space per bird and how many nesting boxes will I need? I have four large nesting boxes now which have never all been used by my other chickens... they all seem to want to lay eggs in the same box, but now I have added some silkies which I'm hoping will be broody, so do they each need thier own nesting box plus enough for the non broody chickens to lay?

Right now we are building a new pen for our goat and ducks and geese, but when we are done with that we plan on starting a rebuild of our coop or maybe even build a whole other coop or at least a small nesting coop. We have about 70 chicks right now, but I don't know yet how many we will be left with after we find out how many roos we have and I am also giving a few to my mom for her yard. I am wanting to have enough room for at least 50 hens plus some roosters... how man roosters do you need to keep for 50 hens anyway?? lol I am just full of questions today, guess I am in the right place!!
haha I just thought of another question! I saw where someone mentioned a poop board or something to catch the poop under the roosts. Can someone please explain exactly what this is and maybe post pictures if you have them so I can get a better idea?? Also what do you use for your roosts? We have pipe now, but I was wondering if different breeds have different roost needs or if there is something the chickens like better.
The general rule of thumb for coop space is 4 square feet per large fowl and 2 square feet per bantam (such as your silkies). If they free range all day then this would definately be enough space for them. As for nest boxes....I find that 1 nest box per 3 to 4 hens works well. They are social creatures and don't mind sharing. Even when some go broody. I think a good rooster ratio is one rooster per 10 hens. Hope that helps. Good luck with the coop, and all your birds.
I'll try your other questions too....
. I find the best roosts to be 2x4s. They are wide enough for larger birds to get comfortable on. For smaller chickens I sometimes use 2x2s. You can round the edges....I usually don't. Make sure it is something not too slippery for them to grip. I find chickens prefer to be able to lay down with their stomachs on the wider is sometimes better? The poop board is something I don't use, but I believe it is just a board set beneath the roosts that you can scrape the poop off of easily? Hopefully somene else can explain it better.
Wow this forum is so great!
I cannot believe how quickly all of my questions get answered here! We have always used rounded roosts, never even thought of 2x4s! I will have to do some measuring tomorrow to figure out how much space I have now and how much I will need when these babies grow! I'm really starting to think two separate coops would be good because I have one crabby hen who doesn't like to share and will pick on some of the other chickens no matter what their age is. She only seems to like other barred rocks for some reason and will only let my other barred rocks roost with her. Any other chickens who try to get on her roost get knocked off pretty quickly. She thinks that when she walks into the coop every other chicken should leave and she will chase them all out. Crazy chicken lol.
Do not use the poop board!!! too much work and too havy to use!!
you need ex boxes when your hens go broody becues the hens will fait over the boxes and brack the eggs !!!!
P.S make suer that your chicken door is ex large. when my chickens go out the door they ALL GO OUT AS FAST AS THE CAN !!!!! MY DOOR IS TOO SMALL !!!
IT IS 12" by 18"
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Poop boards are simply a shelf under directly the roost to catch the poo they drop while sleeping, to help keep the coop cleaner. Typically they are easy to remove (like a cookie sheet in the oven, under a overflowing dish) Plastic or metal trays are really ideal as they are easier to clean than wood or old newpaper that can be laid down then picked up and disposed of or composted.
As for roosts, wood is probably better than metal as their claws can dig in and grip better, easier to secure in place thus are less likely to roll on them. Falling birds in the dark = injuries. (I simply cut 1 1/2" to 2" tree saplings and either wedge them in place or fashion a horizontal ladder out of them). A roost is a roost, the only difference in needs I've noticed is it took a while for my turkey chicks to figure out how to hold on.
Huh? If you regularly clean the coop and use newspaper (comics up, the birds like them too) all you're doing is rolling up a piece of paper.

Milk crates on their sides with a small board in front to keep the litter and eggs in works great as temp boxes till you can add more boxes.

And yes, hens have no manners, they would have issues fitting out a garage door during the morning rush
I have a fabulous poop board, it is 16 inches wide and as long as my roost ( about 45 inches) it is about 6 inches under the roost. Cleaning it in the morning takes less than one minute. I don't pick it up, I just scrape the poop into a bowl. After two weeks of use, my coop has essentially no poop!!

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