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Do my chickens need a ramp to the second level nesting boxes?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by tara3436, Jan 27, 2015.

  1. tara3436

    tara3436 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 25, 2015
    I have two hens and an A-frame bi-level chicken coop, which has about four and a half square feet of ground space on the bottom.

    The coop is about 5 feet tall total also, and mid-way up there are two wooden beams for roosting and a little shelf piece that holds two laying boxes.

    My hens are about a month and a half old, and they don't seem to use the second level at all. I have a little egg access door at the back of the laying boxes, so I have tried putting the girls in the next boxes - but they just hop down to the ground. They also sleep on the ground.

    A friend suggested they may need a ramp to climb up there. I was thinking that might make sense since the top gets narrow as it goes up - maybe they feel like they cant fly/hop up there without hitting something?

    My husband thinks they're just young and figuring it out and will eventually get it.

    Any thoughts? Coop photos attached.

    And just FYI - the hens are locked in the coop at night for safety, but do get a good chunk of the day to roam the yard. Coop is small, but seems comfy for two girls. Although yes, they get more space too.[​IMG]

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  2. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Full grown standard breed chickens need about 4 square feet of floor space each. I don't see how 2 grown chickens are going to fit above the floor at all. They are gonna out grow that coop in a minute!
     
  3. henless

    henless Chillin' With My Peeps

    With it being so narrow at the top, they might need a ramp to get up to the nests and to the roost. You really don't want them sleeping in the nests, even when they are young. They poop where they sleep, and they will poop all in the nests. When its time to lay, the eggs will get yucky.

    How big is the roost? If it's very narrow, they may like a wider one better. They are still young, and may not be old enough to want to roost yet. I had to teach mine how to roost. I would go out to the coop in the evening and put them all on the roost. It took a few nights, but eventually everyone figured it out.

    I would suggest you put some kinda of latch on your egg door. A coon could possibly turn the wooden latch and open the door to the coop.
     
  4. tara3436

    tara3436 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 25, 2015
    Oh my, I fear I have been poorly informed! The feed store said about 2 square feet each chicken is sufficient if they are free ranging a fair amount of the time. I guess I will just keep watching for a while and gauge.

    Do you think the space is the issue with them not wanting to be on the second level then? And a ramp wouldn't help?
     
  5. ChristieB

    ChristieB Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think it's more that they are only 6 weeks old and have no older hens to mimic, they will learn, after dark just put them up top for now, they will double their current size in less than a month so will be able to fly up, definitely need more space once they are full grown, they won't always be able to be out free ranging

    Edit, looking at the pictures again I'm not sure a full grown hen would be able to fly up comfortably as it's quite narrow at the top, it's a very cute coop though
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2015
  6. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, the feed stores always say that but sadly it is not true. I could be wrong but the way the coop looks to me, they will hit their heads on the ceiling and their wings on the walls trying to get up there. [​IMG] They may be able to crawl up a ramp but how much more ground space will they lose for the ramp?
    The other poster is right about the egg door and poop in the nest boxes too.
     
  7. tara3436

    tara3436 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 25, 2015
    Thanks - I guess I assumed they would be sleeping in the nesting boxes! But I sure don't want them pooping all over the egg laying area! There are two roosting bars up there, which are wooden pieces, I think they are 2 in by 3 in and run the length of the coop (long-ways).

    I do have safety latches now on all the doors (didn't yet when photos were taken). They're little hook latches that have a spring-loaded lock you have to push down to unlatch. We also buried stakes in the groun every 3 inches allllll the way around the coop so predators can't dig under.

    It is night here so I can't get any new photos at the moment, but while I don't think they'd be hitting their heads on the roosts on the second level when they grow, I think if both were flapping simultaneously it would be a close call for hitting one another. The nesting boxes are on a shelf which is about 3 or 3.5 feet long and maybe 1.5 to 2 feet deep. It's divided into two boxes, so each box is half that (or about 1.75 ft by 1 ft?).
     
  8. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The safety features you added are good. If the nest boxes seem small, maybe you can remove the divider. See how they do. You can always change things. At least you kinda know what to watch for now. If the girls fight a lot when they're in there, that might be a sign that they need more room. You'll figure it out just fine. [​IMG]
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    A-frame configuration makes it difficult to roost up higher,and that one is narrower than some at the top.
    They might fit when small but full grown that coop is way too small...I don't even think there's room for a ramp in there.
     
  10. tara3436

    tara3436 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 25, 2015
    So OF COURSE because I was wondering last night about them getting up to roost... where did I find them today after work?

    Guess they can get up there just fine! I'll just keep an eye for when they seem uncomfortably tight up there and build a larger coop or maybe an "addition" to the top to make it not an A-frame.

    Thanks for all the tips though!



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