Height of roost

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ellie32526, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. ellie32526

    ellie32526 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello,
    I'm trying to decide how high to place the roost and the nesting boxes. I am finally getting my coop underway. The chicks won't be in the hen house until they get their feathers, but I'm still not sure how high to place the roost. I have read to put it at least 1 foot from the roof but that seems high for young hens. My roof is 7 1/2 ft at the apex! should I put two? One lower and the other one higher for when they get older? What I read about the nest boxes is at least 2 feet off the floor.
     
  2. trameghan

    trameghan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I built my entire coop about 3 feet off the ground so there would be more room in the run for them. I used a poop board about 20 inches up from the coop floor with the roost another 12 inches up from that. The nest boxes are elevated about 3 inches and under the poop board. Just search for poop board and you will get lots of pic and ideas. It's great. I just scoop a few times a week, no smell and super easy. Good luck
     
  3. jeepguy982001

    jeepguy982001 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nest boxes can be on the floor and wherever you put the nest boxes just make sure the roost are higher. Doesn't matter if your roost are 1 foot or 7 ft.
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I like having multiple roosts. Wherever you won't walk into it, I say throw a roost up there. It gives the birds more usable space during the day, and less fighting at night over premium space.

    Your young birds can fly quite a ways up! But I like to have perches at different heights, that way they can go to the lower one, flap up to the next higher, etc. At 7 feet, you can add a fair amount of space for your birds. Just remember whatever is under a roost is fair game to get pooped on, unless you set up poop boards.

    My nests are on the ground. Chickens normally lay on the ground or lower areas. I just use rubbermaid totes with hay in the bottom. They're easy to clean when an egg gets broken or some hen poops in there.
     
  5. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In my original setup, I had a ladder style roost system with 4 roosts, each higher than the last, with the top one maybe 4 or 4.5 feet from the floor. The problem was that while the hens hopped up from the lower roosts to the upper ones in the evening, in the morning they flew down from the top and landed with quite a THUMP! All of my hens are "heavy breed" birds and I was concerned that they might hurt themselves. After posting my concerns on this forum and receiving information on bumble foot and other leg/foot injuries, I took down the roost system, cut off one of the roosts and reinstalled it. Now the top roost is about 3 feet off the floor.

    So, while it does appear that chickens prefer to roost higher rather than lower, keep in mind the breeds you intend to put in the coop and remember that while their instincts may encourage them to seek a high roost, breeding for size and weight may mean that those instinct may not be the safest thing for them.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. galefrances

    galefrances Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Some great advice so far. I'd like to add the following:

    1. Make sure your roosts are not so high that you can not reach the birds on top. There will come a time when you'll need to take one of your chickens off the roost and you need to be able to reach them. Be careful with ladder style for the same reason. How will you reach over the birds on the bottom to get to the birds above them?

    2. Ideally the roosts should be at least 18 inches away from the wall or you'll get poop streaks.

    3. Have enough room for them to not only perch, but to turn around as well. I'd guess 18 in.per bird would work. Keep each roost at least 12 inches from each other.

    4. Poop boards are great, but if you plan on doing deep litter you can't have them. And if you do, make sure their butts are over it. Filling it with sweet PDZ is a time saver. Just scoop it with a kitty litter scoop.

    5. Make very sure your nest boxes are lower than your roosts. Preferably with a slanted top.


    I have my poop board at waist level so I don't have to bend. Then I have two roosts over that. There is a wood ramp that my DH built for the chickens to walk up to the roosts. They do use it to come down as well, but there are times when they'll fly down. There's no 'thump' because I have about 8 in. of deep litter on the floor. My nest boxes are about 18 in off the floor with a 'landing' board that runs the length of the boxes attached to the front. They're on a separate wall, but still lower than my roosts. I had to design my coop with my limitations in mind. I have problems with my back and have to limit bending. I do plan on redesigning my roost area this spring because I want to eliminate the poop board so I can do the deep litter method. I also plan on lowering the roosts at that time so I can reach the birds on the top roost.

    In the end, it's whatever works for you. Good luck with your design!
     
  7. ellie32526

    ellie32526 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Forgive my ignorance, but what is PDZ?
     
  8. galefrances

    galefrances Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm sorry for the late response. PDZ is an odor and moisture neutralizer. They use it in horse stalls. It comes in either granular or powder form. You can find it in the tractor supply store. It's a bit pricey, but it lasts for months.
     
  9. ellie32526

    ellie32526 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you guys for all the great advice. I keep telling my husband what I want and he builds it. He is so wonderful! He ran a line to install electricity to my coop , then installed two roost bars and the poop board. The nest boxes will go in later. I can't wait to get my chicks next week. I'm getting 10 white rocks, 5 black australorps, 5 new hampshires, and 5 buff rocks but I am splitting the order with another person so I'll end up with a baker's dozen, just not sure which ones yet. I still need a pop door and some ventilation and a couple windows. My hubby also is going to install a water reservoir for the PVC and nipple watering system. We are also going to put a 10' X 20' fence up so the chickens will have their own yard. We have seven dogs of various sizes so I want them to be safe and have their own space. I'll try again to upload more pics. I tried the other day and had a really hard time.
     
  10. libbie

    libbie Out Of The Brooder

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    How has the height of three feet worked? I recently moved the roosts up with poop boards underneath with a height of about 30" from the floor to the edge of the poop board. When they jump down there is a thump louder than I'm used to hearing and want to be sure that height is ok.
     

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