Help-gramps Is Building Roost Today--height Question


8 Years
Dec 17, 2011
My dad built 8x10 coop w 7 foot ceiling. He was going to build top roost at 6 feet but postings on byc are making him rethink this,,,,birds may fly off roost and crash land perhaps injuring themselves. Question should we make top roost at 4, 5 or 6 feet high and how far from the side wall should it be?

Dad plans on making a rectangular frame 4 feet by 12 inches out of 2x4 and lagging it into side wall studs.........outboard member is the top roost......then he will make a hinged ladder with additional roosts separated by 12 inches that will attach to that rectangle via hinges. Is 12 inches from wall far enough to avoid poop stains on side wall?

We will also make 3 poop trays each 30x48 w 2x3 frames that will be filled w sand that will be strategically located beneath the roost.

We will pick up chickens and finish the run today. Pics within a week. We already have flowers in box beneath window and functional shutters which actually close

THANKS TO ALL FOR THE Many very helpful hints and suggestions we have received at byc
12 inches from the wall should be fine...using 2x4 flat side up is dont really need to have them 6 feet ....3 or 4 feet is good....what ever you do, just make sure you have a ladder or
steps or something for them to get up and down so they dont do a crash landing!...and dont forget about the next boxes!...keep them about a foot from the floor........good luck
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If they can get up to it, they can get down.

My roosts are between 2 and 3.5 ft high due to the dimension of the coop. I have birds that are happy with the lower roost as long as they are off the floor, and some vacillate. I found that you can install the roost as close as 9" from the wall, and I would keep the distance b/n roosts at min 16".

I would just suggest that be ready to tinker for a while as you observe how you flock takes to the new home. To that end, it would be good to make the design flexible or convertible.
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I think it depends on the breed of chickens. My cochins may be able to fly UP to five feet, but i can assure you they fly down like bricks, and will hurt themselves with a high roost. Games can fly fine in any direction. Best to observe your birds. Most will climb a ladder to get up but hardly any climb down...they jump or fly or fall, and thought needs to what exactly they are landing ON, and what is in the way of their decent.
It is possible chickens can hurt themselves coming down from high roosts. Possible, but it really does not happen that often. And there is more involved than just height or breed of chicken. The higher it is the more horizontal room they need to get down without flying into a wall, nest, feeder, or something. Yours is pretty big so as long so this is not a big consideration for you, but do try to place nests, feeders and waterers a bit out of the way and leave them a landing space.

With all that said, I think this issue is often overblown, but it does not hurt to be careful. One thing I would consider in placing the roosts is that they need ventilation over their heads while they sleep if you have cold weather, but it is best to not have a breeze blowing directly on them. I accomplish this by leaving vents open along the top of the walls under the overhang and close those off with hardware cloth to keep raccoons and such from climbing in.

The other consideration is that chickens like to sleep on the highest thing available, so the roosts need to clearly be higher than anything you don't want them to sleep on or in. Nests are usually the biggest problem. You don't want them sleeping in nests because they poop a lot at night. Fresh poop in a nest when they lay an egg is not nice.

So my suggestion is to make them as low as you reasonably can and still have them higher than anything else. But don't obsess about it too much.
3- 3 1/2 feet is a good height. Like others have said, just make sure they are higher than the nest boxes. I have three roosts at the same height instead of the ladder thing. Supposedly that leads to less fighting at bedtime as the chickens all want to roost at the highest point. I don't know about that, as they can get kinda crabby with each other deciding on where they want to sit. I made my roosts easily removeable to help with access to the coop at cleaning time. I put my roosts about 18" out from the wall. Too close, and they WILL make a mess of the wall. 12" might be alright, but 18" is better. Goodluck with your coop.
My roosts are at 5' high. I have a chicken ladder going up to it, though - so even the Jersey Giant can make her way up and down with no problem. Good luck!

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