How “climby” are Orpingtons?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by K0k0shka, Nov 9, 2019.

  1. K0k0shka

    K0k0shka Songster

    Jul 24, 2019
    Boston Area, MA
    I’m building a coop and run for a few Orpingtons. I got a bunch of logs, stumps and branches and want to build some kind of structure for the run, for them to climb on and perch on. But I was wondering what that particular breed might prefer... I know they have big fluffy butts and don’t fly well... so making the structure tall might be overkill (but other breeds might love it!) I want to build something they will use and enjoy. Any ideas? Height, type of structure... what’s not worth it... So far I’m thinking several horizontal branches at different heights, one big long sloped branch as a ramp... and, separately, stumps of different heights around the run. Maybe a “balance beam” type of thing down lower?
  2. BarnhartChickens98

    BarnhartChickens98 Crowing

    Oct 28, 2018
    Manhiem, Pennnsylvania
    Hi! I think that any breed of chicken will climb around, My buff orp always sleeps on the highest roost every night.
  3. K0k0shka

    K0k0shka Songster

    Jul 24, 2019
    Boston Area, MA
    Interesting! I’ve read a lot on BYC about how heavy and clumsy orps are, and don’t like flying or getting up high... so I thought they may need a lower jungle gym... but maybe not? Would be good to hear about different people’s experiences. I don’t want to spend time building something they won’t use... Thanks for the input!
  4. trumpeting_angel

    trumpeting_angel Free Ranging

    Feb 6, 2019
    If they have a way to get up aside from flying, they will enjoy it for sure. And they have to have enough room to get down, or as you suggest, a ramp. Mine can’t fly and sometimes they jump from as high as four feet. It’s important that they don’t land on anything sharp or too rough - foot problems.
  5. waywind

    waywind In the Brooder

    Aug 25, 2019
    Melbourne, Australia
    I have two buff orphington and they don't often fly unless they see me with treats. Then they have a race to get me haha.

    Mine seem not to like climb up things. But they got used to my off the ground coop and use the ramp reguarly now. They don't mind hopping up on logs and stuff to get around either.

    I would agree with keeping things low in general. One of the girls hurt her leg and I think it was from landing funny once.
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Are your Orps show-quality or hatchery quality? Have you raised them (or will you raise them) on a high protein diet or stick with the regular Grower type food and let them forage for a lot of their food? What I'm getting at is that any breed that is large for its breed is in more risk of damaging legs and such jumping around as opposed to one that is not as heavy. My hatchery Orps forage a lot and are not fed a high protein diet. They have no problems flying up to and down from a 5' high roost. For some people that could be an issue.

    There is an advantage to adding clutter to your run, especially it space is kind of tight. Giving them places to hide under, behind, and over improves the quality of what space you have. You still need to be able to walk around in the run.

    They do like to perch. It doesn't have to be very complicated or all that high. They often like to perch together which kind of defeats the purpose of giving them several. If you're integrating it might be beneficial to have two or three different places well spread out. You can do whatever you wish, but if you put a branch or two a foot or two off the ground they will probably be happy. Anything beyond that is probably more for your benefit than theirs. Some people like to build and do things. Nothing wrong with that. Just post photos of what you do.

    I have a plum tree in my run. They like to fly up to those branches to perch.
  7. K0k0shka

    K0k0shka Songster

    Jul 24, 2019
    Boston Area, MA
    @Ridgerunner mine will be coming from a hobby breeder, so not show quality. They will be pets, so no reason to feed them any special high protein diet. So maybe they’ll be fine? I’ll give them different height options with a ramp branch so they can go as high as they want and have a way to get down without flying/jumping.

    My space is a good size for the 3-4 chickens I’m planning on - about 12’x16’, so there will be room to walk around. I’m the builder type though, and have a thing for animal habitats, so I’ll give them lots of things to do and interact with :)
  8. ColtHandorf

    ColtHandorf Crowing

    Feb 19, 2019
    Commerce, Texas
    I'd also ask if they are English or American-type Orpingtons. My Silver-laced English are not very adventurous in the height department. My Black pullet however will fly up onto things I'd think were much too tall for her to get up on. She's by far the largest of all of them bar the Blue rooster who can barely get up 30-36" to roost at night. I had to make a ladder that's nearly 10" wide just so they could ascend to an extremely low perch. lol
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2019
  9. K0k0shka

    K0k0shka Songster

    Jul 24, 2019
    Boston Area, MA
    Hmmm... interesting... I just looked up the breeder's website and he says most of his are English in origin. Maybe they'll enjoy it while they're young and not too big and heavy yet, and if they fall in love with it growing up climbing it, they'll continue to at least try to get their big butts up there even after they grow big? Haha. I'll give them a ramp and step-up stumps just in case.
    Lizzy733, penny1960, ValerieJ and 2 others like this.
  10. ravensnow

    ravensnow Chirping

    Mar 7, 2019
    Urban SW Pennsylvania
    I have two lavender Orpingtons, both about 9 months old. One is a huge, beach ball of a chicken, and the other is svelte and not nearly so wide. The svelte one can fly across our city yard, and the big one can't get lift at all. The big girl is a bit clumsy and not the best jumper, but even she jumps up as high as she can on the ramp between the pop door and the run. The svelte one jumps straight up ~2 feet onto their food tower a few times a day and isn't put out by the effort at all.

    Based on my dumplings, I'd say a ramp or multi-step setup would be best for any chubsters you have. Any that are good at flying/jumping could go up as high as they want to from the ground, but the big ones can also participate that way.
    penny1960, ValerieJ, K0k0shka and 2 others like this.

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