How high is too high?

HamletAndEggs

In the Brooder
Jun 27, 2019
49
63
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Hi Again! We built a lovely coop for our new flock of 12. It has two large roosts, one at about 3 feet high and another at about 4 feet high. The kids learned to roost without issue... but about 2 weeks ago (they’re 17 weeks old) I found them roosting in the rafters!! They are about 8 feet off the ground!! :idunno They seem to be getting down ok (haven’t seen ‘em do it, but no injuries) but is this something I need to address?? If so, ideas??
 

DiYMama540

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Jun 25, 2019
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As long as they're not injuring themselves getting up or down, it should be fine. My girls love to get on the tip top roost which is probably 8ish feet off the ground. I like to think it gives them added protection at night being so high!
 

BDutch

Crowing
5 Years
May 19, 2015
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Its typical chicken behaviour to go high to roost. The highest in the pecking order gets the highest place to roost. All chickens thay can go to highest roost if there is enough space there. The ones who don't dare or aren't allowed are low in the pecking order.
If you don't want them this high or on that spot for hygenic reasons you should make it impossible to fly up there. 3 feet is a good hight for most breeds. 8 feet too for the flying types if its spacious. And 8 feet is okay for most chicks if they can get there by some kind of a ladder.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
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Hi Again! We built a lovely coop for our new flock of 12. It has two large roosts, one at about 3 feet high and another at about 4 feet high. The kids learned to roost without issue... but about 2 weeks ago (they’re 17 weeks old) I found them roosting in the rafters!! They are about 8 feet off the ground!! :idunno They seem to be getting down ok (haven’t seen ‘em do it, but no injuries) but is this something I need to address?? If so, ideas??
It depends on the breed.
For bantams and lighter bodies Mediterranean breeds, it probably wouldn't be a big deal as long as they have a safe landing zone and you have thick bedding to protect their feet and legs from injury.
Larger bodied birds have an increased risk of injury when landing from such heights.
And it has been mentioned it will be very difficult to easily retrieve a chicken at roost time from those heights.
I would restrict their access to the rafters. You could staple chicken wire to the under sides of the rafters making a ceiling out of it so they can no longer access the tops of the rafters for roosting.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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Larger bodied birds have an increased risk of injury when landing from such heights.
And it has been mentioned it will be very difficult to easily retrieve a chicken at roost time from those heights.
I would restrict their access to the rafters. You could staple chicken wire to the under sides of the rafters making a ceiling out of it so they can no longer access the tops of the rafters for roosting.
Ditto Dat!!^^^
 

HamletAndEggs

In the Brooder
Jun 27, 2019
49
63
49
It depends on the breed.
For bantams and lighter bodies Mediterranean breeds, it probably wouldn't be a big deal as long as they have a safe landing zone and you have thick bedding to protect their feet and legs from injury.
Larger bodied birds have an increased risk of injury when landing from such heights.
And it has been mentioned it will be very difficult to easily retrieve a chicken at roost time from those heights.
I would restrict their access to the rafters. You could staple chicken wire to the under sides of the rafters making a ceiling out of it so they can no longer access the tops of the rafters for roosting.
Thanks so much for your very helpful reply! I do have several breed, many of them large (not giant, but big!)... Wyandottes, Opringtons, Marans, Faverolles, etc. I really appreciate you taking the time to help us out!
 

HamletAndEggs

In the Brooder
Jun 27, 2019
49
63
49
As long as they're not injuring themselves getting up or down, it should be fine. My girls love to get on the tip top roost which is probably 8ish feet off the ground. I like to think it gives them added protection at night being so high!
Which breeds do you have? Are they large birds and still do OK getting off the high roost? We live in an area with just about every chicken predator, so we have an iron clad coop and run (rabbit wire fencing buried in ground, rabbit wire roof over run, everything locks, etc.!) so for us the height isn't an advantage, I just don't want them hurting themselves getting down! Thanks for your help!
 

DiYMama540

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Jun 25, 2019
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SW VA
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Mine are all mutt chickens, olive eggers and California whites...great layers, but none of them are very big or heavy. You can check out my coop page and see that they have several bars they go up to get to the top. Sweet as can be though, I have no trouble wrangling them during the day if I need to.

Here's the link to my coop:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/diymamas-coop-deville.75236/

It's far from perfect, but it works for us...always improving!
 

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