How high should my roosts be?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by PunkinPeep, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,642
    19
    229
    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    Our new coop is almost finished, and tomorrow i want to put in the roosts. But i can't decide how i want to do it.

    I have 26 chickens that will be in the coop, and i want them to roost on one side of the coop. There are two 2 foot (ish) square windows at about the four-foot level. And i was thinking that they would like to roost in front of the windows to feel the breeze, as this is Texas, and it is mostly hot. But the window level is kind of low....well, i really just don't know how high i should put them. I was thinking one about window level and one above the window, which would be at about 6 feet.

    How high should they be? Will they like having two levels? Will they like roosting by the windows? In their outdoor brooder, they roost by the windows and seem to like it.

    And of course in case of the rare event when it is actually cold, they need to be able to escape the breeze.

    Anyway, you thoughts please?????????

    I need direction!

    edited to change topic
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2009
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,110
    3,316
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    The roosts need to be as low as you can put them and still have them clearly above the nesting boxes or anything else you don't want them to roost on. They will nest on the highest thing they can get to. Mine are 4 feet high and you can see the breeds I have in my signature.

    You don't mention your breeds. Many of the smaller breeds like games and bantams can handle pretty high roosts, but the larger breeds like Jersey Giant or Brahma can hurt their legs jumping down from the roosts. Any chicken can, actually, but the bigger ones are at more risk. Sometimes they will use a step to get down, but a lot will just fly down.

    The higher the roost, the more likely when they fly down they will hit something on the way down, like a nesting box, feeder, or wall. That's because they can cover more horizontal distance from a higher roost. They can be clumsy fliers.

    If you can, I think it is best to have the roosts the same height. The more dominant chickens will get the best spots. Usually these are the highest. They can peck and fight when getting sorted out on the roosts. While getting settled for the night, mine will crawl over each other, move around a lot, and even knock each other off. Mine are the same height and they do this. If one is higher than the other, it could be worse.

    The recommendation is to have the roosts about 12" from the nearest wall and separated horizontally by 12". If you do put one higher than the other, the recommendation is to separate them by about 12" vertical and 12" horizontal so the higher ones don't poop on the lower ones. This spacing allows them to easily hop from one roost to the other.
     
  3. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,642
    19
    229
    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    Thanks SO much for replying!

    My breeds are Buff Orpington, Barred Rock, and Rhode Island Red.

    I'm so glad you mentioned the nest boxes! We haven't built them yet, and i had forgotten that they need to be lower than the roosts.

    I could easily put two roosts side by side in front of the windows. They will extend past the windows, and if it gets really cold, we'll probably cover the windows at night.

    Is the poop board a complication when you have two roosts side by side?
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,110
    3,316
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I don't use a poop board so have no experience with that. The only complication I can think of is to make sure you can rake it off without getting your face, hair, or clothing in the roosts or the end of the poop board. Maybe someone with experience can come up with something else to watch for.
     
  5. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Well I recently clipped a couple of wings (flight feathers only of course) and now they seem to have trouble getting up to a 4ft roost. I'm going to add a lower one for them, and from there I'm sure that they will jump up to the higher one.

    I guess if your birds are clipped it would make a difference. Before I clipped wings they were roosting approx 8ft up in low hanging tree limbs and flying out of my fence. I clipped the main offenders and now they all behave pretty well.
     
  6. catfish/okie

    catfish/okie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mine is 5 ft. high with one 2 and a half ft tall 2 ft in front.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,110
    3,316
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    The others made a good point. I positioned my nesting boxeswhere they are used as a step by some of the chickens to get up and down. Some fly up and down directly and some use the step.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,642
    19
    229
    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    Well, yesterday, i built two roosts at the four foot level, side by side in front of the window.

    Will see how it goes when we move them in.

    Thanks for all the advice!
     
  9. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Use lots of bedding, the roosts are quite high for big birds. Or offer a landing pad like a bale of straw. Mine are mostly RIR and Buff Orp crosses, roosts are 27" high, and still they prefer a platform over the nest boxes 24"high.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2009
  10. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,642
    19
    229
    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    I do have lots of bedding, but i like the idea of the straw bale for a 'landing.' I think they would just enjoy it in general.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by