How much headroom on run? Roost positioning? HELP newbie

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by 4myHennyPenny, Jun 12, 2007.

  1. 4myHennyPenny

    4myHennyPenny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2007
    Colorado
    Hello all,

    Needing some advice. I was going to try and use the area beneath the coop as a portion of their run both to try and conserve space in our small backyard and to provide them with some shade/protection from the elements. Question is, if the coop is 2' off the ground, will that be enough headroom for the chickens? Again, they will have another portion of the run with 3' to 5' of "headroom." Also, I will have an access panel on one side plus access from inside the run when I need to clean the shorter area.

    Then for the roost: I have read so many books and posts that now I'm confused.

    1) How high should the roost be? Is 18" off the floor ok, or do I have to put it higher?

    2) How far away from the wall should the roost be? I think I read 12" in one book and 18" in another. If 12" would work, that would be ideal (conserves more of the coop floor space for the hens).

    3) How much headroom do the hens need when they are on the roost? Is 18"+ enough? What's the minimum? (BTW, there will only be one roost, about 4' long, 3 to 4 hens).

    4) Finally, for those of you in cold winter climates, is it ok to position your roost on the north wall? This would be the ideal spot for ours, but I'm wondering if it would be too cold. It would be in front of two access doors to facilitate cleaning of the area; we'll do our best to insulate the doors and seal around them to minimize drafts. Coop will be wired for electric, and we'll use a heat lamp as necessary.

    I know this is a lot of questions, so thank you in advance for any help you can offer!! This site has been amazing so far--don't know what we'd have done without your help.
     
  2. 4myHennyPenny

    4myHennyPenny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2007
    Colorado
    Ok, read through the FAQs and it looks like 18-24" off the floor will be fine for either the roost or the next box. But again, how far out should the roost be fastened from the wall?

    Any help on any of the other original questions would be great, too!
     
  3. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Alaska
    I am interested in the answers to this question as well. We have some roosters that are finally learning to roost and we decided that their roost was too close to the back wall. I think it was a bit less than 12 inches. Also they didn't have enough width for all of them to get up there and flap around a bit in the process. Since you have resources that suggest both 12 and 18 inches you might just split the difference and call it good. OR... you could make two places to possition the roost. If the one closest to the wall was not working you could always move it out from the wall a bit. [​IMG]
     
  4. 4myHennyPenny

    4myHennyPenny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2007
    Colorado
    Quote:Good point! I've been thinking more about using the "drop pit" underneath the roost to simplify cleaning and keep the coop a little cleaner overall (hopefully); so, we'd need to make it large enough to accomodate the 18" from the wall position of the roost (if we should move it to that).

    With regards to the drop pit, we were considering a 6" raised area beneath the roost which would contain sand/pine shavings and be covered by chicken wire. We were considering the raised pitbecause it's the simplest way for us to keep the floor insulated and winter-proofed. In the process of doing so, we'll be losing that 6" in headroom under the roost.

    So here's another question: Could an area under the roost with only 12" of headroom still be considered as floor space for the hens? Or has it become too small to be considered functional?

    I'm probably overthinking all of this, but I'm really beginning to freak out. I really want everything to be perfect for our gals. PLEASE help me with your ideas; I need to complete our plans ASAP so we can begin building.
     
  5. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    I'll give it a go:

    1. 18" to 2' should be just fine

    2. Partly the answer to this question depends on what sizes your birds will be. You want the roost far enough from the wall so that the tail feathers of your largest bird does not rub the wall. This will cause feather breakage, I found out. I try to go 2' so I don't have to worry about size or need to move it later, after the damage to the bird is done.

    3. Here, again, it depends on the size of your birds. You want your tallest rooster to be able to stand on his roost and stretch out and crow without rubbing his comb on the ceiling, again this could cause damage. I like to allow at least 3'.

    4. I'm not in a cold climate, but if I were I would want the roost to be on the south or east side, preferably south and away from any doors or openings that could produce a draft. The worst winter winds come from the North or Northwest (for the most part) and birds are very suceptable to cold drafts and frosting combs.

    I hope this helps.
     
  6. 4myHennyPenny

    4myHennyPenny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2007
    Colorado
    Thanks, BeckyLa. So glad to hear more views on this. Between your post and the previous, sounds like I need to aim for at least 18" from the wall for the roost, right? (Any dissenting opinions out there?)

    Our hens (there will be 3 to 4) will be a Buff Orpington, Barred Rock, and Ameraucana (or 2). No roos. So, could I conceivably get away with about 20-24" of headroom above the roost for these gals?

    Makes sense about having the roost on the south or east. South would put it right in front of the window (probably open in summer, so too susceptible to drafts?). I could possible move the roost to the east wall, as you suggest. I do need to have the pop hole for them to "escape the coop" on that side. Should I be concerned about poop falling on these ladies as they go in and out under the roost (i.e. do I need to frame the "escape hatch")? I'm assuming that use of the drop pit would take care of them walking through it.

    But again, would 12" of clearance between the bottom of the roost and the top of the drop pit be enough for the girls to walk through on their way in and out? Or is this too short?

    Much thanks!!
     
  7. AK-Bird-brain

    AK-Bird-brain I gots Duckies!

    May 7, 2007
    Sterling, Alaska
    Quote:That sounds about right.

    Quote:Yes. I have these three breeds, too, and that's plenty of room.

    Quote:They should be fine... though it seems like they poop a lot, it's rare for them to poop on each other in passing, at least in my experience.

    Quote:If you can afford a couple more inches, I would make it about 16". But they can duck, and maneuver around with 12". In the winter they don't mind the cramped quarters at night, but they sure do like their elbowroom in the summer!
    [​IMG] good luck! Mrs. AKBB
     
  8. 4myHennyPenny

    4myHennyPenny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2007
    Colorado
    AK-Bird-Brain,

    Thank you so much for your help!!! Your other posts have been extremely helpful and had gotten us this far. You and the other posters have definitely helped to answer more of my questions and settle my worries a bit.

    I'm thinking of scrapping the drop pit idea. Access is seeming to be a little difficult for us to figure out. Our coop will be elevated about 2' off the ground, so we have to maintain our ability to insulate the floor well. Just a bit stumped. But as someone who has used the drop pit, would you ever be without it? If not, maybe I should reconsider.

    Thanks again
     
  9. AK-Bird-brain

    AK-Bird-brain I gots Duckies!

    May 7, 2007
    Sterling, Alaska
    Mrs. AKBB here... aw, you're welcome! I'm no expert, but I've had a little time to figure out what works and what doesn't. Truthfully, a dropping pit was the best thing I could have included in my coop, especially now that we have 19 birds! Mine is about 18" tall, and reaches about 2.5' back, so droppings from the roost and anything that gets kicked out of the nests is caught under there and they don't track it around. Makes it really easy to clean up. I shovel out the DP, then take the shavings that are on the floor and either scatter them in the yard to keep the mud down, or put it in the dropping pit to soak up fluids, and put fresh on the floor of the coop. Rotating the shavings means I use less, since I do it every 7-14 days, depending on how bad it gets. The top of the pit is removable... I originally made it as a drawer that could be pulled out and dumped, but it's too big and the poop piles up pretty quick, and it just wasn't working right. So the top wire rack is removable, and I just shovel it out and put the top back on.
    Anyway, cleanup is pretty easy with the pit. You might have to sit and seriously think about how you're going to go about it with the limited space you have, but it can be done. Can you post pics of what you have so far? [​IMG]

    P.S. Insulating the floor is important... but a thick layer of shavings (plus the poopies!) will help insulate some. What part of CO are you in? I know it gets pretty cold there... what kind of insulation are you using for the coop?
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2007
  10. 4myHennyPenny

    4myHennyPenny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2007
    Colorado
    No pics yet, we're just in the drafting stage right now. Yes, it does get pretty cold here, especially if we wind up with another winter like last year (3 blizzards in all, -0 eves).

    We'll be using 1/2" cedar on the outside, 2x4 framing with fiberglass insulation, then another layer of 1/2" soy-based plywood on the interior (not sure exactly what this product is called, but doesn't out-gas the same nasty VOCs as typical plywood). Will be wired for electric, too, to allow for supplemental lighting to improve laying and a couple of outlets for a heat lamp and bulb to keep water thawed, when necessary. Yeah, probably a little overkill. But dh is a builder, and I'm fairly type A, so we're destined to overdo it a bit.

    Question for you: Would a raised 6" dropping pit beneath the roost probably work for 3-4 hens? This would reduce the "headroom" under the roost to 12". My girls should still have adequate clearance to walk under the roost to the pop door, right? And could I still then consider this covered drop-pit area part of the 4 sq ft of floor space necessary per hen?

    Thanks for your help!
     

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