my chickens can't get down from their roost!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by trasko, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. trasko

    trasko New Egg

    5
    0
    7
    Jul 19, 2010
    I have 4 chickens and an inherited coop from the previous tenants. It is tall enough to stand up inside. It's a 4x4' square footprint and 8' tall on one side and maybe 6' on the other with a slanted roof. The nest boxes were already built in and are designed quite well. There is an access door on the outside that rests perfectly on the railing of a staircase. If I move the nest boxes at all it will throw off this nice feature (and due to the recycled / pieced-together nature of this coop the nest box makes up part of a wall).

    Anyway... The nest box's are about 5' up. When I first added some perches, they would always sleep in the nest boxes because they were higher than the perches. So then I figured I didn't want all their poop in there so I made a perch even higher -- right at 6'. They love it up there -- but they can't get down! The few times I've waited around to see them try it was ugly -- flapping, tumbling, squawking, etc. If we open the coop door they'll gracelessly jump - fly out, but they aren't excited about it.

    Is there any way that they will go down that isn't just jumping off? I made 2 attempts:

    1) add more perches that were easy to jump to and didn't have a big drop between then. No luck. They would use them sometimes going up or they would just skip over them -- they never jump *down* to another perch.

    2) Add 3 large platforms in a stepped fashion. 2 drops of 15" and 1 drop of 12" and then easy access to the floor. I tried placing them on them and they just don't like jumping down on to another platform.


    Gaaah! There is one wall we can cut into to let them jump into their run which should work, but that would still require a platform and for them to jump down 15" or so. Does anyone have any ideas? Has anyone else ever run into this problem? Thanks!
     
  2. Zahboo

    Zahboo Simply Stated

    Feb 3, 2009
    Hope Mills, NC
    I'd move the nestboxes lower, it that's not possible because they are built in, cover those boxes, build some lower. I would hate them trying to jump down without enough space and hurting them selves. Usually if there is room they get used to it, but in a small coop, you can only flutter so much vertically
     
  3. Dorte

    Dorte Chillin' With My Peeps

    121
    0
    111
    Apr 27, 2010
    I wonder if you could "teach" them to use the platforms. Chickens seems to be afraid of new stuff, but perhaps if you put a little of their favorite treat on the platform they would jump down to it? If that worked, then add more treat on the next platform down.

    No idea if it would work or if you would just create chicken chaos by having 4 chickens fighting over treats in way to limited space...
     
  4. trasko

    trasko New Egg

    5
    0
    7
    Jul 19, 2010
    Quote:I tried this for about 20 minutes when I finally got it all done and again in the morning. They wanted off the perch and desperately wanted the nectarine pieces I was putting down but no matter what none of them would hop down to the platform.

    I put the two bravest on the uppermost platform and tried tempting them down platform by platform and not once did they drop down. When I put them on the lowest of the 3 platforms they immediately saw they could reach the ground and would jump down about 20" to the floor. The other drops were between 15" and 12".

    I've considered all sorts of wacky ideas... A carefully balanced platform which would lower given the weight of the bird... Mechanized platform with a trigger... Moving the entire perch up and down on a schedule... A bunch of overly-complex solutions that still probably wouldn't work. It looks like I'm going to end up cutting a hole in the side of the coop and letting them jump out into the run.
     
  5. Dorte

    Dorte Chillin' With My Peeps

    121
    0
    111
    Apr 27, 2010
    Could you post a picture? Might give an idea to some of the experienced chicken folks [​IMG]
     
  6. BarefootMom

    BarefootMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2010
    Half Way, Missouri
    Could you build something like this to help them get down?
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2010
  7. mickistoy

    mickistoy Chillin' With My Peeps

    111
    1
    91
    Jun 21, 2010
    northern ohio
    what about a ramp? [​IMG]
     
  8. goldeneggtees

    goldeneggtees Fluffy Butt Nut

    Mar 11, 2009
    Long Island, NY
    I'm laughing looking at this picture, looking at all those open beaks. They must be making a racket! I have Buff Orps too and they are very vocal creatures.

    Quote:
     
  9. Dorte

    Dorte Chillin' With My Peeps

    121
    0
    111
    Apr 27, 2010
    I came across this coop and I was thinking of your problem:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=20741

    It is not too different from the ramps I guess.

    A thought I had was if it could be the light in your coop that makes it hard for them to see to get down? If it is hard to see where they are going they may be more reluctant to jump. Obviously just a wild guess since I haven't seen your coop.
     
  10. Oven Ready

    Oven Ready Chillin' With My Peeps

    517
    8
    121
    May 9, 2010
    Thailand
    Ours all roost 6ft off the ground - there are no low perches. There is a small 4" wide ramp that cuts back on itself a few times to help the little chicks get up. And the nest box platform is about 3 feet up. Most jump to the nest box platform and then up to the perches. Some go straight up. They all come down without stopping at the nest box level.


    The floor space of the main coop is about 4 x 6 metres, so they do have enough space to get an angled flight (up) and a semi-control plunge (down).
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by