Nest boxes and roost box proximity

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Dontezuma, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. Dontezuma

    Dontezuma New Egg

    Nov 18, 2009
    I have an 8X11' coop/run that I built.


    It's not designed as an enclosure, but rather as a "yard" for winter time. We expect to free-range our (currently) 6 13-week old chickens some of the time in our yard, but most of the time, they'll live in here.

    There is currently a chicken coop inside the coop.
    Once I can build sufficient nest boxes and roosts, I will be selling the chicken coop inside to recoop [​IMG] my expenses in building the larger structure.

    My question is whether there is any reason I couldn't build the nest boxes on the left side of the coop (the barn-door side) and the roost box on the right side? Also, how tall does a roost box need to be, how far apart do roost poles need to be inside, and at what height should the roost poles sit at?

    It's chilly in the winter here in Portland, but not Arctic. I feel like they need some sort of enclosed space to roost in the winter, and I'm looking at building like a 4' wide by 3' deep by 2' tall plywood box where the floor would be a 4X3 sheet of plywood that I could slide out like a tray to scrape into a compost bin to save the manure. If I put 2 4-foot roost poles in there, 6 inches off the bottom and spaced at 12 inches from the front and back walls and one another, would that be enough space?

    Or should I just build a roost ladder like tackyrama did (below) and let them be cold? Lows in the teens are fairly uncommon here. We have three Red Stars (sex links), 2 Australorps, and a Brahma, but I'm thinking of doubling the flock at some point to 12. With 88 sf in the structure, there's plenty of room.

    The box I have in mind would occupy the back right corner, and have a small door and ladder for them to hop up to get in. I think at that size, the 6 chickens could huddle and keep warm pretty effectively without any external heat source in Portland's coldest conditions. But I imagine the ladder roost would be more popular with the girls in the summer. I'd appreciate any feedback you have, as I'm a chicken newbie. Thanks!

    Last edited: Nov 27, 2009
  2. gkeesling

    gkeesling Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 24, 2008
    Hagerstown, IN
    I'm not totally sure the height of the roost is as important as that the roosting poles should be higher than the nest boxes. The chickens will want to roost at the highest spot they can. If the nest boxes are at the same height as the roost then you will have a problem with the chickens trying to roost in the nest area.
  3. possumqueen

    possumqueen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 17, 2009
    Monroe, North Carolina
    Hey, Dontezuma!! [​IMG]

    Your coop/run is beautifully built! And the "coop inside" is priceless!![​IMG]

    I'm assuming you're in Oregon. Nah, you don't need extra heat for your chickens. You just need draft free. With your open design you have plenty of fresh air, which is way WAY more important to birds than warmth.

    gkeesling is right, the roost just has to be higher than the nest box.

    But you don't say what kind of chickens you have. If they're a heavy breed, like Jersey giants or Australorps, you don't want them to have to jump down from the roost too far to the ground, especially as that looks like concrete you got there. The heavy breeds have a hard time with heights because their weight hurts their joints when they land (kinda like a certain overweight, gray-haired woman in her middle -- you don't need to know which years!)

    Check out patandchickens Big Ol' Ventilation page in this section of the Index. She's got it right.
  4. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    First off, your enclosure looks great. But I'm just a little confused. When you say roost box, are you talking about a huddle box (for warmth)??? I think that's a GOOD idea, since your coop is so open. I'm not sure what Portland you're referring to. But if it's Oregon, don't you guys get down below freezing there in the winter and get some snow (a google article mentioned 20+ inches for the 08/09 Winter). I guess I always thought only folks who didn't have winters did open air coops??? Without some kind of secure box or something in there, not only could the chickens be exposed to below freezing weather, but also winds (drafts) blowing right on them. Also, depending on whether your chickens will be out daily or not for foraging, your set-up is great for 6 chickens (you said 88 sq. ft?). But if you doubled the amount of chickens, that would be really close quarters (unless they WILL be out daily in your yard...but you mentioned that MOST of their time would be spent in the enclosure...)

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