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new coop but with roost issues

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by gadus, Sep 11, 2016.

  1. gadus

    gadus Chirping

    Jul 28, 2015

    Pictured above are my split-level roosts. I misjudged my Stars and Orpingtons, figuring they would stay on the bottom rung and the Ameracaunas would end up on top; instead, all of them like to be on top. So now I am having to redesign the roost because 18 birds even in a 8' long span seem crowded. My option are to carry the roost around to the next wall, above the nest boxes (with added poop catcher) or to get rid of the lower roost and make the top roost wider(as far out from the wall as the lower one) with perhaps the addition of one more length of 2X4 on edge and some hardware cloth. It did seem that hardware cloth in my brooder trapped a fair amount of poop, necessitating clean-up, so I'm not sure if wire is necessary but it does seem like a single 2X4 is too precarious and I've since added a second thickness, making for a 3" thickness of board for their feet to grasp. I should add the top roost is currently 12" off the wall, which seems adequate.Also, I will be adding a ladder as-people have already mentioned-it's plenty easy for birds to fly up but getting down is a different and potentially damaging matter...Thoughts?
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2016

  2. blairctchickens

    blairctchickens Chirping

    May 9, 2016
    North East Kansas
    I would say as long as the roosts are fairly close too each (12 inches to 16 inches) other they can hop down roost by roost. I have seen my chickens find a high spot in the run, five feet high or so and jump down with no issues. [​IMG]
  3. Howard E

    Howard E Songster

    Feb 18, 2016
    Your post confirms what has long been known, and that is if you build a ladder style roost, expect ALL of the birds to make for the highest roost, leading to crowding, fist fights, etc. The solution is to make both roosts the same height and if you want to also stick with what has long been known, make them from 2" x 2" square bars (now 1.5" x 1.5"). Roosts of that size fit the physiology of a chicken's foot and allows them to lock down on and grasp it. I know there is the theory they should be made from 2 x 4's flat side up, the theory being it enables them to keep their feet warm. That is a solution in desperate search of a problem. They keep their feet warm just fine by dropping down to cover them with their feathers. And as they drop down, the tendons in their legs cause their feet lock down on the roost, if it is of the size referenced above. They can't lock down on a 2 x 4. They can only balance on it.
  4. LakotaWolf

    LakotaWolf In the Brooder

    Nov 7, 2015
    This is the debacle I'm going through today. The hen house I built is 4 ft tall, 4 ft deep, and 8 ft wide. I'm only going to have 6 Buff Orpingtons egg layers. Do I really need a ladder type roosting? Will one 8 ft long, 1 ft from the wall and 1 ft from the floor suffice?
  5. blairctchickens

    blairctchickens Chirping

    May 9, 2016
    North East Kansas
    I would give them another roost option, does not have to be a ladder type, long as they have a chance for a spot if the other girls do not want to share their space. I have two, four foot roost, one 16 inches off the floor and one another 16 inches offset about 24 inches above that. My eight girls and one rooster will try as hard as they can to all squeeze onto the top roost. it is quite a commotion to hear all the shuffling coming from the coop. but each night I check on them to close the pen door they all are asleep together on the top roost. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2016
  6. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Thats an interesting point re: roost dimensions and I am inclined to agree. I have roosts that are 2*4 (recycled skirting boards actually) and others that are tree branches - there seems to be no particular preference. I keep all my roosts at the same height ( around 2ft above the ground) to try to ameliorate the fight for top spot and ensure that my dual purpose birds have a lower likelihood of suffering from their less than stylish landings from the roost. It will never stop the usual bickering, but thats what chickens do.

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