Newbie coop design question!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by crazeetxn, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. crazeetxn

    crazeetxn Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 20, 2010
    West Texas
    Good morning all -

    I acquired some chickens from a friend who is leaving. 10 total. I turned a building we have into their coop. Don't mind the grafitti, the chickens don't [​IMG] 4 boys and a can of spray paint, well, that's another topic...walls will soon be painted.
    Here is what I put together so far. Their roost is 3 7' 2x2s spaced 18" apart and sits 35" off the ground. Their nesting boxes, 7 total (already had the shelves) are 24" off the ground with their perch a little lower. All of them can get to where they need to go with the exception of one. When she was little, a dog ate one of her wings off. Hence the ladders to the perch and nesting box. The ladder to the roost goes all the way to the third perch.

    My questions are:

    1. Is the roost too big?
    2. Are there too many nesting boxes?
    3. Will my one winged bird use the ladders? If not, what can I do to make her a roost and nesting box the other will not use.

    I appreciate all ya'll's inputs and feel free to critique everything from the hay on the floor to the need for poop boards and anything else you see.



    Last edited: Sep 22, 2010
  2. Tdub4chiks

    Tdub4chiks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 8, 2010
    Constantia, NY
    I'm pretty new to this chicken thing, but from what I have read, 2 x 4's are better for roosting. The edges should be rounded off. That way, they can keep their big feet warm and give their fat bodies a place to roost without having to play the balancing game while they are sleeping. imho

    Looks like they have plenty of room and they will be happy girls. Good job.
  3. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    Welcome to the forum!

    The usual rule of thumb for roosts is to allow for 1 foot of width per chicken. You've got plenty of roost space, more than you probably need...but that's not a problem unless you're pressed for space otherwise.

    However, I've read that many people who have standard chickens (mine are bantams) use 4" wide roosts. I use a 2" wide roost for my little bantams, and their feet are much smaller than the feet of standard chickens. Perhaps folks with standard birds can chime in and share their experience about whether a 2" roost is too narrow for standard chickens.

    The usual rule of thumb for nesting boxes is 1 per 3 or 4 chickens. Again, it isn't a problem to have more nesting boxes than that unless you need the space for other things.

    I think you'll just have to watch and see how your one winged bird manages, and try to adjust things for her if she isn't coping with the set up you have.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2010
  4. crazeetxn

    crazeetxn Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 20, 2010
    West Texas
    I read a bunch of threads talking about 2x4 turned up, turned down, 2x2s, etc...most of my chicks fit on the 2x2, but man it looks uncomfortable. The rooster and black giant have huge feet and I'm thinking I'm going to replace one of the the perches with a 2x4 and see who takes to it. If they fight over it, I'll just replace them all.

    I'm hoping the one winged will figure out the ladder. If not, I'll probably build her her own.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    1. Is the roost too big?

    As Elmo said, unless you need the space, there is not real problem of having too much roost space. You may want to remove one to make it easier to clean and work in there, or if you decide to put a droppings board under them to catch the poop while they roost, you might want them crowded closer together. You'll probably find that they crowd together on the roosts anyway. They certainly don't use 12" width while roosting, but they do need some extra room to get on the roosts, since they often fly up, and they need room ot maneuver next to their buddies once they get up there. The minimum recommended is 8" per bird, but more is not bad.

    It is amazing to me how passionate some people get on the question of the 2x4 roosts. I'm not talking about the other posters on this thread but you should see some of the threads on here about this. Chickens will roost on the wide side of a 2x4. Chickens will roost on the narrow side of a 2x4 (actually 1-1/2" wide). Chickens like mine will roost on tree branches of various width. The most popular place on mine is on the section that is wider, but that is right in front of the window. The location of second choice for the less dominant birds is the back corner, where the tree branches are a bit smaller than the 1-1/2" width of a 2x4. Not much smaller but just a bit. My least dominant birds sleep in the middle. I think location is much more important than width. And I think yours will do fine. I do suggest rounding the corners, partly to make it more comfortable on their feet and partly to get rid of splinters.

    There is a theory that in really cold climates, the chickens will settle down on their feet and keep them warmer in the winter. That makes sense to me. I don't live in a particularly cold climate with it seldom getting much below 0* F in the winter, so I don't worry about it too much. I have noticed that when mine settle down on the narrow tree branches, their feet are covered anyway. Maybe not as much as on a flat surface, but still covered. When they roost on the narrower tree branches, their toes do wrap around the tree branches. When they are knocked off the roosts as they are getting settled, if is almost always from the wider parts of the roosts right in front of that popular window, not from the smaller tree branches, although they do sometimes come off there too.

    2. Are there too many nesting boxes?

    I agree. With 10 hens, you need 3 nesting boxes. But more won't hurt, especially if you get more chickens later. They'll probably use only 1 or 2 anyway.

    3. Will my one winged bird use the ladders?

    If she needs to, I think she will. I would not be shocked to find out she really doesn't need the ladders. They are a lot tougher and more adaptable than many people think.

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