Planning a coop design. First time chicken owner.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by meghan111377, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. meghan111377

    meghan111377 New Egg

    Mar 27, 2011
    We are building our own coop but I have some details I am unsure of. We are getting Orpingtons and Wyandottes. The book I have says to keep the roost no higher then 2 feet off the floor so they don't injure themselves jumping down in the morning, but with the roost that low do they need a ramp/ladder to get on? I don't have any clue just how much they will be able to get off the ground.
    Next question, can I use "Worlds Best Cat Litter" in the pop pan under the roost safely? It is a corn based product but I don't want to harm my girls and keep them clean. Thank you for your input. Hopefully by the end of summer I will be a chicken know it all. lol
  2. GardenGal

    GardenGal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 11, 2011
    Western WA
    I don't know about the cat litter. If it doesn't create dust it might be fine. I and a lot of people use pine shavings, which are pretty inexpensive and easy to scoop.

    Your perch just has to be taller than the nesting boxes. Ours is about 18" high and no one has a problem jumping up.

    Good luck with your chicken adventure, and [​IMG]
  3. WI FarmChick

    WI FarmChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 22, 2012

    Check out this thread.....they are using sweet pdz on their droppings board. Sounds like it is safe for the chickens too.
    I am going to give it a try myself.........after my coop is done.

    Good Luck with your coop! :)
  4. blessedchick

    blessedchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 29, 2011

    I started to use PDZ after I read that thread and I love it! It works great in the poop tray in my guinea house as well. I also got kinda crazy with it and put it in a corner of my barn where my cats like to go during the winter. It cut the smell way down and now the cats don't want to use that corner for their litter box. Excellent!

    Have fun with your new babies!!
  5. JackE

    JackE Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    The roosts in my coop are 3' off the floor. I have some heavy breeds (BuffOrps, BRs), They don't have any problems with the height. They hop right up there. I do have a thick layer of pine shavings on the floor to help, among other things, to cushion their landings. I don't use a crap board, but If I did, I would think a thin layer of sand on it would help with cleaning and be cheaper than cat litter.
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    My roosts are a little over 5 feet high and I also have dual purpose breeds. I don't have the large breeds like Jersey Giants or Brahmas, but ones more your size. They have absolutely no problem jumping/flying up there. They also have no problems hopping down in the mornings. They are living animals. It is always possible they can hurt themselves hopping down no matter the height, but I'm pretty good at tripping over lines painted on a wooden floor myself. In my opinion, you can sometimes worry too much about some things.

    I do suggest you make your roosts as low as reasonably possible. I'm not that concerned with them hurting themselves because of the height since they generally spread their wings to slow down how fast they come down. But because the higher the roosts are, the more horizontal room they need to fly down to keep from bumping into things like nests, feeders, or even walls.

    The way I determine height of the roost is to put in my nests, them make the roosts noticeably higher. Chickens like to roost at the highest spot available. This helps keep them out of your nest boxes. They poop a lot when they sleep and that is not nice in your nest boxes.
  7. Daisy8s

    Daisy8s Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 12, 2011
    Central Michigan
    I have larger breeds and they can easily hop 24 inches, nearly straight up. In fact, my largest bird regularly hops to the top of a 4 ft fence post in order to get out of the run (so much for the website that said large breeds were too heavy to go over a 4 ft fence!)

    I put in a total of three roosts in a ladder formation so they can hop from one to the next if they want. The lowest is 12-24 inches off the ground (depending on the time of year--because I use the deep litter method with a clean-out once a year). The middle roost is about 18 inches higher up and the last another 18 inches above the middle one. (Each roost is spaced about 18 inches vertically and 12 inches horizontally from the next.) This distance is no problem for any of them from my largest Light Brahma to my smallest bantam. In fact, seeing one bird reach down and peck a bird on a lower roost I wish I'd also spaced them 18 inches horizontally, instead of 12.

    My bottom of my nesting boxes are even with the middle roost so a bird can step from the roost into the boxes if they wish--and most do. They sleep on the top roost, not in the nesting box.

    My mistake was placing the roosts so that the lowest one is only about 2 1/2 feet from the door so that if a chicken on the top roost wants to fly to the floor instead of hopping from roost to roost she may hit the wall. Okay, only one older, clumsier bird does this but I still feel bad for her if it happens.

    If you want a cushy floor use the deep litter method. If done well it's super squishy--I can see the floor give like a trampoline when my big birds land on it!

    Last edited: Mar 13, 2012

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by