Question about roosts and poops trays

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by happymom99, Apr 9, 2011.

  1. happymom99

    happymom99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello. My husband is going to built our first coop and I have some questions about the roosts and poop trays.

    I know the chickens need 12" of space per bird on the roost but if I need more than one roost, how far apart from one another do they need to be and how far does a roost need to be from the wall?

    What is the lowest and highest the roost can be off the ground?

    About poop boards....

    How far below the roost should they be?

    Will the chickens jump onto this and then onto the roost or will they just go straight to the roost? I'm asking because I am wondering how we attach the poop board so that it is easy to take in and out for cleaning, but if the chickens are going to jump on it on their way up to the roost I need to make sure in they're attached in a way that that is safe for them.

    What ways of attaching them do you like?

    Thank you,
    CJ
     
  2. WallTenters

    WallTenters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our poop board doubles as a roof for a little mini coop inside the coop. So it's along one wall (8ft) and it's I think about three feet deep. That area below the poop board is wired in so we can put a broody in there or young birds we're introducing into the flock. You can also use this area as storage for extra feeders, waterers, whatever you need to put down there.

    ANYWAY [​IMG] To answer your questions...

    Yes, our birds use the poop board to get up to their roosts, but our roosts are also pretty high up - I think the lowest one is maybe 4ft up. We have Dominiques, a fairly light breed, so we aren't worried about leg problems. With a heavier breed that can be a concern. With a smaller breed just frail legs can be a problem. Our Dominiques jump down from their roost right down to the floor - kind of flutter down like very ungraceful butterflies.

    SO The best ways to secure your poop board are either boards going straight down to the floor as braces or boards angled back towards the wall, with of course a board going across as a brace in either of these setups.

    Usually 18" between roosts and the wall is recommended. Our lower roost is only I think 12" from the wall, and we get away with that. Our upper roost is I think 16" away from the lower roost. We haven't had any issues at all with poopy birds, but again, we have a somewhat smaller breed as far as large fowl go. Our setup is not perfect, but it works!

    Instead of having your poop board remove, might I recommend having one that's easy to scrape off, like plywood topped with lenolium? That way it's easier to secure, and you can scoop it off with a shovel or even a cat litter scooper. If you let it go a little longer for any reason (family emergency?) the poo can get pretty heavy and you might have a hard time getting it out of the coop door, especially if you have to hold it perfectly level for fear of ruining the whole purpose of a poop board!

    I actually put brown paper feed bags on top of it and then I kind of pull those up and that takes about 90% of the litter. I can put the bags right in my compost and in a couple of months it's all broken down. You can do the same with newspaper but the newspaper was even harder than the paper bags to keep on there - my birds' oh-so-graceful morning "flight" would make wind that blows the paper off [​IMG] I usually save a little poop from the last cleaning to weigh it down and that has helped.

    Using a poop board and deep litter (and no, I don't add litter all the time like some do) our coop has stayed clean smelling and our birds healthy and clean.

    Hope that helps! [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Welcome to the forum!

    The answers to your questions about roost spacing are somewhat dependent on the breeds of the chickens you choose and their size, but a pretty good general rule of thumb is allow around 18 inches of space between the wall and the roost, and between roosts. The height of your roost is also breed dependent since Silkies and heavy breeds need a low roost. For our flock of bantams, I've put the roost at around 4 - 4 1/2 feet.

    I used shelf supports to hold up the roost and the poop trays beneath them. There's about 14 inches between the wall and the roost, and so far there's been no "backsplash" problem. The poop trays are about 20 inches below the roost. I didn't measure but just eyeballed it. Yes, the chickens do sometimes fly up to the edge of the poop trays as an intermediate step on their way up to the roost. I put a couple of small boards on the back of the wall just above the edge of the poop board to prevent the tray tipping over when they do this. It's not a great picture, but you can make out these little boards just above the tray:

    [​IMG]

    The poop trays are removeable, of course, because I empty them out in the composter every morning. A quick hose down, and then they're clean to be returned to the coop.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2011
    1 person likes this.
  4. happymom99

    happymom99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you so much for the resplies. They help soooooo much. [​IMG] I never would have even thought about poop spattering the wall or about the boards getting heavy.

    Elmo, the visual is really helpful.

    We are going to get 5 girls (I think... chicken math is already setting in and I haven't even gotten them yet!). I am pretty sure we are going to get 1 EE, 1 SLW, 1 GLW, 1 SS and 1 BA. We were originally going to make the 4x4 Purina coop but my husband might extend it to 4x5. The girls will be able to free-range all day and will only be in there to sleep and get to their external next boxes.

    Here are the plans if you're interested. http://poultry.purinamills.com/stellent/groups/public/documents/web_content/ecmd0007989.pdf
    As
    you can see they have a different plan than I am talking about for the roosts. I am changing it because I want poop trays.

    I think what I will do is put a roost up 24" on each side of the coop that is 18" from the wall. Then, even if we keep it 4ft x 4ft there will be 18" between each roost in the center of the coop where I can reach in from the hinged back of the coop and scrape the poop boards.

    ***Does this sound like it will work and be a good plan? The girls comfort and health is, of course, my first priority.... followed very closely by easy maintenance for me. [​IMG]

    More questions...

    ***How far below the roost should the poop board be?

    ***Do chickens "usually" sleep a certain way? Would you expect them to face the wall or turn away from the wall when they sleep?

    I know I am not going to use the roost plans that Purina has, but I am curious.... in the picture they show all the chickens sitting one way on the ladder type roost. If they were to decide to sleep the other way, they'd all be pooping on one another, right? This made me wonder if chickens just sort of instinctively sleep a certain way and that is what the Purina plans are counting on. Like I said, just curious.


    Thank you very much!

    CJ
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2011
  5. WallTenters

    WallTenters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Myn never sleep the same way - it just seems like wherever they're facing when they pass out, that's where they are.

    Also, I think as long as they aren't RIGHT underneath the roost it doesn't really matter. You want enough clearance for the poo, but not five feet or anything [​IMG] It's not an exact science. I think our board is about 18" under the first roost.

    Honestly, I think my hens would be just as pleased if I made them a coop out of beer cans! As long as it was cozy and safe feeling! [​IMG] A 4x4 coop would be nice for about four to five hens, but I say always go a bit bigger than needed! [​IMG] Chicken math adds up fast, and it's better to have too big of a coop at first rather than too small of a coop down the road. If you're planning on four or five hens, really plan on seven or eight!

    A coop that is about 4' x 8' would be pretty easy as that's usually the size that plywood and 2x4s come in - so it makes it nice [​IMG]. That size of coop would take six pieces of plywood for the sides and a few pieces of tin or other roofing for the roof.

    Also, I don't know about you, but my mom's coop is lifted off the ground and I think my coop is much easier to clean because I can easily walk in it (ours is on the ground, doesn't have a floor but we don't have a huge digging predator problem here or anything). It also makes it easy for me to reach my birds while they're sleeping to do health checks, etc. and we have lots of floor space because the roosts are lifted up so far that the chickens don't have to duck under roosts or anything. Ours is 8x8, built like a simple house. We got a door from a thrift store for $10, installed the door frame so it's easy to open and close, etc.
     
  6. Princessfarmer

    Princessfarmer Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:I'm super new..... Do your bantams just jump up there or is there a ramp?
     
  7. SF411chicks

    SF411chicks Out Of The Brooder

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    What kind of tray is that? Any idea where to get this? TIA
     
  8. jammzb

    jammzb Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 7, 2014
  9. SF411chicks

    SF411chicks Out Of The Brooder

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    that looks great, Thanks!!
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    The way I determine height of the roosts is to start at the floor. Determine how high your floor will be with bedding on it. Then position your nests. Some people put them on the floor, some people raise them a few feet up. It all works. The roosts need to be higher than the nests because chickens tend to sleep on the highest place available. You don’t want them sleeping in the nests because they poop a lot at night. You don’t want poopy eggs.

    Then put the roost as low as practical but noticeably higher than the nests or anywhere else you don’t want them sleeping. With your breeds I would not worry about them injuring themselves by jumping/flapping/flying down but you are dealing with living animals. Anything can happen so try to stay reasonable. I’ve had similar breeds to yours launch from a 5 foot high roost, fly forward about 6 feet, make a 90 degree turn, and fly out an open door to land in the run. That’s full grown hens and even a full grown rooster did that once.

    The real reason I suggest the roosts be as low as practical is that the higher the roosts the more clear landing space they need to fly down. They are not always the most graceful of flyers. You don’t want them hitting nests, feeders, waterers, walls, or anything else on the way down. Some are just not graceful enough to be able to get out that door.

    My droppings board is probably about a foot below my roosts. Somewhat like Walltenters, my droppings board is the top of my built-in brooder. Some of my chickens fly straight to the 5 foot high roosts. Some hop on top of my nests which are a little off to the side and then hop on up to the roosts. Some use the droppings board as an intermediate point. Some don’t. Chickens don’t always read the book to see what they should do. They just do their own thing. Practically all of mine fly straight to the floor when they get down.

    You’ll find that we do a lot of different things to manage the poop. Some people get plastic bins from Walmart and set those under the roosts. Some of those may put wire over the bins to keep the chickens out but most don’t worry about that. Some have removable trays or trays that slide out. Some use trays and keep some sort of bedding in them. I like putting the pure poop in the compost so I don’t use any bedding. Some put linoleum on top to make them easier to scrape. Mine is just a piece of plywood. Some scrape, clean, and sanitize every day. I scrape mine every two to three weeks, depending on how many chickens I have and how bad it gets. If it ever starts to smell, I waited too long. If the weather is really humid I have to scrape it more often but I hardly ever wait too long.

    There is no right way or wrong way that covers everybody. Good luck on finding something that works for you.

    This sort of shows mine.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2014

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