Questions about roosting... And everything else.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by campingshaws, Aug 18, 2014.

  1. campingshaws

    campingshaws Crossing the Road

    Aug 9, 2014
    Southwest Louisiana
    I have my coop, and my run, all built with left over fencing and free labor. But now I'm doubting whether everything is good enough...

    Regarding roosting poles: we don't have any, at the moment, because I can't seem to find the info I'm looking for. I'm really confused about placement within the coop, in relation to doors and boxes and whatnot, and and are they necessary in the run? I've read about using 2x4s and 5-10" per chicken, but how high from the floor should they be?

    Regarding litter/bedding: I live in southwest Louisiana, about two hours from the coast. It's basically wet all year long. I've read so much about mold and bugs and the like. I'm most drawn to sand because we already live in a very sandy area, but I just want the best and most economical.

    Regarding coop structure: how do I discern the difference in "ventilated" and "drafty"? Right now the front is open (there's a board missing across the length of the front) but I'm planning to build in a door and "window" in the open place.

    My chickens are currently confined to their run until I finish chicken-proofing the back yard. They don't use the coop, even if I put them in it. Today I saw a few hop in, but they hopped right back out. They're all pretty young, but clearly they aren't totally happy which means I'm also not totally happy. :/
  2. BGlazed

    BGlazed Hatching

    Aug 18, 2014
    Portland, TN
  3. tcstoehr

    tcstoehr Chirping

    Mar 25, 2014
    Canby, Oregon
    2x4 lumber works fine for roosting. Put it flat-side-up, not edge-up. Chickens like to be up about as high as possible. My roosting area is 40" and all my hens have no problems jumping up to it. I'm sure if I added a higher bar right next to it they would jump from the 40" bar over to the higher bar. But no such luck for them yet. The trick is if you put a bar up higher than they can jump, then you'll have to put an intermediate bar for them to work their way up. That's why lots of people put up chicken "ladders" which is a diagonal series of roosting bars parallel but offset from each other. Generally, the hens will compete for the highest spots, but not always.
    Ventilated versus drafty... good question. I think that drafty would be where the chickens were near the path that wind would take from one window to another. But ventilation can be put away from the areas occupied by the chickens, most importantly away from where they sleep. Maybe up high next to the roof line. I've seen some nice coops that have a 1-2' open area all the way around just under the roof line, secured tightly with hardware cloth. In my coop ventilation is supplied by two large windows. I put the roosting bar on the other end of the coop from those windows. Not only to keep the cross draft off of them, but they also seem to feel more secure sleeping away from windows.
  4. campingshaws

    campingshaws Crossing the Road

    Aug 9, 2014
    Southwest Louisiana
    Thanks for the advice! I just got back in from my third night moving the sleeping girls from the run and into the coop. I went ahead and got a bale of hay for their bedding, in hopes of convincing them that the coop is a great place after all. But it isn't working... There aren't roosts in the coop yet but I don't totally think that's the problem because there is a roost in the run, but none of them sleep on it.

    During the day they hop in and out of the coop and hang around the door, so I don't think they have a total problem with it. And I guess I wouldn't mind if they didn't sleep there, except they all pile up right against the fence where something could grab them. It's not a huge concern because the fence on their run is a second line of defense, but it just doesn't seem very smart.

    These are my first chickens. Sometimes I wonder if most of them should still be in a brooder? We have seven: two are 3-4 months, and it's on down from there with most of them being around 5-6 weeks at my best, uneducated guess. We got them from a feed store where they were all in a big run together, with about 40 other chickens, so I just kept them the way they were. At night all the little girls pile up underneath the bigger two, in the dirt and against the fence.

    I'm just about ready to scrap this whole coop and start over, which would probably land me a divorce since I didn't have a hand in building it.
  5. goodb

    goodb Songster

    Just my $.02

    Put them in the coop and leave them there for 2 to 3 days with food and water. They will imprint to the coop and learn that it is home. I have seen this suggested several times on this site.

    Good luck
  6. yyz0yyz0

    yyz0yyz0 Songster

    May 2, 2012
    This is what I did with mine, but I did it because my run was not ready yet. After the run was finished and the girls had been in the coop for several days I opened the door and let them into the run. It took a little while for them to come out but they did and they return to their coop every evening on their own.

    If you are worried about something reaching through the fencing and grabbing a bird you can add a layer of chicken wire around the run, the lower 24" should do. Chicken wire won't stop predators on it's own, but if it's added to something stronger then it will stop grabbing through the fencing.

    Drafty, refers mostly to cold drafts. So if you are in an area where the temps stay up you don't need to worry about drafts as much as someone like me up in snow country. I have a window that stays open all summer then gets closed in the winter, I also have the soffits open in the summer then in the winter I block off the soffit on the same side as the roosts. So if you have lots of ventilation, you can always block some off in the cooler weather if you get it.
  7. campingshaws

    campingshaws Crossing the Road

    Aug 9, 2014
    Southwest Louisiana
    Thanks for the advice. If it ever stops raining during my "free time" then I'll get the doors finished and leave them cooped up for a few days. We're going to knock out a few nesting boxes to make room for roosts. It rarely freezes here, so we should be fine with drafts once the doors are in.

    Here's a picture of the girls I took this afternoon, proving to me they at least have enough sense to come in from the rain. (I, however, stood in the rain for the pic)

  8. crazyfeathers

    crazyfeathers Songster

    Aug 24, 2013
    Auburndale, Wi
    I lost 3 young pullets who wouldn't come in out of the rain. They never had been inside the coop although they had access to it. I was an idiot not to make them go in the coop or lock them down inside for a few days. Almost lost a barndelver and a silkie cuz they preferred to pile up outside in the pouring rain than come in. Live and learn, although I feel very guilty. Best of luck on your birds.

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