Ramp made out of wire fencing material

Mosaicgal

In the Brooder
May 31, 2020
23
31
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We just got our coop and are excited to get our 4 week old chicks outside more. But now that we are using it I have a few quedtions

The ramp has a wood frame but the part the chickens walk up is made of welded wire 1/2” x1”. And it goes up to a shelf made of the same.
Two of my chicks have wandered up but don’t seem to like the wire. They are very tentative on it and tend to try to stay more on the wood. So I have a few questions:
1. Will they get used to the wire over time, or should I remake the ramp with wood.
2 re: the wire shelf is in front of the nesting boxes. Will they sleep on that, or should I replace that with a wood shelf or a perch?
your ideas and experience are appreciated! Photo below:
8C0B0385-9317-4188-9031-A048C360E206.jpeg
 

Perris

Still learning
Jan 28, 2018
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the wire will not be very comfortable for them underfoot; they would prefer wood. 2x2 is commonly used for roosts. I would also position a roost slightly higher than the nest boxes, otherwise they may prefer to roost in them (as the highest level). So perhaps you could put a roost across, slightly above the existing wire shelf?
 

Mosaicgal

In the Brooder
May 31, 2020
23
31
36
Does it matter how much higher the roost should be from the nesting boxes? Also, the nesting boxes just have a short little divider between each one. Should we put full dividers in or maybe fabric between each one? Will that make a difference for them?

appreciate the assist!
 

Perris

Still learning
Jan 28, 2018
4,148
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Gower, Wales
Does it matter how much higher the roost should be from the nesting boxes?
An inch or two will do. I wouldn't go much higher as they will be jumping down onto the wire, and you don't want them to hurt their feet doing so.
Should we put full dividers in or maybe fabric between each one? Will that make a difference for them?
Some like a lot of privacy, others don't seem to be fussed. Perhaps add something between two boxes and leave the others as is, and see how they go?
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
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1. Will they get used to the wire over time, or should I remake the ramp with wood.

4-week-old chicks should be able to fly up there unless you have Silkies that can't fly. Right now, why would a 4-week-old want to go up there? Actually they may like to go up there to perch. Looks like a great place to perch and look over their domain. So, yes, you might see them up there.

When a space is open like that I don't use ramps, I let mine fly. But many people really like ramps. To me that one looks really steep. How high is the top connection point for that ramp? If you can give us a measurement we can tell you how far out horizontally the bottom needs to be. Or you can do the math. Take the height, divide by 3 and then multiply by 4. That's the horizontal distance. Or take the height, divide by 3, and multiply by 5. That's how long the side rails should be.

Another way to flatten that ramp would be to put a cinder block under the bottom end. The chicks can easily hop up that high if the want to. Again, the trick is whether they want to or not.

I don't now if that wire on the ramp is a problem or not. Ramps are typically made of wood. To help the chickens get a grip put strips across every 6", say 1/2" x 1" strips of wood. If you flatten the slope and give them the strips to help them get a grip it should work.

2 re: the wire shelf is in front of the nesting boxes. Will they sleep on that, or should I replace that with a wood shelf or a perch?

Chickens tend to like to sleep on the highest place available. That' why the roosts need to be noticeably higher than any place you don't want them to sleep, like your nests. If the roosts are right at the nests 6" should be enough. If the roosts are a few feet away I use 12" minimum height difference just to make sure it is noticeable.

You do not want the roosts where they can hang their butt end over the nests. They poop when they roost and you want clean nests.

the nesting boxes just have a short little divider between each one.

I agree. Most chickens will be fine as those are. People tend to worry about things like that more than the chickens do. It's pretty common for me to see three hens in the same nest laying when there are empty nests around. So much for privacy. But there are always exceptions. I've had a couple of nest hogs that just don't like to share. They can get pretty brutal about that.

Those partitions will probably disappear when you put bedding material in there. I think raising them to at least 6" would be a good idea. Taking them high enough so a chicken can't see (or peck) across it could be a good move.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
Jul 3, 2016
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I agree the ramp is too steep. The wire may or may not be an issue if those are the only surfaces that use it... I say that because I have the same welded wire on the front of my brooder and the chicks are happy to stomp around on it without issue.

Where are your roosts and how high are they in relation to the nests (or is that wood beam next to the ramp the roost? very odd location if it is)?
 

Mosaicgal

In the Brooder
May 31, 2020
23
31
36
I really appreciate all of your insights. I measured the ramp and did the calculations offered and it is indeed too steep. It is a weird location for the roost, so think we will move it to in front of the nesting boxes, but a little higher. Thanks again!
 

Mosaicgal

In the Brooder
May 31, 2020
23
31
36
You have all been so helpful about re-enginnering our coop. If you don't mind, I would like to clarify a few new thoughts. We are going to take out the perch that runs parallel to the ramp and add a new one just above the nesting boxes with a dropping board immediately below it. That seems like an easy fix. That brings us to the wire shelf that is right in front of the nesting boxes. It is 16 1/2 " wide. Should I leave this as is, or should we cut back the wire mesh a few inches from the outer edge which would then allow that bar to be a proper perch. That would leave us with a narrower shelf in front of the nesting boxes. What width would you recommend?
I have noticed that the chickens want to perch on that outer bar, but the mesh gets in the way and they can't get a good grip. Does this sound like a good plan? I hope it described it clearly! I appreciate your suggestions.

In looking at the photo i should add we are going to prop the ladder on a block to decrease the pitch of it , and we will not cut the mesh back in front of the ramp so to give them a full landing.
 

David61

Songster
Jul 27, 2019
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Mississippi Gulf Coast
Fat laying hens like good footing on ramps. Add some slats. I'll post a pic of the ramp I made with a fence board. Cheap, easy to make, treated wood and reversible for easy poop clean removal.
roost boards a minimum of a foot off a wall and foot above nest box.
chickens are not true perching birds. They walk flat footed. A 2x3 2x4 roost bar is better.
du.JPG
 

MANNA-PRO

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