Re-working my roost design/placement. What's your experience?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ND, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. ND

    ND Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2010
    I have a 6' X 9' coop with exterior nest boxes.

    I currently have one roosting area on a northwest wall that goes across the entire it's approx 6' long.
    It has another roost in front of it that's 3-4', but at a lower level. (about a foot lower)

    There is another roost on the east wall that's nearly 7' long.

    The PREFERRED roost by the adult birds (at least in size, some are under a year old) is the one on the northwest wall that's about 6' long. And, of course, the top level. For ALL of them... there are 13 LF birds, one being a rather large Lt.Brahma roo. He takes up about the same space that two hens do.

    The younger pullets take the long roost on the east wall... which is the same height, if not perhaps a tiny bit higher, than the preferred roost of the older birds. Incidentally, ALL the previous younger pullets (9 of them) started out on the longer roost, but slowly migrated to the 'preferred roost' as they matured until they were ALL trying to cram on there.

    Maybe it's not a big problem...but they REALLY don't fit well ALL cramming on the same short roost. Literally packed like sardines, some of them get wedged in there where they can't even tuck their wings down, but they're up over birds on either side of them.

    The lower roost, a foot below them, is obviously just wasted...they're not going to use it. Nope! Well, some use it in an aid to get to the roost that's higher.

    It's cold now, so at least they're warm... but I'd still like to try to rework the roosts to allow them to roost all next to each other without being QUITE so packed in.

    I was thinking of removing the lower roost, and essentially building a ladder laid flat. Leave the preferred roost, bring at least 3 'ladder rungs' straight out from it, and attach another 2 X 4 on the opposite side, same height as the preferred roost and all. (the 'rungs' would be 2 x4's as well) I'm HOPING that if they still all want to attempt to cram onto the preferred roost, that the 'stragglers' that end up trying to wedge in and knock everyone over would settle for roosting on one of the 'rungs', basically perpendicular to the others. I'm just not sure if they WOULD??? If everyone else is facing forward or backward, would another bird roost perpendicular to them...with their side up against the others? Or would the others allow it? [​IMG]

    The only other thing I could really do would be to remove everything that's in there (roosts) and if I rearrange the feeders and waterer, I could run one long board down the center of the coop... I'd have to put it fairly high... to be above the nest boxes, but no higher than they prefer to roost now really. Problem is, it'd have to be nearly dead center of the coop (to be out of the way of door openings), and that doesn't leave much room for flying/jumping down (approx 2.5-3 ft on either side). And it'd just be more in the way when it was time to do a clean out.

    I'd also have to put a second shorter one in closer to one of the walls...because the younger pullets won't share roosts with the older birds. (nor are they allowed to yet)

    GAH! It shouldn't be so difficult... [​IMG] If a handful with suck it up and use another roost, they'd all be warm and actually have a LITTLE breathing room!

    Ideas on what'll work best? Clearly my original thoughts were a bomb...
  2. sheilawagner

    sheilawagner Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 16, 2010
    Pacific NorthWest
    Hi there,

    Do you think you could put up some photos of all the sides, roosting areas and such? That way, a picture could speak a thousand words, and it'll be easier for us to imagine what it looks like and give you some suggestions. Now, it is hard for me to even visualize what is going on and hard for me to say anything.

    Just thought it might be easier for people.
  3. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    Guess what? The roost in my latest coop has a setup exactly like what you're contemplating. I have a horizontal roost board supported in four places by shelf supports that I covered with some additional pieces of planed and sanded wood just in case (I reasoned) the chickens might want to roost there.

    And roost there they do! I notice much less squabbling for position on the roost at night now that my chickens have the option of roosting on these perpendicular supports. There's plenty of space on the horizontal roost, yet every night at least half of my hens will pick the perpendicular bars.

    I have a theory: if you're a lower ranking hen, you like to roost right next to the back wall because then you only have to worry about getting pecked by one hen next to you, not hens from both sides.

    I'd say try it and see how your flock likes it.
  4. BigIslandChicks

    BigIslandChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 10, 2010
    Quote:my coop is sort of interesting and very different from most bc it is mostly open air style (hawaii climate [​IMG]) and we have a big coffin [​IMG] style community nest box (which i put plastic bins with hay for nests) and the big "coffin" has a piece of tin on top for a roof (which will soon be replaced due to my own stupidity - scraping poo off corrugated metal! - what was i thinking?? [​IMG] ) the big box has 2 pieces of wood on the front of each side for privacy and the middle is open - but back to my point... on the tin i put a scrap piece of wood to help catch the poo for now [​IMG] ...then some 4x4 hunks to hold the 2x4 up and on one end is a long 4x4 so there is a T at one end and most of them huddle on the T part all together and there is like 6 feet of roost that only 1 or 2 will be on! i think its about 8 feet long all together with more than enough room for the 11 of them so i say yes they will face each other and sideways and probably upside down if they could [​IMG] seems to me no matter how much room we give them, or where we want them to roost they will all huddle up together for whatever crazy reason [​IMG]

    do whatever is easiest on you and them! goodluck
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2010
  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    What your contemplating, 2- 6ft roosts attached together with 3 "rungs" will work. Basically it's your same setup with the 7ft roost moved over to "prefered area" and hieght. I use to have 2 roost same hieght side by side, they were a bit too close at 12" yet the girls used both and perched facing either way unless on the wall side then they always face out.

    Now due to the mechanics of aloted space in new coop used a cross of roosts. They actually all pack together in X formation right in center. Plenty of roosting space for them to be on only 1 roost yet they prefer the warm mass huddle.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2010
  6. Rocky Top Chick

    Rocky Top Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 2, 2009
    North Carolina
    Mine have a lot of roosting space, but in the Winter they all huddle together for warmth. However, when it gets hot that is another story. You need plenty of space in the Summer so that they can spread out, and believe me, they will.

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