Rooftop Chicken Coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Scott700, May 23, 2011.

  1. Scott700

    Scott700 New Egg

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    Chicken wisdom needed.

    The company I work for is interested in raising chickens on the roof/patio deck area of our building. This is part of a green initiative which will include a roof garden. The area provides both shelter from extreme weather and lots of sunlight. What special considerations should be taken into account to make this undertaking a success. Since this coop will be located on a rooftop, is the lack of soil a problem?
    Thanks
     
  2. Scott700

    Scott700 New Egg

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    May 23, 2011
    The company I work for is interested in raising chickens on the roof/patio deck area of our building. This is part of a green initiative which will include a roof garden. The area provides both shelter from extreme weather and lots of sunlight. What special considerations should be taken into account to make this undertaking a success. Since this coop will be located on a rooftop, is the lack of soil a problem?
    Thanks
     
  3. columbiacritter

    columbiacritter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The lack of soil won't be that big of a consideration if you have an easy way to get bedding/ run material up to them and the used stinky stuff down or composted for the garden beds. You will need either sand or some other suitable substrate to give them at leas ta dust bath. A box of sand large enough for two birds at a time is enough.

    Even large chickens can fly surprisingly well at some times. My bantams easily get 10 ft straight up when young. My rooos used to fly up to my 2nd story deck. If the wind is blowing and one gets motivated a fat large fowl hen can clear a 6 ft fence. To keep them on a roof you'd need to keep them in a roofed run.

    I would worry about excess heat inteh summer and cold winds itn he winter. If you take all that into consideration and build suitably it should work.
     
  4. ErinG

    ErinG Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Will they have some sort of protection from sun and hawks?

    Edited because I re-read the original post saying there will be protection from sun [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2011
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Lack of soil not a problem.

    The TEMPERATURE that typical rooftops reach, potentially dealbreaker-type problem. (Depends on your particular roof of course). Even with the more heat-tolerant breeds, in dry air they get stressed above 90-95 and experience serious problems or death above 100-105 F or so (that's the temp the *chicken itself* is experiencing, so if they can find a cool place to snuggle away then they can take higher 'weather report' temps). In humid air, they have problems at somewhat less-hot temps.

    So I think that would be your main design challenge.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  6. ruger22mama

    ruger22mama Out Of The Brooder

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    Part of the garden should be planned out to allow an outdoor, shaded run with soil and at least some grass. Without it, I would worry that full time confinement could lead to chicken boredom and the associated bully-ish behavior towards one another.

    I love the idea though and with thoughtful planning, I'm sure it will work out great.

    Other thoughts that came to mind.. Would they have to over winter on the rooftop? With it being a patio space as well, are people taking their lunch there? Will the smell be an issue then? Will there be a compost bin available for the garden and used coop bedding? Where are you located - are suburban chickens allowed there? I think with the space being a shared multipurpose one, it would be ideal to talk to someone with firsthand experience in small scale chicken keeping as directly related to your region/circumstances. Can you post pics of the site?

    Good luck with your planning! You'll get lots of great input here.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2011
  7. carolinasculpture

    carolinasculpture Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi! Chickens do LOVE to scratch and with a minimum amount of soil they may scratch through the membrane for the green roof. I am assuming that it is easily accessible to feed, water and collect eggs daily. Other than that and what has been mentioned, I can't think of anything else. Sounds great! I wish you luck with the project. Keep us posted!
     
  8. Kudzu

    Kudzu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Get some grow boxes and grow turnip greens, lettuce, grass .etc. and rotate them in and out. Fit them with little parachutes just in case.........
     
  9. Scott700

    Scott700 New Egg

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    May 23, 2011
    Thanks everyone for the suggestions.

    Our design so far calls for a 4x4 coop with an 8ft to 10ft covered run. We intend to keep 4 to 5 birds. The total roof area is an "L" shaped space along a wall approximatly 25ft long on one end and 8ft down the other. Trees overhang the roof providing a windbreak and shade.The birds will have to overwinter in the coop so proper heating is a must. We are from Chicago so winters are pretty severe. There is access to electricity though, so any suggestions about keeping a small flock secure over a Chicago winter? I've seen heated roosts and also used a heat bulb. Not sure how a heated roost would work though. We don't own the building, but the landlord is very supportive of our efforts and backs us totally. Many co-workers are skeptical of the undertaking though, so making this a success is important for changing their minds.

    The goal is to create a totally contained environment. The bedding will be composted in a bin and finished compost will be used in the garden. Extra compost can be spread in an adjacent field. Keeping things tidy and handling waste is the big question. Also time for maintenance is also a factor. The bedding needs to compost, keep odors down, and provide the best time management for maintenance. I've seen comments about once a month cleanup. Can I add fresh bedding on top of soiled with a minimum of effort?
    So here are our next decisions. What bedding works best for odors and composting-Straw or wood chips?. What are effective methods to supply heat for a Chicago winter? What breeds are recommended that are heat tolerant and good layers?

    Thanks
     
  10. ruger22mama

    ruger22mama Out Of The Brooder

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    We are in KC and our backyard coop has no electricity. It's close to the same size as yours with no run. What we did was pick large birds that are winter hardy (Orpington and considered Jersey Giants but didn't have a local source). I don't think running juice to the coop for heat is necessary, even in your situation. Maybe your coop can be insulated, and designed with functional shutters on the windows? Maybe designed with eye hooks on the exterior corners, so with exception of the access door, it can be wrapped in moving blankets topped with tarps to water proof it in the winter, secured with bungee cords? I'm picturing the wrap being similar to the insulation around a home dishwasher. Not pretty but it could keep your girls protected from the wind.

    Daily 'chicken chores' here are done 2 times a day, morning and evening, which consists of scooping solid poo from the pine shavings on the coop floor and putting into the compost. We treat it similar to cat litter and actually use a litter scoop. Then as needed we add more shavings to maintain bedding level at 4-6 inches deep. We haven't had a bad odor issue at all, and have yet to completely remove the bedding and replace it after about 2 months. It seems to disintegrate to dust as the birds scratch around in it. We even left town for the weekend and didn't ask the pet sitters to do anything with the bedding, and it wasn't bad when we returned.

    3 times a day we make sure they have fresh water. We use an anti-tip dog food bowl for food, since they love standing in it, and tipped over all the other feeders. I'd put daily maintenance at 10-15 minutes tops. If you want tame birds that aren't skittish around people, that will take a little extra time, but will be worth it especially if you have skeptics in the group.

    Maybe you can build the coop to have its own rain barrel, if the roof can handle the weight? Wonder if it would be safe to water the chickens from that? Possibly hooked into an automatic waterer? Hauling water would not be fun!
     

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