Roost and Nest Box Heights


May 8, 2017
Hey guys, so I'm in the process of building my first chicken coop. It is 8' long, 4' wide and 6' tall. Right now I have nesting boxes that are built to be accessed outside the coop at 3' to the perch and right below another platform that is off the floor 15" to the perch. I was wondering if this will work for them to access the 3' boxes from the 15" platform. Also if I put the roosts on a different wall do they need to be higher than the nesting boxes. Any help is appreciated! Thanks!
You do want the roosts higher than the nests or anything else you don’t want them to sleep on. They tend to want to sleep at the highest point available. Sometimes that doesn’t happen, at least for all of them, but you need to start with higher roosts. 12” higher should be enough to be noticeable to them.

As long as you don’t have birds that can’t fly, like Silkies, they should be able to get to a nest 3’ high. I don’t totally follow your description of your set-up, but they can easily fly up 3’ to a perch. My full sized chickens fly up 5’ to get to the roosts. You should not need that 15” platform as an intermediate step but they might use it.
Thanks for the info. Would roosts 4' off the ground be too high for them to access? I know you said you have chickens that will fly 5' to nesting box, but is it tougher for them to access roosts that high? Thanks again
Ok, thanks! Sounds like I may have to lower my nesting boxes. I wanted them to be easily accessible from the outside with a hatch that flips up so I can just grab the eggs out. I'm a little worried that at 3' to the perch, building roosts 4' off the ground will make them hard to access. I live on 20 acres so I plan on them spending most their time outside the coop but want to make sure they aren't using the boxes for anything other than laying.
Do you clip their wings? If not they will have no trouble reaching a 4' roost. My leghorns have clipped wings which is why I also have a 2' and 4' they use to reach the 6'.
Keep in mind that higher roosts need more room to glide down. You don't want them hitting the wall! I keep my roosts at about 3' because of the limited fly-down space in a 4x8. I put the boxes at 2' (just high enough to hang feeders under) but the whole coop is on 2' legs so the exterior access door is at 4'. I now regret not insisting on lower, external boxes with a hinged roof because the 12" difference hasn't proved enough to dissuade roosting on the edge.
Mine fly 5’ up to the roosts. They fly up about 2-1/2’ to the top nests. I don’t know if you can see it but there is a 2x4 sticking out a little between the top nests they can use as a perch and some do, but most just fly straight to the nest.


While I’m posting photos, I’ll show the roosts. That’s a built-in brooder beneath them. Some chickens fly up to the top of the brooder, then on up. Others fly straight up to the roost. Then I have some that hop on top of the lower nests, hop over to the top of my brooder, then hop up on the roosts.


People tend to think the chickens are pretty helpless and need all kinds of help to get to the nests and roosts. We do out nests all kinds of different ways, with some of them a perch does help. But if they have enough room to spread their wings and fly, they can manage really well in most circumstances. I don’t know how much open space you have in your 4x8 coop so they can fly. I don’t know how the insides are laid out so it’s hard to be real specific. If they have room to fly, some will probably fly. If they can hop from one thing to another, some will probably hop. As long as they have a route they’ll get there.
Your coop is 4x8 Debid? My issue is, I already have the structure up and hole cut for external nesting boxes with hinged access door set at 3' to perch. Would it be better if I just closed up the hole and moved the boxes inside? I'm assuming that with all the room to free range, the coop will be used for sleeping and laying, so I may not need a ton of room in the coop. Any thoughts?

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