Roost and poop board placement help please

Beehappy13

In the Brooder
May 14, 2020
26
21
34
Montana
Hello all! So I’ve most likely been overthinking the roost and poop board placement in my coop so I had to give up yesterday. Going to try again today but I wanted to seek some advice from you all. So my coop is 4x6 (I have 5 girls) and I just put the nesting boxes in at 15” off the ground on the left wall (I know three I too many for 5 chickens but it was all I could find, and the box can be moved if necessary) I’m having difficulty placing roosts and poop boards in here. I want there to be enough floor space and also enough room for a little ramp (if needed) for them to get up there and some landing space for them to fly down. The food and water will be placed underneath one of the poop boards on the right side of the coop. Any helpful opinions and pics of your setup are greatly appreciated
 

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DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
30,805
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NY Southern Tier
My Coop
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Hello all! So I’ve most likely been overthinking the roost and poop board placement in my coop so I had to give up yesterday. Going to try again today but I wanted to seek some advice from you all. So my coop is 4x6 (I have 5 girls) and I just put the nesting boxes in at 15” off the ground on the left wall (I know three I too many for 5 chickens but it was all I could find, and the box can be moved if necessary) I’m having difficulty placing roosts and poop boards in here. I want there to be enough floor space and also enough room for a little ramp (if needed) for them to get up there and some landing space for them to fly down. The food and water will be placed underneath one of the poop boards on the right side of the coop. Any helpful opinions and pics of your setup are greatly appreciated
I would cut out that left nest box and just leave the two at the right. I would then set the poop board over the top of those nest boxes. You may even be able to hang the nest boxes underneath the poop board up at the front edge. Then center the roost along the 2 ft wide poop board and you're good to go. On the left side where you took out that large nest box is where you could setup the feeder and waterer. That would give them 2 ft of landing space in front of the board.
Keep the board as low as you can over the boxes. If the height of the boxes are 12 in that would make the bottom of the poop board approximately 27 inches off the floor. You could then install a roost that's about 1 foot over the poop board. That's a good height for handling the birds.
 

Beehappy13

In the Brooder
May 14, 2020
26
21
34
Montana
I would cut out that left nest box and just leave the two at the right. I would then set the poop board over the top of those nest boxes. You may even be able to hang the nest boxes underneath the poop board up at the front edge. Then center the roost along the 2 ft wide poop board and you're good to go. On the left side where you took out that large nest box is where you could setup the feeder and waterer. That would give them 2 ft of landing space in front of the board.
Keep the board as low as you can over the boxes. If the height of the boxes are 12 in that would make the bottom of the poop board approximately 27 inches off the floor. You could then install a roost that's about 1 foot over the poop board. That's a good height for handling the birds.
That’s very helpful. Thank you. How much roosting room do they need? I originally thought about stretching the roost and board along the length of the coop to give them enough room. Or even making an L shape roost so they can be comfortable. (I had thought about making the L shape on the opposite side of the coop above the pop door. I wasn’t sure if they would go into the nest boxes if they were covered by the poop board or too close to the busy food area)
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,502
20,753
907
Southeast Louisiana
I'll post a couple of photos to see if it helps you. My coop is a lot bigger than yours but maybe it will help.

The first one shows my main roosts over a built-in brooder. It doesn't look like it but the brooder is 3 feet wide, the first roost is about 12" off the wall and the other roost is another 12" over. The brooder did not go the entire length so I put bins underneath the open area to catch the poop.

Brooder Bins.JPG


This one may be of more interest to you and shows you some things to not do. This is my juvenile roost, in here to give a place for my juveniles to sleep that is not the main roosts and not in my nests. The nests are 16" deep and the roost is probably 8" of the wall. It works for juveniles and would for bantams. The top two nests are late additions as is the roost. I use the nest tops as droppings boards so that should answer the question will they use nests under a droppings board. This one is a pain to scrape. If I had it to do again I'd put one board across the top so it would be easier to scrape.

Juvenile Roost.JPG


Mine have all kinds of clear landing space so I don't need ramps. That's one of the problems with smaller coops, not much room. Putting a 2' wide droppings board in a 4' wide coop doesn't leave much room for you to work in there.

I think those nests are on a long wall? I don't know how much roost space you actually need for five hens. I've seen all kinds of numbers given, 7" per bird all the way to 15" per bird are pretty common. I assume your hens are all full sized and not bantams? Are they extra large like Jersey Giants or Brahma's? For five full sized hens that are raised together I'd put the roost across the four feet wide end of the coop away from the door. From my experience that should be enough and it maximized the room you have to work in there. I consider your convenience and comfort a big part of coop design. You may not have enough room for a ramp

I don't know what your ventilation looks like. In summer in Montana they will enjoy a cool breeze from open windows. But in winter those windows need to be closed. They still need good ventilation. Hopefully you have some up high so breezes don't hit them.

I just put the nesting boxes in at 15” off the ground on the left wall

I assume this means the bottom of the nests are 15" off of the coop floor. How tall are those nests, maybe 12"? You want the roosts to be noticeably higher than anywhere you don't want them to roost, like the top of your nests. If you had a large coop and the roosts were across the coop on the far end I'd want maybe 12" minimum difference in elevation so they would notice. But you are not. If you look at my juvenile roost you can see how much higher they are. The bottoms are up just a couple of inches. That works to get them to sleep on the roosts. It does not give me enough room to scrape the poop under the roosts, another mistake I made so watch that.

I'd put the droppings board at the top level of the nests with the roost a bit above that. They will probably use the droppings board as a step to get to the roosts though mine often fly straight up 5' to the roosts. And mine usually fly back down from the roosts instead of hopping down on the brooder top. Yours might even use the nest tops as a step to get to the roosts. Unless you have some double extra huge breeds or some that can't fly like Silkies they should be able to get up and down without a ramp.

Another option. Put your droppings board at the level of the bottom of your nests, 15" up. They can use that as a step to get up to the roosts. The problem with this is that you want to feed and water under there and 15" doesn't give you much room. I don't know what your feeder and waterer will look like, maybe they will fit. Or maybe take the nest off the furthest from the roost and feed and water way over there so they don't poop in them from the roost. That might give you better access to them anyway, depending on where your people door is and if your door swings in or out.

It's been enjoyable overthinking this with you. Good luck!
 

Beehappy13

In the Brooder
May 14, 2020
26
21
34
Montana
I'll post a couple of photos to see if it helps you. My coop is a lot bigger than yours but maybe it will help.

The first one shows my main roosts over a built-in brooder. It doesn't look like it but the brooder is 3 feet wide, the first roost is about 12" off the wall and the other roost is another 12" over. The brooder did not go the entire length so I put bins underneath the open area to catch the poop.

View attachment 2190738

This one may be of more interest to you and shows you some things to not do. This is my juvenile roost, in here to give a place for my juveniles to sleep that is not the main roosts and not in my nests. The nests are 16" deep and the roost is probably 8" of the wall. It works for juveniles and would for bantams. The top two nests are late additions as is the roost. I use the nest tops as droppings boards so that should answer the question will they use nests under a droppings board. This one is a pain to scrape. If I had it to do again I'd put one board across the top so it would be easier to scrape.

View attachment 2190737

Mine have all kinds of clear landing space so I don't need ramps. That's one of the problems with smaller coops, not much room. Putting a 2' wide droppings board in a 4' wide coop doesn't leave much room for you to work in there.

I think those nests are on a long wall? I don't know how much roost space you actually need for five hens. I've seen all kinds of numbers given, 7" per bird all the way to 15" per bird are pretty common. I assume your hens are all full sized and not bantams? Are they extra large like Jersey Giants or Brahma's? For five full sized hens that are raised together I'd put the roost across the four feet wide end of the coop away from the door. From my experience that should be enough and it maximized the room you have to work in there. I consider your convenience and comfort a big part of coop design. You may not have enough room for a ramp

I don't know what your ventilation looks like. In summer in Montana they will enjoy a cool breeze from open windows. But in winter those windows need to be closed. They still need good ventilation. Hopefully you have some up high so breezes don't hit them.

I just put the nesting boxes in at 15” off the ground on the left wall

I assume this means the bottom of the nests are 15" off of the coop floor. How tall are those nests, maybe 12"? You want the roosts to be noticeably higher than anywhere you don't want them to roost, like the top of your nests. If you had a large coop and the roosts were across the coop on the far end I'd want maybe 12" minimum difference in elevation so they would notice. But you are not. If you look at my juvenile roost you can see how much higher they are. The bottoms are up just a couple of inches. That works to get them to sleep on the roosts. It does not give me enough room to scrape the poop under the roosts, another mistake I made so watch that.

I'd put the droppings board at the top level of the nests with the roost a bit above that. They will probably use the droppings board as a step to get to the roosts though mine often fly straight up 5' to the roosts. And mine usually fly back down from the roosts instead of hopping down on the brooder top. Yours might even use the nest tops as a step to get to the roosts. Unless you have some double extra huge breeds or some that can't fly like Silkies they should be able to get up and down without a ramp.

Another option. Put your droppings board at the level of the bottom of your nests, 15" up. They can use that as a step to get up to the roosts. The problem with this is that you want to feed and water under there and 15" doesn't give you much room. I don't know what your feeder and waterer will look like, maybe they will fit. Or maybe take the nest off the furthest from the roost and feed and water way over there so they don't poop in them from the roost. That might give you better access to them anyway, depending on where your people door is and if your door swings in or out.

It's been enjoyable overthinking this with you. Good luck!
That is helpful as well. So I’ll answer your questions about it so we can overthink it some more lol
The nest boxes are on the 4 foot wall to the left of the people door. (People door is in the center) to the right is the chicken door on the 4 foot wall

My chickens are (Or will be) full size. I have 3 Americanas and 2 speckled Sussex

I think I have enough ventilation. We built a slant roof and the front and back soffits are open and enclosed with hardware cloth. And there is a window on the 4 foot wall to the right.

My husband just moved the nesting boxes down so the roosts won’t have to be as high up. So the bottoms of the boxes are now at 9 inches. They are 12x12” boxes.

Here are some pictures of what I have to work with. First picture is of the coop and run. Second pic is of the 4 foot wall on the right with the window and the chicken door (when you’re standing facing the inside at the people door). And the third pic is of the left 4 foot wall. The 6 foot wall along the back has nothing on it currently. And the fourth picture is of the soffit vents in the back) matches the front ones. The back wall is 5 1/2 feet tall
 

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Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,502
20,753
907
Southeast Louisiana
Looks like the pop door opens from the outside, not inside. How does that window work? Does it slide or is it hinged? Does it swing inward? Doesn't really matter, that end is out of consideration for the roost and droppings board. Two feet is a long way to bend over a droppings board to slide a window open. The droppings board could be lower than the bottom of the window but the roost would probably have to be high enough that poop would get on the lower part of that window and any sliding grooves. With the window open you may not want to feed down there, rain could blow in and get the feed wet. But if you could set it up so feed stays dry that would help a lot to get feed and water out of the way down there. Maybe some sort of rain guard if rain becomes a problem. It might not.

You could put the droppings board and roost right above the nests on the non-window end. The only downsides I can see is that you have to reach further under that droppings board to get the eggs. And you could have the feeder and waterer along that long wall, maybe on the wall the door is on and toward the window.

Or you could put the nests on the long side and do as I mentioned above. But before you get your husband to move them yet again, use the paper doll method. Draw that coop footprint to scale. Then cut out scale sizes of the nests, feeder, waterer, droppings board, and roost and try to fit them in to see how they fit. I used to design living quarters for people that worked in remote locations. Paper dolls are a legitimate design tool.
 

Beehappy13

In the Brooder
May 14, 2020
26
21
34
Montana
Looks like the pop door opens from the outside, not inside. How does that window work? Does it slide or is it hinged? Does it swing inward? Doesn't really matter, that end is out of consideration for the roost and droppings board. Two feet is a long way to bend over a droppings board to slide a window open. The droppings board could be lower than the bottom of the window but the roost would probably have to be high enough that poop would get on the lower part of that window and any sliding grooves. With the window open you may not want to feed down there, rain could blow in and get the feed wet. But if you could set it up so feed stays dry that would help a lot to get feed and water out of the way down there. Maybe some sort of rain guard if rain becomes a problem. It might not.

You could put the droppings board and roost right above the nests on the non-window end. The only downsides I can see is that you have to reach further under that droppings board to get the eggs. And you could have the feeder and waterer along that long wall, maybe on the wall the door is on and toward the window.

Or you could put the nests on the long side and do as I mentioned above. But before you get your husband to move them yet again, use the paper doll method. Draw that coop footprint to scale. Then cut out scale sizes of the nests, feeder, waterer, droppings board, and roost and try to fit them in to see how they fit. I used to design living quarters for people that worked in remote locations. Paper dolls are a legitimate design tool.
The chicken door opens from the outside and it slides sideways. The window does the same thing. Opens from the inside and slides sideways. I am able to fully stand inside the coop (I’m fairly short 5’4”) i was thinking’s about making the boards 2 feet off the ground and making the roosts about 10” high. That would make the roost level with the bottom of the window. But I could make them a little shorter. I was going to make the boards stationary and the roosts removable to clean
The feed and water would be underneath the poop boards. I thought about maybe making one big L board across the four foot wall and three feet into the 6 foot wall and sealing it.
 

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