Roost Height and Bumblefoot

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Juise, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. Juise

    Juise Chillin' With My Peeps

    958
    5
    123
    Mar 4, 2011
    Hello all,

    I am putting a new roost in our coop before Winter here, right now the chickens are split between two smaller roosts and I would like them all to be able to be together on one. Unlike the current roosts, this one I am attaching to the walls and building a raised poop board for, so I want to make sure the height is right before I get going, because I'm not moving this one. :)

    They are probably about 3 1/2 or 4 feet up right now. I was thinking of putting the new one a bit higher. Ideally, I would like to hang the food and water underneath and move the nest boxes under there as well, so I would like it to be high enough to comfortably get under there for food and water changes and egg collecting.

    But not so high as to risk Bumblefoot. The biggest breed we have are Leghorns. There is about about 8 feet in front of the roost to fly down in, and the coop floor is sand / dirt. Our oldest birds right now are about 2 1/2 years, but we plan on keeping them for the extent of their lives should they evade hawks, etc. that long, so as a permanent roost I want to make sure it is usable by older birds as well. I know I can add a ladder, and I probably will, but I have heard from other people that while their chickens use the ladder to get up, they fly down anyway, and have gotten Bumblefoot that way. So I don't want to depend on the ladder to prevent it, rather than having the roost at a good height.

    I remember hearing a golden rule before about deciding roost height, but I don't remember what it was anymore... teehee.

    Thanks so much!
     
  2. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    7,950
    271
    321
    Aug 20, 2010
    Colmesneil,TX
    I wouldn't put a roost above 3 1/2 feet in my coop. I have some large birds and have had them actually bruise their keel getting down from a higher roost, about 4 1/2 feet. Mine have around 8 feet of "runway" too and mostly seem to take all of it to fly down.
     
  3. Juise

    Juise Chillin' With My Peeps

    958
    5
    123
    Mar 4, 2011
    Thank you! I just went out and measured the coop a little bit ago, and it is actually more like 10 or 11 feet of runway that will be in front of the new roost, but that probably doesn't make a whole lot of difference. :)
     
  4. Opa

    Opa Opa-wan Chickenobi

    9,572
    374
    326
    May 11, 2008
    Howell Michigan
    I have 3 roosts 8' long that are 4' from the floor. I made a 3 rung ladder 4' wide to facilitate access. The larger birds tend to use the ladder for both up and down.

    Roost height has nothing to do with Bumble foot, it is an infection in a chicken's foot caused by a puncture.
     
  5. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    7,950
    271
    321
    Aug 20, 2010
    Colmesneil,TX
    It's true, bumblefoot is a staph infection in the foot, but too high a roost can cause problems with multiple injuries being possible if you have heavy or large birds.
     
  6. I have had bumblefoot issues for awhile now, and DO think it came from the roost too high jumping down on the pine shavings. My roost is about 4 foot high and i do not have much more than 3 ft. of runway, but they do have a ladder they climb up on to get to the roost. My heavy girls are just so darn spoiled they wait for me to take them down in the morning......[​IMG]
     
  7. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    7,950
    271
    321
    Aug 20, 2010
    Colmesneil,TX
    I'm dealing with bumblefoot too now on my biggest, heaviest girl. The one that is always last to get down from the roost. I too think the initial injury was from too high a roost. It was up a bit over 4' and now it's down to 3 1/2 feet. I can't lower it any more without major demolition to lower the poop board under it. So far so good though.

    While too high a roost may or may not be the cause, I do have proof that too high a roost does cause injury. I had a rooster with a very bruised keel from that. And I've read here of one that ran into the opposite wall and broke it's neck getting down from a very high roost.
     
  8. yupr, it's better to be low than to high on it. I have the same issue with my poop board. It's the top of my nest boxes and would be major construction to change it.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Juise

    Juise Chillin' With My Peeps

    958
    5
    123
    Mar 4, 2011
    Thank you all! I didn't realize it was a staph infection, I thought it was somehow caused by the impact itself. Not that I plan on putting it way up high or anything, but I feel like it would be a bit hard to puncture yourself on sand with plenty of wing flapping room on the way down from 4 feet up or so. :) I will take another look at the coop, and I think I will put it 4 foot or lower. Thanks again. :)
     
  10. PeepsAreForMe

    PeepsAreForMe Chillin' With My Peeps

    383
    3
    101
    Apr 10, 2012
    Pemberton Borough, NJ
    Here is a picture of my movable roost. The top is about 2.5 ' high. I think it is to high for Mr. Big, my rooster. About 2 months ago he started limping and I thought he had Marek's. Thank goodness he and my girls tested negative. The vet said he did something traumatic to his leg and he is still limping and may not get better. It just dawned on me that he might have jumped off this and slipped on the linoleum with the pine shavings on it. I am going to have my husband make a lower one but I don't have the heart to tell him I think Mr. Big hurt his leg jumping off this. I do like that I can move it around to collect all the poop (and there is a LOT!!) but I'm leaning towards a poop tray.

    [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by