Roost height and placement questions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by snakecharmer, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. snakecharmer

    snakecharmer Out Of The Brooder

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    I have been searching quite a bit on this but most threads seem to deal with much taller coops than mine. I started my coop by building a 4x6' raised platform to house a half dozen hens but could not decide on a final coop design. Well the chicks hatched last week so I just started building kind of off the cuff. I kind of liked the "Chick-n-barn" design so I am roughly basing it on that. My floor space is more but I am concerned about the height because it seemed taller in my head. The raised area in the middle of the roof will be full lengh vents and I think I am going to put louvered soffit vents on the front and back as well but maybe slightly lower than the others. For reference, the peak of the roof is 44" off the floor and each end of the coop is 20" from the floor.

    My plan is to build a double nest box off of the back wall of the coop but I originally was going to put a large clean out door back there so that creates the problem of cleanout door placement. I figured I could hinge the lower roof sections and make one of the end walls fold down completely to allow cleaning. Or would I be better off puting the nest boxes on one end and going with the door on the back?

    My main problem is roost height and placement. I planned to put one in one side and a higher one straight across the middle. I wanted to put one in either end but I need one end for food and water. With the low ceiling height in of the ends I cant put them real high off the floor. How much headroom do I need to allow? I plan to keep the nest boxed close to the ground but if the roosts are only like 10" off the ground, will that be OK and high enough to keep them from roosting in the nest boxes?

    I was also wanting to put a small window on either side of the pop door that I can open for more airflow in the summer. Will it be a problem for the window to be right at the end of the roost? I was also going to make a screened summer pop door so should I just go with that and forget about the small windows or both?

    Sorry for all the questions but this is my first attempt and I am trying not to screw it up too bad.

    Here are a couple of pictures for reference. Just noticed I installed the front and back walls with the good side in....what an idiot. Thats what I get for building in the dark and rain.

    [​IMG]

    Ignore the stuff inside, I was mocking inside nest boxes but decided against it.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2009
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    It would've been more convenient if you'd have made the front and back walls the 4' rather than 6'-wide side... but I thnik you can make this work.

    One option would be to run two low roosts along one half of the coop (e.g. the left half as seen in the top photo), about 6" off the floor, the first one about 8" from the wall and the second about 12" from the first and parallel to it. You could even try just having one of these roosts -- 4' is sufficient roost length for 6 chickens IF (big if) they are all feeling very friendly with each other). That will have the advantage of keeping the chickens out of the direct draft of wintertime ventilation (I am assuming that the raised part of roof along the center will have vents on either side?) Then put two small or one largeish nestbox in the near right-hand corner, and either put food and/or water outside or try to shoehorn them in as best you can.

    Another option would be to run two roosts lengthwise down the middle, about 16" above the floor and just to either side of the top corners of the popdoor, if that makes sense? You would need to put in one or two 2x4 pieces on the far end (that will have your access doors) in rder to support that end of the roosts but that's not a great big deal. Then put the nestboxes 'in the eaves' on one side or the other -- you may have ease-of-access issues unless they are accessed from little doors on the outside wall, though. I am less sold on this arrangement because a) unless you have other ventilation openings, the chickens will be right under the incoming cold air all winter which is not good, and b) unless your food and water are both outdoors year-round (problematic in winter) they're likely to get majorly tipped over every time the chickens hop down from the roost); but it could be done, and maybe I'm wrong about the size of the disadvantages.

    The nestboxes may need to be at floor level. I've used this in a tractor and a pen and never had any problem with it, fwiw.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  3. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Great advice from patandchickens!

    I like her first plan better. personally. I would go with a largish next box, myself; it seems that when there is more than one, they won't use all of them anyway, and often crowd together into one.

    I have about a 6' roost. Three use it; the fourth sleeps on top of the highest next box. Nice for the odd one out to have an alternative.
     
  4. snakecharmer

    snakecharmer Out Of The Brooder

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    Thats a good point Pat. I really hadnt thought about it but now I wish i would have built it the other way and I could have put the pop door on the side. The main reason I built it that way was because so my run would be wider but in retrospect i guess there is no rule that the run has to be on the front. Well I know how I will do it next time I guess.

    Now on the nest boxes, I don't think I was too clear. There will be a single box devided into 2 boxes and will be mounted on an outside wall, not inside of the coop. It will have a hinged roof for egg retrieval and the hens will enter it through two holes in the wall. It will be at floor level but will have a 4" litter dam. So I guess as long as my roosts are higher than the litter dam, the hens wont likely roost on the edge of the nest boxes?

    And yes, the upper section of the roof is going to be vented like the one in this picture. This is the one I used as a basis for my design. My concern with higher roosts is keeping the chickens out of that upper part of roof where the airflow will be.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Oh! <lightbulb> Ok, that's nice in that it'll give you more floor space available to the chickens, too. If you're doing it that way -- which seems fine to me, as long as the protruding nestboxes are predatorproof -- I don't think it really makes much difference where you put them, although by preference I'd put them on the opposite side of the coop from the roost if the roost is near a wall (poo can follow surprising trajectories off the roost... [​IMG])

    No, I don't think you'll have any problem with chickens roosting on the edge of the nestboxes, unless for some reason they take a dislike to your roost, which you'd then fix, so, no problem in the end [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  6. snakecharmer

    snakecharmer Out Of The Brooder

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    Ya, thats why I ditched the inside egg box idea. I have exactly 24 ft of floor space which I assume should be about perfect for my half dozen hen flock. I did some measuring at lunch and it looks like if I put a roost 12" out from an end wall and 12" off the floor, I should end up with about 14" of headroom and still be under the end roof and a foot or so back from the edge of the pop door as well.
     
  7. snakecharmer

    snakecharmer Out Of The Brooder

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    I went ahead and started laying it out for the cleanout door on the back and nest box on one end. One last question...is there a rule for minimum size of the entrances to the nest boxes? I mean if the holes in the wall that the chickens have to climb through to get into the nest boxes are like 10"x10", would that be too small? I might be able to bump it to like 12x12. Would that be big enough?
     
  8. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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