Roost height??

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by kadota48, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. kadota48

    kadota48 Out Of The Brooder

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    I was wondering how high a roost should be? Whats too high? When is a roost too high for the chicken to get up on?
    Thanks:)
     
  2. Angiebubs

    Angiebubs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My roosts are about 3 ft off the ground but quite honestly its too high. I have step stools, and mini ladders in there to help. They can get up there but more of a concern is that when they jump down they need to land on something soft so as to not hurt their legs. It will also depend on if you have bantys or LF.s Bantys can fly to help them get up, where as the LF have more weight and cant fly as well/will land harder when jumping down. Hope this helps.
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Rule of thumb I go by is if bird can fly that high vertically in one effort all is well. Some can go vertical as high as 20 feet while others struggle to go six feet. Three feet should not be too high unless birds are flightless.
     
  4. kadota48

    kadota48 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you:) Ill be sure to take that into consideration.
     
  5. Mehjr10

    Mehjr10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My roost run from 8 inches off the ground to 7 feet off the ground.. I have different levels which they can work their way up to and down from..

    [​IMG]

    Usually the upper ladder and the shelves around the walls are loaded. And the heavier birds will stay on the lower roost.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  6. kadota48

    kadota48 Out Of The Brooder

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    If yu dont mind me asking, are those the tall roosts at the top right corner of the picture?
     
  7. Mehjr10

    Mehjr10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes above the black cage is another ladder roost, there are also roost around the wall, straight on and to the right.


    You can see a guinea sitting on one to the left and the one ahead is about the same height as the lower rung of the upper ladder.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2013
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    My take on roost height is to make the roosts higher than anything you don’t want them sleeping in but as low a practical. Chickens tend to sleep in the highest place they can get to and they poop a lot at night. You don’t want that poop in your nest box for example. So make sure the roosts are clearly higher than anything else.

    There are different reasons to not go extreme in making them too high. It’s unlikely but possible a chicken can injure itself jumping down from the roosts. My full sized birds spread their wings and fly down when they leave the roosts. Centrarchid made a good point in that different chickens have different flying abilities. Age, size, breed and such makes a big difference, but a few days ago my 8 to 9 pound full size mature rooster launched from a 5’ high roost, flew forward about 8 feet, took a sharp 90 degree left through the people door, and landed out in the run. I’ve seen other younger and smaller chickens do that a lot. Many people would be surprised at the flying ability of chickens when they are motivated to fly. I don’t have flightless silkies and I don’t have those huge Jersey Giants, just regular full sized fowl. I’m not in the least bit worried about mine hitting the ground hard enough to hurt themselves. Mine spread their wings and fly down. You are dealing with living animals and anything can happen but with mine the frequency is so rare (like so far, never) I don’t worry about it. There is another concern I’ll get to.

    The higher you go with the roosts, the more coop space you need. Ladder roosts can take up a fair amount of coop space if you use those. If your roosts are real high you might need some intermediate perch to help some get up to them. My roosts are 5’ high and all the same level. My full sized chickens have no trouble jumping/flying straight up there, but they have plenty of room to spread their wings and fly. If your coop is so small they can’t spread their wings and fly, it becomes an issue.

    Most of mine hop on top of the nest boxes which are a little over 2 feet high and then hop/fly over to the roosts when they are going up. When they come off the roosts in the morning a few might use the top of the nest boxes but most just fly straight down to the ground.

    This is my real concern with coop size. The higher they roosts the more horizontal distance they need to safely fly down. They don’t just hop off and plummet straight down like a rock. They spread their wings and fly. If space is tight, they can hit nest boxes, feeders, walls, or anything else in there and hurt themselves. They need a clear space to land. The higher the roosts the more clear space they need.

    Plenty of people have chickens that roost a lot higher than my 5 foot high roosts and their chickens don’t have any problem getting up there and don’t hurt themselves getting down. But their coops may be bigger than yours and set up differently. We all have unique conditions. I don’t see higher roosts as a huge serious problem, but I think keeping them as low as you reasonably can and still make them clearly higher than anything else is a prudent reasonable precaution.
     
  9. kadota48

    kadota48 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you fot the information:)
    Ohh, and another question, is their a certain amout of roost pace per bird i should go by??
     
  10. aldarita

    aldarita Chillin' With My Peeps

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    thank you ridgerunner for your explanation, it helps us newbies with our coops' designs. I was concerned about my LF hens jumping from 3 feet high roosts and hurting themselves, I even thought about installing a ramp so they can go up and down without jumping, but after reading your post, I think the ramps will be useless because they won't be using them, they will be jumping up and down. My new coop is 12 x 10 and I am planning to put the roosting boxes on both 10 feet sides and there won't be anything in between to keep them from injuring themselves when they jump.
     

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