Roost length, how much?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Lynyrd Henyrd, Mar 3, 2016.

  1. Lynyrd Henyrd

    Lynyrd Henyrd New Egg

    Feb 27, 2016
    How long should the roost be for five heavy chickens? I have heard that they take up less space per bird if there are more...sounds odd but thought I would check.
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Flock Master

    Apr 6, 2014
    Melrose Park Illinois
    Are you limited to a certain length??? Make it all the way across your coop if possible. The more room your chickens have, the less likely they will get on each others nerves. Realistic measurement would be about 1 foot per chicken.
  3. Lynyrd Henyrd

    Lynyrd Henyrd New Egg

    Feb 27, 2016
    Thank you :)
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Chickens don’t take up a lot of room on the roosts once they get there and settle down, but they need room to spread their wings and fly up and down, plus where they sleep is determined by pecking order. The ones higher in the pecking order sleep wherever they want, the ones further down find some other place. On occasion, the ones higher up can be really vicious in enforcing that pecking order privilege. That’s two good reasons magic numbers don’t work for roost length per bird any more than magic numbers work for much of anything else with chickens.

    Let’s look at an example to help you understand. I’m just going to pick easy numbers to work with. Different chickens come in different sizes so don’t get too hung up on the exact size of your chickens. Let’s assume a chicken takes up 6 inches on the roost when they settle down. Let’s assume you provide 12” per chicken on the roosts. That means when they settle down 6” of roost per bird is not in use.

    With your 5 chickens that would mean you provide 60” (5’) of roost space but they only use 30” (2-1/2’) when actually roosting. That leaves the other 2-1/2’ for them to fly up and sort themselves out. That’s probably enough but it doesn’t give them a lot of extra room to get up and down, especially if they spread out a bit.

    Say you have 50 chickens of the same size and provided them with 12” per chicken. That means you provide 50’ of room but they only take up 25’ when they settle down. That leaves 25’ unused for them to get up and down and sort themselves out. That’s a lot of wasted room.

    I provide two 8’ roosts in my coop and have a wide range of numbers of chickens using them, sometimes as few as seven, sometimes over 20. A normal pattern of roosting is that the ones that rank high in the pecking order sleep pretty close to the window. That’s where they want to sleep. The ones lowest in the pecking order sleep on the far end. The ones in the middle sleep in the middle. Even when they are not all that crowded up there they sometimes knock each other off as they jostle for position. They are not viciously pecking each other, though I have seen that too, just bulldozing through as they get to their preferred location.
    RidgeCreekFarm likes this.

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