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roost questions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by bhadrika, Apr 11, 2007.

  1. bhadrika

    bhadrika Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2007
    Mansfield, MA
    We were planning to build a coop, but then I was at Costco... I know it's rather small for our eventual 8-9 hens (42"x48"), but it was incredibly cute, and they'll have a large pen and move to a bigger space in our heated shed in the winter, so it should be okay, I hope. (I was going to link to a picture, but they don't show it on their site -- trust me, it's way better than the hokey things on their site -- brown wood, with a shuttered window and a little miniature porch with a trellis....).

    We're going to put it on concrete paving stones to prevent anything tunneling in, and I've stapled harware wire over the windows so they'll have plenty of ventilation while staying secure. We're probably going to buy the wooden cube-style storage boxes for nesting, and need to install roosts, which brings me to the questions...

    Nest boxes should go low down, and roosts high up, right? But a vertical stack of three nest boxes (not a lot of floor space, after all) would be fine?

    How much space do they need ABOVE the roost -- it's a kiddie house, designed for short people, so pretty much anywhere in it is close to the roof -- how low do we need to go?

    I assume the roosts should be pretty much level, right?

    How do they feel about roosts at different heights, and is it a problem if one roost is above/below another (not parallel, but on two different diagonals, so part inevitably crosses)?

    And what is the proper diameter for the roost, anyway -- one source said both 1 1/2 inches and broomhandle size, which makes me wonder where they get those huge brooms...

    Oh, and when we put in the door (the house has one wide open side, and the other three walls all have some ventilation, so we figured this side should be boarded up, with an opening at floor level for the chickens (as well as one window, when the shutters are open), how big an opening do they need to comfortably come & go?

    We'll post pictures once it's all put together. I expect they'll love roosting on the trellis outside....

    Bhadrika
     
  2. New adventure

    New adventure Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 27, 2009
    Pueblo, Colorado
    I bet its a cute little house. I'm in process of building my first coop so I'm not really sure about some things either. What I've heard about the roost is that if you're in a cold climate, a 2x4 laid flat is good so feet can sit flat and stay covered for warmth. Also, every chicken is going to want the top spot so if you have a ladder type arrangement, they might fuss choosing spots. But since they can't fly too high, they need some way to get up there.
    I don't know if a vertical setup for nests would cause the same problems but it seems like it might. And you probably don't want the roost right above the nests due to poop issues.
    Hope this helps a bit, good luck!
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Well, yes except that if any are as high or higher than the roosts, then you're back to the likelihood of hens sleeping and pooing in the nest boxes. You can probably get away with 2 nest boxes, and I'd suggest putting them immediatedly under part of the roost, with a solid droppings board on top. Given the exceedingly small size of your coop. Or make two or three exterior ones that bump out from the side of the coop (just cut away the lower half of one wall and replace with sticky-outy nest boxes you've made, appropriately strong and predator-proofed)

    How much space do they need ABOVE the roost -- it's a kiddie house, designed for short people, so pretty much anywhere in it is close to the roof -- how low do we need to go?

    At least 14" and that is a *serious* minimum, you want to give them more like 20"+ if at all possible. I'd be careful about making them feel any more squished and grumpy than they already will.

    I assume the roosts should be pretty much level, right?

    Horizontal? Yes. All at the same level? Ideally yes, and in your case there is no reason to do otherwise, but some people use leaning-ladder-style roosts in larger coops than yours.

    How do they feel about roosts at different heights

    They will argue about who gets to sleep on the highest one which will be the 'hottest property'. Thus, I really suggest your roosts all be at one height.

    is it a problem if one roost is above/below another (not parallel, but on two different diagonals, so part inevitably crosses)?

    Ohhhhh, you don't want to do that. Really. It gives you a lot less useable roosting space than just two plain-vanilla parallel roosts. Truly. Just run two about 1.5-2' below the ceiling, 14"+ from the wall and from each other. That will do it.

    The simplest really good material for a roost is either a piece of 2x4 (edges rounded off a little, *not* pressure-treated wood) or a length of dead tree branch, bark removed, at least 4+" in diameter.

    Make sure you also consider adequate ventilation (I don't know if this is a doghouse or a playhouse, but in either case it may well not have adequate ventilation for chickens) and GOOD human access for cleaning, catching chickens, etc.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     

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