Roost space & run cover

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by CrazyBirdLady, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. CrazyBirdLady

    CrazyBirdLady Out Of The Brooder

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    Salem / Redgranite
    I tried to do some searching on the forums to find answers and I might have missed it, so I apologize if I'm repeating anything common.

    Roosts:
    How much roost space per chicken? How far away from the wall and ceiling does it need to be? If I put two roosts side-by-side how far away from each other should they be? How wide should the dropping board be (for one roost)?
    I don't plan on having any large breed meat birds - just layers.

    Run:
    My coop is on the edge of the woods so my run (if built to be permanent) is going to contain trees leaving me almost unable to cover the run. This doesn't seem like a problem if I could be at home all day, but more than likely I will be working during the day and taking an occasional week-long vacation.
    Option 1: no cover on the run which would most likely = dead chickens.
    Option 2: cover the run and attempt to cut holes to go around trees. Can raccoons jump from tree (not in run) to tree (in run) and possibly climb down through one of the holes?
    Option 3: portable run (upside down U-shape) that butts up to chicken house and can be moved to either side of coop where pop doors will be. Can a 10x10 run be made portable? How can a portable run be made predator proof at the bottom?

    Coop/Run:
    The coop is raised off the ground and I was considering leaving it open so the chickens could go underneath for shade in summer, a snow-free area in the winter, and to generally increase the square footage of the run. Is there any reason I should NOT do this?

    Thanks in advance. You 'peeps' are awesome! [​IMG]
     
  2. Chicken Chat

    Chicken Chat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The chickens will try to roost as high as they can since those are the best spots, so usual rule of thumb is to have the roosts higher than your nest boxes to discourage sleeping in the nest boxes. I have never measured how high I set my roosts. I have always felt it was up to my birds and the general layout of my coop. I have all bantams, and mine have never liked to go up a ramp, so I had to build a step that they jump on first before they get to the roost.

    I think it would be a very good idea to elevate it. I have one that is elevated and the chickens like to go under there for shade and also to get out of the rain. I also keep their outside water bowl under there to keep it out of the sun. Works great.
     
  3. CrazyBirdLady

    CrazyBirdLady Out Of The Brooder

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    Salem / Redgranite
    I'm still looking for some help here, please. My coop is small and I'm trying to utilize the space as efficiently as possible AND do it right the first time. If you can at least help me with the roost questions, I'll figure out the rest on my own.

    How much roost space per chicken?
    How far away from the wall and ceiling does it need to be?
    If I put two roosts side-by-side how far away from each other should they be?
    How wide should the dropping board be (for one roost)?
    [​IMG]
    I don't plan on having any large breed meat birds - just layers.

    Thanks.
     
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    How much roost space per chicken? -- A foot. They won't use that much space when roosting, but they need it for turning around, and jumping up there with wings partially spread.

    How far away from the wall and ceiling does it need to be? - It should be far enough away from the ceiling that your tallest bird can stand up full height - the full alert stage, imagine a rooster crowing even if you don't have a rooster. From the wall, at least a foot.

    If I put two roosts side-by-side how far away from each other should they be? - About 10 inches. I have mine angled so they're closer to each other at one end, and further apart at the other end. That's just how it worked in my space; the closest together ends are only four inches apart. That end is less populated at night....

    How wide should the dropping board be (for one roost)? - 18 to 20 inches, to catch the poop regardless of the direction the chickens face on the roost.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2010
  5. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The other factor to consider when you're placing roosts is your vents. You don't want to put a roost right in front of a vent you'll need to keep open in the winter time, because that will mean cold air blowing on your birds = bad. However, vents that you'll have open in the summer time can be next to roosts because a cool breeze on a hot night will probably be much appreciated.
     
  6. CityChook

    CityChook Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    Quote:Roost space: 9-12 inches per bird. Mine like to huddle together, but sometimes they want to be apart from each other. Or shun an unlucky one to sleep alone with the other three huddled up on the opposite end. They're like mean teenage girls sometimes.

    How far away from wall: If you don't care about poo down the wall, it can be 9 inches. If you'd rather not have the mess, 14 inches for large heavy standards. For the ceiling, I'd make sure that you have a minimum of 12 inches off the roost, 18 is better, and then ANOTHER 12 inches up for the vent. This probably isn't what you want to hear. I suppose it depends more on your climate -- I'm where it gets very cold and if I had the vent close to the roost, I'd probably have dead chickens.

    How far away from other roost: Again, I'd say 12 inches apart minimum. Better with 14 inches. Poop board should be 14+ inches deep.

    Quote:I personally wouldn't have trees in my run. It's like a superhighway for raccoons to deposit themselves right into your run. Or owls/hawks can sit up there in the perfect vantage point and wait for the right opportunity. And yes, they will come out during daylight hours, especially when they have babies to feed. Yes, raccoons can/will jump from tree to tree. They have very long claws and are extremely strong. Could they climb through a hole around a tree? Well I suppose they could. I don't know how you could attach the wire in a way that would be strong enough.

    Portable Run: You can make it more predator proof if you apron the wire at the bottom. Some folks wire in the bottom, but I don't like that idea as I think it's hard on their feet. I'm wondering if a 10x10 run would be too heavy to move? Maybe it depends on what you use for materials.

    One thing I want to mention is that if you religiously close up your doors at night and lock them, you will have significantly less problems with night-time predators. Now, don't start flaming me yet -- there are PLENTY of daytime preds, some as simple as a loose neighbor dog, but I have found that the bulk of my predator traffic happens at night. If you lock them in and have a genuinely tight coop, you may have eliminated 40% of your battle.

    Hope this helps. cc
     
  7. CrazyBirdLady

    CrazyBirdLady Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 20, 2009
    Salem / Redgranite
    I love all your ideas and help! It seems that 12" is about standard for any spacing issues so that will be pretty easy. I'm very excited about my coop and can't wait to share pictures with you! ...gotta finish the darn thing first. Not much to show with only a floor and three walls.

    I personally wouldn't have trees in my run. It's like a superhighway for raccoons to deposit themselves right into your run. Or owls/hawks can sit up there in the perfect vantage point and wait for the right opportunity.

    I know it would be safe not to, but I'm not willing to cut down any of the larger trees. However I'm seriously considering a portable run (at least 8x8, maybe 10x10, and 2-3ft tall with swivel wheels and an apron) that will somehow attach directly to the side of the coop so bears and coons can't push it away and get to the chickens.

    Or perhaps I can cut holes in the hardware cloth to go around the trees and then install upward-facing spikes to deter any tree-decending critters. [​IMG]

    Of course, I was planning on a HUGE run, so maybe I can just make it a little smaller and navigate around the trees... Ahhh... Decisions! Decisions!
    [​IMG]

    Thanks again for all the help. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  8. Chicks Galore3

    Chicks Galore3 Artistic Bird Nut Premium Member

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    I know it would be safe not to, but I'm not willing to cut down any of the larger trees. However I'm seriously considering a portable run (at least 8x8, maybe 10x10, and 2-3ft tall with swivel wheels and an apron) that will somehow attach directly to the side of the coop so bears and coons can't push it away and get to the chickens.'

    you have bears?!?!?
     
  9. lilchick

    lilchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Place the coop out in open area and use dog kennel panels to make the pen. Then attach netting over top to keep out hawks and owls.
    Lock the chickens up each night safely in their coop.

    And the kennel panels are easy to take apart and move around...
     
  10. RonC

    RonC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If a bear wants in you're in trouble. I've seen videos of bears tearing doors off cars to get inside.Hawks can be detered by bird netting which could be strung around the trees. A ground skirt buried around the perimeter will deter any diggers from going under. Racoons will come out mostly at night and are probably the hardest to guard against. They are very smart and can use those little hands to do all kinds of mischief. The bigger permanent run is possible and the chicks would enjoy it more. Just lock the chickens in a secure coop at night.
     

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