roosts in a doghouse coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MaKettle, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. MaKettle

    MaKettle Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have a modified doghouse coop. Nest boxes are on the outside to maximize inside space. I have 2 roosts on the inside, one close to the side wall & one a little higher up & more towards the middle of the coop. I don't think that my hens are roosting, though I can't be totally certain. I'm worried that they may not have enough room to jump up to the higher one (because of the proximity to the roof of the coop) & I know that the lower one (against the wall) won't hold all of my birds.

    I've gone out into my run after dark & found all of my birds laying or standing in the floor of the coop. I've seen some shavings stuck to the top roost so I think they might be getting up there, but again I'm not sure. Also, my smaller roost has been knocked off a couple of times, which makes me think they've been on it.

    Because of how small my coop is, I cannot actually put my birds on the roosts, as I've heard people suggest. They are happy, healthy & though admittedly I do not have the recommended coop space (due to receiving 2 more birds than I ordered & planned for), my girls don't seem to be overcrowded. Of course I'm worried about winter & dont' want them on the floor of the coop in the shavings & poo.

    Any suggestions?? (other than build a bigger coop, which I'm definitely doing next spring!)
     
  2. Mrs. Fluffy Puffy

    Mrs. Fluffy Puffy Fluffy Feather Farm

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    Humm, do you have a picture?
    Chickens don't have to roost, they're preferr to roost but if yours don't roost anyway. [​IMG]
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    I am not quite getting why you can't manually put them on the roosts. If it is because you lack access, make a hinged panel that you can open TO put them on - someday you will need it for other purposes anyhow, such as catching an injured bird or doing *thorough* cleaning.

    So I would suggest the first plan of attack would be to manually put them on the roosts for a week or ten days and see if they catch on.

    If they do not, it is possible there are geometric problems with where your roosts are located -- can you describe their exact distances from floor/wall/ceiling?

    Another possibility in some cases (dunno whether this applies to you) is that chickens have terrible night vision and if there is no good window in the coop then they may not feel like they can SEE well enough to get up onto roosts. Solution, make a little window [​IMG] (does not have to be official prefab window of course; an opening with plexiglas screwed on is fine, or even with hardwarecloth and then clear plastic stapled over it)

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  4. MaKettle

    MaKettle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Its not the greatest pic..you can only see the very edge of the coop....its an extra large doghouse, purchased from Lowes..

    [​IMG]
     
  5. MaKettle

    MaKettle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I can't manually put them on the roosts because I would only have 2 options---to reach through the door of the dog house & try to put them up there, which is hard coming from the angle I would be at OR I would have to remove the roof of the house to put them on & then hope they stay there while I grab the roof & put it back on..

    Quote:I think that's the entire problem..one roost is within a small hop but its right up against the wall of the side of the coop so there's not a lot of room to move around & get situated. The other is towards the middle of the coop, is higher but is pretty darn close to the top of the roof, which makes me think that they can't get up there without banging the top of the roof...

    If I move one lower in height & more towards the center of the coop, they will have to duck under it to get to the nest boxes?? do you think this is a problem?
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:ducking under a roost is not necessarily a problem. Probably the worst height would be like 10" or so (above the bedding), since that way it is neither easy for them to go under *or* over it, so I would suggest higher or lower than that.

    what about moving the one that is very close to the wall further out from the wall? If it is less than 8" or so they may not feel *comfortable* roosting there, and might like it better if you could move it out more.

    Another alternative that might make sense to consider (although I don't know, since it depends on the dimensions etc of your particular coop) would be to make essentially a T- or L-shaped roost, so that instead of a high roost in the middle you have a same-height second roost that is perpendicular to the one near the coop side and butts into it. Some people use this fairly successfully. It is only applicable for certain sizes/dimensions/designs of coops but I'm tossing it out in case yours is in that category.

    BTW another possibility is to just accept that (in some cases, dunno about yours in particular) there just ISN'T room for chickens to get up onto a high roost, and build something just maybe 6" above the bedding. This prevents using a droppings board, but as long as you don't use a droppings *pit* (just make the floor normal bedding, and clean under the roost every day without fail) it can be pretty successful in keeping them out of their own poo while not losing effective floorspace.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     

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