Safe decent on chicken roosts

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Gardengirl Sandi, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. Gardengirl Sandi

    Gardengirl Sandi Out Of The Brooder

    May 8, 2011
    Hi and HELP.

    This is my first experience with the chickens (my new best friends!), and I am concerned about some safety issues regarding their roost.

    My chicks (6) are now 10 weeks old and are getting heavy. They are trying to "fly" down off the top roost board. They won't go down to the next lower level, like steps. They want to go out their hatch into the run. A couple of them are getting heavy enough that they don't make it through the hatch and have come close to crashing into the wall. This is not a small coop.7'x9' (long) The roost area starts about 5' from the hatch wall. The 3 roost "steps" are each 16" apart and at a 16" angle. Each step (roost board) is 1 1/2 " wide. The hatch door is 8' away from the top roost board and close to the floor of the coop.

    My questions:

    1. Should my roost boards(where they actually sit) be wider? The chicks seem uncertain about them-(standing wobbly)- when trying to go from one to another.
    2. Should the boards also be closer together so they are more like a ladder?
    3. Should I make another ladder to go from the top to the bottom for them to walk down? Would they actually use it?
    4. Should I clip their wings now, or is it too early? They do make some distance, but not always safely.

    Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

    A new "mom"
    Gardengirl Sandi

    1 buff Brahma, 1 golden lace Wyandotte, 1 gold sex link 1 barred Plymouth rock, 1 Australop and 1 Rhode Island red= very pretty girls [​IMG]
  2. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN
    1 1/2" is pretty narrow for the breeds you've selected. I'm using a 3-4" diameter tree trunk for my roost and the birds look very secure landing, perching, and moving about on it. And if I'm understanding correctly, your birds are perching at 4' and then are nearly hitting the wall 5' away when flying down? I'd make the upper roost lower -- maybe make two parallel "highest" roosts at 32" rather than stepping up that third time?
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    How high is each roost level? Those breeds should do fine with roosts up to 3ft or so...although the brahma might have issues. I think an actual chicken ladder would be good. Some of chickens use mine, while others don't, but it's good to have the option.
  4. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    Aug 20, 2010
    In my experience, they use ladders to go up but not down. You'll want to be sure they don't have to jump or fly down from more than around 5 feet to minimize the risk of having the heavier breeds such as Austrolorp hurt themselves coming down.

    You'll get opinions that even 1 1/2 or less is "good enough" for chickens (I say this because I've seen them posted plenty) but chicken's feet are big and so they need plenty of surface area to be able to roost on comfortably. Even as you need a bigger perch for a bigger parrot even though they can manage to balance on one that is really too small, you need a bigger roost for a bigger chicken. But unlike parrots, chickens appreciate roosts are are wide enough for them not to even have to curl their feet over to stand on. So you could have anything from 2" to 4" and do fine. I'm not sure why 10 week olds would have a problem with 1 1/2" roosts but you'd still want wider ones for the same adults.
  5. 2overeasy000

    2overeasy000 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 1, 2010
    My roost is 4"(2x4 laid flat) because we have cold winters and they lay on their feet so their feathers keep em warm.

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