Should I lower my roost?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by drymanhattan, Nov 6, 2015.

  1. drymanhattan

    drymanhattan Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 4, 2015
    Westchester, New York
    I have two roosts in my small coop. Both are close enough to the roof that my three hens and one rooster have to crouch. They are also at the same height as the open vents on either side. So far they seem happy, and huddle next to one of the window vents. But I am concerned that 1) they should have more headroom (especially the rooster?), and 2) they should roost below the window when winter comes. If the headroom is not a problem, can I solve the second by dropping a clear plastic flap over one of the vents at night? The coop has enough cracks that I'm not very worried about ventilation.
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Yes, you need to lower them but only for the head room issue. A bird hitting its head jumping up on the roost can break its neck.
    Don't close off ventilation.
    A chicken can live in a tree and you can't keep drafts out of a tree.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    But a chicken can move around in a tree to get out of strong breezes. In that coop in a strong wind their only option would be to try to get down in the dark. I’ve seen chickens sleep in trees in below zero Fahrenheit weather. They are not very exposed in those trees but they have great ventilation.

    You’re not worried about what many people think of as a draft, the gentle air movement from a crack around a window or door. You’ve concerned with a strong breeze, both wind chill and a wind strong enough to ruffle the feathers and let the tiny trapped air pockets out of their down that actually provides the insulation.

    You want the roosts higher than anything you don’t want them sleeping in or on, like the nests, but I’d get them lower partly because of headspace but mostly because of the breeze issue. You are going to see some cold winds in New York. I just consider it best practice to not expose them any more than you have to.
  4. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2013
    Northwest Hills of CT
    I agree with the other posts, lower the roost for both headroom and avoiding the breeze. One way to solve the breeze problem would be to build a box around the outside of the vent, with the bottom of the box open. So wind is blocked from sailing through the vents by the box, but the opening in the bottom allows still air to come and go as needed.
  5. ccat1

    ccat1 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 3, 2015
    This is exactly what I did to my 3 window vents......I built a cover for the vents with 1x2's on the 2 sides, top and covered it with a vinyl cloth. It is open at the bottom.
    It should allow ventilation air in/out but should keep any direct breezes from blowing in on the chickens when on the roost at night.
  6. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    I used to raise game chickens on an old home place with a dairy barn. There was a semi circular (180 degree) corrugated tin roof on the barn. The barn loft roof framing left just enough room between the tin and the framing boards that a smallish (4 pound or so) hen or cockerel could crouch down to roost below the tin roof. Does anyone care to guess where the adult (adult in this case means ALPHA) hens preferred to sleep? If you guessed at the very apex of the roof pick out your cupid doll, you are a winner..

    I also struggled to keep my birds from roosting in trees, especially in Eastern Red Cedar trees which played havoc with their tail feathers.

    Why don't you add a lower roost pole and let your chickens tell you where they prefer to sleep.

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