Silkie Coop- ramp and other considerations?

Oct 9, 2021
34
112
79
Oakland, California
I'm building a coop for my first flock, which includes a Polish, a cochin, an Easter egger, and a silkie. It's been obvious from the start that Joni Mitshell, our little 4.5 week old silkie, doesn't pick up on things quite at fast as the others, but she does mostly keep up eventually. She jumps up to their 6 inch high roost and will jump the 2 feet down from the brooder to the floor when I let them out into the den (but still hasn't figured out the waterer I was hoping to switch to since they knock the original one over all the time).

What accomodations should I make to their coop design? To maximize run space in our small city yard, the henhouse will be elevated 3 feet (I've already framed this and would rather not change it at this point). Some posters in the forums say that their silkies have trouble navigating ramps, is this particularly common? Are there any good solutions for an elevated henhouse? I've read suggestions to build the pop door and nestboxes as low as possible, and to place roosts lower than you would for other chickens... Any feedback/suggestions before I build out the henhouse? The run is roofed and in a pretty sheltered area, and in the recent rains it's stayed really dry!

Pics of Joni and the flock cause they're cute.
 

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Boise-girls

Songster
May 26, 2021
296
722
178
Boise, Idaho
Oh, gosh, she and they are adorable!

Do you think she could negotiate steps, instead of a ramp? You could even make steps using cinder blocks, although it would take a lot of them!

My bantam cochins never did really use the ramp in my previous coop. They'd kind of hop-fly from a low roost to stacked cinder blocks to the top of the ramp to enter the nesting area.
 
Oct 9, 2021
34
112
79
Oakland, California
Oh, gosh, she and they are adorable!

Do you think she could negotiate steps, instead of a ramp? You could even make steps using cinder blocks, although it would take a lot of them!

My bantam cochins never did really use the ramp in my previous coop. They'd kind of hop-fly from a low roost to stacked cinder blocks to the top of the ramp to enter the nesting area.
I think so... She's definitely jumped up from one thing to another. It seems counterintuitive to me that steps are more obvious than a ramp but I'm not a chicken :)

And thanks, I know I'm biased but they sure are!
 

mrtoren

Chirping
Mar 5, 2020
44
102
66
Central Illinois
We rescued two senior silkies. They navigate the ramp into the current two-foot elevated coop just fine. Three feet is a bit high -- I'd probably consider the widest ramp you can fit (10-12") and a gentle angle with good traction to ensure they don't fall off it (silkies cannot really fly to cushion themselves).

We're currently transitioning from a 4x4 coop to a 4x8 coop. In the 4x4 coop, the two silkies sleep together in a nesting box since they are unable to reach the roosting bars (again, due to the flying issue -- which will be corrected in the new coop). You can try a dedicated lower roosting bar, but I would be concerned about her not having a companion to share warmth with in the winter. Luckily, it looks like you are in a warmer climate.

Notably, our silkies are somewhat ostracized from the rest of the girls. Not sure if its flock politics or the fact that silkies are so different from traditional chicken breeds. I probably wouldn't own just one for fear that it would be isolated.
 
Oct 9, 2021
34
112
79
Oakland, California
We rescued two senior silkies. They navigate the ramp into the current two-foot elevated coop just fine. Three feet is a bit high -- I'd probably consider the widest ramp you can fit (10-12") and a gentle angle with good traction to ensure they don't fall off it (silkies cannot really fly to cushion themselves).

We're currently transitioning from a 4x4 coop to a 4x8 coop. In the 4x4 coop, the two silkies sleep together in a nesting box since they are unable to reach the roosting bars (again, due to the flying issue -- which will be corrected in the new coop). You can try a dedicated lower roosting bar, but I would be concerned about her not having a companion to share warmth with in the winter. Luckily, it looks like you are in a warmer climate.

Notably, our silkies are somewhat ostracized from the rest of the girls. Not sure if its flock politics or the fact that silkies are so different from traditional chicken breeds. I probably wouldn't own just one for fear that it would be isolated.
That's great advice, thanks so much!

So far, she does not seem to be ostracized at all, but since they're only 4 1/2 weeks I'm sure the real pecking order isn't truly established. The cochin and Polish tend to be a little nuts together, and she has the company of the much more docile Easter egger when they're just trying to sleep/not get pounced on by the crazier antics of the other two. Fingers crossed that she always has a buddy, but I will definitely keep an eye on that, thanks for the heads up.
 

Ponypoor

Songster
May 23, 2021
433
848
148
Central Ontario, Canada
We rescued two senior silkies. They navigate the ramp into the current two-foot elevated coop just fine. Three feet is a bit high -- I'd probably consider the widest ramp you can fit (10-12") and a gentle angle with good traction to ensure they don't fall off it (silkies cannot really fly to cushion themselves).

We're currently transitioning from a 4x4 coop to a 4x8 coop. In the 4x4 coop, the two silkies sleep together in a nesting box since they are unable to reach the roosting bars (again, due to the flying issue -- which will be corrected in the new coop). You can try a dedicated lower roosting bar, but I would be concerned about her not having a companion to share warmth with in the winter. Luckily, it looks like you are in a warmer climate.

Notably, our silkies are somewhat ostracized from the rest of the girls. Not sure if its flock politics or the fact that silkies are so different from traditional chicken breeds. I probably wouldn't own just one for fear that it would be isolated.
I hear you on the chicken politics, figured my three Silkies would forever be a small group of three.

Then my cousin dropped off her three hens, and my one silkie became friendly with the one hen!

Now I have my silkie, my cousins hen and the rooster all hanging out together! What a hoot!

My other two silkies r broody so we shall see if they fit in or not!

I like the idea of steps for the silkies, mine can hop up 2' so they can get to the higher nest boxes to lay eggs, it freaks me out when the hop down from 3'..😳
 

Ponypoor

Songster
May 23, 2021
433
848
148
Central Ontario, Canada
I'm building a coop for my first flock, which includes a Polish, a cochin, an Easter egger, and a silkie. It's been obvious from the start that Joni Mitshell, our little 4.5 week old silkie, doesn't pick up on things quite at fast as the others, but she does mostly keep up eventually. She jumps up to their 6 inch high roost and will jump the 2 feet down from the brooder to the floor when I let them out into the den (but still hasn't figured out the waterer I was hoping to switch to since they knock the original one over all the time).

What accomodations should I make to their coop design? To maximize run space in our small city yard, the henhouse will be elevated 3 feet (I've already framed this and would rather not change it at this point). Some posters in the forums say that their silkies have trouble navigating ramps, is this particularly common? Are there any good solutions for an elevated henhouse? I've read suggestions to build the pop door and nestboxes as low as possible, and to place roosts lower than you would for other chickens... Any feedback/suggestions before I build out the henhouse? The run is roofed and in a pretty sheltered area, and in the recent rains it's stayed really dry!

Pics of Joni and the flock cause they're cute.
Omg so hilariously cute 🤗 my experience with my three Silkies made me aware of their eyes being blocked by the head feathers. I keep my gals clipped short otherwise they run into things.

My gals are now 6 months old and can jump up to the top of 2 reg small square bales stacked no problem. It took them a bit to figure it out but they follow the other chickies up there. Darn chicken poop on my hay!!!

I have been finding my one silkie hopping up on the top roost which is over 3' high, she hops from the lower roost up and down no problem.

I have a step roost system in the main hen house and she has started to roost on the one who is about 2.5' high. I do worry about her hopping down but so far all good.
 
Last edited:

LadiesAndJane

Life is good...
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
May 16, 2014
10,525
24,452
916
Hawaii
Most of my silkies sleep on a shelf, though a few prefer to roost. I do have a cinder block in the coop to make it easier for them to get up to the shelf. They have no problems navigating the ramp, though it is not steep and has traction tape added. Part of the issue for some silkies is they can not see very well, so trimming the fluff around their eyes can help.
Your birds are all very cute! 😊
 

Ponypoor

Songster
May 23, 2021
433
848
148
Central Ontario, Canada
I'm building a coop for my first flock, which includes a Polish, a cochin, an Easter egger, and a silkie. It's been obvious from the start that Joni Mitshell, our little 4.5 week old silkie, doesn't pick up on things quite at fast as the others, but she does mostly keep up eventually. She jumps up to their 6 inch high roost and will jump the 2 feet down from the brooder to the floor when I let them out into the den (but still hasn't figured out the waterer I was hoping to switch to since they knock the original one over all the time).

What accomodations should I make to their coop design? To maximize run space in our small city yard, the henhouse will be elevated 3 feet (I've already framed this and would rather not change it at this point). Some posters in the forums say that their silkies have trouble navigating ramps, is this particularly common? Are there any good solutions for an elevated henhouse? I've read suggestions to build the pop door and nestboxes as low as possible, and to place roosts lower than you would for other chickens... Any feedback/suggestions before I build out the henhouse? The run is roofed and in a pretty sheltered area, and in the recent rains it's stayed really dry!

Pics of Joni and the flock cause they're cute.
How r your chickies doing?

Forgot to mention, I hang my waterer so they can't tip it over. Made a world of difference!
 
Oct 9, 2021
34
112
79
Oakland, California
How r your chickies doing?

Forgot to mention, I hang my waterer so they can't tip it over. Made a world of difference!
Good tip, thank you, I'll give it a shot!

They've been so good, no health scares other than one single morning of pasty butt the first week. At week five for three of them and week seven for the cochin, they're looking really close to ready to go out- I kept the heating lamp off for the first time last night and they seem fine- but I at least have to wait a few days for this storm to dissipate, and oh, maybe finish the coop :) Two of them (the cochin and the Polish) have immense amounts of energy so I feel bad having them in the small brooder much longer, though I let them run around the den at least twice a day to try to run some of that energy out. They really love randomly flying right at each other, and often the mellower silkie and Easter egger are stuck looking for a place to hide, poor girls, though they join in a bit. All in all a very entertaining first flock for me, and though they're pretty sweet with me, I wish they didn't always freak out when I grab them- is this common, even in chicks that will hop on you readily?
 

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