Worried about how they get down from their perch

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by CALI CHICK, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. CALI CHICK

    CALI CHICK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a small (4ft X 4ft X 6 ft high) coop for my three 20 week old pullets. They have a perch about 3 feet high made from a thick wooden closet pole. They have no problem flying up to the perch and roosting all night and they hve perched on it for over 3 months. I'm concerned about them getting down without hurting themselves. In the morning when I open the coop door they generally take turns literally flying through the coop door out into the chicken yard. They are not the best flyers and have landed on each other or colided in mid-air before. (When they were younger and smaller it was easier for them, but now they are full size hens.) They always land with a heavy thump or brake with their wings out and skid to a stop with their feet. It is only a 3 foot drop, but they have to fly over 10 feet to clear the door of the coop and the front porch...

    I don't want them to get a broken wing or foot from a bad landing. I built a sort of ladder for them to use, but they chose NOT to use the ladder...instead wait for the door to open and fly the coop. I have also set them down one at a time -safely, but they prefer not to be picked up (although I am willing to do this every morning). Maybe I should keep the door closed a day or two so they can figure out how to maneuver within the coop?

    They have food and water in the bottom of their coop, but instead of going down to get an early breakfast, they usually wait for me to open their door -so they can fly out. It also concerns me if I'm sick or get to the coop late, will they hop down to eat and get water on their own? A couple of times they were down when the door was opened in the morning, but only once or twice. Also, what if they need to lay an egg (when they start laying), will they be smart enough to fly down and get in the nest box? I'm wondering if I should lower their perch so they can hop down more safely on their own.

    Any ideas? Do your chickens fly off their perches? Is it normal for chickens to fly out of their coop?
     
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    My Coop
    When my girls were young, I was worried about the same thing. (I also have a very small coop.) So my hubby build me some steps with cut 4x4's so they could walk up and down. I started mine out early with these so they learned to walk up them, in turn learned to walk down til they were big enough not to need it. Although my roost bar is not as high as yours.

    You could try luring them to use them with treats on the steps, for both going up and down. Keep working with them till they get the hang of it.

    You could also try lowering the perch. Chickens like to go as high as they can, but you can also control how high that is. They won't know the difference really, as long as they are off the ground and higher than their nesting boxes. Good luck! [​IMG]
     
  3. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a ladder for mine but by chance if I'm a little later than they care for, they are all on the floor before I get out there. Therefore they always walk out the pop door. Maybe wait just a bit to see if they will get down with needing the door open. [​IMG] Just a thought.
     
  4. ontimeborzoi

    ontimeborzoi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If it was mine I would lower the roost.
     
  5. BCchick

    BCchick Out Of The Brooder

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    Mine do the same thing. Fly out the door each morning. They have the option of two ladders to get down and choose not to.
    Some are already awake and on the floor of the coop eating, however most are still on the roosts and just fly out when I open the door.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011
  6. Me & Jack

    Me & Jack Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lower roosts might not improve things. It's the birds that seem to think they can land on a dime! Reminds me of the turkey giveaway scene from an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati -- oh, dear, am I really dating myself on that one?
     
  7. peterlund

    peterlund Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Me & Jack :

    Lower roosts might not improve things. It's the birds that seem to think they can land on a dime! Reminds me of the turkey giveaway scene from an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati -- oh, dear, am I really dating myself on that one?

    [​IMG]

    Some of us (vaguely) remember.... [​IMG]
     
  8. CALI CHICK

    CALI CHICK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you everyone for your thoughts. I'm still not certain what I'll do, but I will try different things until I feel they are safe.

    One morning, I knelt in front of their perch to add some warm breakfast to their food and the Buff Orpington hopped on my head before flying out the landing strip...Boy was that a shock! [​IMG] Her claws felt like those head scratchers people gave as Christmas gifts a few years back.
     
  9. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Mine are about the same height, we just put in another one about a foot and a half off the ground in a stair step fashion for them. Makes it much easier for them to get up and down, especially the bigger, heavier birds. My big, heavy RIR roo really appreciates it!
     
  10. CALI CHICK

    CALI CHICK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    cafarmgirl-I thought of installing another -lower- perch about 12-18" off the floor, but I wasn't sure if they would use it. I could install a removable perch for them but it would be nearly in the center of the coop with about 2 feet in front of them. Do yours hens hop DOWN onto the lower perch? And if so, how far away are the perches from each other (horizontal measurement)? And, how high is the top perch? And, how far away are their walls?

    My girls have no problem flying UP to the perch, it is only getting down that they hesitate and then fly out with their risky landings. [​IMG]
     

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