So you got your coop, either from the store or as a result of your handiwork. Now, it’s time to make the ramp. Should be easy. Well, when you get started on building a chicken coop ramp, it sure won’t seem that way. You’ll soon realize that there are plenty of variables when making a ramp, such as how steep or how wide it should be. Do you need to make rungs? Is there a special material to keep chickens from slipping?
Does your flock even need a chicken coop ramp?
Don’t start pulling out your feathers, friend. Those questions are going to be answered here. And don’t worry. Once you know the basics, building the ramp for the chicken coop is going to be the easiest part.
When You Need a Chicken Coop Ramp
You might have noticed that the most successful chicken coops are off the ground. There are a few reasons for this:
- An elevated coop increases the amount of usable space in the chicken run
- Elevated chicken coops provide additional shelter from inclement weather or sunny days
- Higher chicken coops are away from moisture, preserving the integrity of the coop and the health of the flock
- It’s easier for you to reach inside a coop to harvest eggs
- Elevated coops provide extra security from pests
- You can clean an elevated coop more easily, as there is far less stooping required
While keeping a coop off the ground isn’t always required, it is convenient. If you decide to elevate your chicken coop, then you’re going to need a way for your chickens to get inside. The best way to do that is with a chicken coop ramp.
Do Chickens Really Need a Ramp?
You will absolutely need a ramp if the door to the chicken coop is higher than 18 to 24 inches off the ground. For fluffier or heavier breeds, a ramp is necessary for any coop 12 inches above the ground. Have chickens with clipped wings? Any door 18 inches or higher will need a ramp.
Now, that’s the streamlined answer. A lot more goes into figuring out whether your coop needs a ramp:
- The height of the coop door for your chickens
- The size of the coop door
- The feathers on your chickens
- The size of the chickens
- Do the chickens have clipped wings?
Sometimes, you might just want a ramp for aesthetics, especially when the coop is low t the ground. That said, if your coop is higher than 18 inches off the ground, definitely consider a ramp. It’s not because chickens can’t jump that high or fly into the coop. It’s because these creatures are clumsy. When jumping up or down, chickens have a great chance of getting injured — and you don’t want injured chickens.
Also, the larger a chicken is, the harder they land. Buff Orpingtons and Brahmas, for example, shouldn’t be jumping from heights greater than 18 inches. Similarly, some breeds — Frizzles, Sizzles, and Silkies — don’t have flight feathers and will get hurt if they try to enter or exit the coop from the ground.
Ideal Dimensions and Angle for a Chicken Coop Ramp
If you decide that you need a chicken coop ramp, the next thing is to consider the perfect size.
How wide should a chicken coop ramp be? Ideally, this is between 8-10 inches, because chickens will feel most comfortable on this width. You don’t have to worry about the length so much as the angle. Depending on the angle you need, the length of the ramp will vary.
So what about the angle? If you’re constructing a ramp without any cleats or rungs, then the degree should be 30 degrees or less. If you have a ramp with an angle of 30-45 degrees, place the cleats every 4-6 inches. However, for comfort and stability, some chicken keepers will put the cleats every 3 inches apart. Steeper ramps need even more cleats. Otherwise, the chickens could slip on the way down and get hurt. Sliding down a ramp could also cause splintering.
Keep in mind that the cleats can also function like a staircase on steeper ramps. Consider the angle when building your ramp — always.
How big should those cleats be? If the ramp is positioned at 30-45 degrees, the best size for the cleats is ¾-inch long by ¾-inch wide.
What if the Chicken Coop Ramp is Too Steep?
Uh-oh, you went and made a slip and slide for the flock. Don’t worry. You won’t have to go back and reconstruct the whole thing. There are a few ways to amend the mistake. However, you do want to correct the issue immediately, as your chickens are going to be very stressed with getting in and out of the coop. If any bad weather occurs, they could end up slipping on the ramp and getting injured.
Keep in mind that many manufactured coops come with prefabricated ramps that are far too steep. You may have to use these tricks to get the ramp at a safer angle:
- Add extra cleats
- Add a porch or platform
- Place rocks or blocks beneath the platform to decrease the angle
- Build an angled ladder instead of the ramp
- Build stairs instead of a ramp
The Best Materials for a Chicken Coop Ramp
Now, let’s talk about what kinds of materials you need to construct a chicken coop ramp. Gather the following:
- Screws or nails
- Drill or hammer
- Glue (waterproof)
- Hooks or loops (optional)
- Hinges (optional)
- Screw bit or screwdriver
- Wooden slats
- Wood (about 8-10 inches wide)
- Wood sealant or paint
Once you have these things, it’s time to build.
How to Build a Chicken Coop Ramp
Building the ramp is simple. You don’t need a lot of skill to build a chicken coop ramp, and it doesn’t take a lot of time to put the ramp together. Here are the steps to follow:
- Cut the wooden slats so that they are the same width as the ramp.
- Calculate the ideal angle for your ramp then the space between the rungs or cleats. You can mark the ideal spacing for the rungs or cleats on the ramp with a pencil.
- Use a generous amount of waterproof glue on the rungs and position them on the ramp. If you’re worried about the glue not holding, you can hammer the rungs into place.
- Wait for the glue to dry before proceeding.
- Fix the ramp to your chicken coop with screws or nails, depending on what tools you have available. Make sure the ramp is secured. Otherwise, the ramp could collapse while your chickens are using it.
- You’re done. Watch your chickens climb the ramp and know you did a good job.
There are a few options for fixing the chicken coop ramp to the coop permanently. You can screw or nail the ramp into place, which is ideal. However, if you want to place hinges on the ramp, you get some added flexibility for putting the ramp up while doing maintenance around the chicken run or at night when you want extra security around the coop door. Another option is hook and loop, which is great when you want to remove the ramp at any time.
Here is some video for help:
Getting Your Chickens on the Ramp
You might find that your chickens are willing to go up and down the ramp without any encouragement. That’s the ideal situation. Other flocks might be full of chickens that are more than hesitant with walking the plank. There are two options to get your chickens using the new coop ramp: either physically place them on the ramp or tempt them with treats.
If you’re struggling with getting the chickens who don’t want to use the ramp even close, use the brood leaders. There will be at least one chicken in the flock who doesn’t care about the ramp. Get them walking on it and maybe the rest will follow.
Just remember that chickens are going to do what chickens do. They’re creatures of habit and may choose to never use the ramp. There’s no use getting frustrated about it. As long as your chickens can safely enter and exit the coop, it’s not a big deal if they don’t use the ramp.
Here’s a video discussing some methods:
Keep Your Ramp Clean
When you first install the chicken coop ramp, you’re going to marvel at how clean and lovely it looks. Then, it’s not going to be that way anymore. Chickens will leave their droppings all over the ramp and track dirt up and down the path. Your ramp is going to need to be cleaned. So, how do you do that?
Easy. Make cleaning the chicken coop ramp part of the routine. If you give your chicken coop a daily sweep, then you should do the same for the ramp. Scrape at the ramp with a paint scraper or cat litter scoop to get the droppings off.
Weekly, give the ramp a wash with a 50/50 vinegar and water solution. The vinegar will make droppings easier to remove.
When it comes to raising a flock of happy chickens, the coop is pivotal. Ensuring your chickens feel secure is also important. That’s why keeping the coop off the ground and accessible with a chicken coop ramp is a fundamental part of building a home for your chickens. Fortunately, constructing a chicken coop ramp is easy, so you should have no problems making the best one for your flock.
Valerie has been content writing since 2016 for websites and companies all around the world. A traveler, dancer, martial artist, Valerie loves gathering experiences and wisdom. Her travels have taken her to over 20 countries, and she hopes to see more of the world soon.