porch widths?

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jimnks
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2009 6:31 pm
Location: kansas/tonganoxie

Is their a miniumum(that doesn't look like it is spelled right , anyway the opposite of maximum) on the width of porchs? I built a new house last year with porchs and dividers at 2 3/8 inches, but the roof overhang is also 2 3/8 inches. I think I need more overhang to keep excess water from splashing off the porchs and possibly entering the nest cavities. I have built another house the same dimensions as the first house, but before I make modifications I would like a little input on porch widths. The house worked well I had 3 pair that occupied it, and 7 pair total!!
Thank You,
Jim
P.S. I am tired of SNOW and winter come on spring!!!
jimnks
Emil Pampell-Tx
Posts: 6743
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 1:26 pm
Location: Tx, Richmond (SW of Houston)
Martin Colony History: First started in Gretna, La in 1969 with a small homemade house, have had martins ever since at 2 different homes in Texas

Porch width is more of an individual choice, I don't know what size the martins prefer. They sit on anything that you put there. Some people like long wide porches on gourds so that they can watch a pair sit on the porch at the same time. My neighbor uses a porch about 3in long x 3/4in wide on his gourds, the narrow porch helps keep out the starlings, and a martin will sit on it for a while. Martins sit sideways on a narrow porch, and like to sit where they can hold on tightly.

Maybe you could drill some drainage holes on the porch, and some drainage holes near the entrance. On wooden houses that I built, thats what I did, and never got wet nests. If the nests do not get wet, a bit of wetness can be tolerated. Good nestboxes also prevent the nests from getting wet. Martins often sit out in the rain, so it does not hurt them. Just closely watch the nests so that they stay dry.

About water getting into my gourds, I basically try everything possible to keep out the water. I also make sure that there are plenty of drainage holes so that if water does enter, that it will run out as fast as it enters. To help keep out water (and for other reasons), I use tunnels. The tunnels have a dam at the back end, and the tunnels have drain holes.

If people hang gourds from wires, it can be difficult to keep out the water, as the water runs down the wire and enters the gourds. Its best to insert tubing thru the neck of the gourd, and then run the wire thru the tubing.

If your houses worked well, then I would not worry about them..BTW, we are all probably tired of this loooonnnggg winter! smile
John Miller
Posts: 4775
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 9:11 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

I would not go smaller than about 2 inches "depth" on the porches, particularly if you are using a SREH opening. My thinking is that a martin needs to position itself to go straight in, and if you get less depth on the porch, it would be harder. A martin may be more inclined to use a more narrow porch on a gourd, as Emil has seen, perhaps because there is no overhang above or solid wall behind them as in a house.

I conslted on a house - very well made heavy wooden house -- that finallyafter several years got the attention of a subadult male for several weeks last season. But he never entered the WDC openings, with the wooden porches at 1.5 inches and I suggested then that they add some extensions at a few openings.

If you are using round holes, you could go smaller. Another idea - to add depth but less splash -- attach a perch rod around the rim of the porch.

John M
jimnks
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2009 6:31 pm
Location: kansas/tonganoxie

Thanks for the input, I thought about drilling some holes in the porches, maybe 1/4 inch? or is that too small, maybe clog up with debris, droppings,etc. should I drill holes in the nest compartments also, how many and where at? The nest compartments are 7x6x12 inches, with SREH openings. I am sure you get some water blowing in the entrance holes, just didn't want the water off the roof running down on the porches.I have some cedar shingles and am going to cut them down and install on the roofs probably let them overhang another 1/4 th of an inch, also going to cut the porches down to 2 or 2 1/8 inches. I am going to think about that railing, good idea John,what to use 3/8 inch dowel, how far from the front of the porch ? I probably don't have a problem, but I have the time and just trying to improve my product, little things can make a big difference in bird survival and house maintenance. Thanks again. Jim
jimnks
John Miller
Posts: 4775
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 9:11 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

Me again. I probably would not drill holes as it may set up rot, but I'm not a carpenter. I just think on stuff, sometimes after I've said it (grin). So...don't add the perch as a porch extender. It would give owls a place to grab. Just let the upper roof overhang a little more.

Martins will fly up under a roof overhang easily and they like to rest on porches with an overhang above. In fact, I think an eve or wide porch from the floor above helps protects them from owls. The only downside is that it may draw the older nestlings out on the porch, trying to see mom and dad coming from above. But by this time they are usually okay there unless you have a lot of hawk problems.

Sounds like a nice wooden house. Good luck this season.
John M
jimnks
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2009 6:31 pm
Location: kansas/tonganoxie

I think I am going to put on the new roof, with a little more overhang and see how it works and I probably will cut the porches back to 2 1/8 inches and go with that. Thanks John and Emil for the help.
Jim
If the martins come in the next week or so I will probably have to install furnaces in their houses!!! JEEZ will winter ever end? Well by July I will be griping about how the heat is hurting my garden. Its nice to gripe, no one listens. Have a nice day, I have one every day!!!!!!
jimnks
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