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Want to improve coop, suggestions please

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

so my husband built a coop for our 4 pullets few months ago and I've been thinking about few changes to make it better.

The issues: 

no ventilation

no door that could be closed at night

only one roost (and its round) - top 2 girls won't let the other 2 to roost

would like to have food and water inside

too small, inside is 6x3 but nest boxes are in, outside is 6x6 - can't really fix it so they free range most of the day

the girls are: cuckoo marans, cream legbar, dominique and black jersey giant

 

There was a "ceiling" which created sort of a storage area  on top, or so my husband thought. The legbar decided it was a great sleeping spot. So I removed it, I am thinking about leaving it open for ventilation and just cover the "hole" with hardware cloth. I was also thinking about adding another opening on the other side so there would be draft at the top. We will replace the chicken wire with hardware cloth as soon as we can. 

 

The roost, I honestly don't know what to do with it. I saw pictures of roost that look kinda like a ladder and I really liked that but there isn't enough room I think.

 

The door, shouldnt be too hard to add it, my question is, do they need a door or can it stay open? Once we make sure its predator proof. I am always so afraid something will get in at night. We've been lucky so far.

 

For the food and water, I was thinking about buying smaller wall feeder and putting it on top of the nest boxes. Not sure what to do for water. Or should I just leave it outside since there isnt that much room inside?

 

pictures (sorry they are so blurry)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #2 of 5
Everyone has an opinion, I’ll give you some of mine. You know about the chicken wire/hardware cloth thing. Chicken wire gives you some protection against some predators but properly installed hardware cloth gives you a lot more. Instead of replacing that with hardware cloth, you could install 2”x4” welded wire over that and greatly improve your protection. That’s probably not as expensive as switching to hardware cloth.

You find some people that think civilization as we know it will be forever altered if you don’t use a flat 2x4 as a roost. Others feel just as strongly that the roosts have to be round. Others are quite happy with 2x4’s on edge. This can be a huge source of discussion, not always really polite. I’ve tried all three in my coop and found that people worry about this a lot more than the chickens do. And I’ve found that when a chicken squats down on the roost, whichever roost you use, the feet disappear in the feathers when they fluff up in the cold. If you look at your chickens’ feet, you’ll see that their toes are pretty long. Looking at the photo of your barred pullet on the roost yours look OK. But rest assured, whatever you do with your roosts you’ll find some people thinking you are absolutely horrible and some that think you are great.

Those small coops can be challenging with regards to roosts, ventilation, and nests. You want ventilation over their heads when they are on the roosts. You want the roosts higher than the nests. Chickens normally like to sleep on the highest thing available but they don’t like getting beat up. Mine are most brutal to each other when on the roosts, settling in for the night. Your pullets are probably going through some pecking order issues that show up on the roosts. They are just too close together. With just four pullets you do not need more than two nests. What I suggest is that you remove the top nests (If that is a nest) and extend the roost all the way to the wall to give them more room. It’s going to be hard to scrape if you don’t raise the roost but use the top of your nests as a droppings board. Don’t put a lip on it so you can scrape it down to your other droppings board. That behavior will probably change when they get older but you know how picky adolescent girls can be.

People a lot further north than you have solved frostbite issues by adding more ventilation, not closing them up tighter. You want the ventilation where they will not be hit by a breeze. They can handle cold really well and even some air movement but a strong breeze is bad. There are different ways to achieve that. Opening up the front and putting the roosts in a cul-de-sac where a breeze isn’t that strong can work, but to me the easiest way to achieve that is to have some openings over their heads. One thing you want to avoid is setting up a wind tunnel that whistles through your roosts. With an opening over their heads and that pop door open you might get that unless the opening is right over the pop door. You could easily get that anyway. You have some good photos but I can’t tell exactly how I’d do it, but I really like openings over their head and things closed off below in the winter. In the summer, you want as much open as you can get, high and low.

If you don’t leave them locked in the coop for silly amounts of time after they are awake it doesn’t matter if food or water is inside, out, or both. We all do it differently for different reasons. You need to keep the food dry so it doesn’t go moldy. You’ll have to deal with freezing water. There are all kinds of different ways to deal with that especially if you have electricity out there. I use black rubber bowls I get from Tractor Supply and set them in the sun when the sun shines. That solar power will keep them thawed at a surprisingly low temperature. But the sun does not always shine. With the black rubber bowls you can smash them and stomp them to get the ice out without the bowl breaking.

That’s enough typing right now. Good luck!

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply
post #3 of 5
[IMG]

I just finished the chicken door today. If you zoom the coop picture you may be able to see the latch I used. I'll get some close ups of the hinge and latch tomorrow and post them here. I like this designs because it combines the ramp with the door and can be closed or opened with your little finger. I open the coop and close it every day so the kids can feed them some corn and its just part of my daily routine when I check the feed and pick up eggs etc.. Got to be there anyway so might as well do it by hand. I can't believe how tame they have become with my new setup. Some will actually eat corn out of my hand now.

Regarding the roosts, mine all stuffed themselves on a broom handle roost in my old coop because the main roost rotted off. Now they mostly roost on the front lip of the nest boxes because they are the highest perch in the coop (they can reach). I'm going to add a higher perch above and in front of the current one soon and I'll let you know if my chickens read roost forums :-)
No pets, no roosters, just grandchildren, 3 vehicles, one collapsed garage, one pole barn, one chicken coop, lots of moles i share with neighbors and a house that will never be finished......
Reply
No pets, no roosters, just grandchildren, 3 vehicles, one collapsed garage, one pole barn, one chicken coop, lots of moles i share with neighbors and a house that will never be finished......
Reply
post #4 of 5


OK, here's the coop (I hope)
No pets, no roosters, just grandchildren, 3 vehicles, one collapsed garage, one pole barn, one chicken coop, lots of moles i share with neighbors and a house that will never be finished......
Reply
No pets, no roosters, just grandchildren, 3 vehicles, one collapsed garage, one pole barn, one chicken coop, lots of moles i share with neighbors and a house that will never be finished......
Reply
post #5 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by gpeters3 View Post

[IMG]

/quote/

BTW, Notice how small the door is? I thought it was too small but they started using it as soon as I closed the storm door. Then I framed it in with 5/4 making it even smaller but still didn't faze them. More proof chickens don't read chicken forums :-)
No pets, no roosters, just grandchildren, 3 vehicles, one collapsed garage, one pole barn, one chicken coop, lots of moles i share with neighbors and a house that will never be finished......
Reply
No pets, no roosters, just grandchildren, 3 vehicles, one collapsed garage, one pole barn, one chicken coop, lots of moles i share with neighbors and a house that will never be finished......
Reply
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