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New to Chickens Need Advice on a Coop

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

In the processing of purchasing a house and I want to raise chickens for eggs. I am thinking 8-10 chickens is the quantity I would like to go with. I am doing my research on chicken coops, first thing I want to do I build the coop. There are a ton of coops for sale but not wanting to spend $2k on one. I was thinking of building one with a run. I live in Northern Virginia so we do have cold winters and snow. I have seen a ton of plans but not sure the size and everything I need, or the size I should go.

 

Does anyone have a link to a detailed build plan, that includes what I need to purchase and not just pictures of the build process?

 

Any help would be appreciated!

post #2 of 7

Welcome to BYC!

 

It's pretty hard to find full plans with instructions for a good sized coop.

That's what the extra $1K pays for when having someone else build it.

 

Take your time, do your research as there's lots of options out there that will fit different climates, needs and management styles.

 

Read the 2 excellent articles linked in my signature on Space and Ventilation to get you started.

Look at lots of coops to learn what works well..... and what doesn't.

 

I would recommend and 8x8x8 coop with a shed roof to get started and make good use of standard lumber sizes.

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

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Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #3 of 7
If you go to the top of this page and hit the ”coops” tab you can find a lot of different coops, many with material lists and plans. Some people are better about detailing their build than others.

Another option is to get a prefab building at Lowe’s, Home Depot, are maybe a building supply place. Wood normally works better for these but you can use metal. They are not tremendously hard to assemble or you can possibly get someone to assemble it for you through that store. Don’t forget the foundation, you’ll either have to do that yourself or get someone to do it.

If you are in the US you can check Craigslist or something like that for materials or maybe even an entire building you can either move or tear down and rebuild. If you have a “habitat” store close you may find inexpensive windows, doors, vents or other parts.

There are a lot of different things that go into how much room you need. There is no one magic number for space that covers everyone. Calgary Canada will have different requirements than Miami Florida, for example. How you manage them and your flock make-up makes a difference. Chickens don’t understand the concept of room in the coop. They understand the concept of room, period. That room can be in the coop alone, coop and run if the run is available when they need it, or they can sleep in trees and have the whole outdoors.

If you wish you can follow the link in my signature to get some of my thoughts on what makes up room requirements. I don’t give you hard and fast numbers, more things to consider. I find the more room I give them the fewer behavioral problems I have to deal with, the more flexibility I have to deal with problems, and I don’t have to work as hard. I like making my life easier. You can get by with less space but you may pay a price.

For that many chickens I recommend a walk-in coop. You need to be able to reach all parts of the inside of the coop for cleaning, maintenance, possible modifications, or to retrieve and egg or maybe an injured or dead chicken. It’s really hard to achieve that with one of those elevated coops you cannot walk into.

If you are building it from scratch the most inexpensive building materials normally come in 4’ or 8’ lengths. You can usually have less cutting and waste if you plan with these dimensions in mind. Your roof needs to be slanted so rainwater runs off plus overhangs are nice so you can put ventilation up high without rain blowing in so that can mess up your standard dimensions. A 6’ dimension isn’t horrible. You’ll mainly be wasting two feet of 2x4’s probably, but maybe you can use those to build nests. If you are using salvaged material with different base sizes, of course consider that.

I don’t know what climate you are dealing with or anything about how you are going to manage them so I’m guessing a bit. I suggest you use a minimum of 6’ x 8’ or if you live in a country where those are not standard sizes for building materials, look for the equivalent. You could probably go 8’ x 8’ with very little extra expense if you are building it yourself and give you some extra flexibility in case you want to add chickens later, integrate replacements, or if you plan to have a broody hen raise chicks with the flock. If you have really rough weather where they go stretches where they can’t get out much, go with the larger size.

Don’t think of the coop in isolation, it’s part of your space system along with the run if you have a run and the run is available when they are awake. It’s not just weather that might make the run not available. If you lock them in the coop at night for extra predator protection, which a lot of us do, you need to be out there fairly early every day (including Saturdays where you might want to sleep in) or the run is not available. If the run is permanently available when they are awake you can get by with less space but remember to give yourself room to work in there. There are days I like to sleep in, especially if I’m sick.

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

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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 #4 of 7
We used an exisiting shed and added a covered run. The coop is 8' x 18' (8' x 9' used for chickens), the run is 8' x 16'. We have 6 hens and they have plenty of room. I like having walk-in doors in both the coop & run for cleaning, filling water/feed & collecting eggs. There are 2 windows (basement windows put in backwards to open out & up-side-down to keep out rain) and a large vent opening near the roof. The pop door has an automatic opener which is so convenient for us since the coop isn't close to our house. The roof is shingled. The run had a metal roof, sheet left over from when we re-sided our barn.

Inside there is a roosting bar with a poopboard below, a ramp leading to it and 3 nesting boxes.

Be sure to use 1/2" hardware cloth for the run "walls" and to cover any openings, like windows or ventilation openings. Regular screens or chicken wire won't keep predators out. This will probably be the big-ticket item, hardware cloth is expensive. I bought ours from Amazon. I wish I could show you plans or a supply list but Hubs used alot of materials we had on hand and bought as he went along.

I hope these pics can give you some ideas, it's a pretty simple design.



2 Buff Orpingtons, 4 Black Sex Links,. 1 Golden Retriever, 1 "old man" cat and 2 Betta.
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2 Buff Orpingtons, 4 Black Sex Links,. 1 Golden Retriever, 1 "old man" cat and 2 Betta.
Reply
post #5 of 7
That's a good point. Fencing material can get quite expensive. Hardware cloth is really effective if installed right, especially the more expensive heavy gauge wire. I use a system where I put chicken wire on, then covered that with 2” x 4” welded wire. Chicken wire can be ripped apart by some larger predators but it is pretty effective at stopping many smaller critters. The 2x4 wire will stop the larger critters.

Since appearance is important to you, if you paint wire dark green or black, it pretty much disappears in the sun. You can see right through it as if it isn’t there. The best way to paint it is with a roller before you assemble it. Even if you don’t paint it, it won’t look that bad.
Edited by Ridgerunner - 11/5/15 at 6:40am

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 #6 of 7
I have found that recycling materials is cost effective you can look at building supply stores and see if they have any wooden crates wooden pallets which makes a great base for the fencing of a chicken run.you stand them up and nail together and use a thicker and wider piece of wood as a base and then basic chicken wire on the out side to to keep them inside it as far as the coop plans you can find books with plans and then use recycled materials lots of research
Edited by tinaschiks - 11/6/15 at 9:10am
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
I have found a plan I liked. If I went off these measurement how many hens is ideal for this

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