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Building a new coop - Advice/help?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

So, like the titles says, I'm looking to build a new coop. My chicken area doesn't have a proper coop and I've decided to go ahead and build one to protect my small flock from predators. My dilemma, though, is the reason why I never built a coop in the first place. The area I'm able to build a coop in isn't big enough for my chickens to stay in all day, it's purpose is just to provide a safe sleeping area and a safe place to eat. That means I have to have an opening somewhere to let the chickens go out during the day and go in at night. But if I have an opening, that defeats the purpose of having a coop to keep predators out. Does somebody know of a way that I can have a safe area for my chickens, while also letting them have access to their outside pen without having to manually open the door in the morning/close it before nighttime? I'm a full-time college student who doesn't live near campus, so I sometimes can't get home before dusk and so I wouldn't always be home to close the door at night. Thank you!

 

This is the current chicken area


This is their run from the coop to the outside pen

 

I use to not have a run, it was simply a hole in the fence, but the chickens share a pen with my Miniature Horse and she is a huge pig. She would stand where the hole was and would just stand there all day and rub on it to eventually make it bigger. Eventually she made it big enough for her to fit in. After many failures, the only kind of run that keeps her out is a run that is 1) too small for her body to fit through and 2) is sturdy enough to where she can't move it/destroy it and make the run big enough for her to squeeze through. I've thought about maybe making a coop that is attached to the outside of the pen, rather than building a coop within the pen like the chicken area is right now, but I'm not sure if I have enough space to do that. Besides my horse, there is also the issue that the coop MUST NOT be completely closed in with no way for breezes to get through. In Texas, summer is our longest season(Spanning from May to October/mid-November) and the temperatures easily reach 100 degrees. Not to mention the extreme humidity.


Edited by BackyardDove - 11/21/15 at 11:36am
post #2 of 7


Hi,

 

You could always consider fitting a door with a timer on the coop. Alternatively, some chicken wire supported by hoops (kinda semi-circle) from your coop door to your run may also be an option? 

 

CT

Nairobi, Kenya
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Nairobi, Kenya
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post #3 of 7
I'm not a student but you're problem sounds familiar. This is what I build/have.

A prefab coop/small run combination. The small run has a roof. I made an opening and a roofed extension (picture) to the small run. Its a kind of shelter with mesh at the east/south and wood on the colder windier sides.
In the shelter I made an automatic coop-opener to the larger more open open run. The coop-opener works on daylight, so the chickens are free to go to the run when it is light. The chickens always go on their roost before its gets dark. The coop-opener always closes when its almost dark.

The door of the small coop (with laying nests) is always open.
My chickens prefer to sleep in the extension I made with WRC/Red cedar and mesh.


Edited by BDutch - 11/21/15 at 3:19am
3 dutch bantam girls and 3 pullets (offspring from april)
colors: 1 light brown partridge, 2 red pyle, 1 lavender, 2 rusty black
Reply
3 dutch bantam girls and 3 pullets (offspring from april)
colors: 1 light brown partridge, 2 red pyle, 1 lavender, 2 rusty black
Reply
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

 

I've added in some pictures to give you guys a better idea of what I'm working with :) Thanks for the help so far!

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by CTKen View Post
 


Hi,

 

You could always consider fitting a door with a timer on the coop. Alternatively, some chicken wire supported by hoops (kinda semi-circle) from your coop door to your run may also be an option? 

 

CT


Oh yeah, I've heard of those. I'm not sure how much they cost, though. I'm not quite sure what you mean by the hoops thing though, do you maybe have a picture of what you're talking about?

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BDutch View Post

I'm not a student but you're problem sounds familiar. This is what I build/have.

A prefab coop/small run combination. The small run has a roof. I made an opening and a roofed extension (picture) to the small run. Its a kind of shelter with mesh at the east/south and wood on the colder windier sides.
In the shelter I made an automatic coop-opener to the larger more open open run. The coop-opener works on daylight, so the chickens are free to go to the run when it is light. The chickens always go on their roost before its gets dark. The coop-opener always closes when its almost dark.

The door of the small coop (with laying nests) is always open.
My chickens prefer to sleep in the extension I made with WRC/Red cedar and mesh.

Oh wow, that's a nice looking coop! Does that mean I don't really need a roof(Besides wire, of course) for my chicken's coop? There's lot of other areas in their pen that are sheltered, but the chicken area I have right now will be very difficult to put a metal roof on and I've been worrying about that. If you look at the pictures I added to my original post, you can see that the area only has one open side, the other three sides are solid, so I think they're already pretty well protected from winds and such. What do you think?

post #5 of 7

A better picture of the coop/roofed run/extension.


You do need a safe and roofed coop/run for the night, when the weather is bad, lay their eggs, take a dustbad and put the food.

The fenced area you have looks just fine to me. Only if there are hawks or others predators you need a netting on top. It should be fine to build or buy a nice coop/with daylight or a small roofed run. Perhaps a restauration and extend you're old coop may be a possibility too?

I dont know how much you can spent, but I would rather spend money on an automatic coop opener ($150,) then on an expensive coop. If you have acces to second hand and waste wood you can build a coop at low cost.

( the old coop was not on the first picture, only one side of the roofed extension I made, you mainly see the run where the chickens have acces to during the daytime. )
Edited by BDutch - 11/21/15 at 4:44pm
3 dutch bantam girls and 3 pullets (offspring from april)
colors: 1 light brown partridge, 2 red pyle, 1 lavender, 2 rusty black
Reply
3 dutch bantam girls and 3 pullets (offspring from april)
colors: 1 light brown partridge, 2 red pyle, 1 lavender, 2 rusty black
Reply
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BDutch View Post


A better picture of the coop/roofed run/extension.


You do need a safe and roofed coop/run for the night, when the weather is bad, lay their eggs, take a dustbad and put the food.

The fenced area you have looks just fine to me. Only if there are hawks or others predators you need a netting on top. It should be fine to build or buy a nice coop/with daylight or a small roofed run. Perhaps a restauration and extend you're old coop may be a possibility too?

I dont know how much you can spent, but I would rather spend money on an automatic coop opener ($150,) then on an expensive coop. If you have acces to second hand and waste wood you can build a coop at low cost.

( the old coop was not on the first picture, only one side of the roofed extension I made, you mainly see the run where the chickens have acces to during the daytime. )


There are hawks in the area, but the trees provide enough cover to where they've never been an issue. The whole reason why I need to rebuild this area into more of an enclosed chicken coop is because I've been having issues with possums and raccoons, predators that I didn't know actually live here. I've been tossing around the idea of extending the coop to where it'll end where the horse's stall ends(you can see the back of the stall in the left of the picture), but I'm unsure since the area they have now is big enough for sleeping and they won't be in there all day during the day, so I haven't yet decided if I want to go ahead and extend it anyways. I've been looking through the materials I have, and I should have enough chicken wire, as well as I have at least a good amount of the wood I need. The main(and, of course, most expensive...) two things I'm missing is the metal roofing and a door. Though, I can always just look around for somebody's old, discarded screen door and replace the screening with wire. I've going to research the automatic coop opener and see if it'll work for me. Like I said I also have a horse living in that pen, and if it's not shaped right/made sturdily, my horse will make short work of it :th

 

Also, I don't think I mentioned this in my original post, but the roofed cage that you see in the chicken area is not for my adult chickens. That cage is solely for my older chicks, the adults don't have access to the inside to prevent pecking.

post #7 of 7
This is our coop/run, we converted our 8x12 shed for them to save time and money on the project. It's wrapped in 1/2" hardware cloth, including the window openings and has raccoon proof locks on every opening. It's a little unsightly in the winter with the 5mm plastic but, meh, it works. We actually have "summer" and "winter" locks on all of the openings because our summer locks provide some gaps for our 100+ degree Summers but provide raccoon protection but our winter ones lock out the draftiness by sealing it up nice and tight. The floors are also laminated in single sheets (run and coop) to provide easy cleaning.




The windows up top are fantastic because, facing south, they get light all day long. The window is a downward awning so we don't have to worry about rain or excessive wind issues (winds are awful in Kansas!). The door is almost 4' wide and although unnecessary, it came into handy trying to wheel barrow sand in. We have 10" boards along the bottom to keep them from kicking sand out but I'd use 12" boards if you plan on practicing the deep litter method (sand is the way to go though).

In the inside we elevated the actual "coop" part 4' off the ground so we could easily clean underneath, place the treadle out of the reach of rain (since it blows sideways here), and room to hang the nipple waterer. We made sure to keep the bucket close to the door to run the bucked heater to it from the house and so we could see the level from the house as well (plus the bonus of watching them drink to identify any problems). We cut pieces of 2x4 and set them up as run perches at various heights since my big fatties still like being 8' off the ground. The coop itself has two large doors for cleaning and access purposes, a hatch door for chicken entry, a poop catch door because our catch is designed to slide in and out to clean (narrow poop catch door from the rear view), and two next box doors because our nest boxes are fully inside the coop for warmth and coolness over the summer. The roost bars are removable to clean when needed and the nest boxes are under the poop catch to free up the most amount of room and eliminating our need to clean under the poop catch. I have fabric hanging (currently tied up) over the nest box entrances to provide the ladies some privacy, prevent pecking while laying, and deter egg eating. The inside is insulated for the winter with puncture proof material but it still has a large vent area at the top on both sides. We have a better you powered led light set up to add extra hours to their day and it's not a fire hazard. We have their fermented feed in two 64 oz glass canisters to increase their Calories over winter because a vet told us many birds stop laying due to lack of calories. That, and, they stinkin love it.







Edited by AnthonyFlock - 11/24/15 at 8:12am
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