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In the Midst of Building a Coop - I'll take warnings before I finish

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hi there.  I've been reviewing the posts on here for a while and was going to post my first post a while back, but I had some trouble with the registration process.  I've picked up on several answers to questions that I had just by checking this forum.  


So, as a bit of background about the coop, I bought a new house last fall.  In the backyard there was a cedar tree with a lot of ivy growing under it.  I tore out the ivy and set out to put up a chicken coop.  The coop will be on the left side of the tree and the run will be on the right side of the tree (as I look at it from my house) and will be at the top of the hill that is my yard.  I plan on getting five chickens.  The date I plan on getting them from the urban farmstore is fast approaching.  


The first picture I will show you is where I built it after I tore out the ivy, but before I put up a board. 



The coop I decided to build is 4' wide as you look at it and 5.5' deep.  You may ask the height, but that depends on where you are standing.  One thing you might notice about the above picture is that the four post brackets are all at different heights.  This means we had to set the upper right post first and set that as our point 0 with all other measurements based upon that.  That made the first weekend of construction go slow.  The interior of the coop is going to be several feet high, with a lower section that is at least 1.5' high, up to three feed, depending on where you are.  


This is what it looked like after the first weekend. 


I used that metal cloth stuff for keeping the predators out.  I didn't learn to use a screw and washer technique until after I bought a box of the U-shaped nails that are hard to hammer in.  Lesson learned for the run.  As you can see, I extended it out 1 foot for the nesting boxes.  It is my plan to have doors on this side (left side as looking from the house) on both the top and bottom so I can access and clean it out.  At this time, I plan on using a deep litter method.  


I plan on having the "exit" from the roosting area in the back left corner through a 11"x 11" hole and a access ramp that leads to the back right.  This ramp will be entirely under the coop.  I plan on putting sand in the area underneath the coop, as I should be dry enough.  I also plan to have the food in this lower area. (more on that below).  The exit to the run will be through the back right near where the ramp comes down.  


I have done a bit more work on it, by installing bits of the nesting boxes.  This next picture only shows me doing a rough set up of it, but it is the most recent picture I have.  

So, for the five chickens I will have three nesting boxes.  One of the things I wanted to do was have a feeder system, and this cut ate up about 5-6 inches of my usable space.  Thus, my nesting boxes size was impacted.  I'm hoping it won't be an issue.  My nesting boxes will now be 12" deep and 11" high at the rear and 14" high at the front.  Two of the boxes will be 11.5' wide and the third is 10.5" wide.  This is narrower than the suggestions I've seen, but I'm hopeful that it won't be too small.  I plan on installing a hinged roof over the nesting boxes to get access to the eggs and the feeder.  


As for the feeder, that pipe is in there just for size.  I plan on having a 4" pipe run from the nesting box area and straight down into the area below the feeder and then at a 90 degree angle to the right.  The top of the pipe will be cut off and this will act as my feeding system.  I plan on having a piece of plexiglass right under the nesting boxes so that I can see the feeder so it does not run empty.  


I am planning on having two boards come out from the back wall and slant towards the nesting boxes.  These boards will be about 2.5 apart and on this I will install three round rods for the roosts.  These will be about 16" apart.  This generally satisfies the 1' over and 1' higher rule (assuming a 45 degree angle, but it won't be exactly that).  It is a bit closer to the wall than 18", so that may prove to be an issue.  


I will be painting the inside white and putting in a linelium floor to make cleaning easier.  I may also put a small door in on the run/right side of the coop to assist with me putting chickens away for the night.  



So, that is my coop that I have started.  What problems do you see that I have not?  What concerns do you have about my coop?  What questions have I not properly answered for myself or you?  I look forward to your thoughts.  

post #2 of 3

Things are looking pretty good.    Here are some thoughts.    In random order. 

Use 2 x 4 flat side  for roosts.   I know they can sit on 1 inch rounds, but a 4 inch flat surface is preferred by many chicken peeps.  Allows chickens to cover their feet with body during winter cold. 


On the  Plexiglas  window, make it so it can be easily removed or opened.    You may want to do some cleaning at the automatic feed spot.  Have easy access. 


Make the left side of coop, looking from the nest box area, totally open-able for easy access and cleaning. 


Install windows that are open-able and provide natural light.  Have hardware cloth as screens to keep out predators overnight when left open during warm weather. 


Provide sufficient ventilation at top of coop to avoid direct wind and draft blowing on chickens. 


Consider also the water needs.   Maybe water nipples or just  containers with fresh water.  Have multiple water sources for better results.   Keep water clean as much as possible. 


WISHING YOU BEST.  these are just some ideas that  came thru my brainstorm.   Ask anything else you are doubtful.  Many here have soo many great ideas and tricks that worked for them well. 

Above All :welcome

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Here's my update on my building progress, though I realize now I didn't take the advise to get open-able windows.  


So, for some reason I took on the project of building some stairs up to my backyard coop before I got the coop done.  Here's a picture of that.  


On to the actual coop.  I got the jigsaw and cut the hole for the exit.  I'm concerned I made it too small, but we will see.  I did make it so that I could close the hole for perch training and for the winters.  


My dad and I were also able to get the front wall and the right wall. The front wall has a window (cannot open) on the top and bottom.  This should allow my wife and I to look in on our flock.  



Finally, there is a shot of the actual roost.  I meant to make the roost more spread out, but I fouled up my math just before cutting.  I may replace the roost later, but for now I am okay with it.  I still need to paint, put up the doors, put on the roof, and install the flooring, and make the run, but I feel like I've made good progress.  

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