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Newbie coop design 2.0 ... suggestions?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi all!! This is my first year with chickens, and version 2.0 of my coop design, please give me your suggestions ūüėä

Central Montana
4-8 chickens
Silver laced Wyandotte
Barred rock
Speckled Sussex
Black australorp
The run will be approx 15x15
Our wind comes mostly from the west and is usually strong
My coop is 4x4 and 5-6ft tall lean to style roof
3-4nest boxes planned, and maybe 4-6ft of roost space
Construction is all 2x4s, plywood with tin over for the roof, and I have siding picked out but I'm thinking I will still need to line the inside with plywood....
Trying to build a coop as light as possible since we rent and won't be leaving it here when we move

Having issues uploading my pictures, maybe it will let me in the comments...
post #2 of 11
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post #3 of 11
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post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

Planning to cover two of the rafter spaces on the west side, and leave the other open for ventilation. leaving all the raters open on the east side, the spaces marked "vent" will be closeable.  all spaces will be protected by wire.

 

sorry about the many comments I will get the hang of this soon im sure :P


Edited by ladynewtochicks - 3/24/16 at 11:25am
post #5 of 11

Your coop will hold 4 bird comfortably if you don't have the feeder, waterer, or nesting boxes in the coop.  Plan on about 4 sq feet per bird inside the coop.  Overcrowding means pecking and fighting in the winter.  You only need 1 nesting box for every 4 hens.  Two boxes would be perfect for your set up.  Hanging the nesting boxes on the outside of the coop means they don't take up valuable space inside that you need for your birds. 

 

Make sure you have lots of ventilation in the top of the coop.  This is especially important for cold places like Montana.  My vents are never closed and are covered in hardware cloth.   I have them tucked under the eaves of the roof so that no rain gets inside.  Each vent is about a foot high and 3 feet long.  My run is very sturdy so I keep the pop door from the coop to the run open year round and that gives more ventilation.  I also cover the sides of the run in clear plastic curtains for the winter.  That makes for a wind proof area for the girls to hang out and wind won't come through the pop door.  I keep the feeder and waterer in the run year round.  Keep your roosts low enough as you don't want wind that blows in the upper vents getting on the birds.  Roosts should be 2 x4's placed wide side up so the chickens cover their feet when they sleep.   I also use electric poultry netting to make a 1,000 square foot safe free range area around their pen.  Lost most of my flock a couple years ago to foxes building a den in the state park next door.  Electric poultry netting has prevented any more losses except for a young pullet that insisted on sleeping in the trees outside of the netting. 

 

To keep your birds warm in the winter think dry.  Ventilation will allow the moisture from the chickens breathing and pooping to leave the coop.  If your coop gets too humid then you might have problems with frostbite.  Warm birds are dry birds.  My birds did well last winter down to -12 with no frost bite.  They were all first year hens so laid well all winter long.  Also make sure you build your doors big enough to allow you to clean out the coop easily. 

 

For water I started using horizontal nipples.  I like them lots more than the vertical nipples.  For winter water I bought a semi clear plastic tote from Walmart.  I added the horizontal nipples near the bottom of the tote.  Put a hole in the back for the cord of the stock tank deicer that is safe to use in plastic.  Since the tote holds 10 gallons of water it only needed filled about once a week using a 5 gallon bucket.  The girls had thawed water all winter long. 

 

Good luck with your coop.  The Learning Center here is a great place to get information.  There is also a Montana group in the forum for questions specific to that area. 

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wamtazlady View Post

Your coop will hold 4 bird comfortably if you don't have the feeder, waterer, or nesting boxes in the coop.  Plan on about 4 sq feet per bird inside the coop.  Overcrowding means pecking and fighting in the winter.  You only need 1 nesting box for every 4 hens.  Two boxes would be perfect for your set up.  Hanging the nesting boxes on the outside of the coop means they don't take up valuable space inside that you need for your birds. 

Make sure you have lots of ventilation in the top of the coop.  This is especially important for cold places like Montana.  My vents are never closed and are covered in hardware cloth.   I have them tucked under the eaves of the roof so that no rain gets inside.  Each vent is about a foot high and 3 feet long.  My run is very sturdy so I keep the pop door from the coop to the run open year round and that gives more ventilation.  I also cover the sides of the run in clear plastic curtains for the winter.  That makes for a wind proof area for the girls to hang out and wind won't come through the pop door.  I keep the feeder and waterer in the run year round.  Keep your roosts low enough as you don't want wind that blows in the upper vents getting on the birds.  Roosts should be 2 x4's placed wide side up so the chickens cover their feet when they sleep.   I also use electric poultry netting to make a 1,000 square foot safe free range area around their pen.  Lost most of my flock a couple years ago to foxes building a den in the state park next door.  Electric poultry netting has prevented any more losses except for a young pullet that insisted on sleeping in the trees outside of the netting. 

To keep your birds warm in the winter think dry.  Ventilation will allow the moisture from the chickens breathing and pooping to leave the coop.  If your coop gets too humid then you might have problems with frostbite.  Warm birds are dry birds.  My birds did well last winter down to -12 with no frost bite.  They were all first year hens so laid well all winter long.  Also make sure you build your doors big enough to allow you to clean out the coop easily. 

For water I started using horizontal nipples.  I like them lots more than the vertical nipples.  For winter water I bought a semi clear plastic tote from Walmart.  I added the horizontal nipples near the bottom of the tote.  Put a hole in the back for the cord of the stock tank deicer that is safe to use in plastic.  Since the tote holds 10 gallons of water it only needed filled about once a week using a 5 gallon bucket.  The girls had thawed water all winter long. 

Good luck with your coop.  The Learning Center here is a great place to get information.  There is also a Montana group in the forum for questions specific to that area. 

I thought it was closer to 2sqft per bird if you have a covered outside run? Also my nesting boxes aren't on the floor they are 2ft ish up so they don't take up floor space....
post #7 of 11

You can get away with 2 sq ft per bird.  However, you might end up with behavior problems such as pecking, fighting, stress, and feather pulling.  Even 4 sq ft is what many consider the very minimum to have.  For the run 10 sq ft per bird is suggested.  You will need your roosts to be higher than your nesting boxes.  Otherwise the chickens will try to sleep in the boxes instead of on the roosts.  They like to sleep in the highest place they can get.  Anyway, with chickens remember one thing.  Bigger is always better because you are going to end up with more chickens than you thought.  They call it chicken math. 

 

For example, I have a 6 x 8 foot coop.  At 48 sq ft it was built for 12 birds.  My nesting boxes hang on the outside so that is all area for the birds.  Well, Gary's sister asked me to take in a few of her chicks as she was out of room.  They ended up being pullets so I am keeping them.  So my 4 sq ft per bird is gone.  I have 15 birds so it really isn't too bad.  My run is 14 x 8 ft, 112 sq ft which was supposed to hold 12 birds (yes it was 8 sq ft short, I blame the builder, my neighbor).  I do have a 3rd area for the birds.  I surrounded an area of about 1,000 sq ft with that electric poultry netting.  They have that area to roam in every day.  Of course when it's snowing they prefer to stay in the covered run.  It was near the end of the winter before they were brave enough to walk on snow. 

 

I have 2 roosts, each 6 feet long made from 2 x 4's.  Of course, chickens being chickens they only like and use one of those roosts.  And of course, chickens being chickens they have decided that only half that roost is good.  So they all try to crowd onto about 3 1/2 feet of one roost.  That means they are sleeping on top of each other and don't seem to mind it a bit.  It's like that with nesting boxes too.  When I had 2 boxes they all used just one.  Now that I have 3 boxes, they only use 2.  Chickens have their own peculiar way of doing things. 

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Ok I've been toying with the idea of of a 4x6 but I can't go much larger than that since its needs to be moveable. I just know myself and I'm going to get 4, then want more lol
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by ladynewtochicks View Post

Ok I've been toying with the idea of of a 4x6 but I can't go much larger than that since its needs to be moveable. I just know myself and I'm going to get 4, then want more lol

LOL...Welcome to keeping chickens.  If you need to save weight you might consider 1 x 4's for areas that don't need to be beefy.  You do not have to build beefy to keep chickens in.  You just need to keep predators out.  I'm thinking the electric poultry netting might be exactly what you need.  It's easily movable.   If you do a search on the forums for "electric poultry netting" you'll find some people around here who haven't lost birds to a 4 legged predator in years when they used to lose them regularly.  Some people use the netting in conjunction with a chicken tractor.  A chicken tractor is a coop that can be moved around the property.  That means they are pretty light weight.  The netting helps keep the birds safe in that light weight coop.  You might want to research "chicken tractor" also. 

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

ok so here is version 3.0 since my husband has approved my new budget to make it 4x6

 

3 external nesting boxes

8 ft of roosting space

 

better for my 4-8 chicken plan?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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