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Check my design, please!

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

We currently have a smallish tractor but we've fallen in love with our chickens and want to expand the flock. We've also discovered some of the pitfalls of the tractor and want something much, much better :)

 

I've attached a picture of my rough sketch. Husband is going to translate it into a working model in SketchUp, so I'll be able to modify anything that doesn't look quite right.

 

We are building it behind our current barn, and extending the barn roof to cover the new coop. The new coop won't be attached/integrated into the barn extension though, just in case we ever want to change/dismantle/etc. The coop will be ~6" off the barn wall, and I plan on drilling some good ventilation holes in that wall (as it will be pretty protected from direct wind).

 

For reference, we currently have 3 chickens but want to expand to 10-12 hens - no roos here!

 

post #2 of 6
Good day
Just building one myself yours looks all good
Didn't see roost, I put mine across from boxes almost forgot to have enough headroom lol
I have to insulate so had to keep that in mind
But all looks great to this newbie
What type of hens you getting we are still deciding
Have fun
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 


Our roosts will be free standing on either end of the coop.

 

We currently have a Black and Copper Maran and two Americana/Welsummer crosses. At least one (I think both) of the Americana crosses lays blue eggs. The Maran will lay brown eggs. We got them in November and one of the Americana crosses has been a fairly consistent layer but the others aren't laying much yet.

 

We'd like to get some Australorps, Buff Orps, maybe some full Welsummers. I'd also like a couple of Silkies if I can find them healthy!

post #4 of 6

6.5' x 4' won't be big enough for 10-12 birds....coop floor entrance for ramp reduces floor space further.

....and not sure if you know but, you need some extra space to integrate new birds.

 

You might want the coop itself to be taller inside for 'ventilation without draft on roosts'.

Here's my theory on the 'stack up' aspect to coop design:

Bottom of pop door should be about 8" above floor so bedding doesn't get dragged out of coop.

Nice to have bottom of nests about 18" above bedding to allow use of that floor space under them(doesn't count if your nests are mounted on outside of coop).

Roosts should be about 12" higher than nests so birds won't roost(sleep) in nests and poop in them, if you use poop boards under roosts it will also 'stretch' your floor space.

Upper venting should be as high as possible above roosts so no strong drafts hit roosts in winter...and hot/moist air and ammonia can rise and exit coop.

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

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 #5 of 6

You've far more nest boxes than needed. Always have two then add a nest for every 5 birds. Two nest will handle up to 10, once 11-15 you should have 3, up to 20 birds 4 nest would do. I've a 4x7 coop on skids with three external mounted nesting boxes- bird access from inside, lid for collection. Currently have 11 birds in the coop. Had 14. Will cull cockerels/cock birds and sell a few hens this fall. Hatching now. Plan on keeping 10-12 layers and 2 breeding males. I don't put food or water in coop. It has two roosting bars at same height spaced evenly in the 4 ft dimension running entire length of coop. They are one foot above liter, 16 inches above floor. The venting is top of coop, slanted roof with vents entire 7 foot length bottom and top of slant. Openings covered with hard wire cloth.

 

The reason for 4x7 dimension was to only need 3 sheets of 3/8th decorative plywood. By keeping 7 ft had enough extra for nest box. 3/8 inch plywood keeps weight down. 2x3's for posts and floor also keeps it lighter and if you note I use 2x2's for corners and top. They are just needed to screw the plywood together. Covered entire top with hardwire cloth so I could use only tin for roof. The high hats of metal roofing act as vents and no weasel can get in. Keep it simple.

 

My birds do well in such a small coop as they have incredible run size. Are outside everyday. In winter I provide a lean to which is taller than the coop. Slopes from ground to just over coop. Prevailing wind side is covered with a tarp all the way to end of coop. This makes for ample shelter, no snow or freezing rain nor is there Northerly winds. From this structure I shovel paths to their favorite hang out spots and put down a thin bed of hay. They love hanging out under a bush so have a 30 ft path shoveled and scrap out under the bush to toss down hay. I make the small coop work and the chickens love the set up. The reason I do it this way is so spring, summer and fall the coop can be pulled about the yard by lawn tractor and moving a 164' electric fence every two to three weeks to new forage areas.

 

This is a three nest box. Nailers shown in above photo and box below. Then two scrap pieces of plywood tacked to middle nailers to complete the box. Three foot long box is screwed to outside nailers. Lid attached via a few hinges. 

 

 

 

Almost forgot to show the clean out door.

I ended up putting a 1x6 longer than clean out door and held in place by the pine shavings for liter. That way I don't have an avalanche of liter everytime I need to grab a bird. It's not secured so can be lifted out when ready to shovel out liter and replace.


Edited by Egghead_Jr - 3/27/16 at 3:20pm

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

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Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

Reply
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

egghead_jr, thanks for sharing your coop pictures! It looks very similar to what we are going to build. I agree, I have more nesting boxes than needed... my girls will have plenty of options. Partly, it's because my son has a blast checking each box for eggs, so this will give him plenty of boxes to check! I may cut it back to 4, though.

 

To aart's point of it being too small for 10-12 chickens - I did go smaller than the general rule of 4 sq ft per chicken, BUT they will have a decent sized run (the taller portion is 6 ft tall, and 6x4 - we bumped it up from 5x4, and the portion under the house is 6.5x4 and 2.5' tall) plus they are free-roaming during the day on 2.5 acres (with plenty of horse poop to kick around and pick through!). Also, since the pop hole will be in the floor and the run fully predator-proofed (as is the tractor they are in now), they will be able to come and go into the run as they please, even if we don't get out to open the run door right at sunrise. 

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