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need help with 4x6 coop

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I tried to post this once already but it did not work hope it works this time lol

We have a 12x12 goat barn we are turning into our coop and run

From this view our house is to the right.

We are planning to put a 4x6 in the back right corner against the right side wall. (The inside wall in photo has been removed). It will be off the ground so the entire 12x12 can be used for a covered run. The floor is dirt and unlevel (that is what you get when you live in the mountains) so wen constructed the coop will be 2'10" from ground in front (long side) and 3'4" from ground in back (wall side). The inside will be 3' tall in front and 3'4" in the back. We will be putting the vents around the top edges. So here are my questions:
1) how many inches should the vents be themselves measured from the ceiling down?
2) how high from the floor should the roost be so they don't get a draft? since the coop is not that tall
3) does this layout look good?
post #2 of 8
Im sure you'll get some more in depth comments from others. But my vents are about 3inches by like 5 or 6in I think. As long as the roost is a foot off the ground of the coop that should be fine. I had to adjust my roosts for my coop because the original design(build a coop kit) had them much lower. I also added a diagonal roost a little lower so they could reach it. If youre only putting the roost in the coop and adding nesting boxes somewhere else you should have plenty of room for roosting space.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Nesting boxes will be built on the outside so I can collect eggs easier and will not take up room from the chickens. I was thinking the 1- 6' roost would take up less space than having 2 shirter ones. Oh we have 6 pullets (3 isa browns and 3 leghorns)
Edited by marie24248 - 4/28/16 at 6:02am
post #4 of 8
If your coop is 4ft deep by 6ft long and its only being used for roosting you could definitely add another 6ft roost in there as well and maximize your space for more chickens. Should you decide to add to your flock. My roosting space is a little over 3ft deep and about 4ft long. That includes the 3 little nesting boxes they dont use.(I made a second nesting box area for them outside the coop) I was able to put 2 roosts 3ft deep and a 3rd diagonally. I have 7 chickens living comfortably with that space. Even enough room for one more.(Although I will build another coop should I add more to my flock.) Just be sure to add something they can use to get up to the roost if they are still small.
post #5 of 8
I don’t know how cold or snowy your winters might be. How do you plan on closing off that open side, probably wire but maybe something solid? Perhaps we could come up with alternate suggestions that might make it easier or less expensive for you. Putting your general location in your profile can sometimes help with these questions.

You are right, if you elevate the floor and the chickens have access under there it needs to be high enough that you can get under there. With my luck a hen would decide that is the perfect place for a nest.

One concern I have with the floor that uneven, chickens scratch a lot. They just might (probably will) level that floor for you. How will that affect the foundation on the uphill side? You might consider terracing in there. Putting some kind of wall a couple of feet away from that uphill wall or, if I read that sketch right, bring your coop all the way to the ground to limit how much they scratch away from the uphill side. Make a low ceiling walk-in coop with a dirt floor. That would also solve your height problem.

I think that is a great building to use for your chickens, but it does present some challenges.

The progression I use for height is to determine the floor level including any bedding. Then set the nests. After that make the roosts noticeably higher than the nests since they like to sleep in the highest place they can get to. Then put the vents if you use that method. Three feet is not a whole lot to work with.

I’m not sure how you plan to manage them. I see the nests are outside the coop and on the low side. I’m guessing you have openings from inside the coop for them to get to the nests. If you lock them in the coop section at night for predator protection, how early will you be down there to let them out? If you are early enough, do they need access to the nests from inside the coop? Probably so but maybe not. When determining the openings for the nests remember to include any bedding height and in your case, how much they might level a dirt floor if you go that route.

Assuming you build the coop as you plan, the coop being inside that building gives you some opportunities. Instead of having vents under the overhang (if you have an overhang, doesn’t look like it on the upper side), consider putting a larger vent on the wall opposite the roost only for winter. Even with the end of that building just enclosed with wire you should get a tremendous amount of wind protection from the building even if that opening is as low as your roosts. For summer add another vent down low that is open during the heat but closed during the cold. Even if I knew how hot your summers are or how cold your winters are I still would not be able to come up with any magic numbers that are guaranteed to work. How much shade you get from that tree or what are your main wind directions make your situation unique.

I can’t tell if those are 2x6’s or 2x8’s spanning your building. Normally I’d suggest whatever they are, even 2x4’s, leaving that end open and covering that with wire for predator protection. With your height challenges, I’d suggest something like 3” to 4” on the upper side and the full height of those beams on the lower side since it’s protected inside the building.

I’d suggest your roosts be at least a foot below the bottom of your upper opening. Normally I want the roost to be a foot above the nests but in a coop that small 6” might be enough. With your nests external you are looking at the opening, not necessarily the top of your nests, assuming you have an opening on the inside to the nests.

You need to be able to reach everywhere inside the coop for cleaning and any maintenance. An area really important is under your roosts, you may be raking poop build-up out from under there. I don’t know if you are feeding and watering inside the coop or outside. You do not want them pooping in the food and water from the roosts if you feed and water inside. I like having plenty of roost space. With those smaller sized hens (thanks for including number and breed, that helps) you might be able to get way with just one 4’ roost, but especially if you feed and water inside I’d suggest two 4’ roosts on the end away from the food and water (the outside wall). If you do that put a larger vent inside the building on the end away from the roosts.

I really like that building even with the height limits. Somebody is likely to be banging their head in there. I am concerned about them leveling the floor for you. I think you might want to address that.

Good luck!

 I grow a little impatient when people seem to think that they are unique in the world. Of course they are. Just like everyone else.


 I grow a little impatient when people seem to think that they are unique in the world. Of course they are. Just like everyone else.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
We live in southwest Virginia. Any farther west and we would be in Ky. We have fair winters but on occasion we do get a good bit of snow. Our summers get hot. The barn is under trees so it will have shade. We are going to put hardware cloth to close in the one wall and around the bottom all the way around and into the ground. As far as cleaning I am hoping that I can use a hoe like my uncle does. The wood on the barn has shrunk and will be used as vents as well. I was thinking about 1- 6' roost so they would have room to walk around inside (do they need that?) I am new and any advice is appreciated. Thanks
post #7 of 8
I was raised in Tennessee just west of the Cumberland Gap area near LaFollette. I’m pretty familiar with your climate.

They will walk under the roosts, that’s not a problem. I don’t think they will be that low. Even if they are really low, they will just hop on them.

If you are not sealing the barn walls you should have plenty of ventilation with even minor vents. Putting them up high on the inside of the building should be plenty for winter. I still like another fairly large one down low in the summer. Heat is a lot more dangerous to you than cold. We had chickens that would sleep in trees in the winter. Those trees were in a sheltered valley so they could get out of the worst of the wind.

We talk about keeping chickens out of drafts in the winter. That’s probably not good terminology. When people think of drafts they think of very minor air movement like you might get around a window in the house that’s not sealed really well. The kind that you have to hold a lighted candle to so you can see some movement. That’s not what we are talking about. What you need to avoid are breezes that ruffle the birds’ feathers and let the trapped heat escape. As long as they can stay out of breezes they can do really well just like the songbirds that overwinter there.

 I grow a little impatient when people seem to think that they are unique in the world. Of course they are. Just like everyone else.


 I grow a little impatient when people seem to think that they are unique in the world. Of course they are. Just like everyone else.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks :-) the back of the barn has a 5' something door that we are going to cover with hardware cloth and a smaller door for us to go in and out (all hardware cloth) so it should have a good cross breeze in the summer
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