We are in the process of planning our first coop. I have read the introductory articles and I have a few questions.
We recently got an old steel A frame swing set from a neighbor, it is home made from the 50's and very solid. Each of the poles is 10 feet long, so it is rather tall. I was planning on using scrap steel to create a roof over a little less than half, with a platform halfway up the height. That way, there will be shade under the inside part for the hot summer. I am wondering, would it be better to install windows in this set up or to leave the side facing the outside part of the coop completely open? We live in the desert, so I imagine this will allow for the most ventilation and make it easier for me to clean. I would have the roof over hang the inner platform so that when it rains hopefully the rain won't get in, but we have sideways rain at times which makes me think that maybe a wall would be better?
I have seen mentioned a few times an article about poop platforms, but I am not sure where to find it if someone could point me in the right direction.
I was going to build a nesting box that extends outside the coop, I am not exactly sure how that will work but I am sure my husband will figure it out :)
I am also going to have a ramp going up to the platform, and two roosting bars in the outside section with two smaller going horizontally on the inside part. I will use hardware cloth around the bottom, is it safe to use chicken wire around the top half to save money?
For extra ventilation I was considering having the side facing outside of the entire coop be a door over wire, that way it can either be open or closed.
What would be the best way to prevent predators from digging under? Pavers? Buried wire? I was thinking of surrounding it with a few feet of pavers as a porch like look and to keep diggers out.
Thank you for any and all advice!! I will try to attach a picture of my drawing, it is rough and a little scribbley as I have been thinking while I draw :)