Originally Posted by nfowler76
Well for our first attempt at building ha chicken coop I think we did pretty ok. It is about 97% finished, we have some trim pieces E to put up and chicken wire to put over the vent openings but overall I am very pleased how everything turned out!!!
Great looking build! Welcome to BYC! Being in Jax, FL, LOTS of hot weather ventilation will help immensely. You might want to put wire behind that top opening area so you can just leave it open most of the year. Just a couple of suggestions/recommendations;
The first deals with the roosts; they are way too small a diameter to be comfortable for the birds... even bantams. Chickens don't "perch" like typical song birds. They stay pretty much "flat footed", so for a roost, you'd be far better with a 3"+ diameter round fence rail/ log/ tree limb, or a 2x4 with the 4" side up. They can then stand on it and curl their toes over the edge if they want. The top roost is too close to the wall and the birds will have trouble on it as they like to be able to turn around. They will also be pooping all over the wall. Finally, they are too close together vertically. The birds on the upper roosts are going to be pooping all over the birds on the lower roosts. I would recommend only doing 2 roosts... nail/screw a 2x4 on edge, 4" side up at the very back of the 2nd stair risers, and another at the very front of the lower risers. That should give adequate vertical clearance, and more than adequate roosting space for the number of birds that will fit in that coop/run set up.
The second deals with the use of "chicken wire"... It's great for keeping chickens/rabbits in or out of a particular area, but is pretty much completely useless as a defense against chicken/rabbit predators... Raccoons will reach through (large ones can tear through) it to grab a bird. Foxes can rip through it. And probably the worst culprit and number 1 killer of chickens and rabbits... dogs; yours, the neighbor's, and strays, can tear through that wire in less than a minute, and most times they don't just snatch a bird and leave, they will slaughter every bird they can grab. I would highly recommend you cover the existing chicken wire with something more substantial... either 2"x4" welded wire fencing (won't stop reach through, but will stop/delay tear through) or most would recommend 1/2" hardware cloth (expensive, we all know). I see that you have the entire coop resting on what appears to be concrete pavers, but some animals are diggers and will tunnel right under that; possums, skunks, foxes, weasels/ermine/mink. It would be a good idea to use some of the hardware cloth/2x4" welded wire fencing to lay down an "apron" extending a foot or 2 out from the bottom to prevent diggers (mink/ermine/weasels can go through a 2x4" hole easily). You can then cover the apron with dirt to let grass grow through it so you can mow around the coop if you wish.
Finally, I see what appears to be milk crates, which I assume you plan to use as nest boxes. They'll work great, but a couple things to look out for; If you place them on the floor, they will eat up floor space, which the birds will want during bad weather when they don't want to leave the coop. Birds WILL rest/roost on top of them and since they have holes, they will poop right down into the box below or bird in the box below, and that's a mess you really don't want to deal with. Since the walls aren't solid, the birds feet might get uncomfortable walking in them, which could lead to them not using them, so placing a sheet of thick plastic (like that under a desk roller chair on carpet) or thin plywood/particle board scrap will fix that. You could also cover the top with the same to prevent poop from falling down through them. Or ideally, build a sloped roof above them to keep the birds off the tops entirely.
Great job so far! You should share some pics of your birds once you get them "installed"
Edit to add Sylvester and I must have been typing at the same time. I'm just slower or more verbose... maybe both?
Edited by Latestarter - 4/10/16 at 3:49pm