This is a design I have been tweaking for a year or so, with intentions of building the final version this year in time to raise chicks before winter. I'd like to get feedback on the general design and specifics of the internal layout.
Here is a list of the general goals and parameters I had in mind when working on this design:
- A stand alone structure to house the birds, their feed, and misc supplies for their care.
- Interior divisions for: adult birds; brood chambers, or breeding pens; and feed/supplies.
- Exterior divisions for: adult birds; brood chamber, or breeding pen; and garden/forage/outdoor-isolation pens.
- A sturdy base and exterior frame capable of supporting the structure through one or more moves, with moderately easy to modify non-permanent interior divisions and elements.
- Maximize run space, and provide sun/rain shelter for the birds by raising the structure on 'stilts' in the style of small coops or tractors. (also facilitates easier transport of non-permanent structure by permitting a trailer to be backed under it)
- Provide space for a number of birds sufficient to produce 2 large fowl for consumption each week through hen-reared clutches. Eggs for consumption, and bedding-manure for garden compost, are merely byproducts of the primary chicken-producing goal.
Now the pictures:
The first six images are focusing on the internal layout (most of the building exterior is removed from the image). Floor level dimensions of the structure are 10'*20, and the height of the gap between the floor joists and the ground is 3'. The posts supporting the base will extend into the ground below the frostline, but below grade structure and dimensions are not depicted.
^#1. View down from the left front.
^#2. View down from the left.
^#3. View down from the left rear.
These first three images show the internal design from a "left" exterior view (relative to the human entry). The human entry is on the right, and the first chamber is the feed and supply room; it measures roughly 4'*10', and has the doors centrally aligned; one window, in the door, will be in the supply area. A couple of small grain bins are pictured, positioned to the right when entering the door. Modular shelving of some type will be to the left when coming in the door.
The second and central chamber is for the adult birds. It has a floor space of ~100sqft, and a total area of ~160sqft including the roosts. For the target number of 21 birds (18 hens and 3 roosters) it is approximately 4.8sqft/bird floorspace, and 7.6sqft total space, with linear roosting space of 1.4'/bird (1.8'/bird if the roost on the front of the nest boxes is included). The bird door is a ramp, centrally located, leading to the sheltered area beneath the structure. The interior feeder and waterer are depicted in the center of the far side of the first three images; the waterer will have a sink type basin under it to minimize drippage infiltration of the bedding and flooring. The nest boxes are hung from the wall dividing the supply room from the adult bird chamber, and will have a solid backing that may also be a set of doors, allowing eggs to be collected from the supply room. The remainder of the wall dividing the supply room from the birds will most likely be covered in hardware cloth or poultry netting (not counting the bottom 1'-1.5", which will be solid to prevent bedding mess from leaking into the supply room). The adult ramp may be detached, and a small trailer/cart or wheelbarrow may be placed under the coop, allowing bedding to be swept out and directly into the conveyance. 6 additional windows, two on each exterior wall, will be spaced around the adult chamber.
On the left side of the first three images, underneath the roosting area for the adult birds, are two smaller chambers meant primarily for broody hens to raise clutches in, though they may also serve the purposes of breeding pens or isolation pens for rowdy or injured birds. Each brood chamber is ~30sqft, at a target of 16 chicks per brood that is 1.5sqft per bird (with the mother hen counting as 4 bird units (20 total bird units)). Each brood chamber has a door/ramp that leads to a run separated from the main one, though the design currently only allows for one ramp to be lowered at a time, due to the length necessary to reach the ground at a 30 degree angle, and the left-right alignment of the floor joists. The door of the brood chamber is designed so as to allow the top half to be opened separately from opening the lower half, to accommodate access to their feeder/waterer without letting them loose into the adult bird chamber (similarly, the adult ramp may be lifted/closed during that time, or when i want to allow the chicks to explore the adult chamber, but not their run).
^#4. View down from the right front.
^#5. View up from the right.
^#6. View down from the right rear.
These three images show the layout from a "right" exterior view. Image #5 is of note for showing the relative position of the bird entrances/ramps, as well as an exterior waterer and feeder hung beneath the structure from the floor joists in the main run area (optional during accommodating weather).
^#7. A cutout view of the interior lining, showing the relative proportion of internal elements to the walls and ceiling, as well as relative alignment of the primary set of bird windows. Additionally I may use a transparent ridge cap (like this) on the roofing, to provide both ventilation and illumination. I am considering insulation options for the walls, ceiling, and possibly the underside of the floor (fiberglass or rigid polystyrene sheeting primarily).
^#8. A top down view from the front exterior, showing the structure exterior and run structure. A set of movable steps to the human entry is not depicted, nor are any of the human gates into the run or between sections thereof, which there will be several of.
^#9. A depiction of the usage plan for the run. The grey grid represents the area beneath the coop structure, 10'*20'. Black lines represent poultry netting fencing, surrounding and dividing the sections of the run, 30'*30' total area. The white areas are the main run for the adult birds, with an area of 560sqft, giving 26.6sqft/bird (21bu). The green areas represent parts of the main run that will be seasonally isolated, and filled with chicken friendly garden/forage plant growth, each having an area of 100sqft, each seasonally raising the total run space per bird to 31.4sqft (21bu). The yellow area represents the brood/isolation run, with an area of 140sqft, providing the chicks with 7sqft/bird of run space (20 bird units, counting 4bu for the hen).
Occasionally, the brood run will be opened to the main run (I expect the brood run to see relatively low wear) when not in use by chicks or isolated birds, the area available to the flock will then be 800sqft (only one green section would not be available to the flock during its grow/fallow phase), giving 38sqft/bird (21bu, representing the breeding adult population). During a period when there is a clutch of chicks growing out, and running with the adult birds (only one green section is not available to the combined flock), density would be 24.3sqft and linear roosting space would be 1.15'/bird (33bu total, 21bu for the adults, and 12bu for the young (0.75bu/bird for 16 young)). Things get a bit tight as a clutch matures, but return to a more spacious level as many of the young roosters and some pullets/hens are culled.
Hopefully I was able to divide the images and description up enough to make it manageable to read. Thanks for your feedback.
Edited by Dragonid - 1/29/13 at 9:12pm