1 thing I wish I knew when I was starting out...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Tamena, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. Tamena

    Tamena Out Of The Brooder

    fill in the blank please...

    what one thing do you wish you had/did differently/learned by trial and error with your first coop if you had to do it all again?

    I've been reading and reading and researching and reading and honestly it's very overwhelming.
    We're getting ready to build our first chicken house here and I'd love to hear what ya'll would have changed with your first time [​IMG]

    things we've definitely decided to include:
    cross ventilation
    easy clean out access in the form of trays in the bottom of the house (we breed and show guinea pigs, I have pans from large cages I use to use for them)
    high enough off the ground to make care easier - I'm 6'2" and the idea of bending way over to clean. collect eggs and care for chickens doesn't sound like fun!
    high enough off the ground to give the gang some place extra to hang out
    a chicken door that can be closed from outside the pen
    (the pen will be a 10x10x6 dog run with a roof with them getting yard time pretty much every day out and about)

    ideas? suggestions? bits of wisdom you wish you'd had?
    thanks gang!!!
    2 people like this.
  2. memechick

    memechick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2012
    Concord, NH
    Bigger is better! I bought a coop from the feed store that stated was the right size for 4 - 6 chickens ....... not so. As my 4 chickens matured we had to expand the size of the coop. The coop was originally 4 x 6 ...... now it is 6 x 8 and I wouldn't put more than 4 birds in there now. Especially when they are cooped up inside for extended periods of time .... they need room to move around and not be on top of each other. That was my first mistake. I've made plenty. LOL.
    1 person likes this.
  3. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    I wish I had of known how dangerous using improper extension cords were.. or that hay is highly flammable..
  4. Tamena

    Tamena Out Of The Brooder

    oh no! I am so very sorry =(
    I've know people who lost their entire barns of rabbits and guinea pigs because of electrical problems. I can't imagine how horrible that would be.
  5. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    It was horrible and still is. I just want to pass it along so anyone knew thinks twice before they run heat lamps and extension cords.

    I was one of those people "Oh it will never happen to me". Well it did.. and I want to stop it from happening to others.

    Also, always build bigger. Chicken math always at least doubles.
    1 person likes this.
  6. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    I made a compact coop. I don't regret the floor area and have more birds per sqft of coop space than almost anyone on BYC. Happy birds as they only roost in the coop, use run ever day. I wish I'd made the coop walls higher. It's on stilts in a 10X10 kennel like yours but still needs another foot of head room to clean it out easier or retrieve an egg when they decide not to use the nesting boxes.

    I enjoy the kennel and think you will too. We just have netting over the top of it to keep hawks out and chickens in. The nicest part about them is you can order sections to enlarge it. I'll be making another coop this year and splitting the run. Plan on adding to it two 5ft panels, one with door, then just using plastic fencing to split the run.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2013
  7. Mavrk

    Mavrk Chillin' With My Peeps

    Smaller wire to keep the mice out.
  8. MamaKat

    MamaKat Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 25, 2012
    Bobcats can jump 12 feet. We blamed every other predator in the woods for the loss of our birds over the years, until we saw the tracks in the snow. There's very little information on bobcats and cougars as poultry predators, just a mention if that. Our run was 6-10 feet high with no top on it and we had an automatic door that opened late morning and closed before dusk. We've lost over 40 birds over the years to what we now think are bobcats/cougars. We've redesigned the space and added a top, wish we had a top on it from the beginning!
  9. chickenmomma16

    chickenmomma16 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 16, 2012
    Buckley, Washington
    Build as big of a run/coop as you can afford. You will not regret this! :old

    Also, easy to clean nesting boxes, roosts higher then nesting boxes, and slanted roof on nest boxes to prevent chickens (in my case the turkeys) from sleeping on top of them.

    I fell in love with my poop board + PDZ under my roosts it saves the shavings and there is no smell in my coop. I just scoop it like cat litter.
  10. Jakoda

    Jakoda Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2012
    Old Lyme CT
    I agree BIGGER IS BETTER! My chicken inside area is 12 x 4, in part of my 12 x 20 dutch barn, storm sandy flattened most of it, so am rebuilding in the spring and inside area will be atleast 12 x 8..

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