1st time designing a coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by redcorn, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. redcorn

    redcorn New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Feb 23, 2009
    Cambridge, Ontario
    I am currently in the process of designing my first chicken coop from the old milkhouse on our farm. The building is 15x11 feet and is insulated...
    Planning on putting a well in at the barn for other livestock as well so I have fresh water on tap. Hoping to get about 18 chickens soon - Is this a good number?
     
  2. SussexInSeattle

    SussexInSeattle Chillin' With My Peeps

    448
    1
    136
    Oct 6, 2008
    Washington
    I have been reading that 4 sq. ft per chicken. If they have a chicken yard or better yet, free range, the dimensions should be great for 18 I think. I think your coop might even house 30 without problem BUT, beware the massive amount of poo each and every body will produce for you day in and day out. I have 9 and I am astonished at the little poop machines. If you have a good chunk of land and can make a nice big compost heap, then no problem there either, it is just quite a bit of poo to haul out each time you clean.

    PS your profile doesn't list location? If you are where there is massive snow, think about the girls being locked in there for so many days when the weather is terrible.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2009
  3. HappyHatch'en

    HappyHatch'en Chillin' With My Peeps

    498
    7
    131
    Jan 31, 2009
    GEORGIA
    Ok....my math tells me you can put 37 birds in a 10 x 15 = 150 sq.ft. divided by 4....I wish I had the building....make sure it has good ventilation....and yes I can imagine how much waste 40 birds can make....but it does sound that you own a farm.
    BYC Forum....where everyone starts out the race being an EGG!
    HappyHatch'en
     
  4. redcorn

    redcorn New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Feb 23, 2009
    Cambridge, Ontario
    yes, we are on a farm here so a manure pile won't be a problem.. I chose 18 so that I'd be sure and get a dozen eggs/day.. I want them to be able to go outside into a penned area but I'm afraid of the red-tailed hawks that roam our area. I think that I will have to put up netting or fence material overhead so they are protected from above.. (Also surrounded with Neighbours dogs!) Does Aviation netting work ok or should I get something sturdier for the top?
     
  5. HappyHatch'en

    HappyHatch'en Chillin' With My Peeps

    498
    7
    131
    Jan 31, 2009
    GEORGIA
    Depends on your budget....anything is better than nothing...you could get a BIG Turkey, he would perhaps protect the flock, if nothing else, being big, he would be the target, not the chickens...LOL
    HappyHatch'en
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,143
    3,357
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I suggest looking up patandchickens ventilation article. You can find the link by using the author search feature. She also lives in Canada.

    I also suggest doing a search on the deep litter method. It looks like it would be appropriate for your situation.

    I'd think 18 hens is a pretty good number to shoot for a dozen eggs a day. I'm imagine you know they will lay less in the cold or heat and they greatly reduce laying when the daylight gets short unless you provide lighting.

    Good luck and enjoy.
     
  7. Western Chick

    Western Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    191
    2
    131
    Apr 17, 2008
    Western MN
    Ditto on the ventilation issue. If this is a milkhouse that was recently used as such, they tend to be pretty tightly sealed. You might consider putting a ventilation fan in a window or under the eave- depending on how it's built.

    My coop is built in an old milkhouse- really old:

    [​IMG]

    It's not insulated at all and has a full-size door opening, a window as well as that big opening under the eave. I close up the windows over the winter but it still gets plenty of air flow through the door to the run area. I just prop a piece of plywood over that to keep the wind from blowing in.
     
  8. redcorn

    redcorn New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Feb 23, 2009
    Cambridge, Ontario
    What about using roof vents? Would there be enough natural updraft in the room?
     
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    87
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    You will need extra-excellent ventilation if this is a block milkhouse and/or has a cement floor. (If it is wooden, ignore the following s you will only need normal ventilation [​IMG]) Block walls and slab floors become a major condensation generator during some parts of the year, e.g. the part we are just about to go into. They get real cold during wintertime, then when nice warm spring air blows in, they strip all its moisture out. You may need to keep the milkhouse tightly CLOSED during really warm humid early-spring days; but even so, it *will* get drippy in there so you WILL need the ability to ventilate the heck out of it once temperatures (and thus humidities) drop back down.

    Screening the windows with hardwarecloth so you can open 'em wide will help, but you will need more ventilation than that. Are there gable-end vents that could be enlarged? Could you add soffit vents? It really depends on the structure of the particular building.

    I would generally aim for about 1 sq ft per chicken of total vent area in a normal coop (although you won't always need that much, it is a lot easier to build it in before getting chickens than to discover too late that you need to whack some holes in things); if this is a block and/or slab building, especially if it is shielded from breezes by the rest of the barn, I would suggest making significantly more ventilation available, as you probably WILL sometimes need it.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  10. redcorn

    redcorn New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Feb 23, 2009
    Cambridge, Ontario
    Thanks for the ventilation advise! The floor is concrete, the outside walls are boards and insulation with chipboard on the interior. Not very pretty but I figure the chickens don't mind as long as they stay comfortable, right?
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by