a few questions from a newbie with an unfinished coop


7 Years
May 30, 2012
Hi Folks. My first post. Our first chickens and we are all so excited! I have learned a great deal on this site. We have 8, 1 week-old chicks and are working to complete the coop. I have a few questions.

1) We were thinking we would build a covered run with fiberglass or metal corrugated roof so the girls can easily get some fresh air when it snows. But now I'm concerned that this would cut down on their sun exposure and thus affecting their egg production. Do they need direct sun? The sides, of course, would be hardware cloth. And if there is no snow on the ground they would have access to a larger run. We are just trying to cut down on shoveling! The easier run to build would be hardware cloth on the top and sides. And we could easily make it to encompass two sides of the coop to give them lots of space. We will be using temporary fencing to let them out to a much larger space when we are at home. Anyone ever use a removable roof? I need to figure this out before we place the posts because if the structure will have a roof, we need to build it to be much stronger.


2) We have a slide up type of door made of plexiglass mounted to the outside of the coop which will be operated by a rope fed through eyes and secured by a cleat next to the exterior door. I didn't really want it on the outside but that's how my wonderful brother built it. My question is do I need to be worried about a determined predator somehow lifting the plexiglass? It's quite lightweight and a human can easily push on it and get it to lift up. Of course the chicken door will be inside the run with buried hardward cloth, but I still want to ask about others experiences.

3) We are utilizing a poop board that is roughly 40 inches off the ground. Should I expect to need a ramp for my girls to get up to roost and safely get down? Can it be pretty steep, say 45 or 50 degrees?

I appreciate the help. I'll post some pics of the coop as it is in a little while.

1) I think it's hours of daylight more than direct sun. Why hardware cloth? It's expensive and overkill (IMO). Cover windows & things with it but get fencing to use as a fence. I think a removable roof would be a nuisance but not sure what your situation is. We have a large A-frame structure that's been "temporarily" covered with plastic tarps for 2-3 years now. It's nice to have a dry space for feed and for them to retreat to, not that they have the sense to do it.

2) If the run is really secure then the coop door is OK but then you don't really need the door at all except to shut them out of one of the spaces while you do something in it. I think I'd add a coon-proof latch, though.

3) We have a ladder and they use it more than I thought they would. Their manners are poor and sometimes chickens block the roost above the ladder causing others to roost on the ladder itself. The next one will be wider. If space is tight you want to be sure there is room to jump off the roost without tangling in the ramp or ladder on the way down. A ladder will collect a lot of mess but a ramp would be worse.

Your birds will get sunlight from the sides of the run even with a solid roof. My run is covered and it gets several hours of direct sun each day during the morning and evenings. A solid roof is great for shade and helps keep some rain and snow out!

My coop door is always open since it is inside a secure run. If it is not in the run then add weight or a front bottom lip.

Ramps or ladders are great up to the roost bar. The birds use them and it prevents a lot of flapping which causes dust! Hope this helps.

Thanks for the responses. I guess I won't worry about the plexiglass door since it will be in a secure run. I plan to use hardware cloth for the run since we'd like to to be a neat and trimmed out extension of the coop similar to the popular Wichita cabin-type coop. Of course it needs to be buried well since we live in an area with many types of predators like fishers, coyotes, hawks, foxes. The coop is incorporated into our landscape not too far from the house so aesthetics are important. I really do what a roof over part of the run with a secure, larger section attached. Regarding the ramp, I guess we'll see what works!

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom