A-frame chicken coop modification.

Dec 2, 2020
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I have 11 7 week old chicks. BCMs and Swedish Flower. Largest is now 1.5lbs. Smallest is about .7lbs, the flower runt.

I built the Ana white A frame design and put floors in. I built it about 20% larger.

https://www.ana-white.com/woodworking-projects/frame-chicken-coop-tractor

I will be moving this coop up to my 80 acre property in the next few weeks.

My plan is to lower the floor to about 1 1/2 ft off the ground. Open on short side with chicken door and hardware cloth covering the rest. My math gives me 35-40 sq feet. I plant to build at least a 64 sq feet run. 8x8 with maybe 6.5 feet height. I am 6’3” without shoes.

Initially I want to just put the coup in the run, butted up against a corner or centered on one wall. The ultimate plan by March or April is to buy/build a shed 8x8 or 8x10 and build a run off it/Connect it to the run built for the Aframe.

Questions:

1. Obviously an a frame narrows at the top. Would 11 young birds be ok in a 35sq foot Aframe?

2. The coop would cover 1/2 of the run space if just placed inside the run, when looking at recommended space,would the area underneath the floor of the Aframe count?
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
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Jul 3, 2016
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Let me see if I have this correct: 35 sq ft is the size at the floor of the A-frame? What's the sq footage of the enclosed area up top? That's the actual coop size, not the run space under it.

For young birds 35 sq ft would be ok, however they could definitely use more space as they grow - 4 sq ft per bird is recommended min. Also you need 12" per bird on the roost, not sure how long your roost is or how many you have + 1 sq ft of ventilation per bird in the coop, which is impossible given the design.

Your planned run is definitely too small for the number of birds - 10 sq ft is the minimum and that's often still too small to avoid behavioral issues. I'd recommend 15-20 sq ft per bird in run, unless you are planning to free range the majority of time.
 

hayley3

Crowing
14 Years
Aug 16, 2007
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Southern Indiana
I have 11 7 week old chicks. BCMs and Swedish Flower. Largest is now 1.5lbs. Smallest is about .7lbs, the flower runt.

I built the Ana white A frame design and put floors in. I built it about 20% larger.

https://www.ana-white.com/woodworking-projects/frame-chicken-coop-tractor

I will be moving this coop up to my 80 acre property in the next few weeks.

My plan is to lower the floor to about 1 1/2 ft off the ground. Open on short side with chicken door and hardware cloth covering the rest. My math gives me 35-40 sq feet. I plant to build at least a 64 sq feet run. 8x8 with maybe 6.5 feet height. I am 6’3” without shoes.

Initially I want to just put the coup in the run, butted up against a corner or centered on one wall. The ultimate plan by March or April is to buy/build a shed 8x8 or 8x10 and build a run off it/Connect it to the run built for the Aframe.

Questions:

1. Obviously an a frame narrows at the top. Would 11 young birds be ok in a 35sq foot Aframe?

2. The coop would cover 1/2 of the run space if just placed inside the run, when looking at recommended space,would the area underneath the floor of the Aframe count?
No, it is too small...Ana says it's for 2 to 4 chickens.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
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Nov 27, 2012
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I built the Ana white A frame design and put floors in. I built it about 20% larger.
Pics, please, with dimensions?
Guessing that coop is going to get way to small very quickly.
Might depend in your climate.

Aframes are tough for full grown birds, upper space is tight, hard to protect from weather and ventilate adequately.

Welcome to BYC! @MildlyOffensiveChicken
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Climate, and time of year, is almost always a factor.
Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
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1608473379287.png
 

paintedChix

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 15, 2013
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Welcome to BYC!!

Curious... when you say you made it 20% larger, did you mean just the base - adding 8 sq ft? Or did you also mean the top is taller (or wider?) too, making the inside upper (coop area) dimensions larger as well?

I have chicken tractors that are "smaller" than Ana White's. The base is the same (5x8'= 40 sq ft), but my sides are made from CP that are 5" shorter, so it isn't as tall or as wide at any given point of the "A Frame". Based on Coop dimensions of 4', at the base/floor/ground, I can have 10 chickens in that space. Based on recommended Run dimensions, I can have 4 chickens. I don't actually have an upper, enclosed coop area, just a covered section with a roost. I currently have 1 roost in them, but could do 2 (better for 6 chickens). I'm not sure how I would do a roost to accommodate 11 chickens... Also, I have different breeds in different tractors. 4 - 55 Flowery hen chickens take less space (they are smaller!) than 4 - French Marans chickens. It makes a difference, IMO.

Mine is not considered a coop, but a tractor. It is moved, at the least, every 2 days. I have found that that works fine for 4 chickens. When I boost it up to 6, it needs to be moved to a new spot daily (in lighter ground cover or over the winter - 2-3x daily) or they completely demolish the ground where the tractor is - which is not what I'm aiming for.

An 8x8 stationary run is not large enough for 11 mature, large fowl chickens - other than for emergency situations (such as when I have combined a lot of chickens into that size space for better protection and easier care during a severe hurricane ie- Matthew in 2016 and Florence in 2018). It didn't work for long - the chickens were NOT happy in such a small space all together. Attacks, feather picking, over breeding happened (lost several birds that survived the storm itself) as we made repairs to areas in the next 4 days before getting them separated again.

If you have your A-Frame inside of that 8x8 run, then it takes a little space away for the footprint. Probably not much. But an 8x8 run - at 10' sq per chicken only allows for 6.4 chickens and I have found that that is pretty accurate. It only works for us when we free range (to have more chickens in that space)...

Where are you located? How much rain/ice/snow will you get over the winter? How long is your winter? What breed of chickens do you have - all one breed or different breeds? These all play into how well an A-Frame tractor or "coop" works. IF you are moving your tractor daily, then 11 YOUNG chickens may work for a while, but I truly don't see it lasting for the full winter. Even here in NC, that amount of space wouldn't work for that many chickens for the rest of this winter (through March?).

In the end, it is up to you as to what will work. I've certainly seen some different run/tractor ideas that work (& put quite a few crazy ones of my own together, LOL).

Here are a couple of pics of our chicken tractors at different stages of build and time of year. Again, mine are shorter than the original Ana White model.

190721_194126.jpg 191007_185726.jpg 20200123_173836.jpg 20200321_161703t.jpg 20200410_184000.jpg 20200410_185023.jpg

This last pic shows what I mean by "demolished" ground. In some instances we wanted that (utilized for garden) but in other areas, we learned the hard way that they really needed to be moved sooner... That is our front yard. And yes, it accomplished what I wanted x 100!! I was gone for a month from August thru September 2020. Our SIL couldn't keep up w/ the resultant mowing or move the tractors thru the explosion of grass. The small raised bed to the left? We had 2 rose plants and a Bradford Pear tree we "had removed"... I now know that Bradford Pears "sucker" or grow back quickly from a "coppiced" point (we thought the stump was dead - how wrong we were!) The now MANY Bradford Pears are about 8' tall - some trunks almost 2" in diameter. All from chickens tearing up the area & fertilizing around the bed while in those tractors.

20200321_161703.jpg
 

U_Stormcrow

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Jun 7, 2020
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as others have said, too small for your intended flock.

The problem with tractors is that, in order to move them w/o heavy equipment, they have to be light - which means small. Increasing the size slightly reduces the frequency at which you need to move them, but increases the weight substantially. The A-frame design itself is the least efficient use of floor space and materials you could possibly choose. There is a geometric proof of that, actually, its one of the fundamentals of Euclidean geometry. If you run the thought experiment in "reverse", adding to the number of sides (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8...) you are going down the path of calculus.

End result? A Hoop Coop is about the most efficient build you can make for enclosed area relative to materials used, which also means its the lightest structure you can make at any given load. I don't actually use hoop coops myself - no need for them, as my birds free range, and my flock size is such that a fenced, fixed run is practical. But if I had a smaller flock, and a need for tractor style flock maintenance, some form of hoop coop would be my go to.

Recommend you pause your plans where you are at, and do some more research before moving forward. Keeping in mind your climate, budget, and available resources for moving your tractors periodically. Considering also that multiple hoop coop tractors might be built over time, such that one can be placed in front of another, creating modular runs of whatever length desired.

and if you have a tractor or other suitable farm equip such that weight is a much lesser concern, you might consider framing in a way that has a vertical cattle panel at each side, effectively raising the whole thing by about 4' inside - that would allow you to comfortably walk within it, and add only three cattle panels (16' x 50") to the design, plus associated framing. Your footprint would be 16' x 8', just about right for the number of birds considered.
 

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