About to build my coop, a few thoughts

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Ether, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. Ether

    Ether Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm about to start building my coop. I like the look of the Playhouse style coops, and am definitely looking to do a coop with the actual henhouse being raised up with run space underneath it. I'll be making a trip to our local building material re-use center to see what I can get that way before I start buying new materials.

    A few things I'm wondering about these styles of coops though. In many of them I'm seeing the roosting branch/rod resting atop the nesting box. Wouldn't this encourage roosting ON the nesting box, and don't I want to discourage that? I'm wondering how best to place the roosts vs. nesting boxes and such inside the coop.

    Do you have windows in your coop walls? If so, do you just shutter them at nighttime to keep the light out? I have streetlights in my area so it's never actually totally dark in my yard at night.

    I'm looking at doing a 4'x4' coop with an attached run of 8-10'. Should I also have roosting spots in the run?

    I'm also wondering if I should have small feeders in the actual coop- smaller wall-mounted ones (I'm thinking along the lines of wall mounted rabbit feeders maybe? That's what we had for the chickens I had growing up...).

    I will have two hens to begin with, eventually I will have three possibly a max of four hens as that's all we are allowed (5 pet max, and we have a housecat). I will be getting the hens from a local organic egg farmer, these are slightly older than a started pullet not quite yet into their laying prime. We're getting one Rhode Island Red and one Black Sex Link. We hope in the future to get a Wyandotte as well, as we particularly love that breed.

    Thanks so much! We need to get cracking on this coop ASAP and I appreciate the help!

    EDITED TO ADD: I'm wondering too if I should even have the nest boxes inside the floor plan of the 4'x4' coop, or if I should take the little windowbox planter idea that some playhouse coops have, but put next boxes THERE, with a lift-up-able roof on them for egg removal and cleaning? While I know I will only have a few chickens I want to make the coop as hospitable as possible for them, in case of bad weather or an overslept morning when they have to stay indoors more than normal.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2009
  2. ranman106

    ranman106 New Egg

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    I'm glad you posted this question because I'm doing the same as you. I'm looking forward to the replies.[​IMG]
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Some people (including me) use the top of the nest box (with suitable overhang) as a droppings board, which works just fine assuming you want a droppings board. (I like it -- ten seconds of cleaning each morning and BAM that's about 50% of the daily poo production out the door just like that).

    If you're not set up to have a droppings board over the nestboxes, it is usual to separate them, but not necessarily essential as long as the roost is significantly higher and the nestbox roof is sloped so nobody sits on it.

    Do you have windows in your coop walls? If so, do you just shutter them at nighttime to keep the light out? I have streetlights in my area so it's never actually totally dark in my yard at night.

    No, you certainly don't need shutters or anything, it is *fine* for there to be dim light in the coop at night. You probalby don't want a bright security light shining right in the window all night long but normal 'city' type lighting is fine.

    Should I also have roosting spots in the run?

    You can if you want. Chickens don't use them hugely much in most cases, since really they are *ground-dwelling* birds except at bedtime. But they will get a little entertainment value out of them if you really want them there. However, make sure they do not come so close to the run fencing that a daytime raccoon could reach through and grab a handful of chicken to remove.

    I'm also wondering if I should have small feeders in the actual coop- smaller wall-mounted ones (I'm thinking along the lines of wall mounted rabbit feeders maybe? That's what we had for the chickens I had growing up...).

    If you want. There are lots of ways to deal with feeders, that is certainly one of them, and what's best depends entirely on your individual circumstances.

    I will have two hens to begin with, eventually I will have three possibly a max of four hens as that's all we are allowed (5 pet max, and we have a housecat).

    Remember there are likely to be Social Frictions (possibly involving bloodshed) when introducing a new chicken, especially if the original two have been together for a good long while before it happens. Chickens can be very 'mean' to each other.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     
  4. Ether

    Ether Out Of The Brooder

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    Yeah, I know adding a new bird later in the game will mean they have to re-establish pecking order... I just don't think it would be responsible pet ownership of us to take on three or four right off the bat right now. Do they have as much liklihood of bloodshed if the new bird was reared by one of the existing hens? Since we're interested in a particular breed for our eventual third, I was considering getting fert. eggs and letting one of our girls rear them. I'd have to time it right, but it was a thought.

    Glad to know that streetlights won't be too much of an issue. I'll probably still have shutters for the really blustery winter nights, but I'm glad that I can make those a removable panel or something since I won't be using them too often.
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Any particular reason? I mean, it is not like an extra chicken or two is any more work. If you *could* get them all at once, they'd really be much better off.

    Do they have as much liklihood of bloodshed if the new bird was reared by one of the existing hens? Since we're interested in a particular breed for our eventual third, I was considering getting fert. eggs and letting one of our girls rear them. I'd have to time it right, but it was a thought.

    It's kind of a long shot, as it depends on a long string of possibilities. If you have someone close by with fertile Wyandotte eggs you could pick up anytime you wanted, you could certainly try it IF one of the hens happened to go broody.

    But you will have pretty much the same social issues, since you will presumably separate the non-brooding hen til the chick is not just hatched but old enough to be able to stand up for itself... and then on reintroduction you will be in the same place as if you were bringing in a new hen.

    Not saying you can't do it, just that I don't think it's quite the way you're thinking of [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     
  6. hyzenthlay

    hyzenthlay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ether--just wanted to say hi! [​IMG] I'm in Pittsburgh too, and we're getting our first 3 chicks soon (2 on Monday, 1 a week later)! We also have a dog and two angora rabbits that live in the house--I'm not too worried about the 5 pet rule--I've been told it's never enforced unless you're dealing with an animal collector or something like that, or someone who's keeping large number of animals and becoming a nuisance. Still, I understand if you want to be better safe than sorry. We're building room enough for 5 hens, and if everything goes well with the first 3, we'll consider adding 1 or 2 more sometime down the road (and yes, we're concerned about the pecking order thing, too, but we figure we'll cross that bridge when we get to it).

    We're going to be doing the raised coop over the run thing too. We haven't built it yet, but we've drawn up our plans--the coop will be 4'x5', and the run witll be 8'x5'. We're going to have the nest boxes inside the coop, and probably use the top of them as an additional roost and droppings board for the hens--BUT, we're going to put a higher roost with a droppings board under it on the other side of the coop, and hope that they choose to mostly hang out there instead. I'm planning to attach a PVC feeder to one of the walls of the coop to preserve a little floor space, and ensure that I have an easy way to feed them if they need to be cooped up in the cold. I also want to insulate the coop a little, but we haven't figured out that aspect entirely yet. I'm not sure if we'll have roosts in the run--I figured I'd wait and see if they seemed interested in that. We will have street lights and maybe porch lights shining in through our coop windows a bit, too, but I think it will still be pretty dark in there.

    Good luck!!
     
  7. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    I think that playhouse design works much better with the housing portion as 4'x4' instead of the plans 2'x4'. If you enlarge it like that, it won't be so crowded inside.
     
  8. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

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    [​IMG]

    My shed is right next to the street lights and never had a problem with the chickens sleeping. Its like a night light to them and never had an increase of egg production when they dont need light during the winter months.

    My coop is a Royal Outdoor vinyl shed, Yardmate, 4 x 7 and 8 x 20 foot run. I can easily fit in 16 hens with two perches, a cage of young chicks, wall feeder and waterer. I have rubber horse mats down for the floor.

    Good luck on your coop!
     
  9. Ether

    Ether Out Of The Brooder

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    I've been looking at pictures and such of coops- I'd love to see inside shots of playhouse coop styled coops, if anyone has some. Particularly how you have the inside set up (feed, water, nestbox, etc.)
     
  10. Ether

    Ether Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 13, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    also- what size is appropriate for a pop door for RIRs and BSLs?
     

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