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Advice setting up new coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by dyorto, Apr 23, 2016.

  1. dyorto

    dyorto Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My new coop was just delivered. It's a 6x8 with 5 nesting boxes on one side. I currently have 6 - 5 week old chicks and plan to expand to 12 over the next few years. I would love some advice on the best things to do to make sure that my coop setup inside will be sufficient and good for a growing flock.
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    I would like to build a roost board with a poop box underneath. I was thinking of putting that along the back wall which is 6'. Will that be enough room for 12 birds in the future?
     
  2. beautifulpirate

    beautifulpirate Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You'll get a lot of varied answers from people on roost space but you'll likely need 8-12 inches of roost space per bird. So for 12 birds, to be safe, I would do two at that length. You also want your roost bars about a foot away from the parallel wall. And you want them higher than the tops of your nesting boxes as you don't want your birds sleeping in the boxes (they poop when the sleep as you know which means the eggs will get poopy too, gross).

    Is that window all you have for ventilation? What is your weather like? You really want a lot of ventilation, preferably higher than their roost bars. Chickens put off a lot of ammonia and they create a lot of moisture. It seems counter productive but it makes perfect sense if you think about it. If you were in freezing temps in the wild, you could find shelter and probably survive. If you get drenched in those same temps, without getting dry, you probably wouldn't make it. Chickens can survive a lot ofcold but if you let the moisture inhibit them, they can get rostbite and lose toes. Ventilation carries the warm moist air out. And breathing in their own ammonia waste can be detrimental to their respiratory health.

    It's equally important to have adequate ventilation in the summer if you have hot summers, for the obvious reasons.
     
  3. dyorto

    dyorto Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, there are 2 Windows but so far that's it. I live in Michigan so we do get pretty cold in the winter. I thought I could add a vent up at the top by the peak of the roof. If I do 2 roost bars, should they be a foot apart as well?
     
  4. beautifulpirate

    beautifulpirate Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes you'll want space between two roosts. Some people use a ladder style setup with roosts but the birds may squabble a bit over the higher roost bar. You can put them both at an equal level though.

    If you install a ridge vent, you'll need to either leave one of the windows open or put in a corresponding input vent. The ridge vent works by letting out warm (and therefore moist) air by method of rising. But without some sort of input to replace the old air, it remains stagnant. Is the sofft space open? I can't tell from the pics. If so, soffit vents are ideal with ridge vents. But gable end vents can help too.
     
  5. mobius

    mobius Chillin' With My Peeps

    I covered my nest boxes until chickies reach point of lay, so they don't start thinking they are for sleeping! See lower left of the pic. Here are my roosts with 4x6 joist hangers that I finally figured out after a lot of fiddling. The roosts are removable for easier cleaning...important to me...you can as easily add 2x4 for roosts, flat side up...seems to be the best way especially in cold climate...if you want to know anything about whitewashing, important for preventing lice and mites, just ask, as NOW would be the time to do that..

    I can't add anything much to what @beautifulpirate said, she is pretty much right on about roosts and vents, super important! I will be adding ventilation this summer...last coop project! Or so I say now [​IMG]

    What is your predator and run situation? That is pretty important in planning, IMHO...

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    Last edited: Apr 23, 2016
  6. beautifulpirate

    beautifulpirate Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I too covered my nest boxes until they are older. And agree that slats to keep bedding in are a good idea. We are adding some trim with grooves to the door frames so that we can slide the boards in and out for easier clean up or to keep bedding in when just doing routine checks. Any openings in the coop which are an inch or larger need to be covered by 1/2" (or smaller) hardware cloth. This includes ridge vents. Snakes, weasels, mice and rats can get in through very small openings. They may not bother full grown chickens but they can hurt little chicks and can definitely make a mess of your eggs. Chicken wire and window screening won't do much to keep predators out so don't consider making a trade for the hwc. Hwc can be pricey but it is worth it.
     
  7. dyorto

    dyorto Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I saw your thread on white washing and I intend to do that for sure! I have just a large fenced in area for a run, it's not covered. Not a lot of daytime predators. The coop I plan to surround with hardware cloth buried around the base.
     
  8. mobius

    mobius Chillin' With My Peeps

    I live by hardware cloth because I want NO losses. With the exception of window (also use 1/2 inch hardware cloth but attach from outside), hardware cloth should be 1/2 inch and secured from the inside of the coop. Most folks use screws and washers to be extra secure...I did use nail-in staples....any other screening is useless IMHO.

    One other thing...I put in shelving for storage of things like grit, eggshells, oyster shell, ACV etc right in my run, (top of second pic) but you may add it to the coop...mine is nice and high and the birds don't bother it...and a little hanging area for coop items like flashlight, cleaning equipment...found this very handy...

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    Last edited: Apr 23, 2016
  9. dyorto

    dyorto Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I love the shelf and hanging idea!
     
  10. mobius

    mobius Chillin' With My Peeps

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