Advice with my first coop (I like "tried & true")

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by tumbles, Aug 8, 2013.

  1. tumbles

    tumbles Out Of The Brooder

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    What are some MUST have's or some DO NOT's for a coop that you have learned through trial & error??

    I bought a childs playhouse & plan to turn it in to my first coop. It looks like a miniature house with a peaked, shingled roof (my pic won't load!! GRR) It is a 6foot square & 6foot floor to peak. It has 2 windows (no glass just openings about 12 in X 10in), a little covered porch with railings & a split front door right in the middle.
    THe front of the coop with the porch will be INside the run. The back half & half of the sides will not.
    We live in Indiana and have 12 2.5 month old chicks who sleep in the garage in their temporary coop.

    I have read all we really need is 4 nest boxes?
    Sand on the floor?
    Vents? Where ? How many? Wont they get cold?
    Insulate the coop or not?
    raise the coop off the ground or not?
    how big should roost bars really be? and high high? I have seen roost bars that look like a ladder with different heights... do the chickens like this or would they like one long bar for everyone?
    can i put rope lights in the coop? will they eat/peck at it?
    I want to add flower boxes when the weather is nice with greenery/flowers chickens like to eat.

    Ill try to get my pics to load...

    Thanks for any help :) Theres just so much information, it gets confusing!!
     
  2. Whittni

    Whittni Overrun With Chickens

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    Q: I have read all we really need is 4 nest boxes?
    A: The usual rule of thumb is 1 nest box for every 4 hens. You mentioned you had 12, so four boxes are plenty but you can give them as many as you'd like. They will likely only pick a couple boxes to lay in.

    Q: Sand on the floor?
    A: Great idea, the chicken manure is easily scooped up. I personally use shavings and they do the same job. Some people will do a "poop board" under the roosts with sand and shavings on the floor of the coop.

    Q: Vents? Where ? How many? Wont they get cold?
    A: Vents are for air flow, basically have an open window or two on your coop to allow fumes from manure to escape. Chickens are fine in cold weather as long as they aren't being directly blown on by wind. The playhouse probably has windows on it, so re-enforce them and add hard wire on the new frame.

    Q:Insulate the coop or not?
    A: Insulate.

    Q: Raise the coop off the ground or not?
    A: Off the ground, the coop can provide additional shade if you don't have a lot of plants or trees in or around the run. A raised coop also allows you to clean it out more easily and not bend over. If you think the coop is too heavy to raise, leave it on the ground.

    Q: How big should roost bars really be? and high high? What about bars at different heights?
    A: 2 in by 2 in work well but a 2in by 4in also works. Avoid round roost bars. Chickens will fight for a higher roosting spot, so an even roost works best.

    Q: Can I put rope lights in the coop? Will the chickens eat/peck at it?
    A: Sure, keep them out of the reach of chickens and flame-able or items that can melt to be safe. They would work best on the very top of the inside of your coop. Follow all electrical safety tips and tricks.

    I want to add flower boxes when the weather is nice with greenery/flowers chickens like to eat.
    A: It'll look great. Some people just buy fake flowers to have them year round along side their chicken food.


    Have a great day and good luck with your flock.
    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. bubbles45

    bubbles45 New Egg

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    Aug 5, 2013
    Whittni ..... That also helped me out alot
     
  4. bubbles45

    bubbles45 New Egg

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    Aug 5, 2013
    Thanks :)
     
  5. loveourbirds

    loveourbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    in my signature, there is a set of plans for a coop. it was designed for 8-10 large fowl chickens. click on the "looking for plans similar to" link

    whittni pretty well answered your questions, but we are here if you need any assistance.
     
  6. loveourbirds

    loveourbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    waverly ohio
    and to both of you [​IMG]
     
  7. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Whittni pretty much hit it all. After re-building my coop a few times, I found sand in the outdoor run to be the best upgrade. Eliminates the mud when it rains. Skip the chicken wire and use 1/2" hardware wire for any exterior wall designed to keep predators out. I double walled my wire walls with 1/2" hardware wire on the inside layer and 2"x4" field fence on the outside layer. I've had a bobcat try and get in, and he bent the outside fence a bit, but did not touch the inside barrier. I am also use electric netting to protect the yard the chickens free range in.
     

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