Any suggestions for our new coop/run design?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by battletross, Jan 16, 2015.

  1. battletross

    battletross New Egg

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    Jan 16, 2015
    Hi all. We have our first set of 25 heavy breed chicks coming in March from Murray McMurray and are busy constructing this coop design. It's being built inside of an old cow barn with a poured cement floor and solid walls. The ground floor of the barn is about 30x70 in total and a bit drafty, so we're currently rebuilding the doors and replacing some boards to keep it warmer. The perimeter of the inside coop area has 4' walls with chicken wire from the top of the wall to the ceiling joists. We plan to put down a nice layer of straw throughout the inside as well as some pine shavings for better absorption.

    The idea behind the enclosed roosting area is to give them a smaller sleeping hut to keep warm in. We're in Michigan and regularly see single digits during the winter. They'll have free access in an out of the roosting box, as the entire inside coop area is predator "proof". Is the ~460 square foot of indoor area enough space for 25 adult birds to lounge during the day until we get the outside run built and secured? We plan to fence in about 2 acres behind the house eventually and allow them to free range, but for now they'll have the 30x15 area outside. Lots of nasty critters runnin around here looking for an easy meal.

    Any other thoughts/concerns with this layout would be appreciated. We've spent countless hours researching and preparing for our first flock, but its a bit daunting having never done this before!

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  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    I like your idea of the "roosting box." Patandchickens (see links in y sig line) suggests something similar for very cold areas.

    I would think they will tolerate the 450 sf pretty well, even though it is indoors. But I see no windows in that area, and they really should have natural light. The simplest "window" is a hold covered with hardware cloth and having a wooden shutter you can close in a blizzard. I would leave it open 24/7except in rough weather, expecially if it's on the non-weather side, probably either south or east. A top opening shutter gives it some rain protection as well, with a little thought to the design.

    Your design doesn't show ventilation -- which may be quite adequate, of course. Again, there's a good link in my sig line, if you havent already seen it.
    The article is well known here.

    Good luck!
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Is the barn itself impenetrable to predators?
    If not, you might want to use 1/2" hardware cloth instead of the chicken wire you mention.

    Chicken wire will keep chickens in but not much else out except other large birds...raccoon's will laugh and chew right thru it as an appetizer.

    Remember: Ventilation is much more important than 'holding heat'...moving air is air is good as long as it not moving enough to literally ruffle feathers.

    Your roost box should keep any stronger drafts off the birds at rest.
    I have large pieces of cardboard on the 'ceiling' of my 'coop in a shed' to deter drafts(and snow) blowing on the roost area in winter.

    Would love to see pics of the barn.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2015
  4. battletross

    battletross New Egg

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    Thanks, Judy! I didn't put the windows of the barn/coop in the sketch (those boxes are the doors), but there are 3 on the west side of the barn, 1 on the north, and i'll be building one into the side of the roosting box wall as well. I like the idea of the hardware cloth window and shutter, that would work really well. The barn is 100+ years old and is really drafty, so ventilation won't be an issue. I'm just plugging up the big gaps/holes to keep critters out and fixing up the doors to combat strong winds.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2015
  5. battletross

    battletross New Egg

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    The cow barn is connected to an older grainery barn on the south end via the ground floor and hay loft, so there are way too many entry points to consider it predator proof. I'm doing my best to plug all the holes I can find, but I will likely be returning the chicken wire for hardware cloth or welded wire with small holes. Thanks for the tip!

    I'll get some pics of the setup as soon as I can.
     
  6. DaveOmak

    DaveOmak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    You will need about 36' of 2x4" roost for the heavy breeds, wide side up.... 10" wide walking planks to get to them.... space cleats about 3" on the planks...
    I would add nesting boxes off of the outside run with interior barn access for egg colletion... Skip the indoor coop area... have feeders and waters in the outdoor run accessible from outside the run.... Cover the outdoor run with metal roofing... hardware cloth for the sides.... run metal roofing 2' up the sides.... predators can't see in makes for a big deal....
    Chickens don't need an indoor play area.... makes for a TON of works for you... Under the roosts have a "pull out" poop board with about 1" of "Sweet PDZ" covering it....

    If they can roost in the dry, with good air circulation and free from drafts.... have access to the outdoors with food and water... grit and oyster shells, and lay eggs... AND you can access feed and water from outside the run, and clean the poop board without having to go in it.... you are in good shape....


    Roost and access.. landscape fabric to cut down on the draft, but still breathe...

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    Coop access and lower coop air vents... and grit and egg shells and oyster shells...
    that stuff should be accessible from the outside... the water is...

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    Storage and nesting boxes....

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    Coop access and another lower air vent...
    Metal on the lower 2' to keep predators out... wire under the pavers....
    and an electric fence above the metal siding and at the bottom of the wire screen....

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    Soffit vents all around the coop...

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    You should have at least 2 insulated, heated waterers... with 2 down pipes and 2-3 nipples on each down pipe so they can freely water... and in the event one water source fails.... drop an aquarium heater down each down pipe in the winter.. I use a 50 watt heater in the bottom of the down pipe.... You can add frozen water jugs to the insulated cooler in the summer for cooling off the water supply... chickens will drink about a 1 1/2 pints of water per day... 25 chickens is 4+ gallons... I would use 2 each, 10 gallon ice chests with 2 down pipes per chest for the water supply.... you can auto fill in the warm months but hauling water in the winter will be needed.....

    bulkhead fitting screwed and silicone to the bottom of the cooler.... Only because the bottom wasn't uniform thickness and the bulkhead fitting wouldn't seal....

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    With heated water, horizontal nipples do not freeze.... drill and tap for the nipples... 1/8" NPT.. makes for a more secure
    nipple install.... you do not want the nipples to be knocked out by the chickens...

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    Water system... The lid is foam covered in plastic... freezing weather froze the original lid
    in place and I couldn't remove it....
    A 2 1/2" feeder.... I recommend 4 each, 6" feeder with a 45 then a 90 ell last... a 45 to shift the pipe to the outside then you can add another 45 and run more pipe vertical for more feed storage.... That will give the weak, timid chickens a place to feed away from the bullies... same for the water....

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    My run during construction.. 12x20 for 8 chickens..
    Roof and sides.....

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    Man door and 8' wide big access door for cleaning...

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    The above recommendations come from what I would do, now that I know my mistakes... FWIW...

    Stuff I have done.... this summer I have to make changes to make life easier....
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/876922/omak-chicken-coop-by-dave

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/915975/electrifying-my-coop-with-an-electric-fencer-how-i-did-it

    I studied coop builds for a year and still screwed up... Sooooo, now I have to re-build and eliminate my mistakes....

    Good luck and have fun.......

    Dave
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. battletross

    battletross New Egg

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    Much appreciated, Dave! We're trying to make the best use of our available space by giving them a larger coop area inside the barn. We don't have other livestock, so it would be empty otherwise. Will certainly be referencing this post as we build in the feed/watering systems. We found some old ramps from a chicken coop in our wood graveyard, so we'll be installing those to get them up to the roosting poles. This is really helpful, and I appreciate you taking the time to make that post.
     

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