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Anyone from AZ with coop advice?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by yoursobain, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. yoursobain

    yoursobain In the Brooder

    Nov 5, 2014
    We are trying to pick out a good design for our chicken coop and are worried about the AZ heat. We have 4 chicks and are looking for a low (below fence line) design. any one from AZ or another hot state have any tips? We will have misters set up on the side of the house the coup will be on and the chickens will have run of the back yard but we are also putting in a fence on the side yard (where the coup will be) so they can be confined to the side garden if needed. Should I be looking for coops that are more open for air circulation in the summer? we like the A frame design so far... any suggestions? we are planning to build our own or buy one from someone who builds them or possibly buying a ready made coop.
  2. Indoroowet

    Indoroowet Chirping

    Oct 9, 2014
    Nothern Utah
    A lot of ideas floating around, but here my thoughts.
    All of this from months of reading up and listening to
    *old timers* on this forum !!!
    I built my first one, and have modified it numerous times !!!

    *A* frame is easy to build,but you need to take into account,
    there are some factors you must think of.

    How many chickens do you intend to have.
    From this number you now know how much floor space,
    you need for that specific amount.
    Also keep in mind if you, later on, may want more chickens.
    Per chicken, you need *at least* 4 square feet of floor space.

    From that number, decide how high the walls will be,
    in order, for *you* to be *in there* to do maintenance.
    You can use your garage door as a template.
    Put down some tape the distance of the width of the floor.
    Then stand in the middle and put a piece of tape,
    at the point where you would like to still be comfortable.
    That will be the cross section of your *A* frame.

    Will you put the floor, *on the ground*, *off the ground* ?
    Keep in mind that you need, especially your hot area,
    a place where the chickens can rest in a shady spot.
    Chickens are more cold hardy than heat resistant.
    At temps, reaching 3 digits, they may get in trouble.

    IF you decide to have the floor OFF the ground,
    consider that area as a place for shade for your flock.
    If so, you need at least 1.5 x a grown chicken height,
    for that open area, under the floor of the coop.
    The shaded area, if not under the coop does not have to be human height.
    Just high enough for the chickens to get underneath, out of the sun.
    The higher the roof of that shade area, the bigger the roof has to be,
    because of the resulting *shady* area.
    It also needs to be well ventilated, so it may create a bit of draft,
    to cool off the chickens during the hot periods of the day.

    The coop itself, must have one (1) square foot of open ventilation space, per chicken.
    Sounds like a lot, but you can NOT skimp on that !!
    Chickens generate a lot of heat and moisture,
    and that needs to be removed from the coop area.
    They need ventilation, but NOT a drafty situation that may get their feathers all ruffled up.

    So the door needs to be on the bottom of the coop.
    Either in one side, or in the floor.
    If on one sidewall, then you can make a door that,
    either slides sideways or up and down, or flip up.
    If in the floor, you can make a retractable ladder.
    Do you plan to close the door manually each night and open in the morning ?
    If not, many solutions to make an automatic door opener.
    Some elaborate, some very simple.

    The nest boxes need to be a bit off the coop floor,
    on the opposite end of the floor opening.
    The nest boxes, one (1) per 3 to 4 chickens,
    need to be just a few inches wider than the chicken body,
    and a few inches taller than a grown chicken.
    You can even use 5 gallon buckets as a nest box.

    The perches, need to be at least 4 inches wide on the top.
    The chickens can then in case of cold weather,
    can put down their legs *flat*, and then *hunker down*,
    so that their body and feathers, will cover their feet to keep them warm.
    The perches need to be as high as possible, higher than the nest boxes,
    but also need an area that is at least 2 feet wide clear of obstructions, per chicken.

    They need a *run*, unless you let them out *free ranging*.
    The space there, need to be as large as you can afford to fence in.
    At least 8 square feet per chicken.
    That space needs to have an area where they can scratch for small particles of dirt or rocks.
    They need to have that in order to digest their food.
    They do not have teeth, so the gizzard stores the food there,
    and the little rocks *grind up* the food.
    In the run, they need an area with some *sand* or fine dirt.
    They *clean* themselves by taking dirt baths ...
    Dirt bathing, seems to be a community affair,
    so give them some space for a few together.
    You mention side yard. --- check your local ordinances
    about where exactly you can have your chickens *live* !!!

    *HEAT* in the coop ...
    There is absolutely no need to put a *heater* in your coop,
    unless you like *fried chicken* some day ...
    What they need is a draft free, well ventilated sleeping area.
    They can *stand* temperatures down to 20 below,
    I have heard, without any detrimental results !

    Water -- They need lots and lots of it, and the cooler the water, the better.
    They may go without food (the kind *you* feed them) a few days,
    but they will get into trouble if a few days without water.
    The nipple feeder types are the easiest to make and the cleanest.
    Open containers tend to get really muddy and dirty !
    Nipples come in bottom feeding or side feeding.
    Google or check this forum for examples.

    Feeder. Plenty of examples on how to make those.
    Just Google around or look on this forum.
    Provide plenty of access for all chickens to get their food.

    LBNL, when you start your chickens from little teeny, few day old ones,
    make sure you pick them up once a day, or more frequent, to get them used to you and your voice.
    You will reap the benefits of the chickens *knowing you* later on !


    Just the principle of what I mentioned above. NOT TO SCALE !
    The coop floor space is 5x5 (I have 3 chickens)



    The Battery tender is the *guts* of a non working emergency Battery
    This antenna HAS to be a Fully Automatic Car antenna
    I found them at Amazon cheaper than at the junk yard ...
    For a simple, no battery charger circuit:
    You can *add* a simple battery tender from Harbor freight and hook it up to the battery.


    I live in Utah, where the winter temps will freeze the water supply,
    The circulating pump (always on) will aerate the water and keep the water from freezing.
    The *heaters* are plugged into a *Thermocube* - on at 35F, off above 45F.
    In extreme heat, you could add some ice cubes in the cooler space ...
    If it never freezes in your area, you can add a swamp cooler float valve to the cooler. Then just keep it full all the time.

    Last edited: Nov 6, 2014
  3. yoursobain

    yoursobain In the Brooder

    Nov 5, 2014
    4 square ft per chicken? So your telling me for 4 chickens my coop needs to be 16ft by 16ft?? that seems a bit excessive for a place to sleep??
  4. Indoroowet

    Indoroowet Chirping

    Oct 9, 2014
    Nothern Utah
    4 square feet per chicken does NOT mean 4x4 !
    It means something like 2x2 !
    4 square feet per chicken - so for 4 chickens that is 16 square feet.
    4 x 4 equals 16 square feet !or if not a square area, maybe 2 x 8 = 16 square feet ?

    Hope this helps ?
  5. SunkenRoadFarms

    SunkenRoadFarms Chirping

    Sep 11, 2014
    What type of predator load do you have? An open air might work well in the heat. Something with 3 sides and a wire front. If you want yo go enclosed, I have a lean to style that works well for 6 birds. It's 5x5 so I'm just slightly below 4 sqft per bird, but one is a bantam. I also have 1 sq ft of ventilation per bird, which is really important.
  6. yoursobain

    yoursobain In the Brooder

    Nov 5, 2014
    ok few! haha I am no carpenter... thats where my husband comes in! we were planning on doing 4x5 so it looks like I will be ok on size... yay!
  7. yoursobain

    yoursobain In the Brooder

    Nov 5, 2014
    we have coyotes but as far as I know they have never made it into our yard, hawks, feral cats, and probably some others that I haven't even considered. We plan on putting wire on the bottom of the coop too. I am going to look up open air coops. sounds like it would be better for the heat.
  8. Indoroowet

    Indoroowet Chirping

    Oct 9, 2014
    Nothern Utah
    If you like them to *free range* once and while,
    you can let them into an area that is just a bunch of posts,
    and then fence it in with the netting they sell to throw over trees.

    Even if you NEVER expect flying predators,
    you may want to think about the birds not being able
    to fly over your fences.
    The only solution there is to clip one of their wings.
    yes (!), you need to only clip one wing.

    What would be lowest temperature you would ever see in winter ?
  9. yoursobain

    yoursobain In the Brooder

    Nov 5, 2014
    We plan on having them free range in the entire backyard :) our back yard is very bird friendly, we only have a couple cactus with thorns (one is a barrel the other a false saguaro) so they would be easy to bird proof with a little chicken wire at the bottom the rest is agave, aloe, spanish swords, smoke bushes, a few giant sage bushes, and a big tree. the ground is loose dirt and nice 6 ft fences. no annuals, delicate plants or planting beds at this time. my only worry will be keeping them off the patio furniture (which is covered) worst case I will be suing moveable posts and chicken wire around the patio.

    I will be for sure clipping one wing :) I am actually a pet sitter and I have a client who has me clip their chickens after every molt because they are not comfortable doing it themselves so I am very familiar with clipping the one wing of each.

    the lowest the temp has gotten I believe is 30 degrees. I have been looking at the open air coups and I like what I am seeing we can make wood fittings for winter proofing if needed and for monsoon season.

    do ground squirrels bother chickens?
  10. SunkenRoadFarms

    SunkenRoadFarms Chirping

    Sep 11, 2014
    Mine actually chase them away when they are out of the run. I've never had squirrels try to get in the run or coops either, even with feeders in the run.

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