Are pallet coops safe?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by FDaniels, Feb 26, 2014.

  1. FDaniels

    FDaniels Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm still trying to figure out the most affordable & safe coop/run to build. I came across a post about pallet coops & runs but are they safe? We live in a sort of "hole" in the woods where we have coyotes, foxes, raccoons, feral cats, stray dogs, etc. Would building a pallet coop/run offer basically the same protection as using standard lumber or would it be safer to go ahead and spend the money for actual lumber? It would be for 5 girl sex links. And what's the best & most affordable way to insulate a coop? Also, we want to make the coop big enough for us to walk into so if we do it this way do we need external nesting boxes or would simple milk crates lined along the wall be ok?

    Thanks!!
     
  2. Primo

    Primo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As far as construction safety, they would be as safe against predators as any type of lumber depending upon your construction ability. The real safety concern appears to be with the wood itself. If you do a Google search on pallet safety, you will find there are questions raised with the chemicals that can be found in the wood. You will have to make your own decision on this. For me it is not a big deal, for you it might be.
    Depending on where you live you may not need insulation, chickens can handle extremely cold weather as long as the wind/drafts are not blowing directly on them.
    I have read of safety issues with milk crates. Chickens getting their legs caught in them. I see people use 5 gallon buckets turned on their sides

    hope this helps
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2014
  3. FDaniels

    FDaniels Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Definitely helps; especially about the milk crates. We get free pallets all the time at work but a lot of them are wilted & knotted pretty bad so that's what's been worrying me. I've built an 800 sq ft cat enclosure & a 900 sq ft dog pen so I'm confident in my building :D but the way the pallets look does concern me. I'm also still trying to figure out how big to build their coop & run. We want to be able to walk into the coop to clean it & collect eggs but also big enough that they feel like they have some personal space so we're thinking of making the coop about 6'Wx8'Lx6'H. Does this sound ok for 5 girls? As far as the run we are kind of restricted by how much room we have available for it but does a run that's about 100' sound ok or too small since they're going to be in there 24/7? (it's too dangerous where we live to let them free range) I'm worried that would be too small & if it is would something along the lines of about 200 to 300 sq ft be better? Thanks so much for helping!!
     
  4. Mehjr10

    Mehjr10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We built ours out of pallets for most of the walls. A few 2x4 for the framing of windows or doors... The pallets I used if the board was broken of looked rough don't use it.. and none of them had issues with chemicals. Check out my home page for some pics. Working on my next build now. In my Opinion a wise and economical way to go. If you need any further information let me know.


    Mine is 8x8x8, and I have about 40 birds in it. With a run that is 10x40. But I let mine out as often as I can.. Yours should do well for that amount.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2014
  5. FDaniels

    FDaniels Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Awesome pictures! Do you have any problems with predators breaking through/under the pallet coop? Do you think straw bedding would be ok for the coop floor & run floor?
     
  6. Primo

    Primo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A 48 square foot coop is plenty for five. Then general rule of thumb thrown about is 4sq ft per bird. So 12 would be acceptable as well. Build as big as you can. You will probably want more down the road. A 100 sq foot run is good as well. If you have that many predators around you will need to make sure they can't dig in. There are several options for this, but my favorite is to lay down about 2' of some type of fencing flat on the ground all the way around the perimeter, an "apron" if you will. As smart as predators are, they just don't get they have to go back a couple feet to start digging. I had some old 6' chain link that I cut into 2' strips with bolt cutters
     
  7. FDaniels

    FDaniels Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had read about the apron so we decided that we would do that as well as bury wire straight down about a foot. We're going to use hardware cloth as well since it's stronger than chicken wire--or at least stronger than the wire sold in our town. And after looking around some more I think we're going to try the pallet idea. I'm thinking as long as I make sure everything is as strong as possible & fenced in then it should be safe for them. Also, what about heating? We live in Alabama & have hot humid summers but our winters fluctuate between 40ish highs & lows in the 20s & teens. This is one of the coldest spells we've ever had because of the arctic weather but it can still get pretty cold here even in a normal winter. Do you think we would need to put a heater in the coop? I read that a flat panel radiator heater is the safest. But where we have to build the coop isn't near an outlet. The only outside outlet we have is on the back of the house & the coop/run is being built in the front. Do you think as long as we insulated the coop with straw (stuffed into the pallet gaps & paneled inside & out that it would keep them warm enough with our temps? And is there a cheap way to make a feeder & waterer? For the baby chicks as well as when they get older? I'm trying to think of anything I can do for free that would work. Thanks!!
     
  8. Primo

    Primo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You do not need a heater. There are members here who live in Alaska and Canada that do not heat their coops. The heat is your bigger enemy in the summer. Chickens are essentially wearing a down coat year round. So make sure the coop is well ventilated. (this means screened openings of some sort)
     
  9. Primo

    Primo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can look in my gallery at the coup I built. It is screened all the way around just underneath the roof. It stays the same temp inside as outside. Even though I am in texas, it has gone down to 12 degrees a couple times this year. No problem for the chickens. For the feeders and such, look up some of the "diy pvc feeder" threads
     
  10. FDaniels

    FDaniels Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is so good to know & one less expense. We had already planned to put a roof over the run for a full amount of shade & the coop will of course have a roof. We're also going to cut a couple of openings in the coop & make hardware cloth windows as well as add some hardware cloth ventilation holes up near the roof. Do you think this would be enough? Another thing we've been wondering is if we'd need to lock the chickens up at night/when we're gone to work or if they'd be ok coming & going as they pleased day & night since they'll be in a completely enclosed run? Oh and what type of door latches do you recommend that predators can't open?
     

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