Are there any "rules' for the interior layout?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by flyin-lowe, Jan 28, 2016.

  1. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 24, 2016
    I am planning to start building my first coop. I am thinking about 4x8 with roof tall enough to walk around in. I know I will need ventilation but is there anything I need to know about how I decide to layout the coop. My initial plan is to have nesting boxes across the back that I can access from the outside. I know I will need the nesting boxes, roosts/perches, ventilation, access doors. I just don't want to screw up and learn after the fact that I should not have windows near a nest box, or that perches need to be higher then the vents, or anything that they might not like. I am assuming that they will adapt to about any layout as long as they have the basics, correct me if that assumption is wrong.

    Right now my plan is to have nesting across the back (8 foot wide wall) and then on one end have an access door i can walk in. Then on the other end have a door I can open and reach in if ever needed and to help cleaning. Probably a couple windows along the back above the nests and a small window on each end. Not sure if I need to position the perches inside in any certain area in relation to the nest boxes, windows, etc. or just make sure they have some place to roost.

    I am thinking the interior should be laid out in a manner that is convenient for me.
  2. Paganrose

    Paganrose Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2010
    Albany,, Wisconsin
    Some basics would be to make sure the roosts are higher than the nest boxes- otherwise chickens will roost and poo in the boxes.
    Make sure you have your roots at least 18" from the wall, unless you like poo covered walls. also at least 18" from a ceiling for air circulation.
    if you have stacked roosts make sure they are at least 12" above and 12" over from the next roost.
    make sure you have some landing space for birds to fly up or down off the roosts.
    Make sure you don't have cross vents/drafts blowing directly on the chickens if you live in area with cold winters.
    Hens prefer darker areas to lay.

    Make sure you can reach every part to clean.
    Keep in mind predators and weather when designing along with space requirements (generally 4 sq. ft inside per bird)
    Coon proof latches!
  3. HSMomma3

    HSMomma3 Out Of The Brooder

    May 4, 2012
    Central Foothills, NC
    One thing we learned the hard way is to think ahead of time about where you will place the feeder and waterer... We had it all laid out right (so we thought) but once we were moving the birds out from the brooder to the coop, we started having trouble with floor space. Also, in my humble opinion, a big plus is to paint the interior white as has been mentioned on other threads here. With our first coop, we decided not to just for convenience, but when we had trouble with mites I would have given anything to be able to SEE those little guys against a white wash paint job. Also, Paganrose is SO right about making sure they have room to fly up and come down from the roosts! (without landing on a feeder ha!) ;)

    Good luck with your coop!
  4. potato chip

    potato chip lunch-sharer

    Is there any reason that they have to be at the back, rather than at the front? Every time you check them, that's another 4 feet to get to them. The closer the better, IMO.
  5. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 24, 2016
    What I called the front will be the run and covered. The "back" will not be covered by HC so I can just walk up to it open the lid and check it.
  6. potato chip

    potato chip lunch-sharer

    ah, gotcha, thanks. Do you have space restrictions? Any reason you can't orientate it "sideways" so that the run is on the "side" and the nest boxes at the "front"?
  7. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 24, 2016
    No size restrictions. The thought in my brain (dangerous at times) was that with this size I could make my run and even 8 foot wide. I am looking at plans and trying to see what is more eye appealing. I'm not set in stone on anything. Curious your thoughts and if there is a reason that having the run on the side would be better.
  8. ejcrist

    ejcrist Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 16, 2015
    Desert Hills, AZ
    I just finished a 8'X8'X7'H coop a couple weeks ago and I'm working on the run now. I gave it a lot of thought beforehand and definitely wanted a walk-in style like you're doing, for reason being the easier it is to clean the more likely I'll want to get out there and do it, and plus I've had three back surgeries and ain't getting any younger, so I think a walk-in is best for those that have the funds, time to build it, and space. Another thing I thought to do was put linoleum down on the floor so I can clean the fertilizer off without it embedding in the plywood floor. And like HSMomma3 said, paint the interior white (gloss outdoor paint). The only other thing that was important in my case was to put the nest boxes on the north side only because it gets exceptionally hot during the summer where we're at in AZ and I want to give the eggs every chance not to get cooked by accident if the gals lay while I'm at work. Other than that and positioning the roosts as mentioned above I think the rest is whichever way suits you.
  9. potato chip

    potato chip lunch-sharer

    Just so you could put the nest boxes at the front, instead of having to put them at the back.

    Just consider what will be the easiest and most direct access. Mark the whole coop and run out on the ground, where the doors will be, where the nest boxes will be, then walk to it from your house, and walk around it to where the nest boxes are to go. That's the trip you'll be doing every day, sometimes more than once. What seems ok once to suss it out might be more of a pain in the neck when done daily. Where's your compost heap? Stick your cleaning door where there's a direct route to the compost heap. As ejcrist said, also consider orientation for the sun.

    Just give some thought as to how it will be when it's "up". My nest box hatch is on the side. It's not a major pain in the neck, but I do have to walk around the run to get to it. If I had had room under my big tree to put it sideways, I would have done that. Straight path to the nest box hatch, no walking around to get to it.

    There's nothing to say that the run has to be linear. It can go out to one side and around the back as well (L-shaped).
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    You're on the right track to take a lot of time planning the coop and run.
    Where you put your nests and run can depend on how you plan to do maintenance and the site of your coop/run/yard, etc.

    Here's my 'rules' on height.
    There's a 'stack up' aspect to coop design:
    Bottom of pop door should be about 8" above floor so bedding doesn't get dragged out of coop.
    Nice to have bottom of nests about 18" above bedding to allow use of that floor space under them(doesn't count if your nests are mounted on outside of coop).
    Roosts should be about 12" higher than nests so birds won't roost(sleep) in nests and poop in them.
    Upper venting should be as high as possible above roosts so no strong drafts hit roosts in winter...and hot/moist air and ammonia can rise and exit coop.

    ETA: Oh, and look at the articles on Space and Ventilation linked in my signature....and My Coop page linked under my avatar.
    Look at as many coop designs and read as many threads on this site as you can, you'll learn a lot-good and bad.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2016

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