Barrel Coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by 12th, Nov 28, 2009.

  1. 12th

    12th New Egg

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    Nov 28, 2009
    Well, my story is, my mother wants chickens, and after doing all the research into them and all, I want them even more. We don't want that many, she wants maybe 3-4, and I would like more like 4-5. So 4 is probably the ideal number we're looking at. We are planning on just having them free range in the backyard. The only predators we really need to worry about are coyotes, and that's fine if we keep the chickens shut in at night.

    It's southern california, but fairly temperate. Doesn't get too hot nor too cold. And I was neck deep in plans for coop construction when it occured to me. We have an old barrel just sitting around that we don't know what to do with.

    The barrel is an old wooden one, about 2 feet wide and about a meter tall. My thoughts were to cut off one end of the barrel and turn it into a door (the bindings are appropriately spaced for it.) then cut the chicken's door into that, and have a window for ventalation in the top and the bottom of the two faces. The feeder I was thinking of doing somewhat like those pvc feeders you see people make, only with the main body of it sticking outside the coop to save space. The waterer one of those little automatic dog waterers, in a box jutting out the side with just the water dish inside the coop.

    The nesting box I was thinking of just sitting on the opposite side of the barrel from the water dish, for symmetry. But that's just a stylistic thing I'm not too certain about.

    The barrel will obviously be on its side, and propped up on stilts with a ramp going down.

    And I will be painting it to waterproof and weatherproof any gaps that might exist.


    My two main concerns are:

    1) The floor will be rounded. Even with woodshavings covering the floor, would this be too hard on the chicken's feet? I have some laminate I could put down as a floor, but would could remove some of my already scarce height.

    2) it's a barrel, so it's only about as tall as it is wide. In other words, not terribly. Would that be too claustrophobic for the chickens to use their perch(s)? Which I would probably do either one across the length, or two across the width. Probably about right at the middle level, though I'm tempted to do lower.

    I haven't had chickens since I was like... 6, and I don't recall the practical application of any of this too well. I've read in one place that chickens need a minimum of 1 square foot each in the coop though, and somewhere else a minimum of 2-3 square feet. I figure this should stick me in the 3-4 chickens range fairly nicely. (main reason I want maybe one more is that I want to order from mypetchicken.com, and they have minimum order sizes depending on location.)

    It's not too big a deal if it wont work, but it would be so much cuter than a typical coop I think.

    I have some diagrams, but I want to refine them. So I'll post them perhaps after I (hopefully) get some very nice constructive feedback. I'd love to use this barrel for SOMETHING besides just ornamentation.

    Thanks!
     
  2. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Cute but would serve better for a nesting box for maybe 2 or 3 birds to share, depending on how it is cut. To small for a coop unless for a few canaries. [​IMG]
     
  3. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    BTW the standard is 4 sq ft/bird in coop min, and 10 sq ft/bird for run, min. I have 5 1/2 sq ft/bird in coop and about 80 sq ft/bird for run. The more space they have the happier, healthier and less likely to fight they are. [​IMG]
     
  4. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I actually have an old wooden barrel layed out for my chickens in a fenced area outside of the their run (the area where they pretend they're free-ranging...lol), for times they feel threatened. The only thing they've used it for so far has been to peck around in the staw I have in there. I've seen 2 of them in it at the same time. My girls are not yet 12 weeks old, so they're pretty small. Having seen them in it, I can't imagine even two of them full grown being able to use that as their "housing." As you mentioned, the height restriction alone (due to being round) is a big hindrance. A few birds would literally be piled on top on one another. I'm trying to picture a roost, and can't. It seems that if you placed it high enough so that a bird could walk underneath it (to get to food or water perhaps), then it would be difficult for the birds to get onto (not enough head clearance). And if you lower it so that there's head clearance, then it would impede any walking around to get to necessities. Maybe 2-3 banties would do okay??? I love the look of my barrel (very rustic), so I can see why the idea appeals to you. But I just can't see it working as a coop for standard sized chickens...
     
  5. 12th

    12th New Egg

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    Nov 28, 2009
    can I imagine the dimensions are pretty similar for yours teach? 2 ft diameter 3 ft length?

    The way I would be doing the perches that I was thinking would be to put them low, towards the back, then the amenities they would need access to between the perches and the door. (perhaps with one or two nesting boxes between the perches.

    The set up we had in mind is pretty much that exact "pretend free-range" thing you mentioned, only with our garden/yard rather than some separately fenced in area. They probably wouldn't be actually in the coop much except at night to roost, the rest of the time roaming pretty much wherever they want to. (or if I do make a run, it will of course be a fairly large one. I've got a 6x20 area I can set aside for it if the need arises.)

    In theory anyways. I suppose the theory is a bit too far fetched. Perhaps I will make one anyways in supplement to my standard coop just because it'll be pretty.


    EDIT: Just played with my diagram a little bit. [​IMG] not completely to scale, but it seems that yes, even with all that I wouldn't really be able to fit more than two in. Not without making them have to cross at least one perch to reach either their food or water at least.

    Oh well. Thank you for your time. (Although if anyone else has some bright insights...)

    EDIT2: And yes, I was thinking of getting bantams for this.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2009
  6. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you have two or three barrels, one could be for feed and maybe two others for roosting. Again, in warm weather, the birds would be very hot trying to roost in them. Likely banties will seek the nearest tree or if confined overhead via netting, will opt to perch on the top of the barrels overnight. I have a neighbor who leaves them out 24-7, roosters and all. He has to hunt all over for eggs and he has steady losses to preds too, but seems to maintain a flock of some size. His wife cannot get him to build a coop to secure them. They poop everywhere too, including the porches and sidewalks. She offered me some of her hens and I declined. Don't want that situation here.
     
  7. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Great thought, but it will be too small.
     

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