beginner coop builder and designer

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Stuala, Feb 28, 2016.

  1. Stuala

    Stuala New Egg

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    Feb 28, 2016
    Hi everyone! I am new to the whole chicken thing as well as building things. I have a project for school that requires me to raise an animal. I would like to build a coop as we have a lot of wood laying around the yard to use and it would be a good contribution to my assignment. We have a reasonably large area that I can fence off but I am unsure about how to design the nesting boxes and coop itself. If anyone has some ideas or helpful tips to do this, that would be great! Thanks for your help [​IMG]

    Here is a plan I thought of, the first designs are the coop and the last one is of the yard :
    [​IMG]

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  2. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great project and great learning experience. Don't know who put you up to it, but I like it.

    You have some pretty good ideas so far. I have attached something similar that has circulated on the Internet, but needs a few modifications to be better.

    [​IMG]

    Note.....you only need one nest box for each four birds, so a big mistake folks make when designing these is wasting precious space with extra nest boxes that won't get used. You will also only need one roost perch. In the diagram, use only the middle one and keep it a foot from the back wall, halfway up. About the height of that middle chicken is where you want it.

    Rather than putting the pop door in the middle you could put the pop door off to the side in one corner, and a single next box to the side of it. Where the nest boxes are shown, it would be better to put either an opening window with screen, or if you live in area where it does not get much below freezing temps, just leave the opening open and cover it with hardware cloth. Use the same opening.

    The ladders I see on these always look cute, but you don't need them. Better to have a small flat perch in front of the windows for the birds to hop up on to enter. For some reason, birds are expected to fly up to roosts and next boxes, but must have a ladder to climb up to the pop window?

    Slope the roof as shown, but do not use a metal roof. Moisture will condense on the metal and drip down on the birds. I'd suggest plywood roof, with roof shingles. If this is really temp, just paint your plywood roof. Same with the floor. If this is a short term project that you don't intend to keep you could just use bare wood. Better is to paint the floor.....exterior latex paint.....high gloss. If you want to keep it around and use it.......you probably will.......put some vinyl floor down and paint the walls and ceiling bright white. This will make it easier to keep clean and make it bright inside. Make sure your pop door is high enough the litter you put down on this floor will not flow out when you open the door, or clog the opening so it won't close.

    Raising the coop as shown leaves a place for food and water and a bit of shade, which the birds will need.

    Perhaps I've given you too many ideas (cheating?), but you still have to finish the design and actually build it. Great learning experience.
     
  3. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Second thought......what is the time limit on this school project. If just a few weeks, and you don't intend to keep this project going once it is completed, then maybe you don't need a coop of this type? If you start with baby chicks, you will be several months down the road before you get your first egg. If this is short term, you could raise some chicks to eat. In that case, all you would need is to bang together about 4 or 5 wood pallets and cover them with a plastic tarp. Put that inside your pen and it might work out fine.
     
  4. Stuala

    Stuala New Egg

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    Feb 28, 2016
    Thank you so much! this has given me a lot of incite into how to go around building the coop. To make my project the best it can be I need to have a variable. I was thinking I could compare the eggs of a chicken feeding on scraps to that of a chicken eating pellets or seed so I would like to get the chickens around laying age or just before so I can bond with them before I begin testing and so that they trust me more. My family wants to keep the chickens because the eggs will hopefully save us some money so it would be a long term project.Who knows? we may even buy more after if it is a good investment! I am not sure when this project starts and we haven't actually been given an assignment grid but my teacher has spoken to the class and says that we should get started asap so that we aren't rushing at the end because it will be quite a long process, some kids are even growing plants!
    The only chicken I have had was one that came into our yard and so I looked after it. I let it walk around during the day in case it walked back to its home but it never did, although it would often go to the neighbors house. At night it slept in a little green house that we locked it up in and it lay an egg for us daily. I don't know what breed it was but I was red/golden so it was something like the golden comets. It was a very friendly chicken and it would let me carry it. After looking after it for around a month the chicken decided to go into my dogs are and unfortunately got killed.This helped me learn a bit about chickens but nothing to the depth of what you have told me.
    I'm sure your advice will be considered good because it shows that I am passionate about my project.

    Thankyou!!
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
  5. Stuala

    Stuala New Egg

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    Feb 28, 2016
    I now know that I have about 6 months to complete the project
     
  6. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Consider inside nests, so your exterior would be simpler. You would also gain valuable floor space if you raise the nests. Also you don't need that many nests.
     
  7. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    For the scraps versus pellets, you will need to keep your project birds separate to ensure that the scraps birds aren't eating pellets or the other way around.
    Something that would allow for a single coop but still be variable would be getting a few different breeds as chicks and tracking which breeds mature and start laying fast or which breeds produce the most eggs. A few good choices that should start laying within 5 months are sexlinks, both black or red, Production Reds, Leghorns, or Rocks.
    Another idea is to compare the amount of feed the flock goes through one days they get to free range versus days they are penned up.
    As far as coop design goes, you'll need to make sure you build it big enough. Behaviors caused by overcrowding stress are not easy to remedy once they begin. And don't skimp on ventilation. Also, chicken wire is great at keeping chickens in, but terrible for keeping predators out.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Give some dimensions with your models.

    There are 2 excellent articles linked in my signature on Space and Ventilation, excellent place for a beginner to start reading/researching.
     
  9. Stuala

    Stuala New Egg

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    Feb 28, 2016
    Ok, this really helps! The suggestion of getting different breeds instead of giving the birds different diets is great! I was wondering what you suggest to use instead of chicken wire because there are lots of clever predators in around my home. Some parts of the coop are surrounded by brick so I wont need to go underground with the wire as well.
     
  10. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Welded wire for run fencing. All ventilation spaces, windows, and other gaps should be covered with securely attached hardware cloth. The run needs to be daytime predator resistant. The main daytime predators are hawks, cats, and dogs. For the night, they must always be secured in their coop. Chickens have terrible night vision, and they are pretty helpless at night.
     

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