Best coup design for small backyard in Central Florida


7 Years
Oct 18, 2012
Melbourne Florida
Not yet got chickens - we're in the planning stage right now.

We live in Melbourne Florida and are zoned where we can keep up to four hens - so here's my concern - since I've never farmed anything outside of water (all my experience is with fish) - what kind of coup or run works best?

My plans are to have four "tamer" hens that the kids can interact with and that I can also let roam around the fenced in yard regularly (under supervision) - but the coup/shelter area has me completely in the dark - not so much as for what the hens need, but what would work for our hot/humid environment.

A bit about our yard - the entire yard is organic and full of native plans, oaks and fruit trees - back and side yard are fenced (where I plan to put the coup) and mostly shaded.

Any advice would be helpful - we were looking at some local farms stock and see that red rocks and barred rocks are popular - and that was what we were going to go with for hens. (we are looking for easy going, gentle birds who can handle the Florida heat and give us some eggs).
I dont know how much money you want to spend, but the easiest and safest is a dog kennel, i.e. a chain link run. I think they have them at Lowes or Tractor Supply. They are about 6 foot tall, 5 feet wide, 8 feet deep. You can put a tarp over the top, or plywood with a tarp over that, for safety. If you do use chain link, be sure and attach 1/2 inch hardware cloth to the inside about 3 feet up to keep raccoons from reaching thru and grabbing them.
Hello! Welcome to BYC and the chickens!!

I have 5 hens in a very small yard in urban Los Angeles. I needed to create something that worked with my space limitations and that I could build myself with limited skills and out of what I had or what could fit in my small car. Below is what I ended up with and I have been pretty happy with the overall results.

It is made out of an old bookcase and fencing material and I would guess it is about 8x4x6. The bottom section is an inclosed run with hardware cloth (I highly recommend using hardware cloth even though it costs more than chicken wire - chicken wire is not predator safe if you have raccoons of possums). The top section has two nesting boxes on one side and roosts on the other. There is a ramp that does from top to bottom.

I let my hens free range in my yard during the day and shut them in at night or if for some reason I don't want them out. There is enough space in the run that if they need to spend a few days in there its fine but I wouldn't want them shut in all the time.

There are lots of awesome ways to handle chickens in a small space. I have started sprouting my own fodder indoors so they always have greens and also farm my own mealworms. Both are super healthy but pretty cheap, easy, and take up little room. Feel free to PM if you want more info.

Good luck!!

That is an interesting idea - I couldn't see the price on that pen - I was hoping to spend (no more than) $100 on a coup - and get something that I don't have to be a carpenter to modify - if I had to.

I like the idea of this dog run - especially if its something easy to move - as I understand its best to move the coup around the back yard to prevent build up of the bird droppings.
Oooh - replied before I saw Dino's post - I like that idea too - turning something into something else - like a bookshelf. And as far as food for the chicks - that will be easy. I used to raise mealworms and red wigglers for the reptiles and fish I bred years ago - very easy to do in a small space - and have access to a lot of garden greens and what not.

I was actually considering looking on Craig's List for coups since my budget is tight - anything I should beware of buying a used coup - besides rotten wood?
People make coops out of all sort of interesting things. I think the most important things to consider are space, safety and cleaning. The chickens don't care what it looks like.

If chickens are overcrowded they will peck each other to death. Seriously. So make sure they have enough room in the coop, nests and roosts. (for 4 chickens you can have 1 nest but if there is any chance you may ever have more than that I would go with two) Make sure you can clean the coop easily otherwise it's a huge hassle. Also make sure it is well ventilated. And then consider the predators in your area and make sure nothing will be able to dig, climb, reach or pry their way inside.

Chickens LOVE mealworms.
It is a good idea to move your birds around especially since 4 is the limit in your area. The birds will decimate the grass where ever you put them but if you can move them around like in a chicken tractor you can let the grass regenerate in the areas where the chickens have been.

Here is a good site for some examples.
We don't really have grass in the backyard - its mulched with a lot of native vines - passion vine mostly - so grass destruction isn't an issue. I did like the models that make it easy to move the coup around since it would seem to be healtheir to the chickens if they didn't have to sit over the same area of ground - even though I was planning on using shavings inside their house.

Its been a while since I made a coup of any kind (last was for some rabbits over 30 years ago) so I had no idea what it would cost - seems prices went way up! Imagine that! Ha.

Still looking around Craigslist for people selling their coups, but there aren't too many in my price range.
have a look in places like ebay and craigslist for a good quality new or used coop and run,usualy they will want them picking up but may get lucky and find sellers localy.

we were planning to have a DIY job done for a flock of six large birds [cochins] but dad;who was going to do it said itd end up costing a lot of money that a bought one woud be better off,if click the 'my coop' in the profile,dad had paid two hundred and firty pound inc postage for that ,brand new tailor made from a seller on ebayUK who does them for a living,it was well worth it-loads of roosting bars inside,a poo tray,a big nesting box,two runs,coop window can be slid open,the roof is hinged and can open entirely on both sides,an awesome coop though it had to be put together.

on melbourne,floridas craigslist,this one sounds possibly suitable-
but there isnt a picure with that one-woud have tto ask them to text one with a mobile as they cant work out how to send it to computer,dont understand the size/numbers as am intelectualy/learning disabled so am sorry if its tiny.:p
oh,one other thing have just noticed woud need to get a new roof for that one but that isnt a big problem,if are into DIY may have the bits lying around for a roof already.
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