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Best Layout for at 4' x 4' coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Siv7, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. Siv7

    Siv7 Hatching

    Mar 30, 2012
    Hi All,

    This is my first attempt at coop building. I'm planning a 4'x4' coop with an external 4' x 8' enclosed run to house 3-4 laying hens. I wanted to see what this great community could come up with. So.... if you had a 4x4 coop how would you layout the interior?

    I've included a little prototype rendering of my design so far. I'm currently thinking of keeping the laying box inside the coop and i can't decide if I want a side door or a floor door. Also I am currently leaning toward doing the deep litter method.

    Thanks in advance for the help![​IMG]
  2. mcjessen

    mcjessen Songster

    Mar 22, 2011
    Coeur d Alene ID
    This is a cool design. We currently have two coops. The first one was the first we'd ever built (4x3) and the second is larger (4x6) because we're adding two more girls AND this version corrects things that didn't work in the first coop. One of my biggest complaints about my 1st coop is that it's only 1.5ft off the ground and kills my back to clean it. The 2nd coop (still waiting to paint it - weather is not cooperating) is a higher up so it shouldn't be so bad on my back. The 1st coop also has the nest boxes inside and I really don't like it. Mainly because of the height of the coop. The 2nd coop has outside access to the boxes and I can't wait to use it. Personally, if I were you, I'd make an outside access to the nest boxes. That give you more interior room in case chicken math strikes.

    In that drawing, the ramp from the pop door to the ground looks pretty steep. Honestly, I'd make the run the entire height of the small section on top there. That just gives your chickens a little more room to get out of the pop door. And I think you will find that you will want to be in the run with and it's a killer to have to say bent down in a small run. At least that's what happened with our first set up. The 2nd set up will be an open air (per hubby) to start but I have some ideas about covering it later in the year. It's a work in progress.

    Looks like you'll have plenty of ventilation if those windows open. Looks like a great coop and run. Good luck!
  3. Siv7

    Siv7 Hatching

    Mar 30, 2012
    Thanks for the reply. I didn't include everything I was thinking of doing in my first post and fortunately I have addressed a couple of your thoughts.

    Per the request of my building supervisor (wife) the coop can't look "too much like a big zoo cage" so at least for now I'm trying to keep the outdoor run low. The coop is going to be on 3' posts so the outdoor run will be that high also. I'm thinking about doing the floor door because it eliminates the need for that little box of wire mesh to enclose the ramp. Speaking of the ramp, I know it looks steep but that is a 45 degree angle. I read on some other threads that others have had success with that. I'm going to add some 1"x1" pieces to the ramp for better traction.

    I agree that the coop run height could kill the back. I'm planning on making the top of the outdoor run hinged so we can open it to have "full people height access." Also, the coop wall that you can see in the picture will be on hinges for complete access for cleaning.

    I'm definitely going to add a small access door for the nest box. I guess what I meant to say was that I am not planning on having the nest box hang outside the walls of the main coop. I figure I can spare the floorspace and keeping it inside the insulated walls will make it more comfortable for the hens. I'm in Colorado and it can get pretty cold here.

    Can you explain how you organized the inside of the 4 x 3 coop you built? Where did you put the roost bars? Did you keep food and water in there year round? You know that kind of stuff. I've read a lot of posts and seen a lot of pictures of the inside of larger coops but I have yet to see any thread devoted to the interior layout of small coops.

    Others small coop owners chime in with your great ideas and lessons learned!

    mcjessen BTW - I used to live in Hayden ID. CDL is a great place to live!
    1 person likes this.
  4. mpare

    mpare In the Brooder

    Jul 16, 2010
    Dillsburg, PA
    We put the roost bar in front on the window. Since these pictures were taken we've added a poop board under the roost and change to all sand inside instead of pine shavings. (so much easier!) The nest box is open in a corner and the girls us it without problems. Food and water are kept outside under the coop in the enclosed run. The coop is predator proof and their pop door is always open so the chickens can get to the food and water whenever they need it. We do not use a ramp. The girls easily jump onto the outside perch and then down to the run floor. It saved us some room. We build doors on two sides of the coop and both ends of the run for easy access. The run is 10 X 4 and the coop is 5 x 4 We have 4 hens. Hope all goes well with your planning and building!






  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    For our 4X4 coop we put the roost parallel and approx. 16" under roof pitch. We do have an external nesting box but that's because we keep more chickens in that space than you plan to. One key convenience is to have a large access for cleaning the coop, think about an opening large enough to fit a bale of pine chips in and still allowing you to use your hand to scoop/push chips into coop. If it's that big then it's big enough to easily shovel out the chips at cleaning time. Oh and don't forget to keep your openings higher than your intended pine shaving depth.

    We did include and external to coop PVC feeder but don't use it. Honestly, all you'll need is a heated waterer and feeder in run. We don't heat, in Northern NH, so the chickens only use the coop to roost or lay eggs.

    You see we intended (thought we would need) coop water and food. This slide door is the a half inch taller that bale of chips is wide- couple more inches would be nice. Our roost bar attached just above this opening. The run is 4ft which is just high enough to make hanging the feeder under the coop to keep sheltered from rain/snow manageable.

  6. Siv7

    Siv7 Hatching

    Mar 30, 2012
    Mpare and egghead jr - Thanks for the replies (and the pics!) I will need to consider using the outside perch instead of a ramp. Good idea. I'm also glad to hear that neither of you have food in the coop as I think I plan to keep a feeder outside only.
  7. JRchickchick

    JRchickchick In the Brooder

    Feb 16, 2010
    Eugene, OR
    Are you leaving the hen's door open all the time or will you be opening it and closing it morning and night? You might consider a guillotine style door that you can access from outside the pen to open and shut. When it is super COLD out, your hens might appreciate not having that much of a draft! During the early morning hours, they might not want to come out (or if there is snow, I know my girls hate to walk on snow). You might also consider putting up some Suntuf clear panels on the roof of your run to give them some wet protection. My coop is BIG, and the girls hang out under there during inclement weather. Rain does blow in from the side, and so does the super cold air when it is here, so I ended up putting a couple of Suntuf panels on the windward side.

    At night, if you sprinkle a handful of chicken scratch on the bedding, they will have something to work for in the early morning hours before you open it back up. Just some ideas...
  8. Jadnils

    Jadnils Songster

    Apr 30, 2012
    I too am just planning to start my 4x4 coop and trying to nail down the plan. So far, I'm thinking of going with a simple coop, the inside having ventilation just under where the roof meets the walls and screening that in. The nesting boxes- I was thinking of partitions all 1' apart in the back and 1' wide. I would have 1/2 the back wall lift up on hinges for access to the eggs. Then, on the side, I will have another hinged door about 2' x 3' for cleaning and last, an opening in the front ( with a door that can close) for the girls to get out and into their run. We just built the frame of the run today out of PVC and it's 10'x4'x3fr. One end of the run will attach to the coop. Since I live in SW FLA, I think they will be out most of the year. We live in a good sized neighborhood so the only preditors I can see might be opposums and raccoons. I see many put their nesting boxes hanging off the back of the coop...why is that and is that a better way to go? I just want to keep it simple. I only have 4 chickens to house.
    Last edited: May 5, 2012

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