building a chicken fortress

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by musicalchickenraiser, Apr 15, 2008.

  1. musicalchickenraiser

    musicalchickenraiser Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 15, 2008
    Any ideas?

    I'm currently drawin up some plans for a small 4' by 10' chicken coop with a slanted roof that has hinges on one side connected to the frame of the coop. It will be 40" inches high so the racoons cannot open it up. The door will open out with a latch on the inside so the racoons cannot get in at the chickens. There will also be some aluminum sheet metal nailed to the frame of the coop so mice an rats can't gnaw there way through(Or can they?). I just wanted to know if I should put some sort of barrier between the chickens and the metal.
    This is the first chicken coop I'll be building so I came here for some expert advice.
     
  2. hensdeliverthegoods

    hensdeliverthegoods Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like you're really thinking out all the possibilities of how predators might get in. I don't know what you're going to be using for ventilation in the coop, but if it's windows, make sure they're double-covered with hardware cloth. Just basic chicken wire hardly even slows raccoons down. I feel like one of the best predator deterrents is a good dog. If you have one, let it urinate around the coop often, and encourage it to guard the area. Lighting at night helps to discourage some predators as well.

    Good luck with your new chicken venture! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2008
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    I'm currently drawin up some plans for a small 4' by 10' chicken coop with a slanted roof that has hinges on one side connected to the frame of the coop. It will be 40" inches high so the racoons cannot open it up.

    You'll want several (b/c the roof panel is so long) good secure raccoon-and-dog-proof latches. Are you planning to make the roof hinged in two different panels rather than just one long one? Probably should, as it will be REAL heavy and unweildy if a single panel, and tend to twist and rip itself apart. If you have two 5' long panels (with a divider strip that they close onto, for structural strength and to allow you to put in weatherstripping/waterproofing arrangements where the two panels meet) I would personally put TWO latches on each one, so a dog or whatever can't pry a corner open.

    What will your roof be made *of*?

    The door will open out with a latch on the inside so the racoons cannot get in at the chickens.

    If the coop is only 40" high (am I understanding this correctly?) how will YOU get to the latch?

    There will also be some aluminum sheet metal nailed to the frame of the coop so mice an rats can't gnaw there way through(Or can they?). I just wanted to know if I should put some sort of barrier between the chickens and the metal.

    It is real real hard to keep mice completely out of the coop if they want in; and if they want in, they're unlikely to chew thru anything, they will just find half-inch gaps to squooze through. If you have rats, that is more of a concern. No, rats can't gnaw thru sheet metal. (However if there is any exposed wood they'll just go thru *that*.) I doubt rats are going to try to gnaw thru your coop unless there's a protected area they can do it from, though, like a coop that is raised less than a foot above the ground, or is right against a building, or has trash piled against it.

    Are you asking if *just* sheet-metal is okay for the walls of the coop? That's not such a great idea - it will get bakingly hot in summer, way cold in winter, and you will likely have serious condensation and dampness problems (unless you have SUPER extra ventilation, and then your chickens will still be cold in winter).

    Not sure if that answers your questions [​IMG],

    Pat​
     
  4. pasta514

    pasta514 Out Of The Brooder

    My coop is quite small, but I have the same concerns about predators and have tried to design to keep the flock safe. You may find some ideas on my page . Good luck!
     
  5. musicalchickenraiser

    musicalchickenraiser Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 15, 2008
    THanks for all your help!
    What I was going to do for a roof is cut 2 2-4's from corner-to-corner and screw a slightly larger piece of plywood to those pieces. Then put roofing shingles on the plywood. It would have hinges on the left side and latches on the right.
    To answer you question about the latches, I'll tie a piece of string to the latch handle and tie it to a hook farther up the wall so I don't have climb in the coop to get it unlatched.
    I was thinking about what I was going to make the frame out of 2-2 framing lumber with the sheet metal nailed to that. And after I put the sheet metal on I would nail 1-4 boards to the frame. For the corners I'd bend a strip of sheet metal to a 45 degree angle and nail it on.
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    What I was going to do for a roof is cut 2 2-4's from corner-to-corner and screw a slightly larger piece of plywood to those pieces. Then put roofing shingles on the plywood. It would have hinges on the left side and latches on the right.

    Just a heads-up so you don't find this out the hard way... the problem with shingling the roof of a low-ceilinged (e.g. reach-in) coop is that the nailheads stick out. A lot. No, you cannot really clinch them over. You will either need relatively elaborate measures to conceal the nailheads where chickens will not skewer their combs (nor you your arms) on them, or a different roofing material.

    To answer you question about the latches, I'll tie a piece of string to the latch handle and tie it to a hook farther up the wall so I don't have climb in the coop to get it unlatched.

    Is there a reason not to simply make it an outside latch and padlock it?? You can hang the key right on the coop. This would be much more fail-safe than an inside latch operated by string or cable...

    I was thinking about what I was going to make the frame out of 2-2 framing lumber with the sheet metal nailed to that. And after I put the sheet metal on I would nail 1-4 boards to the frame. For the corners I'd bend a strip of sheet metal to a 45 degree angle and nail it on.

    Is this meant to be a portable coop? (if so, DEFINITELY you need to reconsider the plywood-and-shingles roof!). If not, I would really recommend using 2x4 not 2x2 for the frame, it will be sturdier and last longer. And be easier to work with since you have a larger target for screwing siding into [​IMG]

    If your coop walls are *just* sheet metal (as opposed to sheet metal covering plywood) the coop is liable to get problematically hot in the summer, and unhealthfully damp (because of condensation - a serious problem with bare metal walls) during the winter. I would really really suggest plywood instead. if you're worried, use 1/2" or even 3/4".

    Do you have a known, serious rat problem? If not, the smart thing is probably to just use plywood. If need be you can always add flashing to strategic locations after the fact, it is not at all difficult to do that post facto.

    If you DO have a serious rat problem, plywood may STILL be the way to go, just put the flashing on right from the beginning [​IMG] But honestly I think you would have to have a WHOPPINGLY horrible rat problem to get them gnawing into your coop while it is standing out in the open. Keep brush and junk away from it, and either build the floor into the ground (with ratproofing) or stand it up on blocks or posts so it's at least a foot or two above the ground, and you really oughta be fine.

    Just my $0.02,

    Pat​
     
  7. musicalchickenraiser

    musicalchickenraiser Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks. I don't have a known serious rat problem. I've just been reading all these posts where people come home from work to find their chickens dead. And no I'm not just making it out of sheet metal. and from what you said Pat, I'm going to ditch the whole sheet metal idea after all.
     

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