Building a coop - several questions


9 Years
Feb 26, 2010
Tucker, GA

I have been lurking on this site for over a year now, and I have finally had the opportunity to start my own flock. I am in the middle of building my coop/run and have gotten it to the point where I would welcome commentary. I started one of the coop building pages - so I don't want to put it all in this thread (redundant no?) unless that is standard practice.

Here is a good shot that shows you the inside of the coop

this wall has since been closed in, but I attached the bottom 2 ft of siding with hinges so the entire lower third of the wall opens up for cleaning.
I plan on putting the roosting bar running parallel with this wall across the width of the coop. I was planning on putting in a natural branch (because we have a plethora of branches laying around) are there pros and cons to using natural vs something like a 2 x 4?


This shows you the access for people and the wall with the nesting boxes.


And this is the side that the run will be attached to. All of the brown doors you see will have hardware cloth attached on the inside to provide ventilation when they are opened.

I need to figure out where to locate the pop door on this side of the coop. Are there positives & negatives to locating the door? Should I center it or have it off to one side? What kind of ramp up to the door do they need? How big should the door be for standard chickens?

The roof will be standard metal roofing and I am planning a 2 foot overhang on the nesting box. The footprint of the coop 6 foot 4 inches square to leave me with a usable interior space of 6 x 6. I figure that I have enough room for 9 chickens - does that sound right?

And a final question. I have been considering making the run larger than I originally planned so that I have the ability to portion off a section of the run to make a "coop within a coop" in case I decided to hatch eggs, get chicks or get some bantams. I figured I could build one of the smaller, raised style coops (on stilts) and place it in the run with some chicken wire separating off space from the original run. Do I get to count the space under the coops as "run space"? Do y'all think I should go for the bigger run?

Thank you for your time - sorry for so many questions. I really look forward to hearing your thoughts, ideas and comments.
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A natural branch should work fine as long as it is at least 2 inches in diameter a fairly smooth (remove knobs, stubs, etc).

The pop door can be anywhere that allows space for the chickens to come and go. There should be some free space around the feeder/waterer and you should probably located the door at least 18 inches from the roost.

The space under the coop does count as run space. If you build the run big enough, you should be able to put another small coop in the run. Just make sure you meet the space requirements.

The coop looks great!
Interesting idea on the hinged part of the wall. I would suggest that you use dropping boards under the roosts, too. Here's some more quick feedback...

Roosts...2x4's with the edges rounded off or either limbs in that size range. Chickens sit on broad side. Chickens don't "lock on" to the roosts like wildbirds do but rather just sit on the roosts. The idea of the broad roost is so that once sitting their feathers/body will cover their feet and help deter frostbite. Edges need to be rounded to prevent chaffing, etc., of pads of feet. If natural branches are used and the bark remains on then that might be a hiding place for mites (just a thought).

Probably better on the chickens if the pop door is toward the middle of the wall. They may very well crowd up at the door while waiting to be let out and if the door is close to a wall some of them might get pushed and shoved into the wall. But, putting the pop door toward the side leaves you more continuous wall to put nestboxes, roosts, whatever on.

Bare metal ceilings (underside of roof) can cause condensation issues in certain situations. If you could pick up a couple of sheets of foam board to tack on before installing the roof that would would also help keep the house from being so hot in the summer. If the roof is already on then a retrofit between the rafters would even work.

9 chickens for the 6x6 coop is correct if you're going by the "4 feet per chicken" rule. That will probably be fine as long as they get outside often.

As long as the room under the coop is 18"-20" tall you can consider that run area. By all means go as large as you can with your run.
Thank you both for your replies.

I didn't realize the roof/condensation issue. The roof isn't on yet so that is a fix that I can make. And the crowd at the door makes sense, so centering the door it is! I already have a nesting wall and the roosts will be much higher up.

I live in Atlanta so I am hoping that they will spend the majority of time in their run as opposed to in the coop.

I have read several references to "poop boards" but haven't seen a specific description of what one is - could you elaborate?
Nice coop. I don't think it really matters much about the roost. Personally, I think I'd rather use a natural branch in the right diameter. I have 2X4's and I think they are a bit slick and I've seen the birds flapping their wings and trying to get a good grip on it. I'm going to change mine out for branches. JMO

The poop board is a wide board...usually about 24"...that is directly below the roosts to catch the droppings. You can do all kinds of things to make it easy to clean...probably the easiest is building it removable with a small lip on it and put about an inch of shavings on it. Then you just take it out and dump the shavings, put it back in and put some clean shavings on it. Some people cover theirs with vinyls and then scrape the poop off.

On the run...ALWAYS go bigger! It's amazing how quickly they seem to fill the space
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Here's just one example of a droppings board (poop board). They really help keep your coop cleaner. A quick scrape with a putty knife (into a bucket) each morning is all it takes. Yours would be really easy to set up, since your roost will run wall to wall. And the floor space beneath is all useable.

Made some progress on the coop this weekend - lovely weather!


I took the advice of someone here and put foam insulation under the roofing - hopefully it will work correctly.

I am still trying to figure out how to work the poop board thing into this plan. I wish I had known of it from the beginning.

If you look at all of the pictures I have posted you can get an idea of how much window space I have. There is a good sized window on all 4 sides of the coop. I plan on putting hardware wire on the inside of all of them and they will remain open except for in inclement weather. Is this sufficient ventilation or do I need to cut some more holes?

As always - any input is more than welcome. Next up I have to really start thinking about the run. Any advice?
great lloking coop! good for you to finish that before getting birds (unlike the majority of us silly people)

i don't have a poop board (didn't work in my plans either!) i just spend a little time scooping poop-litter and raking under the roosts a bit more - no big deal! maybe 10 minutes a week?

i think if i had it to do over, i would have put the door closer to the corner of my coop, instead of centered.
this way, it would be easier for me to chase everyone out, when i need to.
and it would have been easier for me to slow down the air flow into the coop.
most nights, i leave the pop door open, as the run is critter proofed.
the birds let themselves inside and outside when they want!
easier for the farmer and happier chickens!
Pop door: just be sure to consider the depth of your bedding and cut your pop door high enough in the wall so the bedding won't fall out the door. I failed to consider this so I cut my pop door too low. I have sand inside my coop, and now the tracks of my inner sliding door keep getting clogged with sand (sigh). I plan to do a retro fit this spring.

Poop board: instead of a board, you could use a plastic boot tray (or similar). That's what I do. The poop doesn't stick to the plastic, and it's very easy to pull out the tray, dump it in the composter, hose off and replace in the coop. Check my BYC page for pictures.

I use a natural branch for a roosting pole, too. When it gets pooped up, I'll simply replace it with another branch. Just make sure the branch is big/wide enough for your chickens to get a comfortable perch.

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