Building an indoor coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Doodadman, Jun 21, 2009.

  1. Doodadman

    Doodadman In the Brooder

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    I want to build a coop that is indoors in a walled off alcove of my downstairs living area for four bantam chickens. The coop would be designed right into the 4' x 3' x 8' area and would incorporate an existing window that I would use as the door to the outside. The alcove area is 4' x 8' x 8'. There is no door in the alcove at this time but one could be added. The chickens would not be living in the house at all, just using the indoor space. There is no outdoor space available that would conform to city ordinances. I plan to let the chickens free range all day and just use the coop at night.

    Is this practical and healthy?
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    I notice this is your first post. Welcome to the forum.

    I forsee some potential problems, dust, smell, and possibly vermin. Not that it can't be done, but you'd have to actively manage these.

    Chickens are dusty. They give off a lot of dander from their feathers. They scratch, take dust baths, and just create a lot of dust. No matter what you do, I think you will find a lot of dust in the coop. If it gets at all damp or builds up, chicken poo will smell.

    For this to work, you have to have a dust-proof barrier between your living area and them. Otherwise it is not healthy. I would not have an inside door to the coop. I would have access to the coop only from outside.

    You will have to have an active poo management plan. Chickens will drop between a third and half their daily poo while roosting. I have seen it managed where the smell is almost not noticeable but it has to be kept dry and not allowed to build up. With 4 bantams, I think you should consider removing the droppings daily. This could mean installing a droppings board and scrape the poo daily. For a droppings board, think a solid floor like plywood covered with linoleum so it is easy to scrape off. You might come up with something different, but think of how to remove the poo daily. You also need a place to put the poo when you remove it. I think most of us use some version of a compost heap but your circumstances may not allow this.

    Chicken poo will attract flies. Another reason to remove the poo daily. The chickens will eat some but they will not get them all. Where you feed will attract mice and rats. Do not feed in the coop.

    You mentioned that you will have only 4 bantams and all they will use the coop for is sleeping. This means your nesting box (one will be enough) and food and water will be outside. You do not need 4 square feet per bird in this coop. I don't know the absolute minimum you could get away with, but I'd be thinking more on the order of 1 square foot per bird if you let them outside as soon as they wake up and you don't allow them access during the day. Think an area maybe 4 feet long, 1 foot deep, and 3 feet high with an opening that lifts up to expose the entire length for ease of cleaning. I'd put a roost maybe 6" off the floor so they would sleep up out of their poo. I'd have the height above them to allow for installing ventillation above them so they are not ina draft. It will need ventilation.

    Is it doable? Yes, I think so. You will have to actively manage it and thoroughly think it out. I have never done it so these are my thoughts, not my experience. Hopefully others will come up with other ideas and experience to help you out.

    Good luck!
     
  3. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast

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    Well thought out wise response by ridgerunner... my thoughts too![​IMG]
     
  4. Sillystunt

    Sillystunt Master of the Silly

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    Dear god....no! I would be concerned about your health. They poo everywhere. they are chickens not dogs......
    Maybe in a garage but how about a chicken tractor? Small, efficent,low to the ground. has coop and run to protect and then u can let them out during the day. No roo's and be a law breaker like the rest of us.....lol

    I knew a lady who keep her's in the basement. We cleaned her house. I am telling u the smell was horrible, dust everywhere and it was plain old nasty!!

    BREAK THE LAW.....CHICKEN TRACTOR! and the nice thing is you can bring it inside and hide it if the fuzz comes... [​IMG]
     
  5. Sillystunt

    Sillystunt Master of the Silly

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  6. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

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    I personally think it is a very bad idea, after just a short time you will come to regret keeping farm animals indoors in your living area.

    AL
     
  7. goldnchocolate

    goldnchocolate Songster

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    [​IMG]

    I agree with everyone else about the dust. I have 26 3 wk old chicks brooding in my kitchen and the dust is KILLING me. I am building them their own chicken tractor, this week, so that I have a place to keep them in the garage until they are big enough to go in with the big hens.

    It doesn't matter how often I change the shavings....the dust is on everything and it's in the air. I didn't even use shavings for the first week and a half--just used paper towels---and the dust was still bad.
     
  8. Doodadman

    Doodadman In the Brooder

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    Thank you to everyone. I am now convinced that this is not the way to go.
    Mrs. Doodadman would not be happy with all the dust.

    I am dealing with trying to build a coop in an urban setting. By ordinance the coop must 20" from any neighbors doors or windows. Being surrounded on all 4 sides by neighbors has turned this chicken coop project into a geometry problem. I know that one of the at least 25 people that look down in my garden is going to call Animal Control. Therefore I have to be pristine in my coop location. But with very careful measuring, a tall latter and a 35' foot tape measure, I have come up with the one and only spot in the garden that will work. The space is 32" wide x 42" long and 36" high.

    I will keep you up to date with my progress.

    With Every Best Wish.
     

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