Building my first coup.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Tokie, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. Tokie

    Tokie New Egg

    Sep 27, 2012's what I am working with : Space of 5H x 5W x 30L Chicken Wire enclosed and 1/2 Tarped roof.
    The space between my Garage and the fence between my neighbor and myself is 12'(L) x 5'(W) and the fence itself is 5' high.
    This will be where I make their coup and laying box's.
    I will utilize an extra 5'(W) x 18'(L) for the "run" as I hear it is called into the back yard itself in addition. The "roof" of the pen behind the Garage will be angled from 6'(H) against the Garage and drop to be tied onto the 5'(H) fence and will be Chicken Wire Fenced as well as topped with Chicken Wire Fencing and a rain proof Tarp secured every 12" with wire through cloth to prevent tearing in windy conditions, so even in a rain storm, the Hens will remain dry unless they wander into the actual run itself.
    The 5'(W) x 5'(H) x 18'(L) "run" will be completely enclosed with Chicken Wire to keep the Hens in, and the Bird Dog out.
    I don't know what to do with the "floor" ie. the grass / ground in the Coup or Run. Do I leave it as Grass or should I roto till it up so it's just dirt/soil ? I'm not sure because in Tennessee, all that is under the Grass is red clay. Which would be better for them ? The Grass or the dirt ?
    Since both I and the neighbor on the other side of the chain link fence have Bird dogs, should I place the Coup's Box's against the fence FACING the Garage, so they don't have to be faced with looking at dogs all day in their laying Box, or does it really make any difference since the dogs won't be able to get at them in the first place ?
    After the Coup/Box's are in place either facing the fence or facing the Garage, there will be approximately 3'(W) x 5'(H) space for them to enter and exit, is this enough room for them to enter and exit ? I want them to be relaxed and not have to be bothered...and the Neighbor,(who is looking forward to fresh eggs too) says they should face the Garage, so the only time they will be "bothered" by the dogs is when they go into the run itself, until the dogs stop their yapping and get used to them being there. Is She right ?
    The Neighbor across the street has a Roster. It's called a Road Island Red I think He said...
    I hate that thing. It's got "head issues" and crows 24-7-365. I swear it goes off all hours of the day AND night.
    Is this "*ahem* normal...or is it *ahem*,(for lack of a better word) Re tarted ? He says I don't need a Rooster, and if I ever do, to let Him know and He will send His Rottweiler out to bring it in, and bring it over. The dog is the only thing brave enough to go get it.
    It will beat you 1/2 to death with it's wings and poke holes aaaaalllll up and down your body if you even go NEAR His back yard, BUT it fears the Dog, and will sit there and let the dog pick it up by the neck and carry it onto His back porch without making a sound or movement. It's the strangest thing I've ever seen !
    He says a Rooster is only good for making Baby Chickens, and I don't need one to have Hen's to lay eggs. Is He right ? And when do I need to make Baby Chickens ?
    It's just me and my Wife and Maryjane,( our Lemon Pointer mix ) the Neighbor and Her son, so say I need 12 eggs daily.
    Question : How many Hen's will be required to get 12 eggs a day ? And How Many Laying Boxes are needed for this many Hens, or does each Hen require Her own box in the coup ?
    Thank you, in advance, for any and all help with this new endeavor !

  2. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Dec 22, 2009
    1. I would not advise using Chicken wire. The only thing it does is keep chickens in. It doesn't do much for keeping predators out. You'd be better off with Hardware Cloth.

    2. You will need at minimum 12 hens to have 12 eggs a day. Of course this won't count when certain hens decide to start molting. Also certain breeds are more prone to taking laying breaks then others.
  3. Tweakster

    Tweakster Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 2, 2012
    Garden Ridge, TX

    More answers,

    On the grass thing, it won't be grass for long if the chooks are enclosed with it. They (full grown chooks) scratch like crazy and will have it turned over in less than a few days. You WILL NOT have grass there long.

    Don't need a rooster for eggs, and having a rooster does not affect egg production. All the rooster does is change infertile eggs to fertile eggs, and no, you can't tell the difference eating them. Roosters are only needed if you want your hens to raise a clutch of chicks.

    On rooster behavior, there are NO rules. They seem to have a small cavity of testosterone where the hen's brain is usually found. You can't control their crowing and most (not all) seem to get downright mean. If you like your neighbors I'd suggest passing on getting a rooster.

    If you are dealing with dogs, yours or the neighbors, you'll want a LOT of protection for the chooks. Even though the dog is your pet it can act a LOT differently when you are not there. Dogs will rip right through standard chicken wire and can dig under in short order. You'll want to think that one through before construction. It's not so much that they like to eat chooks as much as the chooks make an overly attractive reative toy, great fun while the owner is out of sight!

    On egg production, most breeds are rated on the number of eggs they lay a year. No chook can lay an egg every day. Excellent producers will give you an egg 6 out of seven days, at the peak of their production. There is a natural "off" season where they don't lay very well at all. Reading here on the web site will teach you a few tricks on how to maintain production (feed, health, genetics, amount of daylight, molting, stress, and to a small extent, weather, all affect production). Back to breeds, not all breeds are good producers, so you might want to research the different breeds for the better layers, realizing there is a trade-off. Many of the good layers are a bit more difficult to raise because they are a bit more flighty. In your case, with the coop and run next to the dogs, you might not get the production you hoped for. There are many here on this web site that got chooks and found they can be fickle in producing eggs. The production breeds developed by the different hatcheries seem to do better than the standard backyard "mutt" type chickens, as a whole. Again, do your research. All of the hatcheries have developed special breeds just for egg production, some for dual purpose, some for their good looks (remembering beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I'm not beholden with some of those odd breeds). You might want to consider an easter eggers for the unusual blue/green eggs they produce.

    My wife and I have seven assorted chooks and sell a couple dozen eggs each week as well as supplying a few of our neighbors, since we can't eat that many eggs. A dozen eggs a day is a LOT of eggs for a large family to consume, I'd venture to say nigh impossible for a couple, with friends, to consume each day.

    The five foot height will work with the chooks, but might be a bit short for you to move around in the run and coop. It will need cleaned out from time to time (a large subject of discussion here on this site) so think how much you want to squat down while inside it. Most shorter coop/run designs feature a "reach-in" capability so you don't have to go in to clean or maintain. Taller coops/runs allow the owner good access, but the chooks don't need that much height.

    You can read a BUNCH of posts on this site on how much room the chooks need so I'll not rehash that, but it sounds like you have room for a good sized flock of huevos launchers.

    Best of luck!
  4. Micki21965

    Micki21965 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 24, 2012
    Channahon, Illinois
    I agree about the chicken wire. I used 1/4" hardwood cloth, and because I didn't wire under the coop I lost a beautiful banty rooster and 2 Cochin hens, who loved people and were a lot of fun. Skunks and other predators will also dig under if they want what you have. Dogs included! I have a little Maltese and she loves to chase my chickens. I also agree you won't have grass within a few days of your hens being in there. So I wouldn't worry to much about that. Some loose dirt would be good for the dirt baths that they love so much, and believe me they will loosen it up themselves. Roosters??? I have 5, 1 standard (who is a good boy) and 4 banty's (which 2 are not good boys) They love to crow all the time from about 4:30 a.m. to about dusk. Hens: I have quite a few hens and breeds. 26 Standard hens in all and about 6 or 7 different breeds, and the ones that seem to lay the best are my barred rocks. I have 3 that are named Dale (the intimidate) because they would try to scare me when they where pullets (you can't really tell them apart) so they all got the name. They are now (as hens) a nice breed, produce good, just a little broody. The other if you want unusual eggs is the Araucana. They are pretty good layers, and they lay colored eggs which are a novelty with kids. My kids get a kick out of them. Dr. Seuss is real Mom, we have green eggs! They are also really cute, they have fuzzy cheeks. Well I hope this helped just a little. Good luck with your coop and chickens.

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