Building our first coop and run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jdix, May 11, 2010.

  1. jdix

    jdix Out Of The Brooder

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    May 11, 2010
    Well we're new to raising chickens and have decided to get 4 chicks. It's looking like we're getting 2 Buckeyes and 2 Rhode Island Reds. We also live in Western New York and can get some decent snow accumulations. Going by the 4sq ft thought and the possibility of going to 6 birds next year we're thinking of a coop that 6'x4'. Our thought is to build it about 2-3' off the ground so the birds will have some shade in the summer and snow protection in the winter when they're outside. We're thinking of 3 boxes inside so if we go to 6 we have the room. Not sure if we'll put a window in it or just a hole in the side covered with chicken wire with a piece of plywood to cover it in the cooler temps. If we put a window in it and keep it south facing it'll help to keep it warm in winter but will the sunlight effect the chicks egg production? I assume as long as it not directly across from the nesting boxes it alright. I'd like to make the run quit large to allow them all the room they'd like to eat and wander. My only concern is my raised beds are about 20 ft from where the coop's going. It would still give them about a 20x20 area if I stay away from my beds. That area I wouldn't think wouldn't be large enough to feed them? I'll still have to give them corn etc. I'm hoping to keep their diet mainly what they'll forage. As for the run design we're thinking of 72" 2x4 welded wire with chicken wire twisted to it to keep them in and predators out. If not then hardware cloth on the bottom half and chicken wire on the top. How does putting a roof on it work with heavy snow falls? I don't want it to accumulate on top and rip the fence down.

    I'm sure I'll have a ton more questions as we go but thanx for the help in advance.
     
  2. Lesa

    Lesa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi! Welcome to the wonderful world of chickens... I am in upstate NY, as well. Chances are your chickens are not going to enjoy snow- so plan on them being in the coop when it is nasty outdoors. I built a "sun room" out of old windows that my birds enjoy in the winter. They will not forage in a 20x20 area. It will take about 5 minutes for them to eat everything that is alive in that area. They will still dig around and may find an occasional bug or root, but they are going to require plenty of feed. You must feed them layer pellets if you expect them to lay eggs...A south facing window is a good idea. Chickens need light to lay. Also, a good plan to read Pat's Ventilation Page. Super important with our cold weather...Very difficult to roof a run with our snowfall. People do it, but they post a lot of pics of collapsed covers too! You will find all kinds of info on here- and you'll figure out a way to make it work for you and your birds needs. Good luck!!
     
  3. montanasandy

    montanasandy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 11, 2010
    Potomac, Montana
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=40355-coop-page-v2

    We
    live in Montana and are in the process of building the above coop and run. We are making the roof construction according to our local requirements for snow load (we get a lot of snow). I wanted to roof the entire run (which will be 16x8) so they could still move around in the winter. In the summer, spring and fall, they will have some free range time in the afternoon. I will post pics as we go, we made some changes to the one above.
     
  4. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    A 20 x 20 run would be great, but it's definitely not enough for them to survive nutritionally from. My run is 16 x 32 with five birds, and it won't happen if you expect your bird to thrive (although they'll LOVE the space). They will still need free choice layer feed (not corn). If you can do a window, then do it. There's really no downside to them. If not, you can always place thick plexiglass over the wired opening instead of plywood in winter.
     
  5. jdix

    jdix Out Of The Brooder

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    Here's a few rough drawings of our design. Let me know what you think I could improve on. The actual roof will be left over metal from our roof.

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  6. jdix

    jdix Out Of The Brooder

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    May 11, 2010
  7. patvetzal

    patvetzal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 12, 2008
    Bancroft, Ontario
    Looks good as long as the snow doesn't drift in under the roof. Mine did on the first coop and they only came halfway down the ramp unless I shoveled a clear spot. I also found that keeping the bottom of the gate 12" above the ground made for less shovel work....
     
  8. Prospector

    Prospector Chillin' With My Peeps

    jdix, your design is similar to ours.We have a 4X6 coop with a nest box that makes our overall size 4'X8' - 1 sheet of plywood.

    I chose to build a gabled roof with a 1-1 pitch to shed snow and give more headroom and roost space. roof panels are 4' X 8'. Our walls are all 4 feet high to conserve on plywood (Less scrap).

    We have put in a window, on a simple hinge. No need to get fancy there.

    Our coop is very nearly complete. I was painting the interior today, but I still have one exterior wall to put plywood on, and the door and window to install. I wanted to have it complete this weekend, but it looks like that isn't in the cards. Maybe after work each night I can get enough time to have it done by midweek.

    Materials for our coop include:
    Dimensional lumber (cheap out and use 2X3's or smaller, but no fingerjoint. We overbuilt, but used all reclaimed lumber so no cost)
    5+ 4'X8' sheets of 5/8" plywood - 4.5 (bottom and side walls and nest box) We had scrap plywood around, but it made for some interesting patchwork.
    2 4X8 sheets of 1/4" OSB - Roof
    3 bundles of shingles.
    A variety of nails, fasteners, hinges, handles, screws and lags - These eat up budget fast, in small unnoticed increments. Beware!
    2 windows from the Re-store ($5 for the pair after the lady there heard my intended use and we had a great chat about independance and how thats what Habitat for Humanity is all about)
    4 4X4 posts for legs - these have since been vetoed in favour of the ubiquitous cinderblock, which we have many of lying around.
    Hardware cloth to cover windows and any areas vulnerable to entry by predators

    I have considered a covered run for our ladies, but I think I better start by getting the coop built, adn then take the run as stage 2. Your run appears to have no protection from airborne attacks. Are there hawks near you? Trees that raccoons can use to drop from?
     
  9. jdix

    jdix Out Of The Brooder

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    patvetzal, We're planning on fencing in the roof section as they call for snow with orange plastic snow fence. It shouldn't be any problem to tack up in the late fall and take down in early spring. Also when we get our week thaw halfway through we can open it up and they can get out and run some.

    Prospector, We're kind of thinking stages as well. We only see a few hawks a year around but we also get a Bald Eagle or 2 flying over once a year as well. Or plan is to get the coop up then decide on an "enclosed" run. Till the snow flies we could get by with some netting draped over but with the span we're using I'd have to post the center to support it. The only way coons could get is is to climb the fence and drop in during the day. We're semi lucking in the fact that we're remodeling the house so we have all the nails etc. laying around along with a few old windows. Are you painting the inside for any particular reason? To help protect the wood? Are you using a specific type of paint? Like a kids room paint that is supposed to be washable and toxic free? Just thinking a head aloud. Sorry. For the exterior we're planning on using board and batten siding. This way it will match the garage.

    Lesa, How do you keep them warm enough in the winter? Its a long way from their coop to get power for a heat lamp.

    Thanx
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2010
  10. rebecky1305

    rebecky1305 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lansing, MI
    If you have enough left over metal roofing consider roofing the entire run. That way the chickens could enjoy the run year round. Look at the coop section on this forum for ideas of how others did this. I wish I could do this but maybe next year.
     

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