Building our first run and have questions!!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Chucks clucks, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. Chucks clucks

    Chucks clucks New Egg

    Feb 27, 2013
    Central Georgia
    We have 25 little Buff Orps and are building our coop and run and have a few questions if y'all can lend us your experience.
    1 - The area where we're putting the coop and run drains well, the ground is hard-packed clay, and there's a tree for shade (in the Summer) and part of the run is in the sun.
    2 - We're building a coop that is 4' x 20' (built from recycled pallets), that is raised a foot off of the ground. It will have 10 nest boxes in it. The flooring inside will be cement board and we will use pine shavings both on the floor and in the nest boxes.
    3 - The run we're planning is 8' x 32' (the coop will be outside the run), hardware cloth will be on the bottom 2' on the sides of the run and the next 4' will be 1" chicken wire. At the bottom will be a 2" x 6" (or 8") to hold in the flooring material.
    4 - We're planning on covering about 20' of the run with corrugated metal and the rest with chicken wire. This will have part of the roof open to the elements.

    Please give us any advice you can from your experience that can help us! :) WHAT is the best flooring material that we can use in this instance (keeping in mind that it is exposed to the rain and that we live in central Georgia)? What are your suggestions on any changes to these plans? Space is not an issue because we own 5 acres, however (as with most everyone) money is an issue...:) I got hurt in the line of duty (retired sheriff's deputy) and am disabled.

  2. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2013
    Northwest Hills of CT
    Sounds like a good plan! I like the idea of cement board for the coop floor. Mine is concrete, but if I do it again, I think I'll go with the cement board instead! My 2 cents would be to use sand as the flooring in the run. When I switched to sand from grass / dirt, my mud problems dissappeared and the run looked and smelled much nicer. I made a border for the run with 2x6's attached to the vertical posts, and brought in 3 yards of sand, so my sand base was 4 inches thick. If you have predators in your area, I would upgrade the 1" chicken wire to hardware cloth. Dogs, raccoons, bobcats and bears (the predators I deal with) can rip through chicken wire like we rip through wrapping paper. I went with a double fence of half inch hardware wire on the inside of the vertical posts with 2"x4" field fence on the outside of the posts. I still have to keep an eye on things, as I've seen the raccoons eyeing the wire cutters in my garage!

  3. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 15, 2010
    Westfield, Indiana
    Thanks for your service! As thomas mentioned, sand would be nice especially since you plan to have a 6 or 8 inch base board. My run is just dirt but I add plywood to the ground and plenty of straw and chips occasionaly to knock down mud. A few wood pallets with scrap plywood on top or a tied bale of hay or two will give a few raised areas.

    Last edited: Mar 2, 2013
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    For 25 hens you don’t need 25 nests. Five will be plenty. I don’t know what you are doing for nests, but maybe you could save a bit of money on this.

    I don’t know exactly what your coop will look like but you need to be able to get to every bit of it. You’ll need to retrieve an egg or chicken, make repairs, or something. Can you do that with your 4 x 20 coop?

    If it is well-drained, you may not need to add anything to the run, but if you do, sand is a great material to use.

    Will rainwater run into it? Slope your roof on the coop and run so the water runs away from the run. Slope the roof on your run so water runs off and doesn’t just set up there. Otherwise it will leak. Do you need to do any landscaping like berms or swales to keep water from running under the coop or into the run? In my walk-in, dirt floor coop I added a few inches of good clay dirt to raise the floor level as well as built a swale to keep water out.

    You mentioned the coop will be about a foot off the ground and outside the run. If it is too close to the ground critters can nest under there, things like mice, rats, snakes, skunks, groundhogs. Also, will you ever need to get under there? How hard would it be to raise your coop maybe another foot and put the run fencing on the bottom outside of the coop? That would give you a lot more run space, space which would be protected from rain and would be shaded by the way. They would spend a lot of time in there in the heat of your summer. They will keep stuff from growing under there so you won’t have to worry much about weeds, grass, or brush growing under there.

    You would want to be able to reach under there without crawling in chicken poop in case they lay an egg or something like that, but 18” to 24” off the ground if it is 4 feet wide will be plenty.

    A 4’ x 20’ coop gives you 80 square feet in the coop and may create access issues. If you are planning on a walk-in coop, I’d suggest you look at an 8’ x 16’ coop which uses the same wall material and gives you 128 square feet and maybe better access. The problem with this is that the wider building could easily cost a bunch more in flooring and especially roofing materials, framing as well as cover. Maybe instead of raising it just build it on the ground? Just something to think about.

    Good luck!!!
  5. Chucks clucks

    Chucks clucks New Egg

    Feb 27, 2013
    Central Georgia
    Thanks for the help and suggestions everyone. My wife kind of settled part of the issue anyway :) It looks like the coop will be a typical large shed type, 8' x 10'. It will have an 8' front wall and a 5 1/2 or 6' back wall (to slope the roof to the back). It's only going to be raised about a foot on one end to level it and will have 1/4" hardware cloth around the bottom and extending out to the sides a couple of feet to try and prevent critters and snakes. We will still use concrete board flooring as well as bring it up the sides 18". OSB sheeting will round out the interior walls. At least now I'll be able to stand up in it to rake it out :) I thought about raising it more but with my leg injuries, it would make it too difficult to get in and out of. And it will still be made out of recycled and bartered for materials. Anyways, I'll keep everyone posted on our progress! :)

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