California Open Coop/Run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Kacey Elle, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. Kacey Elle

    Kacey Elle Chirping

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    Here is my open coop/run in California. Because of our weather, I decided on simply sectioning off a portion of the run and adding plywood on three sides. That is where my chickens roost but I"m not actually sure you can call it a "coop." On cold nights (temperature here will occasionally go into the 30s at the coldest), I will drop a tarp down from the roof to create a fourth wall, if necessary. My four girls have 24/7 access to the run (which is 5x15) and are allowed outside in a fenced in area of my garden when I'm around to supervise.

    Because I was worried mainly about raccoons and rodents, I used hardware cloth underneath the entire coop and (because I'm paranoid) it is also under the plastic roofing on the top of the coop. The nesting box is the nightstand and I use a bucket auto feeder and nipple-system for water. The ultimate plan is to go deep litter but I did not gather enough leaves in the fall/winter (when I first had the idea for chickens) so I currently only have about an inch of litter substrate. It is still working pretty well as long as I fluff it frequently but I look forward to actually making the litter deeper when I have some more free materials in a few months.

    I went for simplicity and (hopefully) security over cute and cuddly. If there are any doable modifications (if it requires completely tearing down what I have and starting fresh, don't tell me!), I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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  2. snow5164

    snow5164 Crowing

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    I think you did great, I love all the security measures you took, you can sleep easy , and as far as a fourth wall , do you ever get bad weather ? Wind? Rain? They might need a place to hide from the elements.

    Not a fan of nipples , it looks like they stand forever just trying to get a good drink ,

    Just watch and make sure they are getting enough water .
    Great job !This is my favourite, nice big gulps of water for my hens 6D11DE91-E814-41DB-BA3C-9DF251BA27D2.png
     
    Kacey Elle likes this.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Maybe more solid shade?
    Does it get really hot where you are?

    Definitely go for deeper litter, and watch feet for injuries from them digging down to the HC underneath. Aged(3-6 months) wood chippings from tree trimmers are a good base to use then add other smaller dry stuff like twigs, leaves, grass, straw, hay in moderate amounts to have a good mix of sizes, shapes, materials.

    My bird drinks just as much water from nipples as they did from an open waterer.
    I actually measured it as I was also concerned.
     
  4. Kacey Elle

    Kacey Elle Chirping

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    Thanks @snow5164 ! I do have a fair amount of wind year-round but we only get rain in winter. Although I don't technically have a wall, the side opposite to the enclosed roost area is where my door is. There is mesh on the two sides of it (about a foot total--minus door framing) and then the large four foot door--I wanted it to be big enough to get a wheelbarrow in and out to harvest the composted deep litter eventually. So there is a wind break, if not a complete wall. :)

    As far as the nipples go, this is the system that they had before they came to me and it doesn't seem to be a problem. I didn't want their poop in the water and this system seemed nice and clean. On the hottest days I have a small chicken pool that I made and they stand in it and drink from it (which is NOT clean) and nobody has shown signs of dehydration so far. Thanks for pointing out the possible problem; I will keep an eye on it!

    @aart : I suppose it depends on your definition of really hot! Really hot to me is the 90s and it does get to that frequently in the summer. We sometimes get a few days of really REALLY hot which means low 100s. But summer mostly means high 80s/low90s. I have an immature apple tree planted near the coop and in a few years it will provide afternoon shade to the entire coop area. Not much of a help now, though. Should I throw a tarp over the clear plastic of the roof? When the girls are out they do gravitate to the nearby shaded areas but you are right in noticing that there is no direct shade in the run....

    I was *pretty* sure that you could safely add other stuff to the deep litter--thanks for confirming! I'm planning to do my annual lawn mowing (I use a native grass that grows to be about 6 inches and then stops) today and I will add that in. I have been putting small amounts of yard waste in and it seemed to just disappear so I figured that was okay. Would you think that all my yard waste (barring poisonous plants for chickens, of course) can go in the deep litter successfully? I suppose that's how it is in nature, right?
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    They definitely need shade.
     
    Kacey Elle likes this.
  6. jthornton

    jthornton Crowing

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    My Coop
    I had to grin when I read that and that does not surprise me, while I've not measured the water because they have a bird bath to drink out of as well as the nipple water bucket when it's not frozen outside I do measure a lot of things.

    JT
     
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