Changing the Coop???

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by RJClaveau, Nov 10, 2019.

  1. RJClaveau

    RJClaveau Chirping

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    20191017_183701.jpg To accommodate the growing baby chickens, we are going to have to modify our coop and run. I want 1 flock, not 2 and I have plenty of space. What we have right now is ideal because the building was already there and we just used half for the coop and added the run. We need to do this soon as the other flock should start laying in about 10 weeks. We are "do it yourselfers" and try not spending a ton of money. I have to keep my Cornish separated from all of the chickens as they started bullying them and plucking their feathers til they bleed. So the Cornish stay in the backyard so they dont get hurt. During the day they co-exist and free-range. I tried bringing one of the younger ones out to introduce him to everyone but Goldie, my rooster wasnt having that. He grew taller and puffed up and out and started to tower over the little one, trying to peck his head, but I scooped him up before that happened. They need shelter at night as I have already lost my 2 ducks to a predator, most likely a fox. How large should the coop be for 17 birds? I know for sure there are 3 roosters so how many hen boxes? How big should their run be even though they all will eventually be in the yard during the day? What I would like to do is use the entire shed for the coop and double the run in width, extending it out lengthwise as well.
     

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  2. DobieLover

    DobieLover Easily distracted by chickens

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    Welcome, again.

    The general rule of thumb is 4 sq ft/bird in the coop and I would not do anything less than that due to the multiple roosters you have.
    The absolute bare minimum in the run is 10 sq ft/bird. But I shoot for as close to 2x that as I can manage.
    Your run is not predator proof. Chicken wire will not stop any serious predator and it will easily permit rodent entry. You might want to consider installing 1/2" hardware cloth along the bottom 4 feet of the run during the expansion or just upgrading the entire enclosure with HC. But you mentioned not wanting to spend a lot of money and HC is a lot more expensive than chicken wire but worth every penny for the piece of mind and security it brings.
    I would also extend a 2' predator apron around the perimeter of the run to prevent digging.
    I would add more ventilation to your coop by cutting out a triangle in the top of the gable ends. Attach HC over the openings on the interior to secure them and install a baffle to the exterior if snow or rain blows in, but it shouldn't. You have a decent overhang on the gable end. I can see where the upper piece of metal siding overlaps the bottom section on the wall. That would be a good place to install a gable vent. Just remove that top piece and cut out the plywood sheathing.
    If you can install some more top hinged windows well above the roost area, that would be helpful too for much needed ventilation.
    Where is the roost for these birds? Can you provide a sketch of the current layout and the interior of the entire space you want to convert?
    You wouldn't need more than 3 or 4 nest boxes for 14 layers. I have 24 layers and 5 boxes and that is enough for them.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    Hi, welcome to the forum. Glad you joined. 19 posts from yesterday! :thumbsup

    I'm not a believer in magic numbers for how much space chickens need. We keep them in so many different climates, flock make-ups, use different management techniques, have different goals, and so any other differences that no one number works great for all of us. Plus look to the future, what will it look like later. Will you be integrating more chickens or having broody hen raise chicks? If you follow the link in my signature below you can see some of the things I think you should consider when determining how much space you need. I find the more I crowd them the more behavioral problems I have to deal with, the harder I have to work, and the less flexibility I have to deal with issues that come up. I think I value flexibility more than the other things.

    The general rule of thumb for nests is a minimum of 12" x 12" each and a nest for every four hens. A larger nest can accommodate more hens as they sometimes like to share a nest and lay at the same time. Most of us experience that you get most of you eggs in one or two nests but I'd still go with one nest for every four hens even if your nests are larger than the minimum. That way you can accommodate a nest hog that won't allow another hen to share and takes a really long time to lay or gives you flexibility if you have a broody hen.

    I don't know how big your coop or your run are so I don't know what doubling the size does. It sounds good to me if it is easy to do. People don't complain about having too much room but they sometimes do about not having enough. I know there can be a cost factor so I suggest giving them as much room as you reasonably can instead of worrying about magic numbers. And especially as you will be integrating younger chickens I suggest you give them plenty of roost space and spread it around so the younger have room to avoid the older on the roosts. As long as your roosts are higher than your nests enough roosts usually keep them from sleeping in your nests.

    Good luck!
     
  4. Ladies-Eight

    Ladies-Eight Songster

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    I have 19 hens and I gave them 6 nesting boxes. They do not use all of them.
     
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  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Put fake eggs in all of them ;)
     
  6. Ladies-Eight

    Ladies-Eight Songster

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    I had fake eggs in each nest. The chickens were moving them from nest to nest or moving them out of the nest to the floor. I gave up and took the fake eggs out.
     
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  7. trumpeting_angel

    trumpeting_angel Free Ranging

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    I built my coop with 18 sq ft of space for 4 chickens. As soon as they moved in, still growing, I could see that it wasn’t enough. We still needed to add nest boxes, so when we did, we also expanded the space by about 4 sq ft. I think it’s adequate now, but just barely. So that’s 5.5 sq ft per chicken. I have 2 Buff Orps and a Black Australorp, who are on the large side. The fourth is a gold laced Wyandotte.

    The run is about 55 sq ft, over the minimum 10 sq ft per bird. It’s adequate. They seem to have enough room. But when we do it again, I will add much more room. It makes everything cleaner, gives the girls their space when one is in a snit, and more choices about where to be.

    Since your run is not predator-proof, they should have a roost (a 2” x 4” wide side flat works well) inside, and the chickens should all be inside when it’s dark. The dark is dangerous; foxes and raccoons are out and about, along with others even more dangerous.

    There are hundreds of coops to look at in the articles section, and many options for doors and ideas for runs, as well. Good luck!
     
    Ladies-Eight likes this.
  8. RJClaveau

    RJClaveau Chirping

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    Nov 9, 2019
    Thank you for all the great info. I better get my stuff together now because I just found an egg and they are only 14 weeks. Lol
     

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