Chicken numbers for John Grogan's chicken ark plan accurate?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by dkistner1111, May 23, 2010.

  1. dkistner1111

    dkistner1111 In the Brooder

    May 14, 2010
    Cave Spring, GA
    I'm now looking at John Grogan's chicken ark plan at I thought I was going to keep my chickens in a partitioned-off section of the old barn but just found out it's going to cost over a thousand bucks to shore it up and predator-proof it. And that doesn't include reroofing it. We will not be doing that.

    Grogan says the ark "easily holds six or seven chickens." Is that for real? I have to order a minimum of eight chicks where I live, and I was thinking maybe I could modify this plan slightly by making it 8' long instead of 6' and putting another set of nesting boxes on the other side. I wouldn't bother with that, though, if it's really big enough for six or seven chickens; I'd just give one or two of them away to friends. Six chickens will probably be gracious plenty eggs for two people., I would think, and I really do want to keep it as lightweight as possible.

    If I'd need to make the coop longer for my chickens, would it be strong enough if I add in the two extra feet without adding another set of rafters? I'm thinking of getting a mix of EEs and Red Stars.

    Also, anyone who has built this plan, where do the chickens roost?

    in Cave Spring, GA, Zone 7B

  2. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    The link is

    The run area is only 30 square feet which means the upper coop/nesting area is about half that. If you had birds that tolerated confinement really well you might get away with 5 birds, but in my opinion, it is too small for more.

    You only need 2 nest boxes for 8 birds. You would install a lengthwise roost pole that rests on the center top of the nest boxes on one end and a hanger of some sort on the other end.

    While the ark looks nice, it is harder to construct than a more box shaped coop due to the angles and all. Look on the coop pages in the tractor section for some more roomy moveable coops.
  3. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

    May 13, 2008
    Yeah I think they will be crowded regardless, most of these urban tractor ideas use the Prison measurement technic. Plain and simple just not enough room to have healthy chickens.

  4. drunkdog

    drunkdog Songster

    May 15, 2010
    AND yes if you add 2 feet of length in order to maintain spacing and the integrity of the structure you would need to add rafters/trusses/studs as appropriate...whatever you decide to do if you need help with a construction issue i.e. how to explanation feel free to PM ...I am not uberknowledgable about chickens and such but I know how to build things and explain them relatively well safe good luck and have fun with it [​IMG]
  5. dkistner1111

    dkistner1111 In the Brooder

    May 14, 2010
    Cave Spring, GA
    Folks, thanks so much for your quick help! You confirmed my instinctive reaction.

    After the guy who gave me the pricey estimate on trying to makeshift the barn coop drove a long way to get here and spent a lot of time with me, I'm wanting to hire him to build something (less expensive!) for me so he can get the work. (His grandfather plowed up my huge garden for me for free, and he needs work now pretty bad, so I want to give him the project to the extent that I can afford to do so. Something he can build mostly at home and load up on his big pickup truck to bring over here to finish up for me.)

    I'll go back and look again at the other chicken tractors. I'm scared to order my chicks until I know for sure what I'm going to do about their coop. Time just really flies.

    Thanks again. Y'all are great!
  6. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

    May 13, 2008
    I have to say I admire the way your handling this situation with your builder and your straight forward thinking in regards to your chicken future, too many people don't even get past ...............Ok now I got my chicks now what do I do LOL. I also like your thinking about this young man you want to hire to help you, so many folks don't understand this guy wants to work. I am a building contractor with my own business perhaps I could offer some other suggestions that will meet you mid way to what you may want and maybe give this guy some work. feel free to PM me and I will help.

  7. spangledcornish

    spangledcornish Songster

    Nov 4, 2009
    Southwest, WI

  8. shopchicks

    shopchicks Songster

    Sep 4, 2009
    Boise, Idaho
    One thing you might consider is just getting fewer hens. I know, that's crazy. [​IMG] But if you are only supplying 2 people, 3 hens should do it. You could have a tractor/ark built for them cheaply, and then build a bigger coop or go ahead and modify the barn later when you can afford it (you don't mention if it's a matter of affordability, or simply what you're willing to spend).

    Also, if you haunt Craigslist, you can often find cheap materials, or even a coop-suitable old shed or playhouse for cheap, then hire your handyman to do the build or modification.
  9. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    I have seven tractors myself. I favor a minimum of five square feet per bird which has worked well for me since I first started using them. This assumes you are moving them preferably every day. If you're going to leave them in one place for days at a time then allow more square footage.

    The only birds that have not worked well for me are some red sex-links as they are prone to feather picking. Everyone else has done OK.

    You might try looking at "hoop coops." Anyone good with carpentry should be able to build one fairly easily. Four wheels set low and some apron wire around the bottom will give you a large tractor big enough for six birds (or more) and movable without needing too much oomph to do it.
  10. lauriruth

    lauriruth Songster

    OK....THIS I know about!!! First off -- how old are you and what's your physical ability? i built a Catawba Coop last year, expecting to move it around my yard every day....NOT happenin'! the thing weighs over 100 lbs. to hang the water and feeder and oyster have to get down on all fours and climb in some, then once you get all of above into the thing, the floor space is considerably reduced. i'm 63 and have MS. this was not a good choice for me. if you've got a 5 yr. old who thinks it's fun to climb into small places, it could work for you.

    My Pet Chicken will ship as few as 3 day-old chicks, by the way!

    good luck!

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