Commercial coops?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by salunra, Nov 5, 2010.

  1. salunra

    salunra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi all,

    We are looking to get some chickens this spring. Due to his extensive project list my husband doesn't want to build a chicken coop. Are there any commercial coops that you folks would recommend for probably 5-10 chickens?

    Thanks!
    Tiffany
     
  2. lilchick

    lilchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Whenever I see those cute little chicken coops advertised I like them but... They are way too expensive for what they're actually made of.. Amish coops are the rage around my area and I think 595.00 for a 4 by 4 ft. coop is crazy..... Also those you purchase on e-bay and poultry supply places look very flimsy and would not last very many seasons.

    That said I have yet to hear anyone on this forum say there coop is just too BIG. Most of us end up getting more birds and needing more space to put them! If you have the ability and hubby is too busy to build one or have friends or family to help you put one together then go for it.. Choose a size bigger than you think you will need!

    Check out the coop pages here on the forum and pick the one you like and have salesman at lumber yard help you get the materials together. If I start a project my hubby can't stand it and will jump in and take over... cool strategy right?

    A few years ago my hubby built me 1 barn then another and then lean to's onto them... Finally he said just get 1 big barn and section off pens and feed area... YES! So I purchased a 12 ft. by 30 ft. cabin complete with 2 lofts and a front porch.. Then using dog kennel panels made neat and secure pens inside as well as runs outside. That may be way too much barn for you but check back in a few seasons and you'll probably be there!

    Seriously check out the wooden lawn sheds sold at Lowes and other big chains. They are put together pretty well and last for several years. Be sure to get treated plywood floor and windows and vents in it. An 8 by 8 or 8 by 10 should work for you.
    You can buy kits to build your own or have the company build on your site. Even with runners and treated floor we had ours placed on a stone pad..

    I bought a 10 by 12 demo shed at Lowes for half off at end of season. They try to clear their lot off in winter and discount most demo sheds. You can even directly call the company and offer them less!
    Then hire someone to deliver your building...

    I have seen nice sheds and coops for sale on Craigslist.. Most state they are moving and cannot take building with them.. Score! Good luck...
     
  3. churchx3

    churchx3 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I built my first coop (4x8) but when I needed to expand I just used a shed that I already had. Sectioned off 2/3 of the shed for the chickens and the other 1/3 I use for food storage. It works great. I see alot of ads on Craiglist for sheds for sale as well as individuals building coops for sale. It would appear the sheds are the better deal overall with the space they offer.
     
  4. Karen_at_LittleBrook

    Karen_at_LittleBrook Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had the same situation w/ a busy hubby. This is the one I bought. The Gable style. I wont lie, all told with the 12x14 run the cost was over $4,000. but Im pretty happy with the coop. You can customize them. Like I had my nest boxes put on the opposite wall as the one pictured. We also put in more ventilation ourselves and an extra large vintage window above the boxes, pained it and added more roosts using wider boards. I did use pricey 1/2"x1/2" hardware cloth for the run to be on the safe side and we skirted it out 24" rather than burying it, and covered the run with it also. My only concern is that the large vent is level with the roost space, so I will be covering it in the winter. We also covered the small window with wire hardware cloth.

    Next time, if I add to my flock (want too!) I will go the shed route, I think.

    http://www.cottagekits.com/chickencoopinfo.htm
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    [​IMG] Welcome to the forum! [​IMG] Glad you are here! [​IMG]

    I'm not a big fan of the coops I see advertised. Especially by the time you transport them, they are usually really expensive and they almost always make claims for them I just don't agree with. They either want to pack more chickens in there than you realistically can, give you too many nest boxes, don't position the roosts right, or something else. You are not going to be keeping them in commercial conditions, packed real tight with trimmed beaks to keep them from cannibalizing each other. You are going to give them enough room that they can live without causing you stress all the time. The rule of thumb on here is a minimum of 4 square feet per chicken in the coop and 10 square feet per chicken in the run. There are a lot of assumptions included in this rule of thumb and with certain conditions and management practices you can often get by with less, but it is a good place to start for a minimum and sometimes you really need more. There is a lot of information in the Learning Center at the top of this site.

    Chickens are not all that complicated. If you provide them with food, water, shelter, and space, they will pretty much do OK. And they don't have to have it pretty or cute. That is a human concept. Where you live and with your conditions you might want or need it pretty or cute, but that is you, not the chickens.

    Other than space, the things you need in a coop are ventilation, protection from drafts, roosts, and nest boxes. Anything else is optional. Some people feed and water in the coop, some do it outside, and many of us do a combination. There are lots of different ways to accomplish these things. The draft protection with ventilation may seem difficult, but it is not. Have your ventilation openings higher than the chickens backs when they are roosting and you have draft protection with ventilation. For roosts, you need a minimum of 8" per chicken, but I prefer a little more. They don't use that much space when they are actually roosting, but they spread their wings when they hop up and hop down, so they need a little extra room for maneuvering space. Th roosts need to be higher than anything else you want the chickens to sleep on. They tend to sleep on the highest thing they can. You especially want the roosts higher than the nest boxes because they poop a lot when they sleep and you do not want poopy eggs.

    Nest boxes can be as simple or complicated as you want to make them. You generally need 1 nest box for every 4 laying hens. If you have a small number of hens, I suggest you put in one extra. They will all probably want to lay in the same one or two no matter how many you have, but the extra comes in handy if one goes broody or in some other circumstances. For 10 hens, I'd plan on 3 nest boxes. Some people use 5 gallon buckets, milk crates, or cat litter boxes as nest boxes and some build really complicated contraptions. Your choice how fancy you want to get.

    Plan on how many chickens you will have in the future, not the the minimum you will have. It is called chicken math. Will you let a broody hatch chicks? Will you add replacement layers? My base laying/breeding flock is 1 rooster and 7 hens, but I currently have 29 chickens. I raise chickens to eat and to replace my layers as they age. You probably need more space than you think.

    I don't know the details of your situation. I'd suggest like many others that you look at a prefabbed building from a big box store or maybe a lumberyard or construction material place. Consider Craigslist or something similar for a building. I like wood instead of metal myself because I think it is easier to add roosts, and such. The wood is better insulation too. Before I bought a prefabbed coop, I'd select a coop from the coop section in the Learning Center and find a local handyman/carpenter to build it for you. I think you will get something better suited for your purposes and probably at a better price.

    Don't forget that it is not just the coop. They need outside space too. For 10 chickens you need a minimum of 40 square feet in the coop and 100 square feet in the run, but I'd suggest giving real consideration to a 8' x 8' coop. That gives you some room to section off a storage area if you wish, or just give them extra room. Mainly though because most construction material comes in 4' or 8' lengths. You have to remember that center to center dimensions are not the same as out-to-out dimensions, but you can often get that extra space with less cutting and waste of material. The place this thought process might get you is in the roof since you want overhang, so the 8' construction material may cost you some extra, but that additional space is usually quite cheap.

    Hope this helps a bit. Good luck and again, [​IMG]
     
  6. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Unless money is no object for you, he might want to reconsider. A chicken coop really requires a minimum of finishing, precise measuring, etc. It doesn't need windows, only a hole with a simple swing-away or lift-up wood shutter (and hardware cloth if you make it predator proof,) for example.

    My son and I knocked together my first coop inside a shed in one evening, maybe 3 hours, and I am an old woman with more skills than strength. I just carried stuff, held boards for sawing, etc.

    A lot depends on where you live. If you are in the South you don't even need 4 sides, only 3, or make a couple of the walls out of hardware cloth.

    Another thought: Yes, you can buy coops, but you really cannot buy runs. If you expect to make their space predator proof, you will have to build the run, anyway. If you are going to free range during the day, or all the time (I do but I have protective dogs) then he could easily do it in a weekend.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 5, 2010
  7. RobinZ

    RobinZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have a commercial(Amish)4X6ft. It holds our 10 girls comfortably. Of course chicken math as it is we plan to build another bigger one. It was easy, they just delivered it and ready to go. Cost us $700.00. Built extremely well. We have been very happy w it.
     
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Bear in mind that a coop that seems to work fine in the warm months can quickly become a source of crowding-related problems in wintertime.

    Commercial coops are pretty much all too small for 5-10 chickens to be highly-likely to be relaxed and easily managed for good health during cold or nasty winters. Thus if the o.p. lives somewhere that gets "real winter", I would suggest that the appropriate choice would not be a commercial coop at all, but rather a kit or prebuilt *shed*, or a secondhand shed (often available thru Craigslist etc).

    A shed (just a regular ol' yard shed, like you store the lawnmower and assorted junk in) usually makes a great coop, all you have to do is add ventilation and a roost and a popdoor, very easy.

    Frankly even if the o.p. lives somewhere like Maui where bad weather is never an issue, you still get a lot more "bang for your buck" buying a SHED (new or used) and doing the very simple conversion to a coop, rather than buying these very up-market priced commercial coops that in most cases are honestly not all that well designed for chicken health or ease of maintenance ANYhow.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     

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