Complete Newbie Here

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by dozer183e, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. dozer183e

    dozer183e New Egg

    Oct 28, 2013
    Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
    Hi, I am admittedly a complete newbie to chickens. I have never thought about having my own chickens until now, but I realize it something I want to take on. I have been trying to read up on it the last couple of days, but have so far to go. I do have few friends who have chicken experience, so will tap into them as well. I live in an African country where it is normal to have chickens for many people, but usually they are "free range". I'd like to coop mine. I have have an existing shed that I would like to convert into a coop. The size is about 11'x14', with a roof at about 9'. I am attaching 2 pictures. To the right, under the same roof is a clothes line that will remain. I plan to put up sheet metal to separate the two functions, and to hopefully keep ant chicken mess and smell away from the clothes.


    So the back is block wall, the right side will be corrugated tin, the front and the left sides would probably be chicken wire with a door in the front.. The temperatures here are moderate. coldest would be about 60, hottest would be 80.
    I am thinking about 3-4 layering chickens.
    Here are my questions:
    1. For the front and left sides, are chicken wire best for the full height (9-10'), or should I put tin over some of this too? I think most of the prevailing wind will be blocked by the block wall.
    2. Not quite sure what to build on the inside. I'v read about roosts and nesting boxes. I could probably put nesting boxes at 1'x1'x1' at the left side with a access door to grab eggs. Is the roost just an elevated platform? Size/height? Or are horizontal branches enough?
    3. The floor is dirt. I can spread out some of the hay you see, and sand or gravel are easy to acquire here. Thoughts?

    Please give me any other advice or tips you can think of.

  2. chfite

    chfite Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    Given the cited range of temperatures, enclosing the coop for more than protection from predators should not be necessary.

    Nesting boxes for laying need to be just a tad bigger than the hens, so that they can turn around. For 3 - 4 hens, one nesting box should be adequate. A roost needs to be higher than the nesting boxes so the chickens won't sleep in the nests. Most anything can be used for roosting. Consider that chickens don't perch, the roost can be large branches or flat boards. Chickens like to be up high, so the roost at 2 to 3 feet above the floor should make them happy.

    Sand will help with drainage, if rains are a consideration there. The chickens will turn over any sand or soil in the coop and run area, so that odor should not be too much of a problem. The droppings will be incorporated into the soil and decompose there.

    Chickens need food, water, and shelter. With your mild climate, the extremes of weather won't be a consideration.

  3. dozer183e

    dozer183e New Egg

    Oct 28, 2013
    Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
    Thanks Chris, this is good info.

    You say the roost should be higher than the nesting area, but only 2-3' above the ground. Does this mean the nesting box(es) should be lower than that? I have plenty of height in there, so could put the nesting boxes up at 2-3'(which i was originally imagining) and the roost then at 3-4'.

    Also I forgot to mention daylight. We get 12 hours of sun a day, but this coop area is well shaded, so won't get much direct light. Is that a problem?
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2013
  4. dozer183e

    dozer183e New Egg

    Oct 28, 2013
    Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
    I am working on making this shed inhabitable by some chickens. Should I remove the hay stacks or just leave them in there?

    Also, I am very concerned as we have mongooses here. I am afraid they can squeeze through small cracks, and I am also afraid they may dig into the coop. What is the best way to remedy this?
  5. cypressdrake

    cypressdrake Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 4, 2012
    Thibodaux, Louisiana.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] Best wishes on your project.
  6. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Most folks use welded wire, half inch squares often called "hardware cloth" in the States. Quite a bit more expensive than chicken wire, unfortunately. Chicken wire is NO protection against predators - one basically uses it to keep chickens in or out of some place. Hay bales might be a big draw to rodents..... :idunno
  7. Primo

    Primo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 1, 2013
    Here ya go, remove the hay bales. Put the roost on one side(up to four feet wiil be ok) Put the nest boxes on the other side but lower(even ground level will be ok) To keep predators from digging, lay some fence flat on the ground underneath the vertical fencing (no need to bury, just so it stick out a couple feet from the coup) Good luck

    Also, chickens are cheap, do the best you can, if you lose some to predators, fix the problem then get some more.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013
  8. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 15, 2010
    Westfield, Indiana
    For sure remove the hay bales. The birds will poop on them and pretty much scratch them apart into one massive pile. Shade is wonderful but areas without partial sun and a breeze will remain damp and can be smelly. Not sure if you are in an area with lions but living in Africa with chickens takes the predator proof coop/run to a whole new level!

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