Coop and run help and design

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by azzip, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. azzip

    azzip New Egg

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    Mar 23, 2011
    Hello all!

    I am thinking about getting chickens (really its a matter of when as opposed to if). I liked some designs involving 2 runs attached to a single coop. This is because I'm going to use one side to raise a garden, one side for the chickens, then switch each year.

    Anyways, about the run - I would like to use somewhat close mesh fence on the outside, and T-posts. Since this is a considerable area, what should I place over the top? Could I get away with nothing - The areas will be at least 15x20 each, maybe bigger.

    Anyways for the coop - I was thinking of 8x8, 4ft in rear, 7 ft in front, sloping roof. That will give me about 64sqft. I was hoping to keep 20 birds, but that may be a little crowded in the coop. I would like to know what most people use for a coop floor, I figured I would prime some plywood, and that's that. I am trying to keep the cost down.

    I live in Indiana, typical with the Midwest hot summers, cold winters, and would like to know what features I need to put into the coop. I think I will put 2-3 nesting boxes in the 4ft side, a small man door, and 2 entry points, each leading to a separate run.

    Thanks!
     
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I'm pretty south in Indiana, and I can tell you that my birds stay inside quite a bit when we get snow. I would advise against trying to keep 20 birds in a 64 sq. ft. coop. Mine got pretty antsy this past winter (cabin fever) with 7 birds in a 6x8, with the pop door opened every day for them.
    But many people do the double runs as you're describing. Covering a wide run is tricky, but not impossible. Our main coop run is 16 ft. wide, and covered w/2 x 4 wire. Of course you don't have to cover your run - that's up to you. If you have hawks in the area, your chickens will be vulnerable of course. And you would need to make sure that they're shut inside the housing each night, as just about any night time predator can climb.
    Plywood painted with a heavy porch paint works well for many people - put the paint on thick so that it's nice and water repellent.
    The only other advice I'd give is to make sure there is ample ventilation - at least in my area of IN the humidity is horrible!! So you'll want to take advantage of any breezes in the hot summer time. You can always cover up (with board or plexiglass, etc.) some of the vent. openings in the winter.
     
  3. azzip

    azzip New Egg

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    Mar 23, 2011
    Since I know your area (went to Floyd Central, lived outside of Georgetown =-) )
    Did you insulate your coop? I know the winters are a little worse in my neck of the woods, (Lafayette) but not by much. I plan on putting windows in that will best collect the sun, and are removable in the summer, as well as keeping close to a 1ft gap along the top of the east edge of the wall (the tall side) and putting poultry wire in that space, maybe putting a door in so I can close it in the winter instead of just covering it. I could also make a plexiglass pane so I could cover it in the winter, but still get the benefits of solar heating.

    I was thinking of the cover issue, and also saw a picture of a PVC pipe frame cover with bird netting, and was thinking of adapting that to the run design. I will also ask my neighbors if they have problems with racoons/opossums etc, I just noticed their run is uncovered. I just figured out the dimensions of the run, Overall it will be 35'x20' so each side would be 17.5'x20' or 350sqft. and will use PVC piping to create a dome shape, using the T-posts and welding some rebar to the top that was bent at the proper angle (like setting up a dome tent) that way I will only need to make one cover, and move it year to year. I will have to sketch out a design to really work out the bugs. Also as far as a cover goes, I will put light weight poultry wire along the perimeter of this cover (3-4ft at the bottom) and may put the rest as bird netting. (I would still use some sort of coated hardware wire for the fence, we're just talking where the dome starts at the top of the fence poles) Is that reasonable?

    Thanks!
     
  4. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I did insulate. My birds are pretty much pets, so I kind of went all out with my coop/run.

    Last year I loved driving by this one lady's house a few miles down the road. Sometimes her chickens would be out freeranging (too close to the road in my opinion, but still fun to see them), but even when they were penned you could see them from the road. Her rooster was gorgeous! One of those Kelloggs Corn Flake roosters. Then came a day when she stuck a sign out reading "Free Coop Supplies." I stopped by (too late of course [​IMG], they'd been taken), and started chatting with her, asking if she'd built a new coop for her birds. Her "free coop supplies" included what was left of her chicken wire/poultry netting. A raccoon had torn through the wire that weekend and killed almost her entire flock. She was home and heard it happening, but she was home alone (didn't own a gun I suppose???) and couldn't do anything to stop it. Personally, I wouldn't rely on chicken wire for anything other than to keep my chickens out of my garden or away from plants I'm protecting. That lady had her chickens for over two years, with no coon problems. Then BAM - problem. But just like freerangers (which I sometimes do with my birds even though I have a very secure run), as long as you're aware of the risks involved and are prepared for potential losses, then your set-up sounds okay.

    Windows, glass or plexiglass are wonderful for taking advantage of winter sun - free heat source!!

    My son graduates for FC this year [​IMG]
     

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