Coop and Run questions?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by AN, Mar 31, 2009.

  1. AN

    AN Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 22, 2009
    Texas-South of DFW area
    I am a new chick mommy, and chick daddy is going to start on the coop this week. BUT i have a few questions. I have 8 babies right now, 6 i purchased st run and 2 pullets. So i am hoping for a total of 4-5 pullets.

    How much space per chicken in the coop and in the run?

    Can the coop have a wire floor or does it have to be solid?(if solid what is the best surface for easy clean up)

    How tall does the run need to be?

    How many nesting boxes do i need? (i have 8 chicks but don't know how many are pullets)

    How big do the nesting boxes need to be?

    How high do the roosting poles need to be off the ground?

    When i let the chickens out of their run can they fly over my six foot backyard fence?

    Last edited: Mar 31, 2009
  2. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Mar 25, 2008
    Good morning!

    Yes, it is better to have the coop raised up off of the ground. It doesn't have to be to high, but it is better to have it raised.

    Some people do put wire flooring in their coops, but I prefer to have solid, wood floors covered in vinyl for easy cleaning. It makes the coop more predator proof as well as providing more cold protection and is much easier on their feet.

    The run can be as tall as you want to make it. I wanted my run at least 6 1/2 ft. tall so I could get around in it easier. It's no fun to have to duck while walking around in your run. Mine is covered, thus the extra height was needed.

    With 8 chicks, you could get by with 2 or 3 nesting boxes, but are you planning on adding to your flock later? It's much easier to build things bigger (add more than what you need) from the get go than to go back and expand things later. [​IMG] The boxes should be an even 12x12. Hens like it cozy, dark, and not to roomy. Make sure you put a top on your nesting boxes. If you need ideas, use the search feature and type in nesting boxes. You'll pull up all sorts of good ideas!

    As far as the roosts go, I think that is really up to you. Chickens like to go to bed (roost) high off the ground, but my coop design didn't allow for high roosts. Mine are only 1 1/2 and 3 ft. off the floor. The chickens don't seem to mind to much though! One advantage of having higher roosts however, is it would be better predator protection incase something gets into your coop. The best way to avoid that though, is to build a predator proof coop! [​IMG]

    When you let your chickens out in the run during the day, they will return to their house come dusk, almost dark and go to roost. They won't do this at first though. You have to teach them to do it. When it gets to be dusk and the chickens/chicks all start to settle down in the run, go into the run, pick them up, and start putting them in the chicken house through the pop door. After 2 or 3 nights of this, they will get the idea and will start doing it on their own.

    Now to answer your last question! It really depends on the breed and sometimes the chicken itself, as to whether they will fly over the 6 ft. fence or not. We have a 6 ft. fence going down one side of our property and my standards have never tried to fly over the fence, but my bantams do! Boy those little birds can fly! My Orpingtons, Welsummers, Leghorn, Ameraucana, RIR's, etc... have never tried to fly over though.

    Hope this info. helps some. [​IMG]
  3. jonathansenn

    jonathansenn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 16, 2009
    East Dublin, GA
    Hi An,

    Your in the same stage of this chicken business as I am, so I thought I'd share what I've found.

    coop space =4 to 5 sq ft. per chicken. Run space= 10 sq ft. per chicken
    there are some nice coop and run designs and pics on this site. take a look and copy one that fits your space. Most of them show roost, nesting boxes and the like to give you answers to floor space, height, and roosting issues.

    I would agree that you want it tall enough that you don't have to bend over. that's a pain in the neck (literally!). check the codes in your location though.

    As far as the flying over the fence, you might want to cover the top. It solves the potential problem as well as adds protection.

    I am also looking at 8-10 birds; however, I am also thinking of getting more some day. My plan is to build a 6x8 coop with 3 nesting boxes and a 10x20 run.

    Good Luck!
  4. conny63malies

    conny63malies Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 22, 2008
    Annetta Kentucky
    Quote:my answers are from things i learned here and my future plans....

    4-5sqf coop space and 10sqf run area pref. more so you can buy more chickens
    if it is covered 6ft would be nice so you can stand upright
    1 box for every 4-5 chickens plus one xtra just in case you have a broody that hogs a box

    depends on the chickens and the breeds anything from 12 to 48 inches

    12-12in nestboxes are nice ,but i have sen community nesting boxes too
    depends on the breed again a heavy chicken doesnt fly as well as a bantam chicken . my month old dutch bantam can clear 30 in right now.
    please plan for more room if you can
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Welcome to BYC [​IMG]

    Quote:Most people here would say 4 sq ft per chicken indoors, and 6-10 sq ft per chicken in the run. In reality, the more space you have, the better (not just for the chickens' happiness, but for a better chance of avoiding things like them pecking each other bloody)

    In your climate you do have the advantage of not too long too nasty winters, so as long as they have ample shade somewhere in the summer you could get away with a smaller coop better than, say, me up in Canada here. Bigger is still better though. And providing a good sized are of shade *will* be important.

    Can the coop have a wire floor or does it have to be solid?(if solid what is the best surface for easy clean up)

    Some people have wire floors; there is debate as to how good it is/isn't for their feet (especially for large breeds) and in any case poo is NOT going to reliably fall through it on its own. Thus, the main point would be if you want to power wash the poo thru the floor every few days.

    Otherwise a solid floor would really be best. Plywood is fine (prime and paint with semigloss exterior paint for easier cleanup); some people put a piece of vinyl flooring on it for even easier cleanup. You will for sure want to use at least a thin layer of some sort of bedding on it, for MUCH MUCH easier cleanup. You can buy a compressed bale of pine shavings at the feed store for $5 or so, or use chopped straw or other similar materials. That way the poo sticks amongst the bedding rather than gluing itself to the floor.

    There is also a LOT to be said, IMHO, for a droppings board under the roost that you scrape clean each morning (10 seconds or less) to remove about half their daily poo output from the coop in one quick swoop.

    How tall does the run need to be?

    Either tall enough for you (remember you will have to go in sometimes to tidy, chase chickens, etc); or if it'll just be chicken height then 3-4' is plenty BUT you will need to figure out how you will access it for tidying, chasing chickens, etc.

    How high do the roosting poles need to be off the ground?

    They need to be distinctly higher than the nest boxes - hens like to sleep in the highest spot available and you don't want the nest boxes to look like a possible option or they'll poo inside your nestboxes and you'll have disgusting pooey eggs [​IMG]

    One thing to consider is that you will sometimes want to take the chickens off the roost in the evening to inspect or doctor them (they are waaaaay easy to catch and handle that way, so you avoid having the whole poultry rodeo thing) which is easiest if the roost is a convenient height, like not more than 4' ish above the ground.

    Also some people feel that heavy breeds, e.g. Orpingtons, should have their roosts somewhat low (like just a couple feet off the ground) to avoid occasional leg problems from landing heavily when getting down.

    When i let the chickens out of their run can they fly over my six foot backyard fence?

    If they want to, pretty much everything other than a CornishX meat bird will be able to clear 6'. WILL they want to? No way of telling in advance, although the more appealing the area inside the fence, the less you might expect them to be looking further afield.

    Good luck, have fun,

  6. AN

    AN Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 22, 2009
    Texas-South of DFW area
    Thanks for all the help.

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