Coop-building guidance...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by UrbanMama, Oct 1, 2008.

  1. UrbanMama

    UrbanMama Gone Country....

    Sep 27, 2008
    Hello all![​IMG]

    I'm looking for some coop-building guidance... My father is a carpenter and has offered some misc. materials for our coop...but I have no idea what to ask for [​IMG] !

    We are starting with approx. 15 chickens (I ordered 13 though have heard they generally ship extras??) Initially, I had plans of building a basic A-frame...but have since found out we need to go a bit more incognito![​IMG] I'm thinking about something that looks like a garden shed from the front and I'm going to put the run out the back (or side where it can't be easily seen from the road.) 8x8??

    Here are some specific questions:
    -If we do not use flooring (just hardware cloth to keep out predators) and use the deep-litter method...could the chickens end up with frostbite? (In Massachusetts) Would it be better to just invest in flooring?
    -How many nest boxes per chicken? and how high should they be?
    -Can we use metal roofing? and if we do, should we put wood underneath to keep the chill out?
    -How big should the outside run area be?
    -Are there any specific does or don'ts that you'd recommend?
    -Anything you wish you'd done differently with your coop?

    I'm sorry for the 20 questions and I know there are always newbie questions like this ...but I really appreciate any help or suggestions! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2008
  2. Chicabee19

    Chicabee19 Songster

    Aug 8, 2008
    The deep litter method actually generates heat when used over an open dirt floor.

    If you use 2x4 with the flat side up for your roosts, the chickens will be able to warm their feet at night.
  3. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Songster

    Apr 8, 2007
    Im in CT, as long as you keep moisture and drafts down you should be good.
  4. UrbanMama

    UrbanMama Gone Country....

    Sep 27, 2008
    Oh...and one more chickens have any problems with lilacs? The run will be next to a huge lilac bush.

    Thanks again for all of the input![​IMG]
  5. orcasislandchickens

    orcasislandchickens Songster

    Jul 9, 2008
    You are ever so lucky to have a carpenter willing to help you with a coop.

    [​IMG] You have come to the right place.

    Go right now over to the coop pages and start clicking. RIGHT NOW. I mean it. [​IMG] BEFORE you try to plan something out. Go get ideas. Window shop. See what others have done, look at their pages that show what they built and why. [​IMG]

    You will get to see the outside and the inside of so many different coops. Lot's of peoples very good ideas. Any of which you could get your own personal carpenter Dad to build.

    My gosh are you still here? After you have shopped a little you can call in Dad and show him pictures of what you want. A coop like this one, a run like that one, nest boxes, a roost. He will have a few changes, and some ideas too, ( maybe bring you back to reality and back within budget a bit) but a picture is worth a thousand words. Really. [​IMG]

    Man I wish I had a carpenter...[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  6. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
  7. pdpatch

    pdpatch Songster

    Apr 5, 2008
    Hastings, Nebraska
    Quote:No they don't we have three sets and they cause no problems we can see.

    The biggest advice I can give is build it before getting your chicks. We didn't this year and that seems all I have done this year. Three mobile coops, two mobile runs, four brooders boxes, one set of indoor pens, one temporary coop, reconfiguring the brooder pens three times, several feed troughs, grit pans, and butchering stuff.

    Last edited: Oct 2, 2008
  8. Gazinga

    Gazinga Chook Norris

  9. chickenfanatic

    chickenfanatic Songster

    Jul 19, 2008
    deming new mexico
    [​IMG] you'll love it here
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Not if you use enough bedding and keep it raked so it's thick enough everywhere.

    -How many nest boxes per chicken? and how high should they be?

    Something like 3-4 hens per nestbox, although some do well with more hens per a larger communal box. They need to be lower than the roosts, is the big thing. Most people have them high enough off the floor the hens can walk under them, but some (incl. me) have had perfectly fine results with floor-level nestboxes. (Although, that said, the new ones I built last week are raised b/c I decided I didn't wnt a big 'kick me' sign [​IMG])

    -Can we use metal roofing? and if we do, should we put wood underneath to keep the chill out?

    Metal roofing is just fine, very sensible. In a cold climate you want to insulate underneath it to prevent drips of condensate; plywood should be fine but if you felt motivated to put a layer of foamboard or something like that up there too it wouldn't hurt. (Depending also on what *part* of MA you are in)

    -How big should the outside run area be?

    Big as you can stand to build it. Runs are tough/aggravating to try to enlarge, so really, do whatever you can afford. I *promise* your chickens will appreciate it. I certainly wouldn't go less than 8 sq ft per chicken MINIMUM. Remember you are quite likely to want more chickens in the future (ask almost anyone here [​IMG])

    -Are there any specific does or don'ts that you'd recommend?

    You can never have too much ventilation - you will need it, yes even in the cold winter, and it is better to be able to just shut off what you don't need right now than to have to go out there with a reciprocating saw and hack big holes in your purty new coop in a January freeze [​IMG]

    Construct the pophole (chicken door to run) about 10-18" above the coop floor, to allow room to put a buncha litter in there and not have it bury the door or keep spilling out into the run. It can be useful to have a similar, high-ish sill to the people door, for the same reason, but if you do that, make it removeable so you can still get a wheelbarrow in.

    The roof needs to slope AWAY from the run and people door, or it needs gutters; you don't wanna be dumping a roof's worth of water onto the run or onto your head every time you go into the coop [​IMG]

    Have fun [​IMG],


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