Coop design and plans.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mich9510, Sep 7, 2016.

  1. mich9510

    mich9510 Songster

    Jul 21, 2016
    Southwest PA
    We currently have a small co-op that is half of our shed. We are going to be building a new one and I have some questions. We currently have 14 Jersey Giants and a mystery chick. Right now they seem to have enough room but I've seen how big these birds can get so we will soon need much bigger. We're planning on eating the chickens but want to keep some of the hens so we can replace our stock. I'm also trying to hatch out 6 svarts and 6 cemanis along with a few araucanas. We're also adding ducks soon. My question is how big of a coop should we build, leaving some room for more birds to come. Also where can I get free coop building plans. Thanks.
  2. Jenna14Chicken

    Jenna14Chicken Songster

    Mar 19, 2016
    The bigger the better, I'm not sure how many birds you are going to have but the minimum for large breeds of birds is 4 sq ft per bird. A smaller breed would need a minimum of 3 sq ft per bird and a bantam would need at least 2 sq ft per bird. But again the bigger the better. Also I'm sure you could find some free building plans online I have before but it was a smaller coop. We are going to be giving our birds the whole she'd soon and making a little shed thing for the lawn mower and anything my dad wants to put in there.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    For building plans, look in the coops section at the top of this page.

    How big of a coop do you need? What a controversial question. There just isn’t an easy answer to that. You can follow the link in my signature to get some of my thoughts on what might influence that. You are hitting several that would say build it bigger. In SW Pa. you are going to see some snow. Cold won’t be all that bad but heat could be an issue. Snow may trap your chickens in the coop for extended periods of time in winter so a little bigger or blocking off part of a run to keep wind and snow out could be a good thing.

    You might do research on keeping ducks with chickens. Ducks tend to make a wet mess, you might be better off building different facilities for them. I don’t have ducks so I can’t give you any advice from personal experience. You might ask in the duck section.

    I don’t know if you are planning on using an incubator or broody hens, but you will be integrating. That screams that you need bigger facilities. When integrating, I find it extremely helpful to have two separate facilities. That could be dividing your coop into two sections or building two different coops at opposite ends of your run, assuming you have a run. Separate facilities gives you a lot of flexibility when dealing with chickens, you never know what will happen. The second one does not have to be very big.

    I’m not a believer in magic numbers for chickens, coop or run space or much of anything else. There are so many variables in how we manage them, our goals, flock make-up, climate, and many other things that there can be no one number that covers all of us. Even if I knew how many chicken would be your peak number it would be really hard to come up with a perfect size. For that many chickens I’d want a walk-in coop. You need to be able to reach every part of the coop for many reasons, that’s hard to do with one you cannot go inside with that many chickens.

    Most building materials come in 4’ and 8’ dimensions. If you are buying new material you can normally reduce your cutting and waste and optimize coop cost if you work with those. From the numbers I think you are working with, somewhere between 25 to 30 plus who knows how much that grows when you start hatching chicks, I would not go less than an 8’ x 12’ and that might be tight. That’s not because of some magic square foot number but you should be able to fit enough roosts and nests in that and still give you a little room to work. You also need room outside for them at that size, the more room outside the better. I have two separate 4’ x 8’ coops in addition to my 8’ x 12’ coop that makes it much easier to deal with issues and integration.

    That many chickens are going to be pooping a lot at night. You are probably going to have to work on poop management. I find a droppings board can help a lot with that, but getting enough roosts with droppings boards can take up a lot of coop space.

    A lot of these space issues are more for your comfort and convenience than really necessary for the chickens. I find the tighter I crowd them the more behavioral issues I have to deal with (a good reason to have a separate small facility), the harder I have to work (think poop management), and the less flexibility I have to work on issues (could be anything). Keeping chickens should not be stressful to you but if you crowd them you increase the chance of increasing your stress. You don’t need that.
    1 person likes this.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Build another basic shed....a large shed....or two(one for ducks).
    Plan to subdivide inside shed(s) for 2-3-4 separate pens, each with separate people doors and pop doors going to separated runs.
    Check out My Coop page.....I can put up a temporary wire wall in spring for thing I planned.

    Keep in mind a storage area inside for feed and supplies.
    Include good deep roof overhangs with eave and ridge venting for winter ventilation.
    Lots of top hinged windows for more ventilation all summer(top hinges allow them to stay open during most rain events).
    2 people like this.
  5. Jenna14Chicken

    Jenna14Chicken Songster

    Mar 19, 2016
    Yes this is what I mean! Its awesomeness that I wish I had. My cousin has this dog kennel house thing that he turned into a chicken and Turkey pen. It looks like this but like 5 of them connected together. Its awesomeness! Its nice if It was bigger like his is so you could breed.

    1 person likes this.
  6. tmarsh83

    tmarsh83 Songster

    Oct 16, 2015
    This looks good for a few ducks, but the number of JG you're talking about are going to take a lot of space. 75 sq ft as a minimum I would think. For them alone you're look at something like 8x12 just of chicken space. Plus the other 12 you mentioned, you're looking at another 60 sq ft.

    Starting from scratch with what you're describing, I would be looking at something that is 16'w x Some 12' dimension long, Separated into 10x12 interior coops, with a 6' aisle that runs the length of the barn for feed, external access to rollout nest boxes, storage, etc. But that's just based on how I like to manage things.
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by