coop design considerations

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by blackstorm, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. blackstorm

    blackstorm New Egg

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    Mar 4, 2012
    Cato, New York
    I am new to raising chickens but have raised ducks (never again) & pheasants. I still don't know what breed of chicken I want to raise but I am having a hard time making a decision on a coop and run decision. Here are the parameters that I am facing that make this somewhat challenging, I have four Labs that are used for hunting and field trials. These are very good dogs, but if given the chance they might make a meal of the birds. The dogs are trained and are very good when they are in a hunting or test situation and have great soft mouths. Currently the dogs are housed in their crates in my garage but they will be rehoused in indoor / outdoor runs with 6' high fencing later this year.
    What I want is a nice coop/run that is pleasant to look at but is functional, and by this I mean it will protect the chickens from my dogs and other local predators. I am thinking of reusing some of my kennel panels to make the run and these are 6' high by 12' long and 6' by 6' and the run could be 12 x 18" or even larger if needed.
    My main concern is local predators namely coyotes who are notorious diggers and I think they could get under these panels. these panels would be difficult to bury and would make the doors inoperable, one question do chickens do well on concrete or similar surfaces? would I have to supply some form of dirt for them to dust themselves?
    If I have to bury a welded wire fence so be it, but how far down should I go down in the ground?

    How big a coop should I have in square footage, I am not planning on have a huge colony of birds I would think no more than 8-10 as a max and I was planning on starting with 4-6 hens and a rooster all of one breed. I will probably make the coop myself and was wondering about using materials that I used for my dogs. When I bred my dogs several years ago I was concerned about about having a wood surface against the new born pups and mother. I used some food grade plastic material that I stapled with SS staples to the wood panels and could be cleaned easily with a disinfectant. Has something like this successfully been used for the coop floor and nesting boxes or are chickens destructive beasts that I think they are and pick things apart for sport.

    I am in an Ag district with 10 acres of land and my neighbors are very far apart on my street, and one has chickens and another one has peacocks.
    My aim in this is to raise interesting birds that border on being pets, produce some eggs, and have them reproduce. Any breed suggestions would also be helpful that could tolerate the colder snowy climate of Upstate NY, hardy, are reasonably quiet, and the ability to be handled.
    Thanks
    Glynn
     
  2. Hawkeye95

    Hawkeye95 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have used chain link dog panels for my chicken run, too. You can attach an apron at the bottom and dig down a bit of a tench and lay the wire in that to prevent digging under. Yeah, a lot of people say to lay the wire on top, but don't! The wire just curls up a bit and then is a tripping hazzard... I KNOW, because I finally got upset with it and dug the darned trench. LOL!! I just dug down 2 or 3 inches and made my trench about 12 inches out from the bottom and laid the wire down and threw the dirt back on top. I didn't end up with enough dirt to keep the wire down under the ground, so I ended up using more "dirt" from my manure/mulch pile. That will allow your gate to open on the dog panels and keep anything else from digging under. Do put something over the top. I just had a hawk attack a few days ago. He ripped a pretty good hole in my turkey's back, but she got away. For 8-10 chickens I'd build something around an 8 X 8 ft-- nothing smaller than that. We have a black lab that almost daily comes over and "checks" our chicken perimeter. Sigh. I yell at her and send her back home. But so far, what we have has held up. As for the flooring-- you were asking about easy clean up. I used OSB plywood for my flooring and then layed Vinyl flooring from Lowes over the top of that. It ran me about $60 for the flooring. I ran it up the wall and into my nest boxes, though-- easy to clean out. OH-- and we are on 10 acres too and have coyotes that come up nearly every night checking things out. By then, the girls are all safety locked in their coop (at night). My neighbors have had a couple of attacks early morning in the light-- but that is where your security comes in play-- having a run that will hold up to that.

    Do you have a cement pad you are wanting to build on? If you don't already have the cement pad, just build it into the earth. The birds LOVE dust bathes and scratching around. If you already have the cement pad, perhaps you could build it up to keep sand in it. I would not fill it with dirt. One rain, and it's either all gone or a muddy river.

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  3. Brahmamama4

    Brahmamama4 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 18, 2010
    Washington
    I also use a dog run, but mine is on a cement pad with about six inches of sand in it. We cut boards and put them around the bottom so the sand will mostly stay in. The run is 6x12 and is roofed because we have a TON of predators in my area. Also I wrapped the whole thing in half inch hardware cloth because we have too many raccoons in our area that would love to reach in and grab the hens. I have a coop inside the run that is raised off the ground and is about 4x4 in size. Havent had an issue with dogs or any other predator.
     
  4. prescott2k

    prescott2k Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 10, 2012
    Dixon, CA
  5. Jaxon4141

    Jaxon4141 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 18, 2012
    Nebraska
     

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