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Coop Design Help for 5 Chickens

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by XtremeSteve, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. XtremeSteve

    XtremeSteve Out Of The Brooder

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    Good Morning All!
    We picked up our chicks this past weekend and they are happy as can be in the house right now. I was able to get my wife to buy into the idea of having chickens after a long talk. I was originally looking at 3, but then she said 5!

    So, here I am now with 5 baby chicks and approx. 4-6 weeks to get my chicken coop built out with a very interesting constraint.


    I have a small side yard off my back patio that is probably the most useless space in the world...except for chickens!

    It is 4'-8" wide x 28' long. I have a cinderblock wall on my property line side and the house on the other side. I was able to find these great "pens" available that are 4' wide x 6' long and I purchased 3 of them so I can facilitate that as my runs and they will be very secure from the tops and the sides.

    Now, the big issue is trying to figure out how to design/build my coop.

    Everything I have read says 4 sq ft of space per chicken, which puts me at 20 sq ft. I figured I could do a 7' x 3' chicken coop (exterior dim) and still have 1'-8" to squeeze by the coop to get into the run area to clean it or whatever...

    For the life of me though, I am trying to figure out the right design, but can't... I was thinking of a nesting box off the long end, but the inside, I can't figure out the best way... any help would be amazing...

    Take a look at the attached pic so you can see what I am working with. Ignore the backpressure valve in the ground as I will be moving that as part of this project. Oh, and if this helps, I live in Las Vegas and the direction this picture was taken is facing south.


    [​IMG]
     
  2. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, that 1'8" space you plan on squeezing by doesn't seem like much space at all. Would you be able to get back there with a bucket and rake without trouble? It may be difficult to remove or add material to the run through such a narrow space.

    Your description leads me to believe that the 7' side of the coop will block most of the sight line into the run. For me, half the fun of having chickens is being able to watch them. You may want to orient your coop so that it maximizes the view of the run so that you'll be able to enjoy your birds more.

    I would be inclined to maintain the 4'x6' dimension for the coop. That's a pretty common dimension for coops and I would bet you could find plans online pretty easily for a coop that size. Orient it in line with the pens. Then your whole structure, pen and coop included, would be a uniform width with an even amount of access space down the whole length of it and a better line of sight past the coop and into the pen.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
  3. XtremeSteve

    XtremeSteve Out Of The Brooder

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    The good news is that when I finish rebuilding my back yard (just bought this house 6 months ago), I will be putting a pretty large patch of grass, so I will let them free range a couple of times a week.

    The way I was planning on setting it up was so the nesting boxes will have easy access from the back of the house (not needing to enter the run area at all). Another part of the deal with the wife :)

    My other thought was having it 3x7 and having a tray slide out from the short side to clean out...

    Lots of ideas, but none of them seem to go together...
     
  4. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The best thing to do may be to get some graph paper and start doodling (if you're old school) or use a computer design program to play around designing a coop. I recall a thread where someone posted their coop plans, got feedback and ideas from other members, and reposted the new design for comments each time they modified the plans. I recall they made LOTS of changes from their original design. Windows, vents, doors, roosts, nest boxes, droppings trays, etc.--everything changed location at least once. Everyone was really helpful and there were lots of good suggestions. By the end of it, the OP had a really good design they were happy with. Maybe you could try the same. I'm sure lots of members would chip in with design ideas.
     
  5. XtremeSteve

    XtremeSteve Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 3, 2015
    You mean this kind of doodle? :)

    [​IMG]


    Here is my thoughts and let me know if you think this will fly... no pun intended.

    Hopefully you can see all the dimensions in blue that I did for it. I was an AutoCAD user years ago and I guess I still didn't lose the knack of it.

    I didn't bother with a 2nd floor plan as it is just roosts that are a little over 1' on center apart from each other. Below it at approx. 1'-6" is a removable tray.

    if you see from the front side and cross section, I added a hinged door/window for access to the poop tray from the front and then did two sets of double hinged doors on the long side so that I could have full access to clean out the top and bottom...

    I would love to hear all the pros and cons of this as I haven't started building yet, but I will be in the next week or so.
    Thanks!
    Stephen (and Bella, Maggie, Charlie, Ginger and Lacey too!)
     
  6. Davidhalpern2

    Davidhalpern2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Give yourself more access to
    The run
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
  7. XtremeSteve

    XtremeSteve Out Of The Brooder

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    The chicken run will be 4' wide x 21' long. I wouldn't consider 84 sq ft cruel as every rule of thumb I have read is 10 sq ft per chicken. This design is just for the coop which if you include the nesting boxes is approx. 4 sq ft per chicken of interior space and 7 linear feet of roosting space. Am I missing something here?

    As far as maintenance, the pens that I am getting have removable tops that allow me to go inside of the run and clean and maintain it. The chickens will also have fresh grass planted with metal cloth over some of it so that it can keep growing.

    The reason I have to make the coop this narrow is so that I can have access to the 84 sq ft run for the 5 chickens.

    I additionally will be planting grass in my yard once I rebuild the whole thing (new house to me as of 6 months ago) where the chickens will be allowed to free range.
     
  8. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So technically you have enough roost space but I am having a tough time imagining my girls trying to make their way to the farthest roosts when there are already birds on the front ones.

    What breeds did you get? Bigger birds would probably appreciate a single roost that spans a longer length rather than the three short ones.

    Nice drawings, btw. They certainly don't deserve to be called 'doodles'.
     
  9. Davidhalpern2

    Davidhalpern2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I misread and thought the run was 1'8" wide. Sorry
    As far as grass.... Don't expect to have a "lawn" if you free range, or anything green for that matter. I tried the hardware over grass and my birds pulled the grass out by the roots! I now have a small indoor set up where I grow fodder for my Girls. I grow rye, wheat and barley for them and give them fresh greens daily
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. XtremeSteve

    XtremeSteve Out Of The Brooder

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    No worries. This is my first shot and I have heard they will tear up the grass big time.

    Overall though, does the floor plan/design of the coop make sense? Did I miss anything? I tried to incorporate the roost size, the nesting boxes, plus I will be installing fans to move the air as well as a light for the 1st floor if they need to eat or drink in the middle of the night. The watering bucket will be sealed and there will be an autofill attached to it with chicken nipples on a 2" pvc inside the 1st floor of the coop as well as a peck-o-matic installed on the food 5 gallon bucket on the first floor too.

    Plus they will be getting lots of organic greens from my aquaponics garden as they mature too. I heard they love broccoli leaves!
     

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