COOP DESIGN: Ideal location of nesting box placement in regards to ease of cleaning and deep litter

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by DocumentedPure, Apr 12, 2017.

  1. DocumentedPure

    DocumentedPure Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2017
    Rocky Mountain West
    So, I would like to construct a coop. I would like to have a box that sticks out the side, so that I can easily remove the eggs without having to physically enter inside of the coop. I am guessing that placing it at ground level would make it more difficult for the chickens to want to use the coop, especially since there would be a drop in the space that it takes to clean. So, should I raise the coop so that the chickens can still access it, yet not be drowned by the material of the deep litter? I am also thinking of placing a 1x3 or 1x4 in front of the nesting box, because I would like to use a different substrate than what is used in the general coop area at any given time. But I would like to set it up in a way that I can just slide the board up for ease of cleaning. I will also put linoleum on the bottom of the nesting boxes and coop for easy cleaning.

    I am open and interested in any design ideas that you guys may have. Thank you for your time and wisdom.
     
  2. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 18, 2016
    Missouri
    How big and what style of coop? Ideally, nest boxes are high enough a bird standing on the floor cannot see in, and roost bars elevated above the nests. Mine are 14" square, so are larger than what some use, and are elevated about 24" off the deck. Mine have wire bottoms to let the dust, dirt and any broken eggs, etc. filter through to the floor below.

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    But mine are also internal to the house. I actually prefer to go in each day to collect eggs, as that gives me a chance to look around inside for any problems. That's where they live, so I want to see to it there are no problems going on in there.
     
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  3. DocumentedPure

    DocumentedPure Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2017
    Rocky Mountain West
    Thank you for your wisdom. That is a great idea. Everything else in my coop is internal, so now that I think about it I want to put mine inside of the coop as well. I plan to spend a lot of time observing them and their behavior to make sure they are safe and happy. However, one main reason I wanted it to extend outward was so that I could provide more floor space to keep the birds happier. However the way that you have yours elevated off of the floor looks like it would work just fine. Since I am now going to build the coops internally, I think I am going to use some half inch hardware cloth on the bottom to allow the dust and unwanted materials to filter through the floor as well. It would also be really easy to clean the bottoms as well once I scraped the bedding material out. I like how you used a slanted roof to keep them from roosting on top of it. What is are the estimated internal dimensions of your nesting boxes?
     
  4. DocumentedPure

    DocumentedPure Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2017
    Rocky Mountain West
    I am not sure what you mean by "type" of coop, but this one is similar to the style that I would like to build. Except for about half the square footage. But I still want it to have a roof that slants one way, for it to have a simple square construction, except I want it to be elevated about 1.5 feet off of the ground so that the chickens have more space to explore within their enclosed run.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-building-of-my-coop

    [​IMG]

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  5. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 18, 2016
    Missouri
    What you posted a picture of is a traditional, shed style coop. If you want half that size, here is a traditional coop that is of that style. The "Victory House", circa 1940.

    [​IMG]

    These plans are available on a North Dakota State U. website, but are the same as shown above. The open front faces south. Size is 6' wide x 8' deep and good for up to a dozen birds which equates to about 5 dozen eggs per week.

    If I wanted to build something like that, I'd move the entrance door to the east side and open up the front more with larger windows and more ventilation. But the framing and interior layout is about right. This one uses droppings boards beneath the roosts. This one also has wooden floors, but those can be eliminated in favor of dirt floors under deep litter. You can make an attached run almost as large as your imagination by simply extending the open framing and roof line to one side.

    Yet another style of smaller coop that is similar is the Wichita style. There are an abundance of those to look in the BYC coop section.
     
  6. perchie.girl

    perchie.girl Desert Dweller Premium Member

    It really depends on how many chickens you have and your climate..... you also need to plan for future.... so I would design for how ever many birds you want and double the space.... Chicken math you know [​IMG] For instance in my area my "coop" only has one solid wall. and four wire walls including the roof which gets covered with tarp. Yes it gets cold in the desert but every one handles it like troopers. I do add a tarp on the prevailing wind side during winter.... The winter wind can flip a bird right over here.

    Optimally you need four square feet of floor space per bird and ten square feet of space per bird out in the run... Nest boxes should be high enough off the ground to make em hop up to look in.... But they should be lower than the roosts. You do NOT want your chickens sleeping in the nests. If you design your nest box to have a roll out option you will have cleaner eggs and wont need to have nesting material at all. Just washable pads.

    For large fowl you need at least 12 x 12 box or if you have very large fowl.... 14 x 14 IN my case I will be using a tunnel nest set up. enough room in a single box to handle at least four hens at once.... eggs roll back to a collection area.

    To do Deep litter right you will have upwards to fourteen inches of litter in there by the year. If it doesnt smell you are doing it right. I use Rice hulls only in the areas where the birds will land when they come off the roosts. I set my roosts high almost six feet up so my birds get a little exercise.

    deb
     

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