coop design new pics, got it painted!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by catsmithpuddin, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. catsmithpuddin

    catsmithpuddin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 19, 2009
    haughton louisiana

    As a first time coop builder I am pretty much at the mercy of the information I have been able to get here lurking around.

    We have 3 hens and a rooster. Bout half grown and the coop is a work in progress. My question is........

    what should I do different and they are not even trying to go in the attic roost at night. We have been putting them in there at night and three out of 4 stay.

    I think my ladder might be too steep for them so I am thinking of making a 2 stage ladder with a landing half way up.

    I am going to put a wire floor in the roost area today and build two boxes for nesting.

    How big should the boxes be and will the hardware cloth wire floor be suffecient?

    Let her rip with suggetions cause I need them!

    Thanks Rob and Jen
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2010
  2. kcardella

    kcardella Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2009
    Leslie, AR
    Very cute! However, if this is their nighttime pen, you really need hardware cloth; poultry wire will not keep out most predators. I think the landing is a great idea for the ladder - the front of the ladder is too close to the front of the pen, and they might not be able to get on it easily.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Welcome. Glad you are now a poster and not just a lurker. As a suggestion, you might want to modify your profile to give just a bit of info about you, especially something that gives a rough idea of your weather. It could help. You can get to your profile in the blue strip above.

    Don't fret too much about them not going up to the roost at night. Different ones react differently, but some seem to prefer staying on the ground for a while. I can't remember the age exactly, but mine were somewhere between 8 and 10 weeks old before they stopped huddling on the ground and started roosting. And when they did, it was just a few at first. It took over a week after some started until they were all roosting. If you are worried about them staying warm, you can continue to put them up there, but that is your choice. Nothing unusual in how they are behaving.

    Not sure how high your loft is, or overall dimensions for that matter. I don't use ladders so I cannot comment on the steepness. I also don't know what breeds or whether yours are full sized or bantam. My full sized (you can see the breeds in my signature below) have absolutely no trouble jumping up 2 feet to get to the top of my nesting boxes, then another 2 feet from there to the roost. I even have some that go directly from the ground to the roost 4 feet up. Although your set-up is totally different from mine, I'll show a picture of mine. It might help you make sense of what I'm saying.


    For only three hens, you only need one nesting box. They do take up space, so I recommend not building too many. They will probably all lay in the same one anyway. Your roosts do need to be higher than the nesting boxes so they will not roost in the nesting box and poop in it, thus giving you super dirty eggs. You might consider hanging a nesting box on the wall opposite your loft with the top halfway up so they can use that as a step to the loft and keep the nesting box lower than the roost. Just a thought.

    I used 1/2" hardware cloth as the bottom of my nests. I read on here that the wire is softer than wood and the eggs won't break as easily. I'm not sure I believe that as I think they still need straw or wood shavings or some nesting material. (One lady on here uses Spanish moss). I used the wire because I think it will make it easier to clean if it gets dirty.

    The usually recommendation for full sized hens is to make the nesting box at least 12" long x 12" wide. I think 12" high is also high enough. I made mine 16" x 16" since hens like to lay in the same nest, sometimes at the same time, and this gives them a little more room. I have seen photos on here on one hen laying on top of another in a tight nest. It may be cute but I think it raises the possibility of broken eggs.

    I agree with kcardella's comment on the hardware cloth versus chicken wire. Many preditors can rip through the chicken wire. If you live in an urban or suburban area and think you don't have many predators, I suggest you call your local animal control and ask about the presence of raccoons in particular. I'm not saying you are not aware of that, but you did ask for suggestions.

    This looks kind of short and hard to get into, so you need to be sure you can access the roost area and the nesting area for egg gathering and cleaning. If you don't have it, you need a lip on the bottom of your loft to hold the litter in assumng you are using litter and not an open wire floor. If you are in a warm climate, a wire floor might be sufficient. You still need access to clean it as some poop will not fall through.
  4. sotelomary

    sotelomary Chillin' With My Peeps

    I don't know how big your coop is but it doesn't look very big. If you are planning on staying with the number of birds that you currently have one nest box is enough. I have one nest box for 5 chickens and this works fine. There is no bottom/floor on my box. It has a handle on top and I use this to lift it off when I clean the bottom of my coop.

    I agree with the post that your ladder is to close to the wall and this may be hampering your birds from going up on it. I have the one inch hardware cloth which is stronger than chicken wire. You really need to use this to protect from predators. I also have my coop on a brick foundation which prevents predators from digging in.

    I use shavings on the floor and this absorbs poop and smell along with some diamateous earth (food grade) sprinkled on the floor.

    Don't worry about them not roosting. Mine took about 2 1/2 months for all of them to roost even though I kept putting them on the roost and they kept getting off.

    Hope this helps,
  5. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    The other posters all have good suggestions...
    What I might add will be shocked at how quickly the chicks grow! I think they will soon outgrow this little coop. I would seriously start thinking about how to convert the ENTIRE structure you have built (as it is a good size and shape) into an enclosed coop, and building a separate run for them. As a rule of thumb they should have 4 sq. ft. in the coop and 10 sq. ft. in the run, and always best to have extra. If you build the run first, they can hang out while you do modifications. This is exactly what I ended up doing--the chickens got used to me working on the coop!
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2009
  6. 95yj

    95yj Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 25, 2009
    Central Vermont
    in my experience birds don't use ladders, the exception is a chicken coop door 6 inches off the ground. i used to offer my chickens a ramp but eventualy just removed it since they didn't use it. they may fly up depending on the breed.
  7. catsmithpuddin

    catsmithpuddin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 19, 2009
    haughton louisiana
    Thanks for all the good ideas! Now some answers:

    We are in Louisiana. My next plan is to wrap the bottom in cyclone fence. It will end up in the yard after the weather warms up enough to paint and seal the roof.

    Once they get usd to sleeping there we will be letting them free range during the day. yes we are in the sticks and we have coons, bobcats, yotes, strays, hawks, owls, skunks.........pretty much anything that enjoys chickens. LOL we have been culling the coon herd since trapping season opened though.

    The side walls are about 40 inches tall if that gives you a size reference.

    these pics may alsohelp out.

    Thanks again for all the answers. It is nice to have helpful people around.

  8. ice329

    ice329 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 23, 2009
    You def want a cyclone fence type material around it and if you keep it open on the top. If you can get a gap betwwen the chainlink fence and the chicken wire thats better. What about a bottom. I big dog attacked my actual dog pen I was keeping the birds in and its cyclone fence, you can not believe the streghnth and damage a big dog can do. Pay close attention to the bottom of the fencing to make sure it is 100% secure with no less them a metal tie every 6 inches or so. Do not use zip ties. A big dog will tear up more then you think. I dont mean to sound like the grim reaper but I am a newbie to and know first hand. When you think your good...make it stronger. G/L It looks cool, make it strong. Joey Also that hard wire material is not enough a crafty dog or even a coon bites it breaks a hole in it and gets in there.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2009
  9. chickenpluckeroo7

    chickenpluckeroo7 Out Of The Brooder

    Please use some kind of straw or something over your wire at the bottom of the nest box. One way to break a broody hen is to make her lay on a wire bottomed cage. The wire against her body causes changes in her hormones and breaks her broodiness. Not sure how this would affect a hen you are just trying to get to lay eggs. Chickenplucker
  10. catsmithpuddin

    catsmithpuddin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 19, 2009
    haughton louisiana
    got the wire floor put in the attic and a couple perches put in. I had some dowl rod about 3/4". see if they like that. if not i will take it out and rip a 2x4 in half and use that. 3 out of 4 stayed in it at dusk when we put them in. stayed in when we put him back in a few minutes ago. maybe.......we will see in the morning.

    question..........thought about putting a piece of cyclone fence on the ground when i put it in the final resting place to prevent dig ins. let the ground claim it. any thoughts?

    i will try to get a pic up tomorrow if the inside. also plan on working on the ladder tomorrow.

    built a box this evening too. 12x12 cedar and plywood. went ahead and put a ply floor in it. may regret it later but it was a quick fix for now.

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