Coop design question-coop above ground

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mbmower, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. mbmower

    mbmower New Egg

    Dec 29, 2013
    Central Oklahoma
    I'm as new as they come to chicken raising but we have a couple of acres and my wife wants chickens. Making a coop now in preparation for spring. I've been perusing the forum quite a bit to get ideas for a coop. I have a shed/playhouse that the old homeowners left behind that I was going to repurpose for a coop. It looks like many of the coops I have seen are about 2-3 ft above ground. Why is that? Is that a requirement? I was going to just make a run for them with a door a ground level for them to go in and out of. First of many questions I am sure. Thanks.
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I have a shed coop and this is just fine.

    People raise their coops to prevent rodents from living under the coop, as well as to give the chickens shade. It also seems to make the coop a little drier if you have a lot of mud.

    My advice is to make the pop door with a lip to hold in your bedding. Raise it a little in other words. Make your nest boxes lower than your perches or they will sleep in them.

    Make the ventilation over their heads when they are on the perches so the wind doesn't blow on them.

    Keep in mind that you may want to hose the whole thing out one day and you may want to install linoleum on the floor with a lip for waterproofing, or just hose down a wood floor every year (I have done that). If you don't provide a lip the bedding will fall out unless you use sand and not very much of it.

    There is the "got sand you should" thread, and the "poop board convert thread" that are very good. (I think most people use pine shavings though- you can look up deep litter method.)

    So, I put some hardware cloth along the base of my shed to keep the chickens from tunneling underneath the shed, since it is on concrete blocks which have sunk leaving just enough space for chicks to get into trouble under there. You can also apron out hardware cloth along the ground (not bury it).
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2013
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!

    The tiny coops are that far above the ground for human access without sitting/kneeling on the ground and often have an attached run, so it provides more run space under the coop.

    But it is a good idea to have the coop a foot or so above ground to prevent rodents a place to live, as mentioned. Or you can install and apron to prevent digging predators for a coop on the ground.

    A few of my favorites for coop design:
    -Design the coop for chicken comfort and your comfort.
    -Keep your year round climate in mind, and add it to your profile to help people advise you.
    -Walk in coops are much easier to maintain, especially if your knees are shot like mine are.
    -Poop boards are great things.
    -Chicken wire is for keeping chickens in, not predators out....use 1/2" hardware cloth attached with screws and washers on any openings in the coop for night time security.
    -Use double closure latches on any doors/windows, raccoons have opposable thumbs.

    Lots of different ways to do a coop as you will find, keep reading - a lot, until you figure the best for your situation and budget. There are lots of shed/playhouse conversions to be seen here. Advanced search is your friend.

    advanced search>titles only> playhouse
    1 person likes this.
  4. chfite

    chfite Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    I built mine 2 feet off of the ground so that I could tend to the interior of the coop without having to stoop or bend to reach inside. The alternative would have been to construct a coop that I could walk into. I could not justify the added costs of materials to make one tall enough for me to walk into comfortably. I am 6'-4", so I would need a tall coop, plenty of wood costs, and expensive hardware cloth.

    The chickens don't necessarily benefit from the taller coop. If you can walk into the coop, then keeping your shoes clean can become a consideration. My coop is built on the periphery of the run, so that I can tend to the coop without entering the run.

    You should keep in mind how you will tend to the coop, cleaning, eggs, retrieving chickens, replacing feed, and so forth when you design and build the coop. For the most part, the chickens won't care. They need sufficient space, safety, and ventilation. Beyond that, the needs of the humans tending the flock become important.

    The coop built off of the ground will provide the chickens with room underneath for shade, a dry spot to bathe, and enough space to prevent mice and rats from setting up shop. The larger coop will be more demanding structurally to build than a small one.

    As with many things, time spent planning can pay off in the long run.

    1 person likes this.
  5. trooper

    trooper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2010
    My coop is inside of my run except where I enter it .This works good in that I don't have to worry so much with predators getting in.I built my run and coop with salvaged materials.It takes a little longer,but I have been able to expand my coop and run.For the most I can stand up in my coop.I have a closed in area with windows section that I have to duck but it isn't bad.I like the idea of having to enter my coop for various reasons.I check and make sure that all is fine.I check for eggs.I check to make sure that the bedding is alright.I have a pair of slip on shoes that I wear when I go into the coop.I am still working on my coop.It is safe for them,They stay dry,they have ventilation,they have nest boxes,and so forth.[​IMG]WELCOME to BYC. There is alot of great info on here.Some things will apply to your set up and somethings won't.Somethings are trial and error.Somethings are opinions as to what works for other people in other areas.Good Luck and enjoy them.They are very entertaining to watch.They at times seem very barbaric,but most of the times it isn't as bad as it seems.You will notice chairs around some of the runs and sometimes in the runs.People actually sit and watch them.I can sit in my chair and watch them.It ain't all work.[​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  6. mbmower

    mbmower New Egg

    Dec 29, 2013
    Central Oklahoma
    Thanks for the ideas to get going. Had to google what hardware cloth was but now good to go there. Went and got some so will start from there. I'll post pics as this comes along.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by