Coop Design Questions: roofing, protection, food

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by New Chickadee, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. New Chickadee

    New Chickadee Out Of The Brooder

    24
    0
    32
    Apr 22, 2011
    Ventura, CA
    Well, I've convinced my husband to let me get a few chickens--yay! I'm super excited. First, though, we have to build our coop, and I have a few questions.

    1. We live in Ventura, CA, 1-2 miles from the ocean. Average temperatures year round are in in the 60s. The coldest it gets is the 30s a few times a year at night. We're considering what type of roofing to put on. We like the way the Garden Ark looks, but we're wondering if having space between the top of the coop and the roof is actually such a good idea. Will rain get inside? Other issues? Better to do a completely connected roof with a different form of ventilation? And is the clear corrugated top a good idea or should we worry about a "greenhouse effect?"
    (I can't put the URL because I'm new to posting. The Garden Ark is on the tractor coop page about 1/2way down.)

    2. We have cats and opossums in our neighborhood. We were going to build the run so that the fencing goes at least 6inches into the ground, which seems to be protective. But I've seen people saying that they close their hens inside the coop at night. Is this necessary if the fencing is dug into the ground?

    3. I've seen pictures of the food hanging so that it's not actually on the ground. What's the benefit of this?

    Thanks, guys!
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,123
    3,323
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    2. We have cats and opossums in our neighborhood. We were going to build the run so that the fencing goes at least 6inches into the ground, which seems to be protective. But I've seen people saying that they close their hens inside the coop at night. Is this necessary if the fencing is dug into the ground?

    You probably have a lot more than cats and opossums. I'd be surprised if you did not have raccoons with foxes, dogs, skunks, and many other things a real possibility, even in an urban setting. You can chat with your local animal control to see what they regularly deal with if you doubt me.

    The main reason for locking them in the coop at night is that it is a lot easier to make the coop predator proof than a run. They are just a lot safer locked up.

    You will get a little protection by burying the wire 6". It is a lot better than just having it at ground level. But most digging animals will find that 6" is practically no barrier. They can get under that pretty quickly. What I suggest is to build an apron. Lay the wire horizontally on the outside of your coop and run and attach it to the bottom of your run fencing and the coop. Make it 18" to 24" wide. You can bury it a couple of inches if you want to, like just under the sod, but many of us just lay it on top of the ground. Weighting it down until the grass grows through it is not a bad idea. The idea is that a digger goes up the the fence and starts digging, hits the wire, and does not know to back up. I think it is safer than burying wire and a whole lot easier.

    3. I've seen pictures of the food hanging so that it's not actually on the ground. What's the benefit of this?

    Chickens tend to rake food out of the feeder. If the feeder is about back height, they waste a lot less food. If it is raised, they also don't get it as dirty with their scratching.

    Hope this helps a bit and welcome to the forum. [​IMG] Glad you joined us.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2011
  3. brandislee

    brandislee Chillin' With My Peeps

    510
    13
    133
    Feb 15, 2011
    Southern Minnesota
    In reply to the first question, I think that under eave ventilation is the best option, but isn't the garden ark an A-frame? I wondered the same thing about the vents between wall and roof but built them anyway, and as long as the eaves extend out far enough rain shouldn't get in. It rained for the first time since my chicks were in the coop yesterday and no rain seemed to get in. And it's the best way to make sure you get enough ventilation, which is really important to have enough of.

    It's cooler in Ventura, but I would not use the clear corrugated where I used to live in CA (inland empire- puke). But if 60's is the average most days, you may be okay, and it would probably help keep it warm on the inside on the cooler days.
     
  4. New Chickadee

    New Chickadee Out Of The Brooder

    24
    0
    32
    Apr 22, 2011
    Ventura, CA
    This is great information. Thank you!

    We're planning on keeping our coop in a single spot rather than creating a "tractor." If the chickens kill off the grass, do you replant for them?
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,123
    3,323
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    No, it does no good to plant for them. They will eat and scratch it until it is gone. They will eat the seeds before they sprout and the sprouts from any seeds that they initially miss.

    People have been known to build a frame in their run over sod and cover it with wire maybe 3 to 4 inches from the ground. The chickens can peck at the growth and get green stuff that way without killing it off. You might need to water it, depending on your set-up. Another possible problem is that their poop may get so strong in there that it kills the grass. Chicken poop is great fertilizer when it is broken down, but when fresh it is real high in nitrogen and can kill plants.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by