Coop Design Questions!!!!


8 Years
Sep 26, 2011
North Carolina
It's my first time with chickens so I still need tips on the best coop and run designs. Right now I have a 4 x 2 coop with two 1 x 1 nestboxes attached to the side that is raised a foot above the ground. It has a pull-out wooden "tray" filled with pine shaving on the bottom and pull-out nestboxes so I can clean the pine shavings out. There is an opening in the back of the coop and a ramp going out into a 6 x 6 run area. I actually used to use the coop for quail a few years ago so I just took out all the wire sides and floor and replaced it with wood. I was wondering if there is a more sanitary, easy-to-clean design for a chicken coop and run because the smell is sort of trapped in the coop. Even though the coop has a bunch of little cracks inbetween pieces of wood and the opening, the air doesn't really circulate. My local hatchery just keeps the chickens in a fenced run with a tin roof and nestboxes and covers it with plastic when it gets cold. They dont have a little shelter in there or anything. I was thinking about doing this becuase they get more fresh air and sunlight plus you don't get that blast of chicken smell that I get when I open the coop doors. It hardly smells at all. I was also wondering how many chickens I could fit in the run I have (36 sq. feet) if I move to my hatcheries design.
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I think your problem with the smell is you have too many chickens. That is a pretty small coop and will only hold two chickens. Even with two chickens most people would prefer a larger space. Your run will cope with up to 4 at a push. How often are you cleaning out the shavings?
Really? I was told it would hold four easy by the people at my hatchery. I clean the shavings totally every weekend and do a small cleanout mid-week if it looks bad. I have no problem making it bigger when I remodel. I can get rid of this coop and add on a larger, half-enclosed shelter to one side of the run. I just want to see how much bigger I need to make it in order to get one more bird (a "fluffy" ameraucana). I have a silkie, a silkie/polish mix, an EE, and a speckled sussex at the moment. They are 3-4 months old.
2x4 coop is to small for 4 birds but with you enclosing with the wood sounds like you are lacking ventilation. If you dont want to do another and your only gonna house 4 I would just add to it. You could extend the run out another 4 to 6 ft and might be big enough. I think its 3 hens to a nestbox. Just remember the bigger the better. It can never be to big but can easily be to small. If you keep them in to close quarters they will peck each other. The need to keep busy and they will get really bored if they dont have enough space to keep them occupied.
Ok no problem
I will work on getting that extended. At the moment they are all the size of bantams (of course the silkie is already bantam
) so i'll get the run bigger before they reach full size. How much would I have to extend it if I were to add another? (if I do it will be one of those new silkie ameraucanas)
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Anyone know how big it should be for 5 pullets? Again right now I have a polish/silkie mix, a speckled sussex, an EE, and a silkie and may get a silkie ameraucana if it is not to much extra building.
People generally quote 4 sq foot per bird in the coop and 10 sq foot in the run but there are lots of factors that effect that and tons of threads discussing the reasons. If you are going to extend though, my advice would be go as big as you can. Your existing chickens will appreciate the space and it will allow room for more. Even if you don't plan more atm you may find in a few years as they start to lay less you would like more but don't want to get rid of your old girls. I've never seen anyone regret making their coop bigger but plenty of people lament building too small.
I may need to downsize. You see I live in a no chicken neighborhood so I need to stay small. I guess I'll just have to stick with two or three.
Maybe i'll just wait until they get bigger to figure out what I need to do. What are the smallest types of chickens that I can get that are good layers?
Ok so I think my neighbor (unfortunately president of the HOA) figured out I have chickens in my backyard because he asked how our shed was coming along (we built it and it has been done for a long time so he definately wants to see whats going on). Our coop is next to our shed and we just built a fence on the side exposed to his house so he doesn't see them and it's less of a bother if he did figure out. So if he comes (I wont tell him he can't come) and says he wants the chickens gone even though he is pretty nice, I have a backup plan. There is a farm field behind my house and my neighbor knows the owner so I am going to ask her to lease/sell us a tiny bit of that field and we can have unlimited chickens!!!! Even if he doesn't say they have to go I would want to do that
But getting to the point I was wondering what the best coop design is for easy matinence. If we do go through with getting the land, I was thinking of having 6 chickens (though I wont make any promises
). Our coop design stinks right now in both ways so I need a better design from people with good experience.

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