coop design?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ltrader, Jul 29, 2010.

  1. ltrader

    ltrader In the Brooder

    Jul 29, 2010
    How do chickens use space inside the coop? I need to build one and want them to have enough space on winter days when they can't get out. I know dogs get more use from a long narow run than a square because they trot end to end. Do chickens also, or would a long narrow coop let a dominant hen guard space from the others? We have three hens, and I was thinking maybe a 3' x 8' or something, it would be on wheels and I need it to fit through a gate so narrow but long would be convenient. Do they need vertical space too? If it was narrow, I could reach across to clean, wouldn't have to stand inside. None of the plans I see are for a rectangular shape and I wasn't sure if chickens didn't utilize that space well, or if others just weren't trying to get the coop to roll through a gate [​IMG]
  2. bantyhen'sfriend

    bantyhen'sfriend Songster

    Mar 22, 2009
    Southern Wisconsin
    From what I've seen, chickens just meander with no real pattern. Just be sure they have enough space, and they will use every inch of whatever is provided. Most people use squareish coops.
  3. oldchickenlady

    oldchickenlady Songster

    May 9, 2010
    Cabot, AR
    3x8 would be too small if you intended to keep them in it all the time, but just during bad winter days would be ok. Unless you intend to keep them in there for days at a time. Do you have a lot of snow/ice in your area? Chickens are very hardy and flexible, so unless you have LOTS of snow and ice, they would be fine to go outside and they will live in whatever style coop you build just fine, as long as it has adequate ventilation.
  4. dcs02d

    dcs02d In the Brooder

    Feb 15, 2010
    Depends on where you live. I live in North Florida so mine sleep in the coop and lay in the coop but otherwise are never inside. Of course it never gets below freezing here during the day and only very occasionally at night. As a result I have a small hen house. If mine needed to be in the coop for long hours during the day then I'd need somehting much bigger.
  5. Hollywood Chickens

    Hollywood Chickens Songster

    Mar 12, 2009
    Quote:I live in south FL my chickens are never in the coop either, they won't even go in there when it is raining!

    As for shape square is easier to build and you get more sq. footage in a smaller area.
  6. ltrader

    ltrader In the Brooder

    Jul 29, 2010
    I have an electric poultry fence, so they are outside during the day. I am in Pennsylvania so the winters aren't usually real bitter, but there are going to be times when they won't want to be out. ( last feb, for example). Most of the coops I have seen are squarish, and I wondered if it was narrow if one dominant hen could guard her favorite spot and not let the others go by. Do they spend more time pecking around on the floor, or would vertical height and a lot of roosting options matter more? Their current coop is one of those a-frame things and is too small.

    Also, how do coops on wheels fare on uneven ground? My yard is sloped just about everywhere, anywhere I park it will be on a bit of a grade. Thanks for input! I appreciate being able to bounce around ideas before beginning construction!
  7. TK421

    TK421 Songster 8 Years

    May 24, 2010
    Central TX
    Build whatever shape is easiest for you, your gates, and your specific arm length. Also don't forget your height, and how far down you can reach when cleaning, retrieving eggs, catching chickens, etc. What matters to the chickens is total square footage of the floor (height isn't a big deal).
  8. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    bantyhen'sfriend :

    From what I've seen, chickens just meander with no real pattern.

    Uh oh, I sense a Scientific Study looming! Closed circuit cameras on the coop ceiling, markers on chickens and chicken-marker-readers to track and record chicken meanderings.

    I think I need another smoke break; my brain hurts.

    Oh - and really, this is true: chickens meander, and make little depressions in the bedding for dust baths, and they cross here and there to chase bugs, to follow a spider on the coop wall, to go visit another chicken BFF who just came into the coop, jump up on the roost bar, skootch sideways on the roost, jump down, go outside, come back in, check the feeder, jump in the nest box and turn around a couple times. All that.​

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