Coop Ideas


In the Brooder
9 Years
Oct 12, 2010
Abbeville, GA
Hello Everyone. I am new to the forum and have read many threads concerning chickens. I live in south central Georgia and am in the process of building a chicken coop, and I am trying to combine ideas that I have obtained from those threads. I'm actually redesigning a building that I used as a pidgeon loft. The building is 7'X11' and has a wooden slatted floor. The slats are spaced about 1/8th of inch across the floor. This gives a little ventilation through the floor. It's a little over 6' tall inside, so I can walk around inside of it. As the pictures will show, the building is sitting on my utility trailer. This serves two purposes. First it gets it up off of the ground where it is much easier to work on for this old man. Secondly, the building had to be moved from its old location, so now I will be able to move it easily to its new location. I need your advice, criticism, thoughts, etc. on my ideas. The pictures will give you a good idea of what I'm working on and how I am thinking about designing the coop. The first pic shows the entire building sitting on the trailer. The second pic shows the left side of the building; this is where the entrance door is located that goes into the coop. The next pic shows the rear of the coop. I am currently removing the tin from the back side to replace some rotten boards. This is also where I am planning to place my nesting boxes. You will notice a 2x4 that runs about 8" above the floor. This 2x4 spans 92" and has three vertical supports in the middle of the building. It is my plan to leave the 92" 2x4 where it is and remove the three supporting 2x4's. This will leave a large opening above the 92" and this is where I think the nesting boxes should go. My thinking is to build a gang of 7 nesting boxes (probably more than I actually need) and will put all of the nesting boxes on one level and one height. These boxes will sit on top of the 92" spanning 2x4, which means they will be about 8 inches above floor of the coop. Most of the nesting box structure will actually protrude out the back side of the building which means that the chickens will not be able to roost on top of the boxes inside the coop. It is my thinking that it will be best to remove the eggs from the outside of the building by designing the nesting boxes with a hinged lid on top. This way all I will need to do is go to the back of the coop, raise the hinged top of the nesting boxes and remove the eggs. You will notice two square holes cut into the back side of this building about 2/3rd's the way up the building. This was used as recovery shoots back when I had pidgeons. These will be covered back up and will serve no purpose for the chickens. The last pic shows the front of the coop. I have cut out a small doorway for the chickens to have access to the coop from the yard area. The door is hinged on top so that I can secure it if necessary. Most likely it will remain open 99% of the time, but at least I will have the capability of locking the brood up off of the yard if necessary for repairs, etc. I also built a ramp for the chickens to use to get in and out of the coop. It's being used to temporarily told up the little door. Well there you have it. I welcome any thoughts, ideas, suggestions and constructive criticism of this project. By the way, the coop will be sitting on 8x8x16 concrete blocks which means that the coop floor will actually be sitting about 21" above the ground. If you are wondering why I have a slatted floor it's because it gave some ventilation for the pidgeons and it made it easy to occasionally take a hose and wash out the inside of the building allowing all of the pidgeon droppings and trash to fall through to the ground underneath the building. Pidgeons made a terrible mess of their loft. I'm open for any and all comments..........
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I wouldn't do a lot of work on nest boxes. How many chickens are you planning? If not too many, you could just throw cardboard boxes or milk crates or plastic bins or whatever you have lying around in there for nest boxes. You'll wind up going inside to check for eggs laid outside the nest, anyway, and likely collecting some, at least some days. But then I never wanted outside nest boxes because I go inside to fill feeders and waterers anyway.

I would cover the floor. I'd be afraid their nails would get caught and cause leg injuries. I'd be looking for a scrap or two of linoleum that I could just throw in there, and pull out for cleaning when I wanted to. This might not be a problem with a lot of litter -- if they don't scratch dust bathing holes or nests into it.
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We built nestboxes and our chickens didn't use them. One day I left a plastic dog carrier in our chicken run and the next day I went out to get it and all our chickens had laid in it!! None laid in the nextboxes but they sure did like those cat carriers. So that's what we use now. We get old ones from a cat rescue that the doors have rusted on them and we just take the rusted doors off and the hens LOVE those carriers!!

I really haven't decided on how many or what variety of chicken yet, but I'm thinking no fewer than 10 and no more than 20, probably closer to 10. Not having to build nesting boxes will save me a lot of work and will simplify finishing the coop. I didn't even think about injuries to the chickens and it is a thought well taken. Thanks for the feedback.
I have 8 birds and 3 nesting boxes... two don't get used. So if you have 20, I'm willing to bet 5-8 boxes will be plenty, and they could be made from about anything. Hens lay on different schedules, and have different preferences. Mine wait in line for the same box. Even though they are all EXACTLY the same height and style. Or I find eggs on the floor inside. Don't spend a lot of time on nesting, I opted out of building them and instead did a big wooden box we already had for outside storage, flipped it on it's side to have a front opening, screwed posts on either side for roosts to go across (creating a poo board that's easy to clean) and put plastic bins in the bottom inside the box as nesting. The box is plywood with a 2x4 frame, about 4ft wide x 2ft tall (flipped over on it's side)x 3 1/2 ft deep which was perfect for 2 roosts, one taller than the other. Drilled holes through the supports on either side, pushed in closet rods, screwed them into the supports from the sides so they wouldn't turn. Roosting and nesting self contained without having to bore through the metal sides of the coop anymore. Insulated the metal with foam board and cheap wood paneling to eliminate drafts. The paneling will keep the birds from eating the foam. Added 4 windows. May add more next summer.

If you want outside access to eggs, you'll need dummy eggs to show that's where they go. You could still frame out the area but use milk crates or something with an open top (I used stackable storage totes that dipped in the front) so that you don't have to cut a bunch of little wood and spend all that time building boxes. Predrilled holes in the plastic/metal to secure whatever it is you chose since chickens are really good about jumping on the sides of things if they can. If it's light weight or not secured, things will get rearranged. I weighted mine with 1x1 concrete pads and threw shavings in for bedding.

I used those same concrete pads to raise the water off the floor so that they couldn't kick bedding or dirt into as easy, that's been handy. I haven't decided if I wanted a hanging waterer or not because of winter coming. Water on the floor though, you'll be cleaning it every 4 hours or letting it go dry. Just one inch of concrete block helped tremendously, only have to clean waterers once a day now.
This is very similar to what I have, but I just put hay in them. Soft rubber-like shelf covering is inexpensive and a great nest box lining if they scratch all the hay out and wind up breaking eggs from dropping them while laying or stepping on them. I have 7 nests and never paid a penny for any of them. I use concrete block scraps to elevate the waterers. I bought inexpensive plastic feeders and hung them from metal clothesline scraps I had.

Lots of great hints on here if you wonder how to deal with most any situation. The learning center and FAQ's re great resources.

Good luck.
I'm really enjoying this learning curve I'm going through with this project. You've given me some great ideas and information. I've changed my mind about building nesting boxes with outside access. It will be much more practical to use simple-made nests and just place them inside the building. Thanks everyone.

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