Coop in the suburbs - a few questions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ImportTheBest, Dec 10, 2016.

  1. ImportTheBest

    ImportTheBest Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2012
    Lex, KY
    I've bolded the important bits for those who want to skip the extras and go straight to the point! [​IMG]

    Our first time around we had two bantams and two standard size (see avatar) hens. And to be quite honest they were very noisy little buggars when they layed, lol! We were on about 0.4 acres and I placed them an even distance from all the neighbors (approx 30 ft+). Noone ever complained but I often cringed and wondered if I was going to have someone knock on my door! [​IMG]

    A few years without chickens because of a couple moves from rental to rental, and a thousand miles later...we have our first ever purchased home! It's on 0.3 acres, corner lot, no HOA in this older subdivision, and the house is one more away from the farm that it is adjacent to. As luck would have it, the one place I so desperately want to have my chicken coop ( for my daily chicken viewing pleasure) is in front of a tall hedge that borders the property line with the sweet older neighbors to the left. I'm pretty sure their bedroom is on that side of the house too. [​IMG]

    All that back story to say:

    How many is too many for a coop like this (this one isn't mine, but it would be built to be approx 6x8ft and look similar) to buffer the noise a little in the early mornings?

    Do these plans for the coop sound right to you?
    I haven't scribbled out a sketch yet, but pretend you see:
    appropriate vents,
    lined inside with plywood,
    sheet vinyl flooring,
    insulation between the inner and outer walls,
    a pop door on the left (leading to a secure run) that will be closed at night and opened 9am,
    less nest boxes,
    place to store feed in metal containers (even if I decide to section off a 2x8 area for supply storage there will still be 36 sq ft left for the hens),
    discreet outside access for eggs,
    hanging feeder and waterer,
    roofing may be Ondura corrugated panels or shingles - I'm guessing a more closed roof with shingles would be a better noise barrier?,
    a long roost where the nest boxes are now in the picture,
    and a plank to hold in deep litter at the door until clean out time.

    Is 5 or maybe 6 going to be be the limit for noise, do you think? Could I manage 8? Is there is big decibel difference between 6 and 8? I won't do more than that, but I'm nervous to have 8 even though I've been waiting years for this dream to become a reality, especially since I'm going to be the only one who has chickens!!

    Supposedly there is one neighbor who is a few houses away that has some, but either she has mute ones, has discovered how to train them to be silent, or they no longer have them!

    Potential breeds - all standard size (1 each):
    Easter Egger, Barnevelder, Buff Orpington, Silver Penciled Rock, Salmon Faverolle, Speckled Sussex, Welsummer, and White Crested Black Polish.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2016
  2. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    The coop is adorable. Square footage will let you know how many chickens it will hold comfortably. You should shoot for a minimum of four square feet per chicken with a little over a foot of linear roosting space for each. You seem to have your checklist covered well.

    As far as noise, hens are very quiet for the most part except for mornings when they are laying. Some of them get pretty vocal before and after laying an egg. But the noise won't carry as far as a rooster's crowing does. Most people have told me that the soft noise of my hens cooing and muttering are soothing noises. You might want to poll the neighbors, though, if you intend to keep a rooster. Most people even welcome the sound of crowing. I think people in rural settings are far more tolerant of barnyard noises than city dwellers, though.
  3. ImportTheBest

    ImportTheBest Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2012
    Lex, KY
    Nope, no roosters here and at 4 sq ft I'll be fine even with a supply storage area, without the storage section cordoned off I'll be at 6 sq ft per chicken in the coop alone, so that's not a concern. It's more the decibel level!
  4. jennyf

    jennyf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2016
    When I'm outside, I don't find that mine are any noisier than the wildlife--a flock of geese flying over, or an irritated blue jay, etc. and they're certainly less noisy and unpleasant to listen to than barking dogs. My neighbor and say have a chicken agreement--she wanted them too, so they are right up against her fence line, she likes their noise, and she's the first in line for extra eggs. I don't know that there's much you can do in terms of coop layout to make egg singing quieter. A hedge or privacy fence might help?
  5. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    Content birds with room to roam and things to do are probably less likely to squawk and bicker, but I think a lot of it depends on individual birds as well. Mine have been quiet so far except when they see us out and about - then they "talk" to beg for food. They all haven't started laying yet so we'll see how that changes over time.

    Since it sounds like you're already friendly with the neighbors (the ones with their bedrooms near your hedge), talk to them and find out if chickens will be a bother to them, since it'll be closest to their house. I think if you keep lines of communication open it won't be a problem. Also double check that you're in compliance with city/county regulations as far as setbacks and stuff for placement of the coop.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2016
  6. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2014
    Choose breeds with a lower rate of lay. It increases the odds that on any given day it will be somebody's day off and the henhouse will be a bit quieter.
  7. FlyWheel

    FlyWheel Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 19, 2016
    34.560847, -81.154203
    My Coop
    The general rule is 4 Ft2 minimum per chicken, assuming an average size bird. You have a total of 48 Ft2, so theoretically up to twelve birds. This of course depends a lot on how much time they spend inside the coop, how much area they have to run around in when they are outside and other factors. For your five or six this would be the chicken's version of the Biltmore.

    Another thing you need to consider besides sound is smell. How far away are your neighbors? Are they downwind (based on its prevailing direction)? Steps that can lessen this is how often you clean your coop, and even the kind of bedding you use. I would seriously recommend poop trays under their roosts to simplify the removal of feces dropped during the night when they are roosting which seems to be when they choose to poop the most.

    Cleaning can be made even easier by filling the trays with granulated zeolite (also called sweet PDZ). The zeolite absorbs the moisture and neutralizes the ammonia drastically cutting down on the smell, which also creates a healthier environment for your 'ladies'. As an added bonus it also causes their droppings to 'clump' so can be easily removed with a kitty litter scoop. It takes me all of five minutes to clean up after ten hens and a rooster; those trays catch up to a half pint of poop every night. That's almost two gallons of crap a week that doesn't end up in their bedding!

    By The Way you can also sprinkle some PDZ into their bedding to keep it fresher longer, or buy it pre-mixed in a product known as Coop Klean.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2016
  8. ImportTheBest

    ImportTheBest Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2012
    Lex, KY
    Well, I decided to just commit to the birds that I have been wanting for years!

    I'm going to take a better look in the yard and take under advisement the suggestion to see where the winds blow from and to, and definitely the poop board (how did that idea slip my mind ?!). I'll watch and see where rain and snow accumulation tends to happen more often as well. A wet area can become a smelly area if it isn't managed well. I have 3 potential areas that I could do this, one prime location for me, one okay location but it sort of breaks up the potential kid playing space in the yard, and one that is the furthest from neighbors (as far away as you could be in the city anyway) but least visible for my enjoyment of seeing and accessing them daily.

    I won't rush into it, I promise, I have a couple months until it HAS to be started. They arrive the beginning of March! Brooders and a temporary meat bird area need to be sorted out first. And I'll build the coop on skids in an attempt to be able to move them to another yard area should I need to in the future. I'm not sure what I would use to pull it and move it, but we will cross that bridge another day! ;)
  9. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2016
    One of my chicken math questions is less about how many birds.........but how many eggs do you want? How many eggs determines how many birds and from that coop size.

    The smaller and more confined the urban setting is, the more important this question becomes.

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