Coop information overload

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jjhere, May 19, 2010.

  1. jjhere

    jjhere In the Brooder

    Apr 29, 2010
    Smidge north of Seattle
    We are attempting to design our first coop and are having a hard time figuring out appropriate dimensions. There's so much information out there and we're new to chickens. All help appreciated.

    1) Live in the Pacific NW = rainy, chilly winters
    2) 3 hens (Ameraucana, Barred Rock, Ancona)
    3) smallish urban backyard, with coop in raised area of backyard

    4' x 4' x 4' on one side and 5' on the other; raised 3' off the ground.
    Nest boxes 12" x 12" x 14" on the outside. Could we move these to the inside?
    Linoleum floor with pine shavings on top. Could we use sheet metal instead?
    Roost 2' off the ground and across one side (i.e. 4')

    5' x 9' x 7' on low side, 8' on high side

    Can we get away with smaller dimensions? If we lower the house to 2.5 feet would we have enough space to clean under there? Most of the time they will be in the run, but we will let them roam in the yard when we're out there (we have bald eagles and hawks around). We're trying to do this as cheaply as possible - both unemployed - but we also want to make sure it's done right. Thanks!
  2. Prospector

    Prospector Songster

    First off I am pretty new to this too, so I am passing along what I have gleaned along the way.

    Second I live in the Toronto area, but I think your conditions are "close enough" to follow teh same rules.

    The going rule for space is 4 sq ft per bird, so your coop should be big enough for 4 birds with those dimensions.

    1 foot of rise in four feet of run is a 3-12 pitch. I am not sure whether that slope is adequate for shingles. You may have to go to plastic/steel for your roof. Not sure. You should check minimum slope for the roofing material you choose.

    3' off the ground sounds kinda high. Once you put the coop on there, its up to 8' off the ground. Is this going inside a compound, or having a run attached to it? If its going inside a compound, you are looking at a 9' high compound roof. Thats where I am right now, and I wish I had made mine a little shorter.

    I think you can have 3 birds share one nest box. You may be able to fit it inside, but I would stick it on the outside. I just like the look of them on the outside though, so its really up to you. Mine are on teh outside and I fear frozen eggs this winter.

    I wouldn't put sheet metal on the floor. No real reason, but I wouldn't do it.

    4' of roost should be enough for 3 chickens.

    Your run dimensions don't let the coop fit inside right now, unless the roof of the coop is integrated as part of the roof of the run. Be careful here and make sure that the "utility building" provisions of your zoning bylaw don't include roof overhangs. Many people here disregard this and I cringe when I see these beautiful coops with roofs that clearly push the building footprint over 100 SF on a city lot. Your town DOES have aerial photography that is usually updated every 2 years. Many towns overlay the previous and current aerials and have a computer program that checks for discrepancies.Wherever these discrepancies show up, building permits and tax bases are searched. Be very careful if you build anything that could be mistaken for a shed from an aerial photo. If it is, check with your zoning/buildign/engineering department and get in writing that your structure is exempt. Even if you are building a shed which may someday be converted to some other use and not a chicken coop. Like say a 16 sf. garden tool storage shed with an overhang for your lawn chair/potting bench to go under. If you are zoned rural and outbuildings are required you may still need some permits and a building code inspection. Whatever you build, expect the city to look into it. They may not, but you want to be covered.

    Incidentally, the mapping for local communities is much higher resolution photography than Google or Bing has.
  3. mdbokc

    mdbokc Songster

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
    Good Night Nurse!!! I am so glad to not to have to deal with all those codes and permits for something so small and simple.

    The nesting boxes can still be attached to a wall and on the outside...however, the girls enter through the coop. You just access the nests from the outside with a simple hinged opening.
  4. drunkdog

    drunkdog Songster

    May 15, 2010
    hey Jjhere we are doing ours atm too as we just got a bunch of BAs were in south Everett so same weather applies I am doin a 6by10 full height coop with metal siding exterior and a clear roof with a 12 by 12 run 4 foot of that covered. going with a sand floor and a cleanout access panel system to remove poo from the coop. I chose this design because I also am unenjoyed atm and needed to cut costs the sand was brought in from pacific topsoils for 40/yard and I saved huge by not putting the coop in the air on posts as well as then not needing plywood for the flooring in addition the full height building allows room for a resuable/breakdown brooder area and a huddle box option for cold weather (ya know jan and feb) at the roosts. this still allows for some food storage etc inside the coop in wall cabinets and keeps the floor open. with the attached run finished at 12 by 12 it gives us room for 12 birds sustained capacity even in the short but sometimes wet and cold winters we get here in Seattle. In addition the sand in the run will ofcourse aid in removing surface water from the run. almost forgot in addition the south face of said coop will be finished in the clear plastic siding sheets Lowes sells to maximize winter light and the nest boxes are mounted on the east wall with outside access for cleaning and egg gathering.
    Last edited: May 19, 2010
  5. Netherworldtaken

    Netherworldtaken In the Brooder

    Apr 13, 2010
    My page has a coop and run with plans. THe coop is 4x4 and the run is 8x8. the coop is 18 inches off the ground.
  6. jjhere

    jjhere In the Brooder

    Apr 29, 2010
    Smidge north of Seattle
    Quote:Big Brother is Watching! I had no idea...creepy. Thanks for bringing it up though. Our plan was to have the roof over the whole shebang. We'll have to look into this more - way more.

    Drunkdog, I'd love to check out your coop. We're in Edmonds - practically neighbors!
  7. Prospector

    Prospector Songster

    Quote:Big Brother is Watching! I had no idea...creepy. Thanks for bringing it up though. Our plan was to have the roof over the whole shebang. We'll have to look into this more - way more.

    Just go to your planning department and verify the wording in the bylaw. If it says coverage should be no greater than 100sf (usually 108SF or 10 sq metres in Canada), then it includes the roof overhangs. If it says floor area, GFA, or gross floor area, then it doesn't.

    While there you can also verify with your building department where any town-owned utilities on your property are. This includes water (fresh and storm), sewers, and sometimes power. They may also have records of other buried utilities. Before digging to level your footings or put in posts, you may also want to have other utilities come and locate any buried lines. Your building/engineering/planning department should be able to put you in touch with th eright people for that.

    WRT the overlays of the aerial photos, a town near here was having trouble convincing council to bring in a GIS service because th ecosts were too high. Finally they convinced council that if one ward could be done as a demonstration, they would decide whether or not to implement a city-wide GIS basemap. When the overlay was done not on a previous aerial, but on the base development mapping, enough discrepancies showed up that added permits, taxes, development charges, etc. paid for the mapping of the entire town.
  8. WV_Hillbilly70

    WV_Hillbilly70 Songster

    Apr 28, 2010
    Nashville, Indiana
    Coop design depends greatly on how much you are willing to spend. I built the "Garden Coop" for about $850. It can hold up to 6 hens and is super secure. The plans are like $10, and are invaluable!!! The designer is dead on with the materials list, and the plans are super easy to read and understand even for someone with little or no experience in building trades. This design sounds like it would fit your needs...incidently, I found these plans here on BYC!! Heres the link:

    Hope this helps!!! Good luck!! [​IMG] [​IMG]
  9. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    The only absolute piece of advice I would give anyone thinking about building their coop is don't go smaller. Go for as big as you can. You won't regret it.

    Small coops and runs are harder to keep clean. You're more likely to encounter pecking order squabbles in more crowded housing than you would in roomier quarters. Chickens are simply more fun to watch when they have more space. And dare I suggest it seems to me that they're happier with more room?
  10. mdbokc

    mdbokc Songster

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
    Gotta agree with elmo....go for as big as you can.

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