Coop Kits - Advice

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Seatrout00, Dec 5, 2015.

  1. Seatrout00

    Seatrout00 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello - my son and I are ready finally to commit to getting a small group of back yard hens. We are zoned for it here in Melbourne and we just lost our oldest dog - who happened to have a huge prey drive - thus our remaining pets should pose no real threat to the chickens. My problem with finding a coop is that the ones I see advertised that are made in my area start around $600. My budget simply can not sustain that, and my carpentry skills are very minimal, as well as my tools.

    Thus, I started looking at coop kits online - Amazon and a few other online stores and found some small coops at very reasonable prices - however - I wanted to ask the experts what they thought of them - see if anyone else had/tried them. Thus far, I think I like the Trixie brand of coops best but I am all ears, as they say. I want to do this as cost effective as I can, but I still want a good product that will hold up in rainy weather and do well for my hens as well as be easy to clean.

    I live in East Central Florida - our weather conditions are much like India - we have a rainy and a dry season, temperatures in the summer can reach 100 - humidity is a big factor here. Winters are generally in the upper 70s.

    Thank you all!
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Hi, from what i see and read from other members, most "coops" that one can buy are a waste of money. I have heard more than once that they cannot accommodate the number of chickens claimed.

    I am an advocate of using a shed as a coop as you can arrange (and re-arrange) things as you wish. Chicken maths must be accounted for [​IMG].

    Just looked at amazon and heres the link for the first page:

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias=aps&field-keywords=garden+sheds

    I guess the additional cost to consider is based on what flooring you wish to have. Cement is great - easy to clean etc, so you should add that into the equation of total cost.

    As for the inside (in my existing shed) - i put up some tree branches for roosts and use plastic basins for nest boxes - job done!

    Good luck with whatever you decide

    CT
     
  3. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    As a general rule mail order coop kits (especially low cost ones) are not worth the money in the end, IMO... Most are drastically undersized (if it says it suitable for 4-6 chickens only expect it to be big enough for 1 or 2 in reality) they are also made of inferior or cheap materials, poorly designed overall and highly overpriced when you factor in shipping cost... I have seen some nicer (expensive) kits but when I see the price tag for those nicer ones it's clear you are paying a huge premium for the convenience of a kit

    You would be better off buying a wood 'shed' kit from a local big box store and paying some friends with 6 packs of beer to help you put it together on the weekend(s), then doing mods as needed to make it a better coop...

    Or if you are real tight on budget finding a shed on Craigslist and finding a friend with a trailer the will help you move it...

    There are other cheaper options like cattle panel coops that can be explored by they generally don't offer the security a solid structure does...

    I have seen story after story of people trying to go cheap with kits, most of them time they end up abandoning the kit in short as a total waste or spend more money trying to make it worth then they would have spent in the first place...

    On that subject I would personally never own a coop I could not walk into and clean and do maintenance on, my back hurts just looking at many of the smaller coop kits knowing you have to bend over or contort yourself into some odd position to do even basic maintenance, personally that alone is not worth it...
     
  4. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    These little coop kit ARE cute, I'll give them that much. And I do think they'd work for a pair or trio of some tiny breed of chicken for permanent housing, or maybe a pair of LF hens if you added additional run space. But as was already stressed, they advertise how many chickens they'll "hold" based on commercial poultry houses I'd presume, because there's no way I'm going to cram 4 hens into a 24x24 inch housing space, which one of the Trixie coops basically offered.

    Look at the DETAILS of the sizing. The nest boxes aren't living space, so take that dimension away. Most folks give at least 10 sq. feet of outdoor space per LF hen, and I think the Trixie model I looked at offered about 15 sq. feet TOTAL run space. So you'd still need to add a run...even if just metal T posts and 2x4 welded wire for daytime use???? Lock them inside the little kit coop each evening for security...

    You might do a search on hoop coops as a cheap, fairly simple option....especially if you use cattle panels.
     
  5. Seatrout00

    Seatrout00 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I really appreciate you all's advise. I am in agreement - the coops just don't look big enough for three or more hens. (and the reviews I've read state the coops just aren't that sturdy and usually need extra work to make them stable - which doesn't interest me at all) We are aiming at having four hens - and the breeds I am hoping to acquire are two RIRs and two Barred Rocks. I understand they are standard (large) sized hens, up to about 6 pounds and are fairly active, thus - I'd not want to smush them into a tiny coop.

    I do plan on letting the girls out during the day, weather permitting, on most days - I have a fenced in back yard and plan to cut their wings so they don't fly too far off - but on the days they can't come out of the coop for what ever reason, I don't want them smushed in there.
     
  6. AlHawk

    AlHawk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Seatrout,

    I also looked into those kits and found them lacking at best. Take that same $300-$400 and buy some lumber and build it. You may not get all those fancy features but you can do it.

    I also live in Melbourne and would be willing to help you out building it and designing it.

    Welcome to the group and look at the Florida residents page (link in my signature block).
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. Seatrout00

    Seatrout00 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Melbourne Florida
    Alhawk! Those are some beautiful gags you have there - sorry, had to say it - back when I was young and strong, I worked bottom fishing boats out of the port.

    I digress - I would WELCOME your help, but I warn you - I am in no way, shape or form, a carpenter - by any means. I think I have a hammer and some screw drivers - fairly sure my father has a circular saw ... my dad can't help me as he's suffering from dementia, but I would WELCOME your help! Gladly!

    I have checked out the Florida "Sunny Side Up" thread on here as well.
     
  8. AlHawk

    AlHawk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. Those gags were caught on the boat I used to work on. We are docked in Sebastian.

    I have enough tools for an entire construction crew. If you can hold a board and screw some screws we can do this. The big obstacle is time. I run my own business 6d a week and with sunset at 5pm it doesn't leave much time.

    Im sure you know this but we're allowed 4 hens per 1/2 acre. Having said that, you don't need a Taj Mahal especially when they get a bit older and you let them out in your yard. I don't know when C&J is getting more chicks in but I do know Funky has chicks year round. They just don't have huge choice.

    I'll tell you some things you can do to prepare:
    1. Go get free paint from Waste Management on Sarno Rd.
    2. Get your feeders/waterers made or bought.
    3. Find some hinges for doors etc.
    4. Find some latches, handles etc.
    5. Gather bricks, blocks etc
    6. Find/buy 2-1/4" deck screws. (8 and 16 penny coated nails if you prefer but screws are better)
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  9. Seatrout00

    Seatrout00 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have all the time in the world - currently a stay at home mom recovering from spinal surgery. I will look for those supplies and I had planned to talk to C&J about when they were getting new chicks as that was where I had hoped to purchase some chicks in the future.

    I may also have some extra ply wood - will have to ask my father - he has a huge assortment of used furniture that he "keeps" that drives my mother insane. We might be able to salvage some of that. I suppose I should give you my number so we can discuss this - this is a huge favor you are paying a complete stranger, but I am most thankful.

    What boat did you work on? I used to write for the Fla Today - a fishing column I kept with Bill Sargent, I may remember it. As for me, I worked on the Pelican Princess out of Canaveral a hundred years ago.
     
  10. Seatrout00

    Seatrout00 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OH - yes, I do know we are zoned for up to 4 hens, and that is all we want. I wouldn't know what to do with more eggs than what they could supply as it is, but thank you for the reminder. I still have to go to the zoning department to apply for my permit, if I understand the laws correctly.
     

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