Coop Layout and Design questions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Er_Ras, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. Er_Ras

    Er_Ras New Egg

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    Well I get one of the DH projects... To build a Coop for Chickens my wife wants. (What does she want... as many and a large variety... Don't ask me all the types the we 'may' end up with at this time... I'm just the slave building it. [​IMG] )

    I've been poking around the site some and have some questions about some design thoughts and wanted to see what others thought of it. We live near the border of Northern Utah, Southern Idaho.

    My worst fear is that when I finish she'll want it bigger and a bazillion more chickens. [​IMG]

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    Area for coop and run right now 16'x45'. (She plans to let them out a few hours a day to run in the yard.)

    For the coop I'm thinking of a raised 16x10 building. 4-6' will be used for feed storage and supplies, so the chicken coop itself will end up with about a 10x10 area.

    After reading some of the other posts about cold weather I know I don't 'need' to insulate it, but I was considering it rather strongly so that a little light/heat would go a lot further on the cold of winter.

    Questions I have on the Coop:
    1st: What will chickens do to Drywall? (As I suspect that they'll peck the insulation. I also want to make sure I close up the insulation to try and prevent Mice from making a home in the insulation.)

    2nd: I see a lot of posts talking about laminate tile on the floor? Any issues using Gypecrete(sp)? (Think concrete, except a LOT lighter in weight.) I'm thinking this to allow easy cleaning of the floor.

    3rd: I know this'll depend on the number of birds in the end, but how many nesting boxes should I look at putting in at the start? (I'm thinking of 6 of them at 16"x16" at this time.)

    4th: Roosting space - I'm looking at several tiers of it, how high does the lowest one need to be off the floor?

    That's all I can think of here... On to the Run.

    Not a lot of questions at this time, but a few:

    5th: How important is a good roof on this? (Have not had time to look at predators, but I know we have Skunks, Raccoons, Cats, Dogs, possibly Bobcats and Weasels/Ferrets in our rural area.)

    6th: Anything I should take in to consideration for being in such a dry hot/cold climate for them?

    I appreciate any/all feed back and being new to this, I know I'll be learning a LOT as I go.

    Thank you for all the help,
    Jason.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2009
  2. oldmcdonald56

    oldmcdonald56 Out Of The Brooder

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    #1 no drywall,im am using 7/16 OSB. #2 cheeper using laminate .#3 6is good , 16x16 ok, mine are going to be 16x18? #4 my roost is going to be even , 24in. high. good luck!
     
  3. gmzamz

    gmzamz Out Of The Brooder

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    1# I suspect that they will peck it if there is something just hanging off from a hole or something, but if you keep them out of boredom. don't completly trust me on this one, we used the whiteboard stuff, not sure where we got it, but it was not from whiteboards.

    2#laminate is a lot cheaper. unless you design it to be replaced every 3 months or so.

    3# six should work.

    4#24 inches, you do know that will all want to go to the top one. right?[​IMG]

    5# very good, with that amount of predators you should be looking at lots of preadtor proofing.

    6#not much


    Edit: [​IMG] [​IMG] WELCOME TO BYC [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2009
  4. Leah-yes I know I'm crazy

    Leah-yes I know I'm crazy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've been finding sheets of formica and fake tile at my Habitat re-store that I'm saving up for the walls. I can power wash if I have to. Just tossing that out for you.
    Yes, someday she will want it bigger. Or you will.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    For the coop I'm thinking of a raised 16x10 building. 4-6' will be used for feed storage and supplies, so the chicken coop itself will end up with about a 10x10 area.

    Not sure why you are raising it. A building on the ground will have a more stable temperature inside as the ground is a good heat sink. If it is high enough for chickens to get under, it will need to be high enough for you to get under as they will lay under there or you will have to remove an injured chicken. Think crawling in a wet muddy coop with chicken poop to envision how high it would need to be. If it is not open to you and the chickens, it is a good place for vermin, think mice or rats, to set up housekeeping. Just my thoughts.

    After reading some of the other posts about cold weather I know I don't 'need' to insulate it, but I was considering it rather strongly so that a little light/heat would go a lot further on the cold of winter.

    Questions I have on the Coop:
    1st: What will chickens do to Drywall? (As I suspect that they'll peck the insulation. I also want to make sure I close up the insulation to try and prevent Mice from making a home in the insulation.)

    They will eat drywall. Also, it will probably soften and mildew from the moisture in the poop and litter. I would not use it.

    2nd: I see a lot of posts talking about laminate tile on the floor? Any issues using Gypecrete(sp)? (Think concrete, except a LOT lighter in weight.) I'm thinking this to allow easy cleaning of the floor.

    A good idea.

    3rd: I know this'll depend on the number of birds in the end, but how many nesting boxes should I look at putting in at the start? (I'm thinking of 6 of them at 16"x16" at this time.)

    The rule of thumb is 4 laying hens per nesting box, but they will probably wind up using a few favorites. As you do not know numbers of chickens yet, six is a good number to start with.

    4th: Roosting space - I'm looking at several tiers of it, how high does the lowest one need to be off the floor?

    You do not want to stack roosts where they roost above each other. They poop a lot while they are on the roosts. The rule of thumb is 1 feet from the walls and separated horizontally by 1 foot. The roosts need to be higher than the nesting boxes or some will sleep in the nesting boxes, poop a lot, and giving you dirty eggs. The standard seems to be that they can easily jump up three feet to get to the roost (somewhat breed dependent as the lighter breeds can fly up if there is room in the coop).

    That's all I can think of here... On to the Run.

    Not a lot of questions at this time, but a few:

    5th: How important is a good roof on this? (Have not had time to look at predators, but I know we have Skunks, Raccoons, Cats, Dogs, possibly Bobcats and Weasels/Ferrets in our rural area.)

    I'd expect coyotes and hawks as well. The need for a roof against predators depends on management practices, your risk tolerance and personal preference. I'll let others weigh in on this as it is an area with a lot of emotion and just tell you what I am doing and why. I'll lock my chickens in at night when I perceive to be my highest threat level. My coop is Fort Knox. I am not putting a roof on my run as I think the threat level where I am and in my circumstances is low enough during the day that I'll be OK. I may be proven wrong, but I am the one responsible for making the decision.

    6th: Anything I should take in to consideration for being in such a dry hot/cold climate for them?

    Another reason to roof the run, or al least a part of it, is to give them shade during the day. Heat can be dangerous to chickens, probably more so that cold. Also, if you feed and water outside the coop, you reduce the workload of "managing" the poop inside. The feed outside needs to be kept dry, hence a need of a solid roof, I would think even in your dry climate.

    I'll include a link to a thread that gives a lot of suggestions on coops. You might find some good ideas here.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=140561
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:She will, of course, LOL, but if you've already just built a 16x10 coop you will be in a reasonable position to say that you've already got her pretty well set up [​IMG]

    Also, some of the planned storage space in the coop (which is a pretty generous sized area) could always be retrofitted for chickens.

    Possibly you didn't want to know that <g>

    1st: What will chickens do to Drywall? (As I suspect that they'll peck the insulation. I also want to make sure I close up the insulation to try and prevent Mice from making a home in the insulation.)

    My chickens eat drywall [​IMG] (They are in a drywalled building, used to be a dog boarding kennel, and although I have covered the drywall that the chickens have access to, I did not initially think I had to cover its exposed edge where the pophole door is cut through, or the part next to the window they're not supposed to be able to get to. Then I thought "well I can just put duct tape over the exposed parts". Guess what, chickens eat duct tape too [​IMG])

    And yes, you will need to cover your insulation.

    Doesn't have to be fancy though. Cheapest plywood, or someone's old rec room panelling from the 70s, will do fine.

    2nd: I see a lot of posts talking about laminate tile on the floor? Any issues using Gypecrete(sp)? (Think concrete, except a LOT lighter in weight.) I'm thinking this to allow easy cleaning of the floor.

    Like the backer board used for tiling showers? I have seen people talk about planning on using it but never heard how it actually worked, especially long-term. I'd think you'd need to make sure it was REAL well supported to prevent flexing/cracking.

    Quite frankly, just plain ol' plywood with a coat of primer and a couple good coats of paint on it (topped with sufficient bedding) works just FINE, for a raised floor. Or for a floor on the ground (which would give you some extra warmth in winter, especially the first half of the winter...) a poured slab is excellent though expensive, but a tamped gravel base covered in big pavers or even horse stall mats would give you many of the same benefits.

    3rd: I know this'll depend on the number of birds in the end, but how many nesting boxes should I look at putting in at the start? (I'm thinking of 6 of them at 16"x16" at this time.)

    Is she thinking, longer-term, of leaving this as a single 10x10 space or subdividing it into two or more pens?

    If it's likely to always remain just a single space, I'd go ahead and build as many nest boxes as she's likely to need, all at once, b/c it's just as easy to make them as a single unit. In a climate with cold windy winters I would not personally put more than 10 chickens in there but most BYCers would say more like 25; if she had 25 chickens, that'd be like 6+ nestboxes.

    4th: Roosting space - I'm looking at several tiers of it, how high does the lowest one need to be off the floor?

    You've got the space, you might think of doing 2 parallel roosts along one ten-foot wall and that'd give you just about as much as you're likely to need. Could always add a bit more down half the adjoining wall if necessary.

    As far as height, the main thing is that the lowest roost be noticeably higher than the highest nestbox, chickens tending to prefer the highest available real estate for sleeping on.

    5th: How important is a good roof on this? (Have not had time to look at predators, but I know we have Skunks, Raccoons, Cats, Dogs, possibly Bobcats and Weasels/Ferrets in our rural area.)

    As long as they are locked in at night (and I really, really think you should lock them in at night), a well built fence with netting over the top should prevent most problems. Pretty much everything you name *will* sometimes come out in daytime, but a large run like yours will offer somewhat less temptation (chickens less likely to be near fence) and more crucially you are unlikely to be ABLE to roof the whole thing ANYhow [​IMG]

    If you have spare cash/materials/time/energy you might consider making a roofed 'porch of some reasonable size, off the side of the coop where the popdoor is, so that you could partially winterize it (staple up tarps or plastic or whatever) to give them a somewhat protected area that would make going outside a more appealing option on unpleasant winter days. The more chickens you want in the coop, the more desireable it is to have them feel reasonably optimistic about the concept of spending time outdoors in the winter.

    6th: Anything I should take in to consideration for being in such a dry hot/cold climate for them?

    Make sure they have shade in the summer, preferably in as large a patch as possible (shade cloth can be useful if all else fails); and make sure the coop has lots and lots of ventilation because the larger the coop the harder it is to get the heat out of it after the sun goes down.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     
  7. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, a roof also keeps you from having to shovel, just to unblock the little chicken door. The chickens will also hang out in the run more often when it's snowing or raining a little harder, rather than going back into the coop.
     

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