Coop Materials Planning

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by wolfandfinch, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. wolfandfinch

    wolfandfinch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi All,

    I'm starting to plan out the materials I'll need to build my coop so I can budget accordingly, and start to source whatever I can for free. Can you let me know what I'm missing?



    Lumber:
    6X6 posts to be legs (4 of them)
    2X6 to make floor joists
    2X4 for stud walls
    2X6 for ceiling joists (to support green roof with soil and plants)
    2X2 for run supports - IS THAT STURDY ENOUGH WITH 1/2" HARDCLOTH?
    2X4 to frame in door to run and to frame poo drawer

    Ply:
    1/2" ply to sheathe 4 walls (minus windows on two walls and door on one)
    1/2" ply to build nesting boxes
    1/2" ply for the bottom of poo drawer
    5/8" ply to sheathe roof and for sides to the planter/green roof up top


    Siding, Flashing & Trim:
    5" hardie plank to match our house (we have tons left over)
    1X4 to trim edges and runners on coop
    1X2 to trim windows and door on coop
    4" flashing for windows, door and green roof (we have that left over too)

    Windows and Doors:
    2 1X1 or 2X2 windows (louvered)
    cat door - WILL THAT WORK FOR CHICKENS?

    Miscellaneous:
    Post Haste Cement - to pour "footings" for the coop (just a 6" deep pad for the legs to stand on)
    soffets for ventilation
    1/2" hardcloth for run (buried for burrowers) and to cover windows, and for bottom of coop (will be open to poo drawer beneath)
    screws
    linoleum for poo drawer
    Hinges for human door to clean coop
    latches and chain for windows and human door
    3 or 4" drainage pipe to build feeder
    scrap for ramp to door and "playground" equipment
    tree branch for fun [​IMG]

    I haven't researched how to make watering devices yet, so I'll have to look that up.

    Are 2 nesting boxes enough for 4 chickens? for 6?

    I want to have the nesting boxes at a level that my kids can collect the eggs, maybe with a stool, but not so low that it's a pain to get in to clean. Also, it needs to be low enough to be able to pick the salad greens I'll be growing on top. I'm also putting vertical planters down the side NOT in the run to grow my strawberries. The run is enclosed, so the chickens won't be able to eat the salad greens either, but I promise I'll share [​IMG]

    How tall should the coop be on the inside?

    Should I insulate and put walls up inside? We live in Vancouver - so pretty mild in terms of hot AND cold. But, the temperatures here are changing, definitely getting hotter every year... I assume having at least walls inside would help me keep the coop clean. Also, I will be putting in soffets for ventilation - you can't mess around in terms of moisture here! If I insulate I'd probably also use vapour barrier. We would have all of this already from our renos. No added cost.

    Anything else I'm missing?
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    How big a coop is this supposed to be, and what design? We can't help with a materials list unless we see the plans or at least a measured sketch [​IMG]

    Even so, on the face of it I think it is almost certainly impossible that you would need 6x6s for the legs. 4x4s would be fine except for a HUGE coop or VERY high in the air, and the latter won't work anyhow if the legs are just sitting on blocks. Even if you have scrap 6x6 lying around I'd be real tempted to leave it for some other project, as it is lots more valuable/expensive than 4x4.

    I woudl suggest using pavers (or some concrete rubble from breaking up a slab or sidewalk, if you happen to have any handy) under the coop legs, rather than pouring a wee concrete pad as you propose. First, it is easier; second, usually cheaper since those items are often easily scrounge-able; and third, it is less likely to fracture than a homemade wee little pad.

    I would not use 2x2s for the main run supports in most circumstances; use 2x4s (p/t for parts that are in ground contact) or if this will be a walk-in height run use 4x4s for your posts (or at least for your corner posts -- inbetween posts *can* be t-posts or 2x4s but 4x4s are really better if possible)

    You suuuuuure you want to do a wire floor of the coop in Vancouver? I know it is warm for Canada but still kinda cold n drafty in the winter... unless you intend to put plywood or such over top of the wire for the colder part of the year, in which case it is ok. Be aware that chicken poo WILL NOT fall through 1/2" hardwarecloth, though! Honestly I'd recommend a solid floor and be done with it.

    You can sorta use a cat flap but you are going to have to train the chickens to use it and some train better than others. See how it works, but be prepared for some aggravations.

    Two nestboxes is PLENTY for 6 chickens.

    Beyond that, I'd have to see plans or sketch [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Oh wait, I neglected your questions at the end:

    Quote:For now, just buy a cheap vacuum-style waterer. A 1 gallon plastic one, fine for 6 chickens and it will last several years at least if you keep it out of direct sunlight, costs about $5. Then once you have the chickens up and running you can experiment with nipples or auto-waterers or other tricky things, if you want.

    How tall should the coop be on the inside?

    This is just a reach-in size coop, I guess? For sure it should be at least 24" high, but if you make it more like 3-4' high it'd be better because you can have the roost up higher, also in some situations it makes ventilation easier. I would also suggest that if the coop will be smallish you are better off making it longer and narrower rather than square, because it makes wintertime ventilation easier in terms of avoiding drafts on the chickens.

    Should I insulate and put walls up inside? We live in Vancouver

    If the coop will be reasonably ample sized for your number of chickens, I would, it can be mildly helpful, but it is totally not *necessary* if you don't feel like it.

    Also, I will be putting in soffets for ventilation - you can't mess around in terms of moisture here!

    Make sure you understand how VERY much moisture chickens give off -- if you haven't seen my ventilation page you might want to take a look (link in .sig), those little round soffit vents, or the perforated soffet panels they use in houses, are NOT adequate for most coops. You need a much larger area of actual opening than that. Think BOTH in terms of very ample summer ventilation to prevent heat buildup, AND in terms of having sufficient amount/location of vent(s) to ensure adequate winter ventilation. You will want more ventilation open in summer than in winter.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     
  4. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I also don't recommend a wire floor for the coop.Wire is hard on a chicken's feet, and droppings will get caught on and stick to the wire rather than fall through anyway. Then you'll be scrubbing poo off wire (not fun at all). I use a boot tray under the roost and dump the contents out in the composter every morning, hose off the tray and replace it. Easy and clean.

    I used 2" by 2" 's for my runs. However, I constructed separate 4' wide panels joined together, so what I ended up with are two 2" by 2"'s screwed together at 4' intervals. I don't think this is quite as strong as a single 2" by 4", but probably not that much weaker. The runs are about 6 feet tall and also roofed with more hardware cloth panels as well as corrugated polycarbonate panels.

    It was just so much easier for me to work with the smaller size lumber that I was willing to take the risk of the run being less sturdy in the long run. Also, my local Home Depot had some very nice, smooth pressure treated 2" by 2''s for a decent price.

    p.s. Forgot to mention: rather than burying wire to deter digging predators, think about using a hardware cloth apron (or skirt) attached to the base of the run and extending outward about 2 feet or so. Tack it down with landscaping staples, rocks, dirt, whatever you have available. It's much easier than digging a trench to bury wire and works just as well, perhaps even better. The predator tries to dig at the base of the run, hits the wire, and doesn't think of backing up beyond the edge of the wire to dig back there. When a predator hits buried wire, they often will just dig deeper, and unless you've buried wire deeper than the persistence of your particular predator, there's a vulnerability.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2011
  5. wolfandfinch

    wolfandfinch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pat -
    Thank you! The soffets were in addition to the windows, but maybe I'll throw in a 4" vent on each side too.
    I don't need quantities for now -the notes you gave me were perfect. I'm still working on my draughting [​IMG]
    I have SO MUCH 6X6 laying around right now, from our renovations - pulled out of our house. None of it can be used as beams. It's meant to get the coop up maximum 24" off the ground to increase the run space a little, or provide sotrage space.
    So, to do the poop drawer I don't need wire over it? That's much better. I was surprised seeing others did it and assumed that I was being silly worrying about their feet. Glad I mentioned it!
    Great point about the higher roost - I'm thinking of 3.5' max 4. My son is only 40inches max, so he will just have to use a stool to help collect the eggs.

    Emo(sp?) -

    thanks for the tip about the apron, I hadn't heard of that.

    much appreciated everyone!
     
  6. Loudoun

    Loudoun Out Of The Brooder

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    To attach 1/2" HW cloth to wood, what size/kind of washers/screws does one use?
    Tx,
    Virginia
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    A lot of people use use fender washers... they are big (like maybe 1" diameter) but with a *small* central hole, unlike regular washers which obviously would slip right off a screw head.

    Or, just screw thru a batten of wood, which is at *least* as secure and sometimes easier to come up with the supplies for. So the hardwarecloth is sandwiched between the batten and the fence frame.

    Remember that a screw is only as strong as the wood it's into. So don't be screwing important things into plywood or into thin or narrow lumber... to stand up to marauding dogs etc you want good long screws going into good-sized wood!

    Pat
     
  8. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I used self drilling screws with big heads, sometimes with 1/2" washers. I think the idea of battens would probably end up being quicker and look better, though. Ah...ideas for my next run....
     
  9. Dogfish

    Dogfish Rube Goldberg incarnate

    Mar 17, 2010
    Western Washington
  10. wolfandfinch

    wolfandfinch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I have a ridiculous and deeply personal love for fender washers LOL they ALWAYS save the day!
     

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