1. poniesareevil

    poniesareevil New Egg

    Dec 14, 2010
    Hi! I’ve been lurking on BYC for awhile. My family is fairly new to chickens - a little under 2 years! They’re just to look at and for eggs. I have a few ducks, too, that I adore. Anyway, onto the main topic: Lurking around I’ve been really fascinated with the various coops. We have a large (very large) brick and concrete one that was on the property when we bought it, but eventually we may have another coop on another part of the property.

    I have some “plans” drawn out, basically it would be two coops in one, divided by a wall. It would be a 6’ x 12’ building, divided so each section would be 6’ x 6’ and around 6’6” - 7’ tall so we can step inside, if needed. What would be the best materials to use for something like this? The lower the cost, the better, but spending a little money isn’t the worst thing in the world.
    There will be attached runs to each coop, probably wood framing with hardware cloth - the same height as the coop. Though our chickens are free to wander around the property, it would be nice to have the option to lock them in the coop or lock them in the coop & run. If you have any better suggestions, I would love to hear them. Any books or old threads would be greatly appreciated, too.

  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I have an 11x17 coop with a pop door at each end, and about a 50'x75' fenced yard, with electric wire, adjacent. We are free ranging now, since we got the dogs trained, but we used the yard long enough that it is basically bare, except for a few tall woody weeds that they won't eat. It was the intention that we could divide both in half if wanted, both to separate chickens and to plant grass in half the yard, but we really have not felt the need. Instead, we added a broody pen inside, maybe 5'x6', which has been used both for broodies and isolation for a minor injury. It was really nice to have the injured bird in with the others; reintegration was quite smooth that way. We don't heat the coop but I am still glad we ran both water and power to the coop.

    We had access to free metal framing and a pile of leftover roofing tin, plus professional welding equipment (my son can weld,) so this is an all metal coop. Because of our climate, the eaves are large and open air, and one wall and the people door (which is opposite) are hardware cloth. I wouldn't have anything but a metal roof if I'd had to buy the materials, and I would have tried to get free shipping pallets or crates for the framing. I would have bought 4x4's for the corners and major supports along the walls. Lots of people use OSB pretty extensively but I wouldn't use something that would rot out that easily for walls; I'd spend the extra and go with plywood and some good coats of paint --- and it would be even more open air than it is if I'd been purchasing plywood for walls. I have a dirt floor by choice; I've had several coops over the years, all dirt floors, and wouldn't want anything else, as it is by far the easiest to maintain. I use something like 10 bags of pine shavings in a year and never clean them out except to till into the garden. Occasionally in the summer it gets musty, the pine isn't quite enough, and it needs a quart or two of pelletized lime added. With only 15 birds in there it is no problem to keep odors etc. under good control this way. I also keep hay around for nests and to cover some cracks against winter winds; makes the broody pen quite cozy. If I ever get mites/lice, I won't have the struggle of eliminating them from wood; another disadvantage of OSB, lots and lots of little hiding places, even well painted.

    You have asked about coop ideas without giving us any idea where you live, which really limits how much advice or experience might be helpful for you. Same for links to useful threads. You'll get a lot more help when you add that, plus how many chickens you are thinking of, and what general type; if it is to raise meaties, for example, their coop and range needs are quite different from LF layers, or Silkies. For Cornish X, for example, I would not consider anything but a movable pen.

    Another consideration is predators. For example, we have hawks on the property but, between the crows and the adjacent pasture, they never bother with our chickens.
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    You don't really have a lot of major choices to make unless you want to go into some really-unconventional building methods. If you just want something simple and straightforward, either you will be doing stud-wall construction (like a house) or pole-building construction. Pole built structures can be a bit cheaper and lend themselves better to having a dirt floor; OTOH if you want a raised wooden floor or a concrete slab floor there is not so much difference, especially for a veyr small building like you're proposing. A concrete slab floor is DA BOMB, btw, if you can afford it. Excellently predatorproof and very convenient to build on.

    So you would make the stud or pole-built walls, with whatever siding you choose to use (metal or 1/2"+ plywood are common choices) and whatever roofing you choose to use (shingles or metal are common choices). If you want to insulate, you would also do that and add thin plywood or such as an inner wall to protect the insulation.

    Cruise the coop designs section of the site (look around at the very, very top of this page) and also peoples' personal pages... you will get a HUGE amount of ideas and inspiration and hopefully will see some things that can help guide your decisions.

    Good luck, have fun,

  4. poniesareevil

    poniesareevil New Egg

    Dec 14, 2010
    Sorry for not responding right away, school has kept me a bit busy.

    As for chicken breeds, we have brown leghorns and buff orpingtons. They free range during the day but walk themselves into the coop at night and we shut the door. In the future any more chickens will probably be leghorns. I'm not sure on a number, probably not very many. Although there will be a run, they'll probably be let outside of that, too. I live in the Midwest. Summers are hot and humid, winters are cold. However, our winters aren't nearly as cold or snowy as some of the more northern states in the Midwest.
    Our current coop has a concrete floor and it's SO easy to just hose it or scrub it when needed. Within our current coop is a nursery area, but since we don't have chicks, we leave that door open. Sometimes some of the hens will roost on top of that door, it's funny how they all cram themselves into a small space when there's plenty of other spaces.

    I've been looking at all the coops on the main page and some are very impressive!

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