Coop on stilts plan; need feedback

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by PurpleGizmo, Aug 15, 2008.

  1. PurpleGizmo

    PurpleGizmo Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 19, 2008
    Enumclaw, WA
    Hi there,

    I'm planning to get three or four chickens next spring (standard-sized) and have started drawing up some plans for our suburban coop. The finished product will be on stilts with a run attached to the side, reminiscent of other great designs I've seen on this website.

    Here's a drawing I've been putting together for the coop itself based on all of the message threads I've been reading.

    [​IMG]

    A few notes:

    The studs are placed parallel to the walls instead of perpendicular to maximize internal space. I'm not an engineer, but it doesn't seem like the structure will suffer too much with a coop this small (5' deep, 3.67' wide) built out of 2x4s. [​IMG]

    The attic storage noted will only take up about a quarter of the "attic" space, leaving the rest open for chicken shenanigans. Hardware cloth will be used to partition it off to maximize ventilation.

    There will be closable foundation vents on the east and west side of the attic area, one on each side.

    The north side of the coop will have three small doors for accessing the nest box, cleaning under the roost area (small door near floor level), and a door for accessing the attic area.

    The inside of the coop will be insulated with reflective foil insulation.

    I intend to put plexiglass in some of the doors to provide a little light inside. These areas will be covered with hardware cloth just in case.

    Just for reference, the run will extend 5' off of the west side, providing a little over 40 square feet of run for the chickens.



    Soooo... am I missing anything important? Do I have enough head room for the chickens? Ventilation? Should I leave out the front nest box door and just use the main access door for collecting eggs?

    Thanks!

    - Robert
     
  2. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Robert, that drawing looks real good to me! And, it looks like a good size for 3 chickens.

    I'm not real sure that there's enuf head room for 3 perches. One thing you can do is put all 3 on the horizontal - or 4 or 5 - or 1. I know some like to be above the others but they seem comfortable all on the same level, anyway.

    I'd be a little concerned that the hens will lay under the nest box. It looks like it might be dark and cozy down there and that's what they like.

    The reflective foil insulation - is there a way for the chickens to get at that?? If it is fiberglass, they will tear it up. If it is like Celotex rigid foam, they will tear it up and eat it.

    My coop has insulation (behind 1/4" plywood) but there are different thoughts about insulating coops. Some folks advise against it. With so much rainfall and humidity there in Enumclaw, and such a relatively warm Winter, you may be fine not to use it at all.

    Steve
     
  3. PurpleGizmo

    PurpleGizmo Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 19, 2008
    Enumclaw, WA
    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the feedback!

    Good point about the nest box. I'd like to maximize the internal coop space as much as I can---I plan to buy four chicks in case I lose one---so maybe I should just put in a little extra effort and mount it outside of the coop.

    I really wasn't sure what the best layout would be for the perches. Putting the perches (or perch?) at the same level would be fine by me. How much "elbow room" do the hens need on either side of a high (18"?) perch to jump/fly up and get back down? If I move the nest box outside, I could certainly run a single, 5' perch a foot from one of the long walls.

    If there isn't much need to insulate, I won't. The stuff I was looking at is essentially one or two layers of bubble wrap with metal foil on each side . I've read a number of posts, pro and against insulation, and opted for the middle road with light insulation. [​IMG] If it's not that critical, I may just put some of this insulation up in the attic where most of the heat transfer takes place and call it good.

    There are so many ways to build a coop! I'm trying to think of as many things as I can but, beyond the basics, I guess it doesn't really matter either way to the chickens. [​IMG]

    Thanks again!

    - Robert
     
  4. Brinda

    Brinda Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 16, 2008
    Campbellsburg, KY
    I literally just finished building a coop similar to this out of 4x8 plywood. I made two large doors on the side that is tallest and noticed that my nest boxes are literally right there at the door. I didn't bother with opening the back of the nests like I had intended. I figured I would wait until they are all out in the run, shut the hatch so they can't climb back in, and collect the eggs then. Might save a little work.
     
  5. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I guess I'm not familiar with that kind of insulation, Robert. You may have a condensation issue.

    I would be inclined to put the nest box right down on the floor. I realize that poop can get tracked in fairly easily but that may happen no matter where it is located. An 8 or 10 inch board to step over should keep litter from sifting in.

    Floor space is important but in such a small coop, so is "air space." The nest box counts for air space even if it crowds the birds walking around. Honestly, I think that if they have access to the outdoors everyday, 3 hens aren't likely to suffer from not enuf room. You could place the feeder or especially the water under the structure and have more space indoors. It wouldn't take much to have comfortable space for 4 hens. Just going with a small breed like Leghorns should do it, anyway.

    Quote:Well, an adult hen has about a 30" wingspan. My Australorps have had little trouble going essentially straight up in the air to 18 inches as long as they've had room to spread their wings. I did put a little ramp up as they grew older. Quite the jumpers - I've had a hen that could make it up onto a shelf about 5 feet above the floor in what would have had to have been almost a straight up leap since she would have been standing in a narrow alley. Otherwise, she'd have had to stand directly under the shelf, ricochet off the wall, do a back flip, touching the ceiling, and land on her feet . . . not a feather out of place, of course [​IMG].

    Steve
     
  6. PurpleGizmo

    PurpleGizmo Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 19, 2008
    Enumclaw, WA
    Quote:Hi Brinda,

    Out of curiosity, what's the square footage of your coop and how many chickens do you have? As I have it now, there would be nearly 16 square feet in mine after allowing for the framing; 17 if I move the nest box outside. That would give me about 4 square feet per bird if I had four (I'm looking at mid- to large-sized birds like Barred Rock, Australorp, Buff Orpington, and Sussex).

    Quote:My wife just reminded me that I need to keep it kid-friendly. We have two small kids and would like them to have the opportunity to help out by collecting eggs. Given that, I think I'll put the nest box outside with a flap for getting at the eggs. Still, if I was just doing it for myself, I'd just rely on the big doors. [​IMG]

    - Robert
     
  7. PurpleGizmo

    PurpleGizmo Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 19, 2008
    Enumclaw, WA
    digitS' :

    I would be inclined to put the nest box right down on the floor.

    Between your comments and Brinda's, I think I'll place the nest box outside the coop and a few inches above the "litter line".

    digitS' :

    You could place the feeder or especially the water under the structure and have more space indoors.

    That's a good idea! That would certainly avoid water spills in the coop as well.

    digitS' :

    It wouldn't take much to have comfortable space for 4 hens. Just going with a small breed like Leghorns should do it, anyway.

    The chickens will be pets first with eggs as an added bonus, so we'll probably be limited to some of the dual-purpose breeds. Not that that is a bad thing. [​IMG]

    digitS' :

    Quite the jumpers - I've had a hen that could make it up onto a shelf about 5 feet above the floor in what would have had to have been almost a straight up leap since she would have been standing in a narrow alley. Otherwise, she'd have had to stand directly under the shelf, ricochet off the wall, do a back flip, touching the ceiling, and land on her feet . . . not a feather out of place, of course [​IMG].

    Oh, of course not. That would ruin the show! [​IMG] I'm probably worrying more about the chickens getting around than I need to. Our youngest child is only 15 months old but manages to get into the most unexpected (and often risky) places. Chickens must be like that, too. [​IMG]

    Thanks again!​
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2008
  8. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:If I may be so bold - I'd go with the Australorps. I've had Buff Orpingtons and Barred Rocks (and have some BR's now). My brother had Speckled Sussex (very pretty feather pattern [​IMG]) And there's no question, I like big hens - Light Brahmas are a favorite.

    The others are generally larger. Buff Orpingtons in particular really seemed to fill a 4 x 8 coop I had then and I only had 3 hens! Barred Rocks and the Australorps are often about the same size but certainly the BR I have now are larger than all but the largest 'Lorp.

    Just my 2 cents . . .

    Steve
     
  9. Brinda

    Brinda Out Of The Brooder

    13
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    22
    Aug 16, 2008
    Campbellsburg, KY
    Quote:Hi Brinda,

    Out of curiosity, what's the square footage of your coop and how many chickens do you have? As I have it now, there would be nearly 16 square feet in mine after allowing for the framing; 17 if I move the nest box outside. That would give me about 4 square feet per bird if I had four (I'm looking at mid- to large-sized birds like Barred Rock, Australorp, Buff Orpington, and Sussex).

    Quote:My wife just reminded me that I need to keep it kid-friendly. We have two small kids and would like them to have the opportunity to help out by collecting eggs. Given that, I think I'll put the nest box outside with a flap for getting at the eggs. Still, if I was just doing it for myself, I'd just rely on the big doors. [​IMG]

    - Robert

    What I did, was lay one 8x4 sheet of OSB, then used some old landscaping timbers to cut 18" stilts to use 3 on each short side (each corner and one in the middle), 4 on each long side (each corner and two evenly spaced between), and then some spaced in the middle, and just screwed the OSB to the timbers. Then, used 2x4's to make the framing. That way, I was able to just use one full 8x4 sheet set sideways for the 8' long wall, 2 on short ends for the sides, and 2 on short ends for the farthest side. Then I just had to cut the slant of the two short sides to make the "lean-to" look, and attach my 2x4's to the framing for the roof, used two 4x8's of plywood for the roof trimmed a bit so that I'd have overhang for rain to drain off. Then I just laid roofing felt and shingled the roof. I cut out some windows between the framing on the long 4' tall wall to let air in, and made doors out of the other side. I'm not sure what you mean by kid-friendly, but I let the girls out into the run and shut the hatch. Then my kids (2 and 5 year old boys, and 7 and 8 year old girls) can reach right in to get the egg. (Only one is laying yet). Of course, my younger ones have to use a small step ladder since the coop itself is 18" off the ground, then the nest boxes are another 18".

    I will have to snap some pictures to let you see how it turned out. I still have to paint it, but you can see what I did. My finished square footage is 32 sq. feet. It's 8' long by 4' wide. I like the stilts, because I was able to put fencing around the bottom of it, and attaches into my run. My run is 8x4 as well, and then the 8x4 underneath the coop that provides shade also, so the run is actually a full 64 sq. foot.

    I'll take pics tomorrow for you! Right now I have 5 8-9 week old Americauna pullets, and 1 older Americauna hen that belongs to the owners of the farm. I have my coop set-up on their farm.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2008
  10. PurpleGizmo

    PurpleGizmo Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 19, 2008
    Enumclaw, WA
    digitS' :

    If I may be so bold - I'd go with the Australorps.

    Picking breeds may be the biggest challenge! Personality—if I dare say that about chickens—is more important than plumage. I'm after docile, friendly birds. [​IMG]

    I've heard Australorps can be aloof or shy. Is that true?​
     

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