Coop plan - thoughts, tips, suggestions?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by PDXcluck, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. PDXcluck

    PDXcluck Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 21, 2012
    Portland, OR
    Hi all,

    I am building my first coop/run for my first three hens. At least I hope the three chicks at home are all hens! :) We have a Rhode Island Red, Dark Brahma and a Salmon Faverolle...the latter two we specifically got for their demeanor as we have a 2.5 yr old and 9 month old at home, both will definitely interact with the hens. The RIR is 2 weeks old and the others are 1 week, at first the Brahma tried to establish herself as top dog, but the RIR has quickly made it obvious that she is Boss (which is what I named her, creative huh? ha!). The faverolle has made it obvious that she is content with being a follower.

    Anyways, I am looking for tips/suggestions/things you wished you thought of before you built, etc...

    The link below directs to the coop design I made in google sketchup. the coop is 3x4 ft and 4.5 ft tall (raised off the ground), the run is 4x10 ft including the area under the coop. I plan on sinking 2 foot 4x4 posts a foot and a half into the ground at the corners of the structure and than attaching 2x6 on edge along the entire perimeter to provide foundation/structure and to hold in whatever type of litter/fill I settle on...leaning towards sand. I will bury hardware cloth at least 1 foot deep around the edge and may bury some coated metal fencing along the run floor even with or slightly lower than the 2x6's so that it will be at least 6 inches below the surface. I am planning on having a removable coop floor of 1/2" plywood covered with vinyl. Also not shown in the model is plywood on the interior walls which I plan to paint for easy cleaning and mite prevention. I know that I could simplify the framing and make it generally less beefy, but I want to build it to last.

    A couple specific questions:

    1) To any experienced builders, do you think the buried 4x4's at the corners are overkill? My thinking was that it would make it easier to level initially, and do a much better job of keeping it level than just setting boards in the dirt.

    2) I am sure this is plenty of room for 3 hen, which is what the portland codes allow, but if I wanted to go through the permit process and add more hens, how many do you think I could add? I was thinking 5 could be comfortable with 2.4 sq ft in the coop and 8 sq ft of run per bird. Plus we plan on fencing the back yard and letting them range with supervision. Thoughts on this?

    Here is the coop in sketchup and an image below:


  2. mikecnorthwest

    mikecnorthwest Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 27, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    My Coop
    First, your fine on the square footage for 3 and 5, maybe even a couple more since you plan to let them out.

    As for sinking the posts, I would be reluctant to do that. You really won't gain much, if anything, since the coop will be plenty heavy and will not need to be anchored in the ground. If you're concerned about settling I would just do some work up front to make sure you're building on a stable flat surface. If you put posts in the ground, your coop will really not be portable at all, not that you would want to move it. Without sinking the posts, you at least have the possibility of moving it if you need to for some reason.

    I made the decision to not worry about burying any hardware cloth in the ground and haven't had any predator issues.

    I'm just across the river from you. Click on my BYC link below and you can see how I did my coop. Also, if you haven't seen it the Garden Coop is a great coop design from a guy in Portland. His website is . The plans are awesome... very complete and easy to build coop.
  3. PDXcluck

    PDXcluck Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 21, 2012
    Portland, OR
    The 4x4 posts are 2 feet, 18 inches buried and 6 inches above ground which the perimeter 2x6's are tied into with screws. So if I had to move it I could since the 4x4 are independent of the actual coop/run structure and really just serve as a solid support against lateral movement.

    But still, doing the upfront work to level and avoid settling may be a better use of my time than burying posts. The problem with that is that I am also planning on digging out to a depth of 18 inches under the footprint of the run and filling with a rocky soil (it is currently heavy clay) to improve drainage, I would add the sand on top of that for the actual run. So that is bound to settle some, which is why I ultimately decided on burying the posts.

    Thanks for the reply and I like your coop!
  4. chfite

    chfite Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    I am not sure how to address this, but your coop will not be structurally stable as designed. The rectangular framing will rack unless you employ bracing to form triangles or use plywood or other panels to maintain rigidity. A good wind could catch the enclosure and pull the entire structure down.

    Just something to consider.


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