coop planning-dimensions, materials, spacing-lots of questions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Markp1964, Sep 24, 2007.

  1. Markp1964

    Markp1964 In the Brooder

    Sep 4, 2007
    I have spent most of the afternoon today reading through the posts in this section. As I try to plan out the coop that I'll build over the winter to be ready for grown pullets in the spring.
    This will be home for three Dominiques, Australorps or similar birds. It will go in a fenced backyard and for a neighbor who's not paying much attention look like a rabbit hutch or dog house.
    I'm planning of a 3'X3" house with a 3"x6" run. The house will have a peaked roof, 3 feet high sloping down to side walls 2 feet high. One side of the roof will be hinged for access, and I think it might be wise to have the side wall under the hinged section of roof either be removable or hinged as well to allow easy cleaning.

    So here are thing I still need to know:

    1) How tall should the run be-is 24 inches enough? The run will be portable so it can be used like a tractor unit during the day.

    2) How large does the door from house into run need to be, and should there be a lip at the bottom to hold in litter-that is should the door open right at floor lever or be raised to hold in litter?

    3) Floor matrial is still perplexing me. I think I've read every post about it, and can find very few who reccomend wire mesh floors, but several have spoken in favor of it when the birds will be on roost or in run most of their day.

    4) From what I've read here and other places, one nest should be enough-sound good?

    5) Water and feed in the run or in the house? To fit a nest, waterer, feeder and three birds into 9 square feet seems tight.

    I appreciate the information and help

  2. TxChiknRanchers

    TxChiknRanchers Songster

    Aug 18, 2007
    Southeast Texas
    Looks like you have a good plan. Is this going to be movable, and are you going to let the chickens out some? These things will play a part in your run height decision. I have one tractor that is 24 inches high(run part with a lift hinged top) the coup part is about four feet high and our 4 BO's seem happy there but we do let them out most every day for an hour or so.

    IMHO- hardwarecloth floor is ok if mesh is 1/2 inch and you have roost sticks available.
  3. greginshasta

    greginshasta Songster

    Jul 26, 2007
    Mount Shasta, CA
    Mine spent days in a 2' tall tractor from about 5 weeks old to 2 months old, then back inside into their tub. Each day when they moved outside they'd flutter their wings and try to fly.

    But since they moved to their 6' tall enclosure, they have really begun to fly and enjoy the height. It also accomodates us going inside the run to visit with them and feed them.

    2' tall will be very restrictive for you and for them.

    Last edited: Sep 24, 2007
  4. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    3' x3' coop will be extremely cramped for 3 standard size chickens. (I just built a 3' x 4' coop to house 3 standards, and they seem a little cramped in it, I kind of regret not building a little bigger)

    And a run that is 24" tall will be too short, they won't have enough room to fully stretch.

    My shortest rooster is 24" tall just standing, and they stretch out taller than that.
  5. Rafter 7 Paint Horses

    Rafter 7 Paint Horses Songster

    Jan 13, 2007
    East Texas
    Since you asked, I'm going to give my opinion.

    If your chickens are going to stay in it 24/7, I think it will be too small for 3 hens. You could keep 1 hen in that space comfortably 24/7. If I were you, I would consider building a larger coop, maybe a playhouse style. they are not as portable, but you could make it easier to move by adding wheels if you need it portable.

    You need at least 14 square feet of floor space for 3 hens, waterer and feeder in the coop, with outside mounted nestboxes. The run should be at least 30 square feet.

    If you still plan on doing this as planned, I answered your questions as best I could.

    1. Since your coop will be 3 feet tall, I would make the run as tall as you can without going over the roof overhang. Make sure you have access doors. (More than 1)

    2. Normal size pop holes are 12 inches by 12 inches. You might go taller if you are getting the large breeds you mentioned. Maybe 16 inches tall.
    If you want to keep your litter in the coop, put a lip.

    3. I don't recomend wire for the floor. The size you are building, they will be in the coop a lot. If it is to be portable, I would do a solid floor.

    4. 1 nest will be enough. They do prefer to have a choice of where to lay, though.

    5. If you are going to lock them in the coop at night, you will need to have both feed & water in it. If they will be able to come & go as they please, then you can put the water outside, but if you intend to put the feed outside, you will have to have either an open range feeder (that protects from rain, or cover your run. Your feed should not get wet.

  6. Markp1964

    Markp1964 In the Brooder

    Sep 4, 2007
    I appreciate hearing from everyone that has replied.
    I have no solid plans yet, so nothin gis set in stone-no birds purchased, no lumber cut, so I can make changes and adjustments.

    My plans for the small size coop and run I mentioned were really influenced by the little coops I've seen on some English websites, as well as the "egglu" any of which seem to be very compact, which is what I really need. The playhouse style coops is just too tall for my area.

    If a 3X3 coop (9 square feet) with 3X6 run (18 square feet) is too tight for 3 Dominiques, maybe I need smaller birds.I'd like to have full size rather than Bantam because I'm looking to purchase just a few sex sorted chicks, and I have not seen any producers that well sex sort banty chicks.

    I know the eggs will be smaller, but will bantams lay as well as the bigger cousins?
  7. AtRendeAcres

    AtRendeAcres Songster

    May 23, 2007
    Clarion County
  8. robin416

    robin416 Songster

    Feb 6, 2007
    All I have are bantams and would have a tough time imagining them being confined to a space that small. My bird groupings of 3 birds each have pens that are 6X4 within the coop and they use every bit of that space when you consider the water, feed and roost.

    I take it chickens are not something you supposed to have where you live?
  9. Markp1964

    Markp1964 In the Brooder

    Sep 4, 2007
    You're right-zoned residential-no agriculture.
    My argument is that 3 birds would be pets, not agriculture but the zoning guys dont want to hear it.

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