Coop questions from the greenest of newbies...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by CoveLife, Jul 8, 2011.

  1. CoveLife

    CoveLife New Egg

    Jul 3, 2011
    Hi all. I would appreciate advice for coop plans. I am ridiculously ignorant about chicken raising; in fact I'm still trying to determine how many & what kind I need. It is just my husband and myself & I'm want egg layers. Here's what's going on, coop related:

    * I have an area approx 30x15 I'm thinking to turn into the chickens area. It is bordered on the long sides by my house & the neighbors standard fence. The short ends are open. My daughters boyfriend is a carpenter & will be helping me w/enclosing it.

    * I have a large dog that likes to chase the wildlife out here, so can I close the short ends w/privacy fencing so he will not see/terrorize them? The main living area of my house is on the 2nd floor so I can easily see down into the coop from several windows as well as a balcony.

    * Speaking of looking down, I live in a rural area with all manner of critters from gators to hawks. Should the entire area be enclosed for predator prevention?

    * There is a down spout in this 30x15 area. I'd like to use it as a water source for them the way you might store water in a rain barrell. I'm crazy, right??

    I'm sure there will be other questions I haven't thought of yet, so thank you for ur patience!!
  2. Chop33

    Chop33 Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 5, 2011
    Crofton, Kentucky
    I don't know much, but you really need to consider what breed you will have before building the coop. the bigger breeds need lower roosting pole and nesting boexes have to be bigger and how many chickens are you going to have? Alot to consider but it will start with how mwny and what breed![​IMG]
  3. CoveLife

    CoveLife New Egg

    Jul 3, 2011
    Oh, now see - I didn't know that! So you don't just build a coop & then get some chickens to move in? Leave it to me to try & do it bass ackwards! Thank you bunches!!
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Well, I built a coop and then moved chickens in, BUT FIRST I had to think how many I wanted to house, and by the time I started it, I had purchased my chicks from a feed store and they were growing up in a brooder bin for 8 weeks. Which meant I had to decide what kind of chickens I wanted (all large fowl, "dual purpose" breeds for my first batch o' chicks), which determined how much space and some other living quarters needs.

    So, yes, you need to have a clue as to how many you want, and what kinds of chickens. Even if you buy them as started pullets, or laying hens, instead of chicks.

    Minimum interior floor space: 4 square feet per chicken. Any floor space taken up by feeders and waterers or other things you keep in the coop (if you do) will reduce the available square footage.

    Minimum exterior run space: 10 square feet per chicken.

    Generally, you need 1 nest box for every 4 chickens, but only having one of them is never all that great an idea, so plan for 2 nestboxes for up to 11 chickens, and 1 more for every 4. [​IMG]

    Nest boxes for Jersey Giants are larger than those for Leghorns, for example. So you'll need to have an idea of what kind of chickens you're gonna get.

    Hope that helps supplement Chop33's post.
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Since your neighbor has a "regular" fence, I'd look for heavier breeds, since they almost never attempt to fly over anything. A lot of the joy of having chickens comes from watching them while you're out and about (you'll see many folks here on BYC talk about watching chicken t.v.), so I'd consider chainlink or wire along at least one side rather than privacy fence. If you work with your dogs a bit, they will learn to ignore the birds in their run. My dogs will chase critters (including cats that aren't ours), but pay little attention to our chickens, because they've learned that they belong to me.
    So looks at the different breeds (there's a tab along the top that may help you choose), decide how many you want, and then plan your coop accordingly. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2011
  6. CoveLife

    CoveLife New Egg

    Jul 3, 2011
    Wait, chickens can fly over a fence? But I thought chickens don't or can't fly?

    Thanks for the replies, this is beginning to make sense. It looks like I'll be getting Easter Eggers so I need to do my homework to see just what kind of home they like.

    "Interior" refers to the completely enclosed area, not just the little house they lay the eggs in? And exterior is extra room to run around, correct? Forgive me, I don't know the vernacular yet...
  7. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Quote:Chickens CAN fly. Some breeds fly quite well - the lighter, smaller ones. This is not the "fly through the air like song birds" kind of flying, but getting aloft enough to traverse 20, 30 feet, and/or over fences. Or up to the top of a fence and then jump down on the other side. Many of the larger breeds don't even try to fly once they are fully grown. Too much bulk to lift.

    In my post, "interior" referred to the "little house they lay eggs in" - commonly called a hen-house or a coop. The exterior is the run or penned section of property attached or adjacent to the coop. Chickens not only lay eggs in the nestboxes in the coop, but they "roost" there at night, on roost bars. So they sleep above the ground.
  8. gunnarmcc

    gunnarmcc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 10, 2011
    SSF, CA
    go to the coop section of this website and look at all the pictures based on the size area you have for them i would look in the large and extra large coop section to get some ideas as to what you like
  9. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    If you have gators I'm assuming you live in FL or nearby (they live here, too.) I didn't read this whole thread, sorry, but in this climate I strongly believe in very open coops. A simple three sided small shelter, just to keep rain off, attached to an enclosed run, works well. Hardware cloth is not cheap, but you will spend a lot less on lumber. Here is a thread with some examples of what I am talking about:
  10. CoveLife

    CoveLife New Egg

    Jul 3, 2011
    Ddawn, you got it right. I'm about an hour south of Jax. I can see how an open coop would be better in our climate. Thanks!

    Ive been perusing the different styles of coops and have an idea in my head that I should probably sketch out. I think I have room for 3-5 and I want at least three

    Umm, is it normal to be excited by this kind of stuff? I'm a transplanted city girl and have surprised myself because I'm actually excited.

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