Coop Questions...


10 Years
Jun 7, 2009
Mobile, Alabama
I am a newbie building my first chicken coop and I had a couple of questions...

I am planning on having 6 hens (plymouth rocks), so I was building an 8 x 8 coop. I am hoping that will leave me enough room to expand to more chickens if I decide to, without building another coop. I am in Southern Alabama, so I was planning on building the coop about 2-3 feet off of the ground. Is it better to put the chicken door in the floor of the coop where the ladder is under the coop or on the front of the coop? Also, does it matter if the roost in the coop are over the opening for the nesting boxes on the side?

Thanks for any advice you can give. Hopefully I can put pictures of my plans up for comments and help soon.


13 Years
Mar 25, 2009
South Alabama
I think you would want the door to come in the side rather than the floor....if it is in the floor then that is that square foot or so of floorspace that the chickens can't use...basically a fourth of a chicken if you follow the 4 sqft per chicken guideline. Plus, I think the door will be easier to fashion and operate if it is on the side.

I'm taking it that by "nesting boxes on the side" that you mean you are planning on having external nest boxes....??? If that is the case you *could* place the roost area over the nest area. I would think that you'd need to put dropping boards beneath the roost poles to keep the nest boxes from becoming a mess.

You might want to check out this link here to some interesting stuff on building coops (scroll to Chapter Five).... Woods' Improved Open Air Poultry House . Woods' book has mostly larger scale plans in it, but there are a couple of smaller ones....the ideas can be ported over to smaller designs. Here in south Alabama we're going to want LOTS of could build one entire wall out of hardware cloth especially if you made the coop a tad deeper than it is long...say 8x12 (3-sheets plywood for floor).

I'm beginning to think that the 4-foot sq ft rule for housing chickens really needs to be looked at long and hard by the individual person...visualize 4 sq ft and a grown chicken standing in the probably doesn't really have room to spread it's wings completely. The extra 32 sq ft you'd gain by going 8x12 would well utilized by the chickens (and yourself)!

Any how, that's a few of my thoughts. Best wishes!


Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
Ontario, Canada
In the side is definitely a lot better. A hole in the floor a) wastes valuable floorspace (because it has to be a big *long* hole), and b) bedding will all the time falling out onto the ground, which is wasteful and can make a mess of your run.

Also, does it matter if the roost in the coop are over the opening for the nesting boxes on the side?

I know some people think that's bad; however, I have my nestboxes directly under the roost (droppings board doubles as nestbox top) and not had any trouble with it. If that is the only, or by far the most convenient, place for your nestboxes then I'd say go for it. However, be aware that without something like a droppings board, some poo *will* get into the nestboxes (chickens can have very ballistic, squirty poo at times) which requires monitoring and cleaning to prevent pooey eggs or disuse of nestboxes.

Good luck, have fun,



Premium Feather Member
14 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
One thing I would be concerned about building a coop this size off the ground is that I may need to get under it some day. A hen may lay eggs under there, go broody under there, become ill or injured and need to be retrieved. I think I'd build it high enough I could get under there without crawling in chicken poo.

In LA (Lower Alabama) I'd consider having a wire floor under the roosts with a catch basin underneath so the droppings can easily go straight to the compost pile.

If you put the roosts over the nesting boxes, I would put a lip over the edge to protect the nests from the droppings. I think you will wind up doing it later if you don't do it now.

I'll include a link to a coop lessons learned thread. This applies to all kinds of coops so a lot will not apply directly to your situation but you may get some good ideas.

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