Coop/Run Design Help Needed

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by cowgirl_up_47, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. cowgirl_up_47

    cowgirl_up_47 New Egg

    Aug 30, 2010
    We are planning on building a new coop and run, so I have been looking at coop designs. I really like some that I have seen, however, I'm concerned about rain/mud issues here in the Pacific NW. We thought our current coop and run would stay mud-free through the winter, but we thought wrong. I think the coop itself would have stayed mud-free had we built a wood floor and covered it with linoleum and shavings (was designed as a shelter for calves and has a dirt floor). The run is made out of chainlink dog run panels and covered with metal roofing.

    Are there any coop/run combos that would work well in our wet area? I'm thinking that an enclosed and covered run will be the best option. I'm thinking sand or pea gravel would also help. I'm really leaning towards doing some type of gutter system as well.

    Maybe someone has some suggestions on what works well in such a wet climate.

    I should also add that we're looking for something for about 20-25 hens.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2011
  2. baldessariclan

    baldessariclan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2010
    Wichita, KS
    We used to live in Seattle area, and can sympathize -- it does get boggy!

    When we built our coop and run (here in KS), I picked a slightly high spot in the lawn, and buried paving stones around perimeter of where the wall/fence would sit, with tops just slightly above ground level. I banked some dirt around these, and then laid another layer of pavers flat over the buried ones. When the run was all done, I filled it with enough sand to cover the upper layer of paving stones. Figure that the top of the sand is probably at least 3" - 6" above the surrounding lawn, and drains automatically w/out much trouble. When wet, the sand doesn't really get "muddy" -- its more like being on a wet beach. If you keep the poop scooped out regularly, it works very well. And pretty easy to break up the sand if you need to whenever it's all dried out (i.e. in warmer, dier weather).

    Wood shavings in the coop also work pretty well. If you keep them deep enough, you can scoop most poop off the top, and rest will work in and dry out -- rake/fluff it up during your regular cleanings. We switch it all out a couple times a year at least, and throw into the compost. I am impressed with how fast these wood chips can break down in the compost, if you manage it well -- that chicken poop really gets it cooking!! :)
  3. farmer_lew

    farmer_lew Hi-Tech Redneck

    Jun 29, 2010
    In the hills

    Sand is the way to go, especially in wet areas. And, the deeper the better. I'd go with 6", minimum. Also,as far as the coop goes, a raised coop will keep it high and dry. Be sure to cover the floor with linoleum/vinyl flooring. Makes it easier to clean, and acts as a moisture barrier under the litter.

    Remember, though...4 sqft/bird in the coop and 10 sqft/bird in the run as a minimum.

  4. cowgirl_up_47

    cowgirl_up_47 New Egg

    Aug 30, 2010
    Thanks for the suggestions so far.

    It sounds like a raised coop will be the way to go, along with lots of sand in the run area. I was also already planning on using linoleum flooring and shavings inside the coop, since it seems like that will be the easiest to clean.

    Another question- Does the 4 sqft/bird in the coop and 10 sqft/bird in the run apply even if they are allowed to free range during the day and are only confined at night?
  5. chickerdoodle

    chickerdoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2009
    I agree with the others. We live in the Portland, OR area. We use sand in the run which is completely covered and shavings (over vinyl) in the henhouse. Our coop was also built on a gentley sloping area. You can see the entire building if you click on my BYC page (I won a honorary mention in the recent coop contest too!). [​IMG]

    Space--the more the better. There will be rainy days that the girls may not want to be outside and stay under cover. Letting them out to free range each day is great for them as long as you have proper predator control.
  6. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    2x what Chickerdoodle said:
    Space--the more the better. There will be rainy days that the girls may not want to be outside and stay under cover.

    It seems that chickens indulge in naughty behaviors when crowded and bored because they are coop bound during stretches of bad weather. JUst my summary of the posts here on BYC.​

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