Coop & Run plans--suggestions welcome.

Hermits Garden

Vintage American Featherless Biped
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Some details:
We live at 7100 ft elevation in eastern Arizona. The land is mostly pine and oak, no grass, lots of predators, so no free-ranging. The run will be 6' high chain link kennel panels, with 1" hardware cloth apron and 1"x2" welded wire cover.

I aim to keep 10 to 12 LF chickens--either breeding or brooding replacements for retirees, depending on how rooster-friendly future neighbors are. The coop will be a shed roof, 10 x 12 wooden structure, sharing space with separate section for garden tools. 12' x 1' eaves will remain open, covered with hardware cloth for ventilation, but with fascia boards to keep out rain and snow.

Roof pitch will be 4:12, with a gutter on the low side to take water/snow melt to storage. We'll have electric to the coop for Momma Heating Pad brooder and lights, and a frost-free standpipe close to the run gate.

I made a key to the side, but if anyone has a question, opinion, or suggestion, I'd welcome it. We haven't started yet, so if I need to make a change, now's the time.
 

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3KillerBs

Enabler
12 Years
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North Carolina Sandhills
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Looks like you've been doing your research!

You're planing on open eves at both the top and bottom of the slope, right?

You mentioned snow, but at your elevation what are your summer highs? If you get both extremes of heat and cold you might want to make all or part of several walls as removable panels to maximize summer ventilation since heat is more dangerous to chickens than cold it.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
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Feb 2, 2009
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Southeast Louisiana
The run will be 6' high chain link kennel panels, with 1" hardware cloth apron and 1"x2" welded wire cover.
How tall are you and yours and how are you going to build that cover? I kind of bounce when I walk and that welded wire might sag. When I bump my head I hit the underside of the cover and framing, not the top. Do you need to think about the clear height of that cover?

12' x 1' eaves will remain open, covered with hardware cloth for ventilation, but with fascia boards to keep out rain and snow.
That is plenty of ventilation and should let in a fair amount of light during the day. With those two windows that should be adequate light.

With the droppings board limiting access to the manual pop door from the broody/bachelor area I assume you will open and close that from the outside?

I think you will have adequate access to everything with room to work. You should have pretty good flexibility in that you can leave many of those doors and gates open most of the time but create isolated areas if you need to. I'm trying to look at your walking path through that. Part of me would want another door on that left side between the nests and the roosts. I'm mainly thinking of when you shovel that section out to replace bedding. There is not a lot of room for it though and you will probably be cleaning it out so seldom it's not a big deal.

That broody/bachelor area takes a lot of area away from the inside of the coop, but you should only be using that area in better weather when the others have access to the outside. They won't be stuck indoors with limited room during your winters. That should not be a problem.

What will your interior walls be made of. The separation between broody/main coop can be wire. That will help with the lighting and ventilation. If the interior wall around the tool room is wire you will get a lot of dust in there. Whether that is a problem or not depends on what you keep in there. Making the walls solid to keep dust out will reduce ventilation and you'll probably need a light in there. Many of us use wire for that but do consider the dust.

I'm not sure what you are planning for the broody buster under the nests. Details. details. The broody buster needs a wire bottom and needs to be elevated a bit so air can get under her. You may want to scrape under the broody buster for poop management. Your nests need to be at a height convenient to you, collecting eggs is where you will use that area the most. The floor of the nests can be the top of the broody buster, that works well. It looks like the sick bay/broody buster is about 5' x 20". If you put your door in the middle of that five feet you can probably reach a sick hen that doesn't want to be reached. You may not want to be on your knees either gathering eggs or taking care of a broody or sick hen. There is a lot of personal preference in this but I'd consider putting the broody buster above the nests and use the top of the nests as a droppings board through that wire floor. If you don't want a wire floor for some uses have a piece of plywood you can stick in there to give it a solid floor.

Another bit of personal preference. I made a couple of my nests so I could lock a chicken in there if I wanted to. That has come in handy for many different reasons. I'd definitely do that for the nest in the broody area and probably would at least one of the other nests. Having that bit of flexibility has made my life a lot easier several times.

I'm not criticizing you at all, I think you did an excellent job laying it out. Whenever you are designing a coop and run, always consider your comfort and convenience. If it is easy for you to take care of them you'll do a better job. They will adapt and adjust. Good luck with it.
 

Alaskan

The Frosted Flake
Premium Feather Member
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Jul 26, 2008
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Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
My Coop
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How tall are you and yours and how are you going to build that cover? I kind of bounce when I walk and that welded wire might sag. When I bump my head I hit the underside of the cover and framing, not the top. Do you need to think about the clear height of that cover?


That is plenty of ventilation and should let in a fair amount of light during the day. With those two windows that should be adequate light.

With the droppings board limiting access to the manual pop door from the broody/bachelor area I assume you will open and close that from the outside?

I think you will have adequate access to everything with room to work. You should have pretty good flexibility in that you can leave many of those doors and gates open most of the time but create isolated areas if you need to. I'm trying to look at your walking path through that. Part of me would want another door on that left side between the nests and the roosts. I'm mainly thinking of when you shovel that section out to replace bedding. There is not a lot of room for it though and you will probably be cleaning it out so seldom it's not a big deal.

That broody/bachelor area takes a lot of area away from the inside of the coop, but you should only be using that area in better weather when the others have access to the outside. They won't be stuck indoors with limited room during your winters. That should not be a problem.

What will your interior walls be made of. The separation between broody/main coop can be wire. That will help with the lighting and ventilation. If the interior wall around the tool room is wire you will get a lot of dust in there. Whether that is a problem or not depends on what you keep in there. Making the walls solid to keep dust out will reduce ventilation and you'll probably need a light in there. Many of us use wire for that but do consider the dust.

I'm not sure what you are planning for the broody buster under the nests. Details. details. The broody buster needs a wire bottom and needs to be elevated a bit so air can get under her. You may want to scrape under the broody buster for poop management. Your nests need to be at a height convenient to you, collecting eggs is where you will use that area the most. The floor of the nests can be the top of the broody buster, that works well. It looks like the sick bay/broody buster is about 5' x 20". If you put your door in the middle of that five feet you can probably reach a sick hen that doesn't want to be reached. You may not want to be on your knees either gathering eggs or taking care of a broody or sick hen. There is a lot of personal preference in this but I'd consider putting the broody buster above the nests and use the top of the nests as a droppings board through that wire floor. If you don't want a wire floor for some uses have a piece of plywood you can stick in there to give it a solid floor.

Another bit of personal preference. I made a couple of my nests so I could lock a chicken in there if I wanted to. That has come in handy for many different reasons. I'd definitely do that for the nest in the broody area and probably would at least one of the other nests. Having that bit of flexibility has made my life a lot easier several times.

I'm not criticizing you at all, I think you did an excellent job laying it out. Whenever you are designing a coop and run, always consider your comfort and convenience. If it is easy for you to take care of them you'll do a better job. They will adapt and adjust. Good luck with it.
Brilliant thoughts.

Personal preference, I like poop shelves over droppings pits, saves more space.

I would extend the coop roof out over the run. Life is better with a roofed run.

For broody hens I have kept them under a poop shelf, which is just a bit short of 2x8x3 high. And that has been plenty of space until the chicks join the flock. Since broody hens usually happen in the summer, often I put them into a chicken tractor.

The second coop area is still a great idea. I have something similar in my coop complex and have used it in the past to segregate breeding groups. I prefer using chicken tractors to segregate breeding groups, but being able to split up the coop means I have a jump on the breeding season since I have to wait so long for my snow to melt.
 

Hermits Garden

Vintage American Featherless Biped
Premium Feather Member
Oct 8, 2018
210
834
236
Lakeside, Arizona
Looks like you've been doing your research!

You're planing on open eves at both the top and bottom of the slope, right?

You mentioned snow, but at your elevation what are your summer highs? If you get both extremes of heat and cold you might want to make all or part of several walls as removable panels to maximize summer ventilation since heat is more dangerous to chickens than cold it.
Yes--I've wanted chickens for almost a decade, but...mundane matters of life kept interfering. Maybe I'll finally get it built.

Yes on the eave ventilation both low and high sides, even the walls to the garden tool part will have a gap between the roof decking and wall, to continue that air flow. (Only willing to do so much about the dust--I'd just as soon have a separate shed for those, but got outvoted.)

We have pretty great weather here. It gets to the single digits F in the extreme of winter, with "short" snows of maybe 6" inches or so, then they melt. This recent winter gave me an idea of what can happen, though--the locals said they've never seen that much snow all at once--piled up 3 ft! Summers are fairly mild (and not humid), with temps that might hit the high 90's a few times, but average more between 90 & 95 during the hottest months. The summer monsoon rains help cool it down in the afternoons, so we look forward to them.

Lots of shade around the run--pine, oak, and juniper. In fact, I worry it might be too shady!
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
10,667
27,372
1,066
North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop
Yes--I've wanted chickens for almost a decade, but...mundane matters of life kept interfering. Maybe I'll finally get it built.

Yes on the eave ventilation both low and high sides, even the walls to the garden tool part will have a gap between the roof decking and wall, to continue that air flow. (Only willing to do so much about the dust--I'd just as soon have a separate shed for those, but got outvoted.)

We have pretty great weather here. It gets to the single digits F in the extreme of winter, with "short" snows of maybe 6" inches or so, then they melt. This recent winter gave me an idea of what can happen, though--the locals said they've never seen that much snow all at once--piled up 3 ft! Summers are fairly mild (and not humid), with temps that might hit the high 90's a few times, but average more between 90 & 95 during the hottest months. The summer monsoon rains help cool it down in the afternoons, so we look forward to them.

Lots of shade around the run--pine, oak, and juniper. In fact, I worry it might be too shady!

Natural shade is wonderful. Chickens are creatures of the forest floor.

The fallen oak leaves will make great litter in the run.
 

Hermits Garden

Vintage American Featherless Biped
Premium Feather Member
Oct 8, 2018
210
834
236
Lakeside, Arizona
How tall are you and yours and how are you going to build that cover? I kind of bounce when I walk and that welded wire might sag. When I bump my head I hit the underside of the cover and framing, not the top. Do you need to think about the clear height of that cover?
I'm 5'7". The drawing doesn't show the pressure treated supports I plan to extend from the bottom of the fascia to the top of the fence panels, so sloping from 8' to 6' on the tall side, and 6.5 to 6 on the short side. The hubs is 6 ft, but said his involvement will be minimal. The neighbor who would sub for me is barely over 5' though, so maybe it won't be bad.
That is plenty of ventilation and should let in a fair amount of light during the day. With those two windows that should be adequate light.
Good! I'd wondered if the ventilation would brighten it a little.
With the droppings board limiting access to the manual pop door from the broody/bachelor area I assume you will open and close that from the outside?
Yes
I think you will have adequate access to everything with room to work. You should have pretty good flexibility in that you can leave many of those doors and gates open most of the time but create isolated areas if you need to. I'm trying to look at your walking path through that. Part of me would want another door on that left side between the nests and the roosts. I'm mainly thinking of when you shovel that section out to replace bedding. There is not a lot of room for it though and you will probably be cleaning it out so seldom it's not a big deal.
Yep--once a year, they all get kicked out into the run. BUT...I have a second screen-wire door (that's what's there on the plan) so...maybe I could at least open it up a little more for convenience. Can't do another exterior door on that side, as it's only got 6.5' walls.
That broody/bachelor area takes a lot of area away from the inside of the coop, but you should only be using that area in better weather when the others have access to the outside. They won't be stuck indoors with limited room during your winters. That should not be a problem.

What will your interior walls be made of. The separation between broody/main coop can be wire. That will help with the lighting and ventilation. If the interior wall around the tool room is wire you will get a lot of dust in there. Whether that is a problem or not depends on what you keep in there. Making the walls solid to keep dust out will reduce ventilation and you'll probably need a light in there. Many of us use wire for that but do consider the dust.
The garden tool section will have T1-11 siding on studs, and the brooder/breeding pen/bachelor pad will have chicken wire on a stud frame. I had hoped it would help with integrating new chicks to the older flock as well.
I'm not sure what you are planning for the broody buster under the nests. Details. details. The broody buster needs a wire bottom and needs to be elevated a bit so air can get under her. You may want to scrape under the broody buster for poop management. Your nests need to be at a height convenient to you, collecting eggs is where you will use that area the most. The floor of the nests can be the top of the broody buster, that works well. It looks like the sick bay/broody buster is about 5' x 20". If you put your door in the middle of that five feet you can probably reach a sick hen that doesn't want to be reached. You may not want to be on your knees either gathering eggs or taking care of a broody or sick hen. There is a lot of personal preference in this but I'd consider putting the broody buster above the nests and use the top of the nests as a droppings board through that wire floor. If you don't want a wire floor for some uses have a piece of plywood you can stick in there to give it a solid floor.
I had planned to make a 30" high table for my nest boxes, and use the medium size dog crate we have from our old schnauzer as the broody buster. BUT! I love the idea of putting a shelf over the nests. Whether a broody or sick hen, it would make for easier access (shelf being maybe 48" off the floor), and then I can use under the nests for bales of extra bedding. Brilliant!
Another bit of personal preference. I made a couple of my nests so I could lock a chicken in there if I wanted to. That has come in handy for many different reasons. I'd definitely do that for the nest in the broody area and probably would at least one of the other nests. Having that bit of flexibility has made my life a lot easier several times.
A lightweight frame of chicken wire, hinged to latch up under the poo board out of way...I like it.
I'm not criticizing you at all, I think you did an excellent job laying it out. Whenever you are designing a coop and run, always consider your comfort and convenience. If it is easy for you to take care of them you'll do a better job. They will adapt and adjust. Good luck with it.
I'm in decent shape for pushing 60, but the aging back, knees, and hips all spoke up on this plan. Of course, this was the 427th reiteration of the design, so... :)

I appreciate your ideas and perspective. Thank you.
 

Hermits Garden

Vintage American Featherless Biped
Premium Feather Member
Oct 8, 2018
210
834
236
Lakeside, Arizona
Brilliant thoughts.

Personal preference, I like poop shelves over droppings pits, saves more space.
Definitely poop shelves. I already scoop cat poo daily, what's another bucket of poo, more or less? :)
I would extend the coop roof out over the run. Life is better with a roofed run.
Our winters are nowhere nearly as long or snowy as yours--we get a good (dry) snow, and then it melts pretty quickly. The problem is there's not a lot of sun where the coop/run has to go, so I want them to have what little they can. I'll likely have to keep plenty of pine needles raked up to "recarpet" after snows.
The second coop area is still a great idea. I have something similar in my coop complex and have used it in the past to segregate breeding groups. I prefer using chicken tractors to segregate breeding groups, but being able to split up the coop means I have a jump on the breeding season since I have to wait so long for my snow to melt.
I don't have much hope that I'm even going to be able to keep roosters--new neighbors building right behind us. But if I have to buy new chicks, at least I can fit in their brooder with them!
 

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