Coop Space Dilemma-pics

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by wiss0023, Feb 3, 2011.

  1. wiss0023

    wiss0023 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 1, 2010
    Like so many chicken newbie's; my first year has brought many learning experiences. Originally I thought I wanted 3-4 hens, had my wonderful husband build me a coop that said it was for 6-8 chickens (just in case), I now have five hens, and soon would like two more (my max I swear [​IMG] ). The dilemma I have is my original coop has just 15 sq. ft. of floor space (Not sure how the coop design thought 8 chickens would fit). Originally it was built with an attached run, which I soon discovered was much smaller than I wanted (My chickens do also free range a couple hours a day during the summer). We created a temporary 15 x 20 foot fenced run, that we will make into a more permanent covered structure in the spring (shoveling the run in WI gives me a good workout). To accommodate my flock during the winter we took the original attached run, covered it in SunTuf plexi-glass roof panels (leaving space on the eves for ventilation) added roosting space, wood shavings and essentially created an additional attached indoor space, which created approx. 60 sq. ft. of interior space.

    My questions are:
    1. Does this count as legitimate coop space, they love it, but still roost at night in the main coop area. I know it is not "ideal" as it is not insulated etc., but is it acceptable? It does block wind and snow elements, and even on the coldest days they are scratching around in it. In the summer would the suntuf panels get hot even under a covered run? (we essentially plan to make a large run that is like a garden pergola with hardwire cloth on the interior and put the coop inside it).

    2. Another thought I had was to build a second coop, placing it in the same large covered run . . . but would the chickens use both coops, or just cram into one at night? Anyone have any experience with two coops under one large run? Do the chickens space themselves out? This of course is much more work, and avoids the obvious question of "why don't you just sell your current coop and build a larger one," but my hubby built such a beautiful coop, and it was an anniversary gift, so I would rather keep it.

    Your input is much appreciated! If the answer is (don't get the two new hens), I can live with that . . . I think [​IMG]

    Last edited: Feb 3, 2011
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    It is not really coop space versus run space. It is total usable space. What access do they have and when. The difference in the coop and run is generally that the chickens are locked in the coop at night, mainly for predator protection or maybe weather, but have access to the run during the day. The usual recommendations on this forum cover this traditional usage. One huge reason we normally recommend 4 square feet minuimum in the coop is that most of our chickens spend some time locked in the coop during waking hours and don't have access to a run. This could be because of climate or maybe somebody likes to sleep in an a Saturday morning. Chickens can do OK in a fairly small coop provided they have access to other space, like a run. Or you can give them a very large coop with fairly little run space. It is as much a management issue as a pure square foot issue.

    A possible answer is not to build a second coop but expand your original one. Build an attached section that is predator proof that they can enter any time they want. You can keep the roosts or nest boxes in one and feed and water in the other, perhaps. If they are attached and predator proof where they can go from one to the other any time they are awake, you are in good shape. Just build it bigger than the minimum they need. They can get by and survive in a certain space, but they do better if they have a bit more space than the absolute minimum.
  3. wiss0023

    wiss0023 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 1, 2010
    Quote:Thanks Ridgerunner, very helpful to look at it from this perspective. I do keep the pop door from the coop to the run open at all times, as it is rather predator proof, it butts up directly to the coop and all areas under the suntuf roof panels (including the space under the coop) are covered in hardwire cloth. This doesn't deter digging predators, however our covered run we are building in the spring will address this issue, and I figure until the ground thaws I should be okay [​IMG] I think an "addition" to the coop is a grand idea . . . I guess I didn't think of that [​IMG] Now if I can just talk the husband into it!
  4. Dogfish

    Dogfish Rube Goldberg incarnate

    Mar 17, 2010
    Western Washington
    I would bite the bullet and build a larger coop. Keep the small one for broodies, etc. Pretty much agree on coop+run = usuable space issue.
  5. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    Be careful with the Suntuff addition. Yes, it can heat up in the sun quite dramatically. Nice in very cold weather, but you don't want to end up with "roasted" chicken.

    I had clear panels on the roof of my small coop and it got over 120 degrees in there one spring afternoon when the outside temp was in the mid eighties.
  6. wsdareme

    wsdareme Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 9, 2010
    Yelm, WA
    Quote:I totally agree! And make it MUCH larger. You have heard of chicken math, haven't you? If not, do a search on this site and you'll know more about this addiction we all suffer from. LOL!!

    Get more chickens, LOTS more chickens!!! [​IMG]
  7. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 31, 2008
    I'd go with a larger coop and keep this one for broodies, penalty box, or young stock when you replenish. And yes, you can keep them both in the same run. We have 2 coops in our run: 1 main one and 2 small ones. The chickens will stay in the one they are accustomed to unless you physically move them a few nights and close off the old one. When you use the small coop for new ones, you will have to subdivide the run for a few weeks but chicken wire will be fine for that.
  8. farmer_lew

    farmer_lew Hi-Tech Redneck

    Jun 29, 2010
    In the hills
    Be careful with the clear plastic panels. During summer, that space can essentially become a greenhouse with temps much higher than outside. The chicks could suffer heatstroke/dehydration if confined in there.

    I agree that you should just go ahead and build a bigger coop. A lot of the plans you buy say that the coop is for 6 - 8 chickens, but in reality will only accomodate 3 - 4. Design your own, based on what you need. You, and the chicks, will be happier for it.
  9. wiss0023

    wiss0023 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 1, 2010
    Thanks everyone for the input! I think I will eventually bite the bullet and build a larger coop (by "I" i mean my husband [​IMG] . . . I was thinking the covered run WOULD make a great green house actually, not a bad idea for Spring! Now the search for the new coop design begins . . .
  10. Colie <3

    Colie <3 Collecting my Cuties

    Feb 3, 2011
    Fayetteville, NC
    Did he build your current coop? It looks just like a couple of retail coops I was looking at recently!

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