Coop under construction in NorthAZ - seeking feedback/critiques

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by BeeInNorthAZ, Sep 14, 2014.

  1. BeeInNorthAZ

    BeeInNorthAZ In the Brooder

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    Jul 20, 2014
    Northern Arizona
    Greetings All,

    I am still a backyard chicken virgin, but I'm getting ready for some Spring chicks. I am building this coop out of pallet wood and left over fasteners from our home my wife and I finished building last year. The only thing I've had to buy new so far is the ChickGuard pop-door opener and the corrugated polycarbonate roofing. Everything else is either left overs from the home build or stuff I acquired at the ReStore here in town.

    What I have left to do from this point on is to build the roll-away nest box, the roosts, my watering and feed system, and the chicken ladder. I still need to enclose the underside of the coop and add the ridge-cap that I had to order online today (hardware store doesn't carry it). Also, I'm still back-and-forth on whether I need to add netting over the whole run (see predator questions below). Finally, I might build a cute little window there next to the personnel door if I'm lacking in ventilation. My ventilation so far includes 1/2" gaps under the roof overhang and a 1.5" roof ridge vent that will be protected from rain and snow by the ridge cap. Do you all think I have enough ventilation already, or will the window be a necessity. BTW, their pop-door is translucent, so that lets in some light already.

    I have until Spring to finish, so I'm not in a hurry and open to ideas, so please bombard me, but be nice ;-)

    Some predator-proofing questions: Do I still have to worry about hawks being that my coop and run are completely covered by the ponderosa pine tree canopy? Can chickens fly over a 4 foot high fence, so should I add netting anyway?

    The coop itself is built like a tank, and the only thing that has a chance of breaking in is a mountain lion, so I'm not worried about them at night. Also, my dogs have 24/7 access to the back throughout their doggy-door, so they should help keep the predators at bay (I hope). What are your thoughts on my predator-proofing strategy? Is it obvious I'm a noob that has no idea what I'm talking about, or am I on the right track?

    Oh, regarding the size, my flock will be no bigger than 5 birds, but we're only starting out with 3 hens. That's why the coop is smallish.

    Thanks in advance for any feedback and critiques!

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    Last edited: Sep 14, 2014
  2. chikkenfriend

    chikkenfriend Songster

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    My Coop
    First of all, it looks great!! And tough. I see 3 things that might help you.

    1. Ponderosa offers some cover, but are there open areas that are vulnerable to birds of prey? Hawks have tried(and failed) to take our birds. And one owl almost broke his neck trying to get into the coop. Watch out for those guys.

    2. A four foot fence? Oh no. Look at this.
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    This is Sonya, our Black Australorp. And that is my house she is on. 4 feet ain't nothin!!

    3. Roost space for sleeping. There needs to be room for each bird on the perch, room enough around it to fly up, and room enough above so as to not bump their heads on the ceiling.

    I built our coops too. Learned the hard way. Hope it helps.

    All the best to ya!!

    P.s. Check out our coop in my signature.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Blarneyeggs

    Blarneyeggs Crowing

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    Southeast PA
    First of all...GORGEOUS!! Great job, and all that work done before you even got chicks? Super. Love the pic of chikkenfriends bird on the roof, and yes some breeds are great flyers, but my Orpingtons stay put in their 4 foot fencing, cause those Bittys are just too plump to get any air. I was wondering about your ventilation, sounds like you've got some planned, but not much. Most of the coops I build, I put a vent 4" by 4 feet just under the roof on the back side of the coop directly across from the door, this brings the air flow across as well as top to bottom - not sure if that made sense. Anyway, ventilation is your friend. Especially if you get temperatures in the extremes.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. chikkenfriend

    chikkenfriend Songster

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    My Coop

    Great post. Ventilation is important. We're in Texas. I put in LOTS of windows!!

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    1 person likes this.
  5. BeeInNorthAZ

    BeeInNorthAZ In the Brooder

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    Jul 20, 2014
    Northern Arizona
    Ok, I'll definitely add the window then. I figured I'd have to anyway, and the way I've built this coop, adding features is very easy.

    Awesome tractor-coops! If I had anywhere close to a flat yard, I'd be going this route.


    I will definitely be adding netting then. I knew they could fly, but I didn't know they were THAT good at it.

    I will likely build some kind of tripod-like structure to hang the netting over and attach the netting to the fences and coop. Then I can build outdoor roosts onto the tripod legs for them to use during the day.

    I think I still should be fine on headroom for the coop roosts. Do you have a minimum headroom measurement I should be keeping in mind when mounting the coop roosts?
     
  6. chikkenfriend

    chikkenfriend Songster

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    My Coop
    Excellent idea. Sounds great. I'm at work now. I'll get you a good headroom measurement when I get home.

    In the meantime here is Sonya the Australorp doing her thing
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  7. ECBW

    ECBW Songster

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    Doesn't it get hot in Arizona? The 1/2" gap might not do the job. Install large gable vents with shutters.

    I would suggest predator proof the run as well.
     
  8. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida

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    My Coop
    x2....In my humble, beginner myself opinion ventilation is one thing that can't be overdone. I live in Northern Wyoming and in my coop (6'x8') I have: The gap where the roof meets the walls, all the way around, a 6"x24" open vent in the north wall which can be close up when the winter winds start blowing snow around, a window on the west side, a window on the east side over the pop door (which remains open year-round, an exhaust fan above the people door on the east, a big vent in the upper east wall, a window on the south side, and a small vent on the floor directly across from the east window and pop door. With all that, I still had a brief period where I had an ammonia smell and oppressive heat in my coop this summer when temps were in the 90's. You will probably have even higher temps than we get, and excessive heat is more dangerous to chickens than cold.

    You are to be commended for putting the coop before the chicks...I got too overeager and didn't do that. <sigh> Got them in February and had them in the brooder in the house until they were 5 1/2 weeks old -because it was too cold and snowy to build the coop right away. Lesson learned there.

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    Looking at the east wall of the coop...you can see the window, the exhaust fan, the vent, the tunnel for the pop door, and the big vent at the top. You can't see the gap between the roof and the walls, but it's there. You'd have to modify that significantly because my coop is larger than yours, but you get the idea of ventilation. Good luck! Enjoy your chickens.

    Oh, and my chunky Cuckoo Marans enjoys sitting on top of the coop during free range time - and it's 8 feet tall in the front and six at the back. Here she is on top of the run....

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    Last edited: Sep 19, 2014
  9. BeeInNorthAZ

    BeeInNorthAZ In the Brooder

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    Jul 20, 2014
    Northern Arizona
    Nope, we don't get hot here. We didn't break 75`F the entire month of August. Kinda hard to when you're at 7000' elevation with rain almost everyday. [​IMG]

    I will look into adding some gable vents too. Thanks!

    Great advice! How many chickens do you have in your flock? I'm planning on maxing out at only 5, and I'm starting to lean towards a light breed or even a bantam breed if I can be sure they can take our winters here. As I said above, I will look into adding gable vents too, besides a window. Since my coop is so small, and we pretty much always have a breeze here, do you think I'll still need a powered vent fan?
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2014
  10. chikkenfriend

    chikkenfriend Songster

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    My Coop
    Ok here we go. First attempt I didn't get enough height for the roost. Big girls hit their heads on the ceiling. This is now our adolescent coop.

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    This one I got right. Even Jake, our tallest rooster, gets up no problem.

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    This spacing really works well. Two Rock Roos, 3 Rock hens, and 6 Red Star hens all fit comfortably with no issues.

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    Good luck!!!
     

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