coops for chicks

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Tikkajazz94, Apr 19, 2008.

  1. I need help picking out a chicken coop design please help?
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Could you be more specific about what you need. Your question is sort of like saying "what career should I choose" or "what's the best thing to have for dinner" [​IMG]

    Site, location, climate, number of chickens, are you going to keep them in a coop and run or will they freerange and if so how much, etc. *Then* maybe we can help [​IMG]

  3. Alberta, canada,
    Free range yes and no,

    The evil M
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    you know, the less information you give, the harder it is to give any not-completely-obvious suggestions [​IMG]

    But, ok fine, based on what little you've said ("Alberta, canada, Free range yes and no, 15-32") (what does 'free range yes and no' mean?)...

    If 15-32 is the number of chickens (?), and if they will have free access to a run all day every day, then you would be wise to build a coop at least 60 sq ft (for 15 chickens) or 120 sq ft (for 32 chickens). That means, AT LEAST 6x10' to 12x10'. Larger is better... if you end up having trouble getting the chickens to keep it warm enough in the winter, you can just close off part of it so they have a smaller chamber to keep warm, ta da.

    You'll need somewhere to store feed.

    You really oughta have insulated walls.

    You will need a substantial amount of ventilation, and yes it needs to function even in winter -- you may want to see what others in your area do, and think about ways to shelter the vents from wind or even pre-warm the incoming air slightly (ground, attic space, etc).

    If you're wanting to build from a printed plan, look for shed plans designed for your climate (w/r/t snow load etc)... large hardware stores often sell 'em, I know Rona does out here (dunno whteher Rona is in Alberta), just get a plan for a suitable size yard/storage shed. Relatively little modification is needed to tailor it to chickens.

    Then build an attached run, I'd say at least 1.5 times the area of the coop... you may well find yourself wanting to cover it with tarps or plywood on the upwind side and top, and clear plastic on the sunny side, so the chickens will have more use of it in the winter. (The more crowded they are, the more pecking and cannibalism and other health problems you're likely to get). The run will be useful even if you do plan on free ranging them a lot.

    Hope that helps,

  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Oh, should add... make sure your coop is located somewhere you can run electricity out to it. It will be seriously burdensome to keep up with the chickens' liquid water needs if you can't just plug in a heated waterer or waterer base.

  6. Would you like me to post the pics of the run way Im going to build

  7. Brian

    Brian Songster

    Sep 30, 2007
    Jacksonville, ORegon
    Here...try this as food for thought: Firstly, you need more than a coop. You need a hen house. This will be a walk in structure where you will house the birds (providing enough room for those foul weather days) as well as a litter and feed storage area. People always wind up with more birds, since they enjoy them build it a bit large.

    Look at my link below and check out my hen house. After you've done that, imaging this:
    build a rectangle that is 10' deep by 20' wide. Now, on the left side, image (like with my coop) you have an 8' wide storage area. That leaves (8'-20'=12') 12' of width for the hen housing area. It can be separated, if you wish (as I have done) with a screened wall on top, and a screeded door. Put a board on the bottom of this doorway, so that when you enter the hen house area of the structure, the litter doesn't spill out into the shed portion. I really like this basic plan, as it allows me enough room to store some additional garden equipment in the shed as well.

    Now, for ventilation: play it safe and put a window on each wall. Put wire mesh on the them to keep predators out. In the summer, you can open them all on hot days. In the winter, the small amount of air that leaks in will provide the ventilation the birds need.

    Given that you are in Ontario, I'd insulate the walls. I'd also consider building the walls out of 2x6 lumber, so that you can put in heavier insulation. You can build roosting boards and nesting boxes like mine.

    Build a run, even if you plan on free ranging the hens, as there will be times you may want to contain your birds.

    Think about how you'll clean out the used litter and waste, you may or may not want a special door for shoveling this stuff directly out into a pile. I didn't bother with that. I just bring my wheel barrel to my door and put it in there and take it to my compost bins.

    Finally, build a little chicken door to the run. You'll close and lock this at night after the birds head inside too roost. That will keep the predators out at night.

    There you have it...done! Seriously...whatever you decide, build it larger than you think you'll need. The goal is to spoil the birds with roominess, not to see how small you can make it without causing untoward effects!

    Hope this helps you some.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2008
  8. Cheryl

    Cheryl Songster

    Brian...I am impressed! I will show your shed/coop combo to my dh...I tried to convince him to do that in the first place!
  9. ridgefire

    ridgefire Songster

    Jan 8, 2008
    Northern Michigan
    Dont forget the water, cable, and phone.

    Oh wait thats just me [​IMG]

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