Covered coop & run designs, why are the coops always on the end?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Wise Woman, May 2, 2017.

  1. Wise Woman

    Wise Woman Songster

    Apr 12, 2011
    The Enchanted Forest
    Hi everyone. We are just about to start working on my new coop, finally. I keep around 8 to 12 chickens at any one time and since we live at 6200 ft., we want something that they can be out in no matter the weather. I have decided my new coop will be a covered coop and run design similar to the Wichita coop design, only much larger. I have looked at dozens of these types of covered coops/runs, including Carolina Coops and I was wondering why the coop part is always built off to one end? Is there a reason for this? I plan to put mine in the middle so that one side of the run holds all their food and water and will be closest to the house and easy for me to access and the other side is a play area. Under the coop will be a dust bathing area. Also, a center coop is more aesthetically pleasing to my eye, which is important because the coop will be part of our garden design and we will pass it every time we go in and out of the house.

    I also noticed that the clean out door is often facing the front and accessed from outside the coop and run, except with Carolina Coops,where it is in the back, but still accessed by from outside the coop and run. I will be utilizing the deep litter method and so I plan to have mine doors on the wall of the coop that is inside the run and faces the play area so all the dirty litter can put put right into the run for the chickens to further work into compost eventually. This is how I did it with a previous coop and it worked out great. Once a year in the fall, I just load up my wagon with all that wonderful compost and put it straight into my garden. No lugging to compost bins or putting into trash bags and hauling away. Why have the door in the front of the coop? Doesn't it make a mess when you clean it out?

    I am also planning to have the exterior nest boxes on the other coop wall inside the run(facing out into the eating part of the run) so I don't have to worry about leaks or predators. I also noticed most external nest boxes are on one of the outer walls that are not covered by the roof of the run. This will also keep the nest boxes protected from the hot afternoon sun in the summer time. The food part of the run and the nest boxes will be in the first section of the run and easily accessed from a walkway. Then there will be the coop and finally the "play"section of the run, which will also have an 8 x 4 loft which will also serve as a brooder or separation pen. There will be logs, tires, perches and all sorts of things in the "play" section of the run.

    Each run section will be around 12 ft by 8 ft and the coop will be approx. 8 x 8. I am only going to get one shot at this and I need to get it right as husband has made it clear that he will never again build another coop. Am I missing some major reason for putting the coop at the end of the run? Is my plan seriously flawed in some way that I have overlooked? I am chronically ill and have some physical issues so the design I have come up with will be one that is easy for me to care for the chickens all on my own. But I can't afford to have a fatal design flaw as I am going to have to live with this coop for the rest of my life. Thanks for any advice you might share with me.


  2. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    My Coop
    I see no reason why you can't have your coop built in the center of the enclosure if that's what you want (I have my coop plunked in the center of my run, but it's not built in, just a free standing unit in an uncovered run). Certainly your idea sounds nice and thought out with consideration for both chickens and humans. I hope someone chimes in with more feedback.
  3. AConk81

    AConk81 In the Brooder

    Sep 16, 2012
    I think that usually the access to the next boxes are on the end because it makes it easier for people to get the eggs out without having to go into the run. Saves people from getting muddy/poopy shoes.

    Other than that, I don't see any reason why nothing that you have laid out would be any sort of issue,
  4. paintedChix

    paintedChix Songster

    Dec 15, 2013
    I guess I'm confused. If you've designed something that will work for you and is aesthetically pleasing to YOUR EYE, then why would it have a "fatal design flaw"?

    I imagine that most coops start out as a coop and then a run attached to one side/end - making accessing the coops easier for most folks. I've seen several designs where a coop has had multiple/different runs come off of it with the coop in the middle - works for those designs. I've seen runs with free standing coops in the middle.

    Another consideration of the coop being on the end is not having to enter thru the run - being in direct contact with birds that may be aggressive. Or that you might take "something" away from or bring into the run and then the coop.

    Personally, we've moved. What worked well at our previous house/property doesn't work at all here on our new property. I have to deal with sand (LOTS of it) and heat - so a full wooden coops doesn't work for us. Open air does... As much as we'd like to free range our birds, we haven't been able to on this much larger property due to predators - including marauding dogs that are unmarked/collared that dug under our fenced pasture.

    Clean out doors - really think it varies depending on layout of coop, how coop is positioned in run and ease of access.

    I don't think most folk think about the roof not covering the next boxes when they are put on the side for ease of access. A lot of the placements of things are done that way due to maximizing the space that is available and it seems like most coops are always too small. Or that "chicken math" happens right away to most folk. Or cost gets in the way, so they choose the most economical for them at the time - even if layout may be "weird".

    I can't wait to see how your layout will look when it's finished! Do you have actual plans already done that you can post pics of?

  5. Wise Woman

    Wise Woman Songster

    Apr 12, 2011
    The Enchanted Forest
    Thank you for your reply paintedChix. I am worried to death about getting this coop right because I have been waiting since 2011 to get this coop. It is going to be pricey so there will be no doing it over. Once it is built, I am stuck with it. Our house sits at the back of our property so everything, sheds, garden and the coop is in the front yard basically.

    I was afraid that since I have never seen a coop similar to what I am designing, that maybe there was a major reason that it wasn't done that way. Maybe there are some, but I just haven't seen them. I also have some physical limitations, so I am trying to design a coop and run that is easy for me to care for by myself. I am trying to cover all my bases because again, if I forget or omit something, I have to live with it like that forever.

    I only have plans sketched out on a piece of paper. I can try to draw up something that is readable and post that. Cheers.
  6. jeria

    jeria Songster

    May 5, 2017
    Independence MO
    Do what works for you. Mine will have nest box and feeding access inside and under the roof of the run. I want to be able to block the N and W winds in the winter and early spring and me protected from those awful winds as well. I'm thinking it will work out well, besides I always have my mud boots if needed but the run will be a deep litter with straw etc so should not be bad to walk on.
  7. Finnisher

    Finnisher Chirping

    Apr 26, 2016
    If you have bad winters be careful as more entrances equates to poorer insulation, unless you close one of them. I suppose the two entrances would be useful in the summer to provide ventilation. Also one run would be easier to clean than two runs.

  8. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Songster

    Dec 15, 2014
    Build it however you want. But keep in mind these few things. What are the things you will be doing daily and is the coop designed to make it easy to do them? What are the "big" jobs that might be done less often and does your design allow for doing them easily? Just make sure one doesn't interfere with the other.

    I like my coop at the end. It saved on construction costs as it serves as one of the sides of the run. I only have to have one coop door and one run door in order to access all areas. That's less in construction and less points of access that need to be secured. I can enter my coop without having to first enter the run. I can easily corner a bird in my long run if I have to catch one rather than try and chase it around or under a coop. Snow is an issue for me so if my run was uncovered I'd want fewer doors to have to clear from and would want to clear only a single area rather than two.

    It sounds like you've had chickens before so you're the best judge of what will suit you best. As for only seeing a lot of "coops on the end" designs, it is probably more related to construction costs and expansion opportunities than anything else.
    CBabs likes this.
  9. chick watcher

    chick watcher In the Brooder

    May 16, 2017
    Maxwell Nebraska
    Designing a coop is a big project at least in the mind. In the end its what works for you. My only suggestion is, because the coop will be in the "front" yard, try to make it complement your house so it doesn't look gaudy.

  10. MigraineMan

    MigraineMan Chirping

    Mar 11, 2017
    Frederick, Maryland
    Build what you want. There's no requirement to put the run on one end, though it does represent an optimization for time and materials. I promise that the Chicken Police won't cite your for making a center-coop structure. There are many reasons I can think of to do so, including segregation of flocks or quarantine of new birds.

    That said, our coop has the "coop" in the middle, with a feed room shed on the end opposite the run. We built a "drive thru window" between the feed room and the coop, and I must say it makes coop maintenance a breeze (and will be pleasant when the winter arrives.)

    Attached Files:

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