Critique my coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by CT, Aug 27, 2011.

  1. CT

    CT Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 19, 2010
    Great Lakes
    Hi all,

    I have never had chickens before I got 4 chicks last week. They are 3 weeks old now, and still indoors with a heatlamp, but I have built a coop and I was hoping for some feedback before they need to live in it. I have 4 Americaunas (probably EE, I know).

    Here are some pictures:
    [​IMG]
    321559_10150285805289634_540534633_7423391_3164990_n by CT122, on Flickr
    The coop. The base is a table: 4x8' surface. The sides are hardware cloth attached to the ceiling beams with screws and washers and at the bottom to a long, thin plank of wood. The planks fit into a slot between pieces of scrap wood and L brackets, and secrure with security hooks and eyes. Extra eyes in the ceiling allow me to hook the wire walls out of the way for cleaning.

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    311697_10150285805419634_540534633_7423394_8372309_n by CT122, on Flickr
    Close up shows the planks, scrap-wood slots, and security hook and eye. The planks are about 6", and I cut the table down so that the window is about 6 inches above the surface too, allowing a fairly deep bed of litter.

    [​IMG]
    306253_10150285805554634_540534633_7423397_7057019_n by CT122, on Flickr
    Close up shows the washers holding the hardware cloth in place. There *is* space above the top of the wire between each beam, but I think it will be secure enough.

    [​IMG]
    308458_10150285805834634_540534633_7423401_8226032_n by CT122, on Flickr
    The outside of the barn. The window has been hinged from the outside to allow access from without (so I don't have to climb in the coop to open the door!).

    There is no attached run at this time. Initially, I intend to use a moveable run to get them to dig up some weedy patches of lawn I want to reseed. There is power in the barn, and lots I could to to amend or improve the coop. But my key questions for now are:

    At what age should they move in here?
    Will it be safe from predators?
    Will it be warm enough? I live in upstate NY, so it will be cold in the winter, and the fall, and much of the spring, and actually isn't exactly hot right now in the last few days of August. I don't think it will go below freezing inside the barn, but it might. If this won't be warm enough, what are good solutions? Insulate, heat lamp, heating pad (the kind sold for pets), an interior structure for them to huddle into, deep litter, some combination? Dh is very keen on keeping the energy consumption low out there in the barn.
    What haven't I thought of? Nest boxes and perches will be coming later. There are hooks in the ceiling beams from which I can hang feeders and waterer.

    TIA!
    --CT
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2011
  2. citychickx6

    citychickx6 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Loveland
    This is inside the barn?
    If so perhaps they could have a sectioned off part of the barn as theirs.
    Being able to walk in makes a huge difference for you.
    I think that if there is a draft (and barns tend to have lots) the hardware cloth may allow to much of that. So much that a heat lamp would be unable to compensate.
    How do you plan on cleaning it?
    IMO you will need to be able to reach each and every corner easily since an egg may be left there and a sick chick may hide there.
    Remember that chickens are food to just about every predator out there. Racoons climb very well.
    My hens will run into the coop at the first sound of the mower or a dog barking. Walled in apparently feels safer.


    Oh and does the barn have dirt floor? SO many things like to dig their way in.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2011
  3. wava1vaughn

    wava1vaughn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2011
    Cairo Ga.
    Hi from Ga. If it works for you it'll work for the chickens. They can live any where as long as they have security and protection from the weather. [​IMG]
     
  4. CT

    CT Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 19, 2010
    Great Lakes
    Quote:This is inside the barn. The walls are all cinderblock, and the door is wooden, but does not fit perfectly (some potential for smaller predators to squeeze in) which I hope to improve, but just in case I want to make the coop itself secure enough that if a fox can squeeze in through the door, or if we want to leave the door open on a hot night, the chickens are still safe. The floor is cement, and of course the hens will be about 3' off the floor on a solid wood table. In the picture one side is lifted and hooked to the ceiling and the other is down and latched. To clean, I can lift up both sides and simply scoop everything into a wheelbarrow and out the door to the compost. That will be the easy part. The hard part, I realize now, will be if I want to get in to hunt eggs without letting the chickens out. Easy enough for anything I can reach from the open window, but if I open either of the inside walls, that lets out bedding and chickens. Hmmmm... I may need to design some drop-down openings.

    Perhaps for cold weather I should put some wood sides over the hardware cloth. Either way, I'm going to have to think about how to get at eggs (and feeder and waterer, if they aren't in easy reach of the window).

    As for predator proofing, I could add bits of hardware cloth to the gaps between the rafters. Just a bit of a hassle, as I'm kind of short. [​IMG]
     
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    You'll definitely want deep bedding. Would it be possible to attach a partial sheet of plywood to the far end/side of the table so that it creates more of a "little room" down at the end that butts up against the wall, even if it's just a three foot section, and even if it just rises about 3 ft. This would also give you an easier place to put your roost, plus it'd give a little huddle area that would probably feel safer to your birds (because what you have feels so open). The window will help warm things during the day if that side gets sun.
    I'm wondering how you're going to do a pop door through the block, because that will get old carrying your birds outside/inside every day...
     
  6. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

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    I would give them the entire inside! I read you should not place a roost by a window.Pine shavings are good.Mine like to dust bathe in it since it is like sawdust. You could make a run with plastic fencing so they can go out when you open the door to tend to the coop.Add some straw bales in the winter. I put mine in the garage when they were about 8-10 weeks old.I then added them to the others when they were 16 weeks old. For the door I would add some wood trim around the opening,and then shave the door sides down to size.From reading the predator/pest forum I am amazed at how skilled animals are at getting to their free chicken meals.You must do all you can and then some more!

    Here are some picks of the cheap fencing I put up around the coop.It is down now that I carry them all to the far back yard run.I needed the fencing to make the far backyard run.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    When I just had 3:
    [​IMG]

    Enjoy your chickies!
     
  7. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Milner, Georgia
    One thing I would be sure of, and that's not to say "I think" it will be secure enough. Be able to say it "is" just fine. Cover every place completely secure and tight so nothing but ants and a lizard can get in.
     
  8. CT

    CT Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 19, 2010
    Great Lakes
    Thanks for all the suggests...and warnings! This is why I'm asking now, before the birds move in. I will make some improvements and post updates. In the meantime, more suggestions always welcome (and pics are especially helpful). [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  9. citychickx6

    citychickx6 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 14, 2011
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    We made this little coop for about 100 dollars. (not sure of exact since we used cull wood and leftovers.)

    Hope it encourages you.

    [​IMG]


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    East end
    [​IMG]

    It is 4ft x 6ft x5ft tall. Raised 2ft off the ground. Windows are hardware cloth stapled over cut outs. For the winter I am going to make plexiglass windows that I can mount from the inside. The one on the east will be a slide in so I can open it if we get a nice day.

    It was built inside the run. I needed to separate some chickens. Don't even ask how DH got the roof on. He shingled it with only 6 inches clearance on the front and 12 inches on the back. Not much room but he did it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2011
  10. CT

    CT Out Of The Brooder

    89
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    41
    Feb 19, 2010
    Great Lakes
    Quote:Oh, I forgot to answer this. The window is the pop door. It hangs from top hinges and used to open into the barn (with a hook on the ceiling to hold it up). I took it off and reinstalled it backwards, so from the outside I can lift it up and prop it opened. I'll make a ramp down to the ground.

    I can put the feeder and waterer in reach of that door (it's big enough for me to reach in easily), but it doesn't solve the problem of reaching eggs without opening up the mesh sides. I can put a nestbox such that I can access it without lifting up an entire side, but what if they don't always use the nest box? I'm afraid I'm headed toward some hinged doors on those wire mesh sides. The idea to wall off a cozy section is brilliant, and I may do it with bales of straw or hay.
     

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