Critique new coop plan, please

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Kaitie09, Dec 27, 2016.

  1. Kaitie09

    Kaitie09 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello, I was an active user a few years ago. Grew up with 30+ chickens and a setup that could have used improvement. Recently bought a house and am in the process of designing a new coop. 4 hens are arriving in May, and that is really all I want, especially since it is just two of us and will be for the foreseeable future.

    About the area. Per township rules, all coops must not be in the front yard (which is basically the entire yard) and 50' from all property lines. We are surrounded by dogs on 3 sides, 2 of which are not fenced in, but they pretty much stay in their yard. I'm expecting they will come over at the beginning, but will eventually get bored. We have snakes and stray cats that roam as well. We also have our own dog that I'm sure would kill the chickens given the chance.

    So, my idea is to build a coop and run under the deck. This is the space: it is (about) 7ft wide, 16ft long, and 7-8 ft tall. the deck above is covered by a roof, so we won't have to worry about that. It would open up to our fenced yard, so our plan would be to allow them to range a little before dark, when we know we wouldn't forget and accidentally let the dog out. It is right under our front door, so we need to keep the smell down. This photo was taken at 10am on a cloudy day. It would be shaded most of summer, and receive some direct sun in the winter on nice days. The ivy is going to get pulled up, and we plan on keeping on top of it. so it doesn't grow up the fence. The air conditioning in the photo is non-functioning, and we will be patching that space before the run is built.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    What I want/need from a setup: It needs to be easy, able to be kept dry and somewhat smell-free. Needs to be dog proof, try to prevent mice and snakes as much as possible. I'm only 5ft tall, so I need to be able to reach all parts of the coop. So, my plan, 4x5' chicken coop and a 7x12' run covered in hardware cloth floor to ceiling. There will also be a skirt along the house in the run to prevent them digging along the foundation, and a skirt along the outside on the other sides.

    This is my idea:
    [​IMG][​IMG]



    [​IMG]

    I want to use a PVC chicken cup system, with pavers under it to prevent most water drips The water bucket will be outside the coop, so that is can be filled with the hose. I will use a poop board with sweet PDZ and a removable 2x4 roost for easy cleaning. Interior will be painted with a gloss latex, or (and ideally) showerboard (or also called markerboard) so I can just wipe it down. If food is outside, it will be in a metal treadle feeder to discourage mice. If inside, it will be in raised pvc feeders that prevent them flinging it everywhere,

    Now, where I need help. The nesting boxes will be external, but I'm trying to figure out which side to put them on. If I put them in the run, it will force me to walk in there everyday and check things out, I also have the option of gathering them from inside the coop. If outside the run, I can easily grab them, but I may get lazy and not check things out every day. If they are outside the run, the interior side can be covered in windows instead as well.

    So, any issues or thoughts about my planned setup?
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016
  2. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    I like going in every day to check everything out, so I'd collect the eggs inside the run. They should be happy and protected there. Good ideas.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    The deck above is roofed..... but.... I'd still put something underneath it to direct rain/snowmelt coming thru deck away from coop/run.
    Wet is the biggest contributor to stink.

    Cups will freeze in winter, even if you heat water, go with horizontal nipples in a jug/small bucket from the start.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/aarts-heated-waterer-with-horizontal-nipples

    Hard to reach across 4 feet with out putting a hand down, even if you're taller,
    consider a walk in coop that's maybe a little bigger.

    Just a few thoughts.
     
  4. Kaitie09

    Kaitie09 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. Living here for the past couple years, the area under that stays dry even during blizzards. There may be some random wet spots from snow blowing onto the deck, but that part of the house faces east and does not get much wind. I'm planning on putting plastic up along the long side of the run next year as well if they call for a lot of snow. The coop is a walk in, and will be a lean-to that goes from 5 to 6'.

    About the watering cups, I'd prefer them just because the nipples are known to constantly drip some times. I'm planning on using a heater for the water and will insulate the the piping. Worst case and I can always just put a heated dog bowl out there.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2017
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Vertical nipples do have a valid reputation for dripping, lousy valve design....horizontal nipples do not, if they are installed properly.
    Piping is hard to keep thawed unless you use a pump powered circulation system, even with insulation....and the cups will still freeze.
    You don't need a pipe for 4 birds....a jug would be much simpler.

    I highly recommend using horizontal nipples from the start, all year round.
    Have tried the cups(they are cool), and the vertical nipples, and the heated dog bowl...HN's are the best product in my book.
     
  6. Kaitie09

    Kaitie09 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just looked them up and didn't realize that true horizontal ones existed. I thought you were just talking about turning the vertical ones in their sides. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2017
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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  8. Trefoil

    Trefoil Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You may have problems with the hens using nest boxes if you put them off the run. The larger you make the coop and run, the easier its going to be to stop any smell. Just my personal opinion, but I don't like the use of nipples for their only water source. Not sure just how shaded your area is but be aware that sunshine is necessary for egg production and health. Feeding and watering them in the run will help keep your coop area cleaner longer. Looks like a good plan to me.
     
  9. Kaitie09

    Kaitie09 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The external nesting boxes will be attached to the coop, I was just trying to figure out if the best thing would be to walk into the run to collect them, or be able to collect them outside the run. For the waterer, I really want to try the nipple system. In my past experience, the regular watering container either gets dirt/shavings in there and starts smelling fast, or if hanging, they will somehow hit the thing and water will splash everywhere.

    Since they run will be covered and protected year round, they will have 21 sq ft of outdoor space per bird (84 sq ft total) and 5 sq ft each inside. I'll also have a poop board, so the interior should stay pretty clean. I am worried about the amount of light they will get. They will only get a small portion of direct sunlight for a short amount of time, but that area does receive light. I'm also planning to let them free-range a couple hours a day, so hopefully they can get some sun then, but we do live in the woods.
     

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