Decisions, Decisions (and lots of Questions)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ambergris, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. ambergris

    ambergris New Egg

    Aug 24, 2013
    Recently, I decided to embark on the adventure of planning out a suburban backyard coop, and I think some input from the seasoned experts of this forum would be extremely helpful. The first dilemma I face is location.
    This is my original option:
    When I begun to consider making a coop/run area, this was what came to mind at first. I figure with a 4x4 raised coop it should be sufficient for 2-4 standard sized hens, maybe even 6 bantams. This area of my yard is typically in partial sunlight and I live in Northern NJ, so during the summers we often have heat waves of 90+. I'd be a bit concerned about ventilation. It's already raised and "sectored off," so that's a plus, but something tells me that being the animal-obsessed person I am, I'll soon end up wanting a few more. That's when I thought about...
    Option 2:
    This area is very underused as it is so I wouldn't be losing any prime area, while the other option is used as a vegetable garden. It's also much bigger, roughly 11x9 with the addition of the little angular entry way I drew in, so figure 105+ sqft, when factoring in the raised coop. Dislodging the pavers that are there now shouldn't take more than an hour. The other awesome part of this option is that it is always shaded, no matter what time of day, which is a blessing during the warmer months, but when winter rolls around, snow removal may be a little tedious as it falls off the tree branches and leaves. Also, will the hens mind the tree in the middle? The coop that I very roughly sketched is around 32 sqft, so using the 4/10 rule, I estimate I should be able to comfortably house 8 hens, perhaps 12 bantams. Still unsure on that one, does anyone know of any cold-hearty, moderately laying bantams? The other issue is free ranging. I have a dog (not sure how she'll react) and there are many gaps under fences and little escape routes so it would be a headache to make everything safe and secure. On the other hand, I think a daily supervised free run for about half an hour wouldn't be an issue.
    Do you think sand be an adequate flooring for the run? Any other materials that I could use? Also, if I do end up going with a vinyl/linoleum/glasboard flooring, what cleaning products are safe to use?
    If you're still reading my ramblings, I thank you for your time and welcome any input.
  2. yogifink

    yogifink Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 16, 2013
    Pinebluff, nc
    My Coop
    Option 2, no doubt. Looks like you have an awesome idea to start with.

    Something’s to consider though: make it easy to clean by giving yourself enough clearance to get a wheel barrow in and out of the run, and making the coop high enough to push old material right into the wheel barrow without having to shovel. You may also want access to the nesting boxes from the outside without having to go into the run.

    Once your girls are big enough, a few small holes in the fence should be no big deal.

    The pooch should not be a problem under supervision. Introduce your girls to her when they are chicks (through a cage) and see how she does. After that, I have seen that people slowly introduce their dog(s) to the chicks by keeping them (the dog) on a leash. Honestly though, my dogs could care less about the chickens and are more concerned about all the tasty 'treats' in the coop. lol

    We clean our coop once or twice a year with a diluted solution of bleach water.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2013
  3. chfite

    chfite Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    Yes indeed, consider the space necessary to work in and around the coop and run.

    The chickens won't care about the tree.

    You can make a coop out of most anything. I like a solid floor. I tried the mesh floor and it did not work out so well.

    Sand in the run for drainage and to facilitate cleaning.

    Consider how you will get into and out of the run. How will you clean the coop and retrieve eggs? Think about clearance for your head, wheelbarrow, shovels.

    There is a wealth of information on this bulletin board. It takes time to cover it, but the time is well spent.

    Browse through the section on coops that others have built.

  4. LOLchick

    LOLchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 1, 2013
    Would it be a completely crazy idea to include the smaller tree/shrub in your coop plans. Including the little walled part? Something like
    the picture below.


  5. ambergris

    ambergris New Egg

    Aug 24, 2013
    Thank you all for your input. As for including the raised flowered in the run, I think it would be a pain to fence in. Also a lot of little critters like chipmunks and rabbits use them for shelter and burrowing so I wouldn't feel okay with taking that away. Thanks for all the suggestions again

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