Designing my coop, have a few questions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by rachelwillow, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. rachelwillow

    rachelwillow Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 19, 2013
    I'm working on figuring out the run and coop for my 8 girls. I'm thinking a 4x6 coop (weather is mild here and rarely have any snow build-up) and an 8x20 run. Run is under cherry trees so nice and shady (gets hot here in summer months). We need to somehow keep the chickens under the cherries and still allow for picking cherries for the few weeks out of the year that they are ripe. I would prefer to build a temporary-type fence (with chicken netting fence stuff) without a cover on top. The daytime predator risk here is very low. There are no loose dogs in our neighborhood, no raccoons or other small wild animals out during the day. There is the chance of hawks but we are thinking it's very unlikely they would venture UNDER the cherry trees. The run will be about 10 feet from the side of our house, directly next to our neighbor's driveway, and about 30 feet from a pretty busy street so I'm not sure a hawk would be so brave as to try and get in there. Maybe I'm wrong? We do have several neighbors in town who have chickens without a covered run and they have been fine.

    If it is acceptable to not cover the run (which would obviously be more convenient for cherry picking), how low can we make the fence? These are all large-breeds and we will probably be clipping their wings. There is already a 3ft fence on one side but I'm guessing that's much too short. Would 5 ft. be ok? Like I said before there isn't anything that's going to be jumping over, unless it's a brave hawk.

    If we MUST cover the run, it will have to be short, like 2.5 to 3 feet, in order to accommodate the low hanging cherry branches. How do you clean short runs like that? It seems like it would be impossible without climbing through on hands and knees (ew). We would build it strong enough so that we could walk on the framing for cherry picking, but it seems that the top would have to be removable for do others do it? I've seen lots of short runs like that in photos.

    As for the coop: we have a book full of coop plans and several use a clear corrugated plastic roof. This seems really neat to me, as it will let in lots of light. Is there any reason it couldn't be used? Does the coop roof need more insulation than that? I ask because there are several other things in the coop design book that are questionable (according to ya'll on BYC) and I've never seen it anywhere else.

    And one more question: Does the food and water need to be inside the coop? My other chicken book says you don't want the food and water in the coop, since they will just get it poopy and they are just sleeping in the coop anyway. But it seems that in almost every photo I see elsewhere, the food and water is inside. The climate here is mild so it's very unlikely they will be spending any days inside. Is there any other reason that it should be in one place or another? I'd like to keep it outdoors to leave more space in the coop.

    Thank you so much! I am so grateful to have chicken pros answering my newbie questions! :)
  2. cmclean

    cmclean Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 20, 2011
    We "covered" our run by setting up a pop up canopy (bought it at Academy, 10 x10 ). It gives shade, some protection from above, but can be taken down. Maybe that would help epwith your cherry harvest!!! We keep food and water in the run. Both are raised off the ground. You are correct about not needing food and water in the coop. The only time the hens are in there is to lay eggs and to sleep at night. As soon as the sun rises and the door opens (an automatic door opener is the BEST thing we ever installed!!!!!) out they go. As for pictures we see with food and water in the coop, I'm thinking those chickens are confined to that space and their owners have to feed and water that way.
    Good luck with your chickens. They bring so much joy and fun to your life.

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