Designing my coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Vlatro, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. Vlatro

    Vlatro Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2009
    Upstate New York
    I'm designing my coop and looking for advice. If anyone has the time to review my drawings and offer advice on what to do (or not to do), I would appreciate it a lot.

    Here's a quick draft I did in Google Sketch-up. I'm still working on the interior layout, but here's the basic spec:

    Run is 6'x12' (3' High). Half is covered by the coop.

    The coop is 6'x6' (5' High + "attic" space)

    The door is on the floor of the coop (14"x12") on a ramp set at a 45° angle.

    There will be a 36"x48" storm window added (south facing). The Window will be hinged for access into the coop.

    The Wire frame on top of the run will also be removable should I need to get in there.

    The roof will be vented at the ridge.

    A feeder (50lb Grain capacity) will be built into the coop from floor to ceiling with a hatch on the outside for refilling. Water will be handled similarly with an auto-filler and aeration + heater.

    It's hard to see in the picture, but the door has a 3" wall around it to help keep in the straw and wood shavings.

    Before I start building this, Is there anything I'm overlooking? Anything that I should consider changing? All advice and criticism is welcome. I only want to have to build this once.

    Click Thumbnail for a larger view.

    [​IMG]

    The Sketchup file is here if you want to play around with the actual model.​
     
  2. keith burns

    keith burns Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 17, 2009
    the sun flower is tall put it in the back with about 20 more...lol

    and the coop look good...
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2009
  3. flopshot

    flopshot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 17, 2009
    i'm guessing that the window opens and is screened with something ?
    or is it fixed glass opening only when you need access? only thing i might do is make the overhang a little longer to help keep rain out and add some more ventilation for when the window is closed.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Nice sketch [​IMG]

    On the whole it looks good for 6-8 chickens, is that sort of the number you are thinking about?

    Needs more ventilation. I would lose the ridge vent (it will sift snow and cold air onto the chickens all winter) and add a goodly amount of ventilation elsewhere, perhaps all along both soffits (with flaps or etc to close off where needed).

    You might ought to put your feed reservoir *in* the coop, as being more weatherproof and less of a challenge to the ingenuity/strength of the local raccoon population. As it will be up on the wall, it will not really take away useable chicken-space.

    I understand why you have drawn the popdoor to be in the floor, but it is worth thinking about whether this is REALLY what you want to do. It loses a significant amount of already-limited floorspace, plus you will constantly have lotsa bedding falling out. If you were to lower the part of the run that's under the coop to 20" you could make the popdoor exit from a wall. (For an example of the general architecture I'm referring to, take a look at my tractor page, linked from my personal page whose link is at left under my username)

    I'm not sure how good an idea it is for the window to also be the access hatch to the coop... the window ought to have hardwarecloth and be openable (or otherwise you need a whole lot more ventilation in the coop), and that will make an aggravating assembly to open every time you want to access the inside of the coop, like to clean or collect eggs. I'd consider having the gable end opposite the run hinge open like cabinet doors. It will still be obnoxious working in there or catching chickens or retrieving floor eggs (nobody has a 6' reach [​IMG]) but at least the door *itself* won't add to the aggravation.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  5. Vlatro

    Vlatro Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2009
    Upstate New York
    Thanks for the advice everyone.

    To Summarize, I need to:

    •Increase the ventilation, and either move the roof vents or screen them.
    •Consider moving the door to prevent the loss of bedding material and re-gain some floor space.
    •Add another access hatch so I can retrieve eggs and clean without actually having to crawl into the coop
    •Screen the window and consider it's hanging in terms of ventilation and as a secondary access point.

    Before I make the vents, I'll move the door and burn some sulfur tabs in there with a small box fan. That should give me an idea of how the air circulates around the coop.

    Are there any rules about floor venting as a means to keep the moisture in the coop down? Obviously it would need to be controlled in the winter. Is there an ideal rate of air exchange or humidity that I should maintain?

    Also, Do chickens peck at electrical wires, or should I run power through a conduit? I wouldn't want any of them getting fried prematurely.

    I figured I'd build this a bit larger than I need to, I'm planning on keeping just 3 hens. But I want room to expand if needed. Will 3 large chickens produce enough body heat to survive the winter? Our average annual low temp is about -4°F here. I do plan on insulating the walls.

    Thanks everyone.
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Enh, you can if it makes you happy, but I don't think it'll tell you much, since air will circulate differently once there *are* vents, and honestly it is not like you are creating a combustion chamber or anything, it does not have to be entirely uniform [​IMG]

    Are there any rules about floor venting as a means to keep the moisture in the coop down? Obviously it would need to be controlled in the winter. Is there an ideal rate of air exchange or humidity that I should maintain?

    You can build mid-level vents (floor level is apt to kick up a lot of whirling bedding in gusty winds) if you want to and are in a very hot climate; but in NY state you really don't need them. A big window that opens (screened with hardware cloth), plus vents high on the walls, will totally care of your needs.

    I could give you numbers for ideal air exchange rates and humidities, but there's nothing you could really DO with that information, certainly not in the design stage, unless you were going to install a fan-powered ventilation system which would be just silly.

    The amount of vent area you need for a passively ventilated system depends quite a lot on factors unique to your setup, but if you want a very general (but IMO workable) rule of thumb, you want something approaching 1 sq ft of ventilation area per chicken. You won't use all of it all the time, but you will use all of it *sometimes* (if you were in a hot climate you'd want more). There is nothing magic about that number but it will put you in the realm of probably having a workable system that needs no modifications once you have chickens in there.

    Do chickens peck at electrical wires, or should I run power through a conduit? I wouldn't want any of them getting fried prematurely.

    They don't normally peck wires but it really wouldn't hurt to cover the wires to be safe.

    I figured I'd build this a bit larger than I need to, I'm planning on keeping just 3 hens. But I want room to expand if needed. Will 3 large chickens produce enough body heat to survive the winter? Our average annual low temp is about -4°F here. I do plan on insulating the walls.

    It depends on what kind of chickens you get, but if intelligently selected and well-kept, they should be fine. If you ever decided they were getting too cold at night, you could a) knock together some sort of insulated hover or drop ceiling to hold their body heat around the roost, and/or b) run a little (caged) lightbulb. Insulate the ceiling too, btw - probably you intended that anyhow [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     

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