Do you think this will work?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ct_sibfarms, Sep 16, 2010.

  1. ct_sibfarms

    ct_sibfarms New Egg

    Sep 16, 2010
    My husband I farm up in NE Montana and we have decided we (with lots of wonderful help from my mother-in-law) are going to get some chickens this spring. We are planning on making the coop and the run this fall in preperation of the baby chicks. All though we are not getting the chicks for the purpose of the girls we thought Easter would be a good time to get them as we will be busy with our bumb lamb operation and will be easy for us to keep a good eye out for them.

    As most farmers do, we are hoping to build the coop by recycling some of the items from around the farm. We have an idea and I just wanted to post it & maybe get some feed back from a more experienced group. We plan on pouring a cement slab for the coop to rest on. It will be attatched to the cement w/bolts that will go through rebarb w/a loop (cemented in) & the bottum of the coop. This way we can remove the coop (w/skidsteer) and house out coop & slab when ever needed.

    The coop itself will have 4 foot sides up to a pitched roof. The frame will be made out of PVC pipe. The siding will be metal roofing material attatched to PVC pipe with bolts & nuts. We have insulation panels that were used on garage doors that we will cut to place inside then that will be covered with paneling that I plan on painting with exterior paint. The pitched roof will have one side that will fold up so we can access the nest boxes (we plan on using milk cartons for this) & feed and water. The other side will be for roosting.

    The run will be trentched down and fencing will be laid down. It will be outlined with railroad ties. We have hog panels that will be bent between the railroad ties & nailed down then covered in chicken wire. Each end will have a frame made out of PVC pipe and will have a small door to get inside as well.

    Does this sound like it will work out? Is there something we are not thinking of or overkill any where? I think it should be sound enough to not let in any predators. The coop and run will be located inside the bumb lamb pen where a llama is on patrol. I'm hoping she will become protective of the chickens as well.

    Would love to hear everyones thoughts good or bad. My mother-in-law had chickens for 20 years so I don't feel like I'm going into this to blind but never hurts to get more opinions!

    Last edited: Sep 16, 2010
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I suggest you read these articles. I think they should be required reading for anyone starting out.

    Pat’s Big Ol' Ventilation Page

    Pat’s Cold Coop (winter design) page:

    Pat’s Big Ol' Mud Page (fixing muddy runs):

    How many chickens do you plan to get and how big an area do you plan to build? The rule of thumb on this site is 4 square feet per chicken in the coop and 10 square feet per chicken in the run. This rule od thumb is intended to cover somebody with 4 hens in a suburban back yard and someone out in the country with a fairly large sustainable flock. It is intended to cover someone in Anchorage Alaske, Perth Australia, Luanda Angola, or Denver Colorado, all kinds of different climates and conditions. Commercial operations do not follow this rule of thumb at all. There are ways to get around it, but I think one thing that makes us different than the commercial operations is the way we treat our chickens. For example, we don't normally trim our chickens' beaks so they won't eat each other if they are packed too tight. And there are plenty of set-ups where you can get by with a lot less space in the coop and not have a problem, for example if they have access to a large outside area year round and you feed and water out of the coop, that takes a lot of presure off the size of the coop. In your climate, they will probably spend a lot of time cooped up in the coop in the winter, so I'd suggest you build it a little big.

    As far as your coop, do you plan to ever enter it? If so, I'd plan on building it high enough to be able to stand up in it. Your back will appreciate that. If you are not planning on entering it, you need to be able to access every bit of it from outside. You will need to get on injured chicken, they will lay eggs where you cannot get to them, you'll drop your keys or glasses in there. Trust me, you will want to be able to access all parts.

    Where do you plan on feeding and watering. In your area, probably inside the coop in the winter. Make sure you can position the feeder and waterer in there where you can get to them and the chickens do not poop in them from the roosts.

    I don't know exactly what you mean by The run will be trentched down and fencing will be laid down. I can interpret that different ways. If you mean wire will be under the floor of your run, chickens like to scratch. Wire could hurt their feet, even if it is buried. If you mean you plan on putting wire vertical under those railroad ties to stop predators from digging in and chickens from digging out, several people do that, but I think their is an easier more effective way.

    I don't know how big your run will be. You need to be able to access all parts, hurt chickens and eggs again. If you are going to roof it, you probably want to stand up in it.

    I would not consider a run made with hog panels and covered in chicken wire to be predator proof. That's assuming the chicken wire is that light gauge stuff twisted together. Many predators can either just shred that light gauge stuff or pull it so it untwists, separates, and offers no protection. Many predators can get through the holes in the hog panels, or if it is not covered, climb over the fence or just jump over. A strategy many of us use is too build a run that will slow predators down in the day when not that many are around and active and lock the chickens in a very predator proof coop at night when they are most active.

    Hope this helps some. Good luck!
  3. ct_sibfarms

    ct_sibfarms New Egg

    Sep 16, 2010
    The coop itself will be 8 x 12. The plan is for 20 chickens. The run will be about double that. They will probably have free run of the area around the bumb lamb barn but figure it would be nice to have a portected place for them to hang out when we are not around. They will be put in at night. I would guess feed and water would be done inside in the winter and a little in both areas in the summer. Outside run does have a gate to get in and out, will be covered and you can stand up in it (or at least I can, much shorter then hubby). The trenched wire is for below the railroad ties so nothing can dig it's way in. The coop itself has 4 ft sides then a pitched roof. If needed I will be able to get in and take care of anything that might happen. Thank you for your help and the links!

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