DowntHen Abbey, My Coop and Run. Suggestions & Comments?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MrsAuberry00, Apr 30, 2017.

  1. MrsAuberry00

    MrsAuberry00 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 30, 2017
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    We have a raised coop with eight nesting boxes and an attached, covered dog kennel as a run. I have a few questions for the "eggsperts" at the end of this post. [​IMG]


    I don't have photos from the construction phase, but here is the finished coop before painting. There is a window/vent slide on each side for ventilation.
    [​IMG]

    Me, feeling a bit cooped up painting underneath.
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    Done with the painting.
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    Inside, accessible from the back, we have a tray that has been covered with rubber roofing liner. The tray can be pulled completely out of the coop when it's time to change the bedding and sanitize. We started out using red cedar shavings, (shown below,) but just switched to river bed sand which makes scooping out poop with a cat poop scooper SO much quicker and easier. We also placed the same sand inside the run, but I'll have a question about that in a bit. (Please forgive the grainy quality of the next few pictures...I had to screenshot from a video.)
    [​IMG]


    A partial shot of one side of the interior. Each side has four nesting boxes in which we've kept the red cedar shavings as opposed to sand, and a roosting limb made from an actual tree branch. I've since added an exterior roosting branch in the back right corner of the run.
    [​IMG]


    Now for the questions:
    1. Mainly, I'm worried the run isn't big enough for six hens. It is approximately 5' x 12'. We are able to let the oldest two out to free range, (which I'll only do when someone supervises them because I'm a paranoid new chicken mom worried about the hawks, eagles, coyotes, and foxes we have around here,) but I haven't tried that with the younger four because I'm worried they aren't "tamed" enough, (I don't know the right term...coop trained?) to not disappear on us.
    2. Even though we've put sand in the run, when we have a lot of rain, (like we do this time of year,) the run surface is a wet mess and there's no place for them to take their dust baths. I'm also curious as to the recommended depth of the sand in the run. I've read a wide variety of specifications for this ranging from 4" to 12". Suggestions would be great here folks. I'll also post this question in another forum if I find the appropriate one.


    Thanks for taking the time to look and I look forward to any comments or suggestions.
     
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Depth of sand would be by your need. If your water is not draining then more sand depth would aid that. Problem there is if the ground is saturated then deeper into the ground with sand won't do anything as the waterlogged ground would drain into it making wet sand. Unless the water is wicked or drained away from the run then it would just pool there. You'd need side boards to raise the sand higher than the adjacent ground and that height above surrounding ground would be dry. Depth of sand for dust bathing is determined by what is underneath. Say a person had sand on concrete, then they'd need 4 inches of sand for fair depth of bathing. If on dirt then they'd just dig down in dirt to make a loose bathing area. I guess what i'm saying is the easiest solution for your situation is to add pressure treated 1x6 around base of run and in front of door then add 4 to 5 inches of sand to keep it dry.

    With a gable roof like you have I'd put a vent on each top of gable and in this way your side vents would be the air flow inlet when coop door is closed and top of each gable the outlet. You could cut a triangle out of that gable peak and cover with hardware cloth or actually purchase a few small gable vents and install.

    Forgot to say about run size. 5x12 is a good size for six birds. I prefer more but do agree that 10 sqft of run per bird is adequate. With a raised coop you have 60 sqft so 6 adult birds is the most I'd ever put in it. Can't tell how big that coop is, seems 5x5 or 6x6 and to me that's large enough for more birds. If you ever want more birds, you certainly have the nesting boxes for more, I'd look into an electric poultry net that you could encircle your current set up with to allow them more run space.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2017
  3. MrsAuberry00

    MrsAuberry00 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Southern Indiana
    Thanks, Egghead_Jr. (I feel like I'm using an insult. [​IMG]) I just went out and harvested some worms as treats and took pictures of the wet mess. We're definitely going to have to do something...the situation now is no bueno.

    [​IMG]
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    The water level behind/under the coop
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  4. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Yeah I see it all now. Your kennel door can open outward so believe 1x6 or even wider of pressure treated perimeter then fill with 4 inches of sand. The birds are going to kick the sand out of run area so the higher you go with side boards the better it will stay in the run. A more costly option is if you have lower grade near there you'd dig down put the pipe in to drain water to the lower grade and fill the run back with sand. Pretty labor intensive and if this is only a spring time problem would simply have sand above grade.
     
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