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Efficient coop and run design for all weather

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by KrazyChromatics, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. KrazyChromatics

    KrazyChromatics Chillin' With My Peeps

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    im planning on building a chicken "compound" i want it to be as self regulating as possible, so that means solar lights, rain barrels, maybe a hand pump well from the local run off, and planted runs with fast growing food (rotated because i know how destructive they can be, but i dont know how big an area...)

    so the ideas i have an im looking for feedback:

    2 levels, a lower level thats open with fencing all around, but a perch, for summer for shade and air. Above that an enclosed "box" thats just big enough to squeeze 4-6 birds on the perch, close to the floor and a low ceiling to contain as much body heat as possible for winter. Each "box" will have a "sky light" then around that black tar paper for max light and heat absorption, oh and itll have a smaller opening and no flap as theres no living space in there, they can hang out below where there wont be snow. an attached fully enclosed run with a people door on the far end, with a "chickie door" on the bottom for when they are let out to range, may make 2 compartments for rotation, each run will contain small breeding groups no more than 5 or 6 birds.

    i want about 6 or 7 of these coop/runs in a shed row style, then with a walk way in between, on the other side is 2 or 3 larger examples of the other side but designed for larger groups, instead of having a "people door" on the far end, the neting will attach to the roof, then go down like this / kinda only not as steep but to the ground to save supplies, these will hold grow outs/culls whatever that will probably be awaiting slaughter...

    now i like the idea of them scratching around but i dont want the area ruined and i want it impossible for something to dig in, so the ground will be slightly elevated and have boards running, covered in chicken wire, ill put planks in so its safe for me to move around without bending or breaking the wire...

    so the solar lights will be in the middle walk way for me to work, the ridge will be a "sky light" also... i want 2 rain barrels on for each side with the gutters running into them and have the auto drinkers..... whatcha think?
     
  2. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    As to keeping a run in grass...... You need a sacrifice area and then the grass areas branching off from that sacrifice area.

    But....for less work and less space needed, make those grow frames, 2x4 frame with wire, set up like a picture frame. Place that on the dirt ground, toss in grass seeds or whatever. The chickens eat what grows up through the wire but can't kill the plant because they can't scratch at the roots.

    I wouldn't use wire on the bottom of a run. A skirt of wire around the perimeter works well, or the perimeter fence can be buried a few feet and angled out.

    I don't like the idea of the chickens in an enclosed box, a box with one side completely open for venting is good. Humidity from their breathing will greatly increase frostbite risk.

    As to a good coop for nasty weather, this is my all time favorite kind, the Woods Coop. Add on a completely predator proof pen, and you have it made!

    You can always set up a row of Woods Coops, or build a really big one and then put in dividers.

    Woods Coops:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/672804/our-woods-style-coop

    And

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/445004/woods-style-house-in-the-winter
     
  3. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    Oh.....I should mention that my chickens haven't had much natural light this winter, they are in a pretty dark shed.... and the leghorns have laid like champs all fall. We still have oodles of darkness, it is still very dark at 9, but since the days have been increasing in length, the number of eggs I am getting is already increasing! And I have used no lights.

    I do like electricity for water heaters, that is handy.
     
  4. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    Some of the ideas are interesting. But I would not build the small tight roosting area you describe. In the winter a tight space like that crammed with 4 or 5 chickens would be a humidity trap, resulting in bad air, condensation and maybe frostbite and respiratory problems also thrown in. Chickens can handle cold weather, as long as they have dry, well ventilated coop to hang out in.
    Why several separate coops? Are you going to have different breeds that you don't want to mingle?
    As far as the idea of a raised run floor, so they don't ruin the grass.
    #1- It's not good for chickens to be walking on wire all the time.
    #2- The grass under the wire is going to be ruined anyway. With all the chicken waste dropping down on it. And how are you going to clean under there? You just can't leave a buncha chicken crap laying under there.
    If you want to save the ground/grass aroundthe coop, give them a BIG area to roam around on. But the area around the coop is going to end up kinda grass free anyway. Nature of the chicken.
     
  5. KrazyChromatics

    KrazyChromatics Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ah i forgot to mention my solution for the humidity (cause i thought of that, but i was at work and had to wrap up quickly) but there will be vents under the eves, then my plan is to get some type of moisture wick insulation, i have not yet done my research on that. And with all my breeds im breeding combs out, even this year with how cold its been the humidity in the barn had made some of my guys have problems, and its not even a small space, its a 24x15 pen with 10' ceilings...

    and yes im gong to have separate breeding groups that will eventually morph into two maybe three groups, but the little runs will then be dedicated to broodies, as we are trying to get completely self reliant, and having the chickens hatch their own will be a huge help, i have my first breeding trio of future broodies, and i worked last year to breed the first starter leg of my mix, it will take me 2 or 3 years to start seeing some final results, but its fun in the process and ive already got a good start...

    idk about the runs, maybe ill make panels that i can pull up in sections to rake out... i dont want just dirt if i can help it, and having it raised up will prevent floods and keep them dry as well..... theres going to be a sandbox, and plenty of roosts in the run so they wont be on wire all the time, and with the planks that will help as well... these are going to be smaller birds, end results will be large bantam, i want just big enough to lay a med. sized egg, with a production of about 4/5 eggs a week so I dont have to feed out as much to keep them in top shape, i may breed broodyness back in lightly, but im not sure yet... im looking for loose feathered broodies, and med/tight feathered all purpose birds that grow moderately fast, pack on more meat than bone, but top out at full size faster...

    and if they lay fancy eggs thats a plus ;) but less important.... must be heat and cold tolerant, but the area is going to be in a more shaded area, i have to figure out how ill arrange the buildings to get the most shade in the summer and the most sun in the winter... ive lost several (4) birds to the cold this winter (birds i had planned to sell, some already had homes sadly)

    i have big plans.. and im open to suggestions but sometimes i forget details like with the run design and type of bird ill try to give as detailed info as possible ...
     
  6. KrazyChromatics

    KrazyChromatics Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]

    this is close to what i want


    [​IMG]

    this is closer, only the building will be a peaked roof, the left side run will now be a cubed pen, but the roof of it will slant to the ground... the egg boxes will be on the inside, and the inside building will be a bit narrower too, the runs will be longer maybe i should go to paint :p
     
  7. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    If you are going to contain the birds within a small caged run, like those shown, you are going to have nothing but dirt in those runs. I'll tell you what I would do, to have what you describe.
    I would build a Wood's coop. It's perfect for your area. You can easily expand as you get more birds. You could have two caged runs, subdivided as you want, by building one off of each end of the Wood's coop. You would just let them out on one, while the other recovers.
    Look at the pic below. The coop is easily expanded by bumping out one side wall, building on another clone of the original coop. Inside, you can have chicken wire walls as dividers between the coop sections. You can just build on to the coop as needed. No need for a bunch of separate coops. You would walk in the side door, and go through a section of coop, open a chicken wire door, and go on into the next section. Everything would be under one roof. You could still do the water collection system you were talking about. And you have two roofs to collect from.
    This coop was designed and put in use 100yrs ago, right up in your area. You can get the book 'Fresh air poultry houses' from Amazon. It has measured drawings of the Woods, along with all the information you need to build and site it correctly.
    That's what I would recommend, go with a proven, good looking design. No need to reinvent the wheel here, and possibly end up with something that doesn't work, and would need to be torn down and redone.
    I get temps down into the single digits, not including wind chill, and I have never lost a bird to the cold, or had any of them suffer from frostbite, in the four years this coop has been in operation. It, IMO, is the best coop you can build.


    [​IMG]
     
  8. KrazyChromatics

    KrazyChromatics Chillin' With My Peeps

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    the runs are going to be long idk exactly how yet i havent figured out the dimentions yet, and they will only be enclosed without free range while i am breeding, otherwise there will be either a single roo, maybe 2 for company, or a broody hen and her clutch per small pen, the larger pens will have a lot more space, and im not doing to have a large number of birds, outside of those runs they will be able to free range also, but it would be nice to have an option, they wont be able to ruin the run if i take measures to protect it, and with 3 or so large runs it will be easy to rotate, ill just close off the doors from the inside, where they will have a larger space... i kinda played around with paint....

    [​IMG]
     
  9. KrazyChromatics

    KrazyChromatics Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 12, 2013
    Northern NY
    redid it a little more to scale with the height, the peak will be 7ft, top of boxes will be at 6, i colored the windows in the roof, the nest boxes, the red lines are open doors, the roofs ov the winter boxes will have the breathable anti weed fabric, it will let some light in and attract heat, ill just take that off and have caging showing in the summer.... the human door will be screen, but ill plastic it over in the winter....

    [​IMG]
     
  10. cocopop

    cocopop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 12, 2013
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    I like the idea of the full run with a people door. It would be zoo-like. I am thinking of something similar but compact do to a smaller backyard. It that would utilize the sun in winter and the shade in the summer. Something that would make watering easier to change out and way to rotate so the soil does not get toxic. I just got a shed but I insulated it to keep the birds in the winter. I don't know if I can use it for summer because of the heat. Only one window and the the door and a small vent in the roof. I will be interested what you actually end up doing.
     

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