elevated hutch type vs. shed

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mommyrottie, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. mommyrottie

    mommyrottie Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 12, 2011
    I'm trying to figure out which type to build. I like the elevated, whether hutch or shed, so they have some shade. It gets hot here in Alabama. I don't really like the way the external laying boxes look. I do want something that is cute. Though I don't care a whole lot about what my neighbors think, I don't want my yard to be the neighborhood eye sore either. The coop won't be visible from the street. The neighbors on either side of me will be able to see it, though one more than the other, due to a large tree at the back of the coop.

    I do plan on building them a little yard, but also letting them free range while I'm out there with them. I have three chickens right now (I know that 2 are hens. 1 I'm not so sure about). I think we will probably not have more than 10-12 while we live here. We live inside the Birmingham, Al city limits. The ordinance says we can have up to 25.

    I would love to hear your opinions on the advantages of both. Thanks.
  2. ozark_chickies

    ozark_chickies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 19, 2011
    I like a building that I can walk into. They are easy to clean, and you can watch for problems when you enter to gather the eggs.
  3. evenstargirl

    evenstargirl Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 9, 2011
    I agree with Ozark_Chickies... You will LOVE a building you can walk into. I have a chicken tractor style coop, with a short run attached, which I have to get down on my knees and crawl to get inside and clean, plus two coops with runs I can actually walk into. I by far prefer the ones I can walk into. It makes cleaning so much easier. We are in the process of building another coop. It will definitely be a building we can walk into.
  4. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

    Aug 17, 2008
    Larry, KS
    My Coop
    I have many of each...I like both. Ultimately, I think being able to go in has more advantages.
  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    We went with elevated tractor style. Reason for this was overall costs and portability, underside of coop becomes shelter for feed and makes for more run space. But then we never plan of more than six chickens.

    Your plans of a larger flock would reason for walk in shed for maintenance.

    I don't mind the look of external boxes; required for ease of collecting in this type coop/tractor.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2011
  6. Hawkeye95

    Hawkeye95 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I like the shade and cover raised coops provide for the sun and bad weather! You can still walk in to a larger building that you've raised up. Just put in a people door! I made mine with lower clean out doors that I can climb into. (instead of a tall people door-- so I could get a large window in on that side) However, if I had just made a normal people door- it would have worked so I wouldn't have to bend over. But, I'm happy with my design the way it is. I have a 3 foot tall door, so it's easy to get into. Check out my BYC page to see what I'm working on. I think there are many advantages to both styles. If you wanted a shed on the ground, just make a run that has some roof or covering on it for protection. It would be really easy to just get a little shed from Lowes and retro fit it. But building your own from the ground up- you do get exactly what you want. [​IMG] But it also goes a lot slower. OH, and I also think the external nesting boxes can be very charming looking! They give your building more dimension and more interest if you are looking at it from purely asthetics. However.. on the more practical side, they are very handy for quick removal of eggs when you are short on time or running off to work.

    My walls on this coop are 6 feet tall... BUT when you factor in the open rafter system-- you actually have about 8 feet of open head room!! [​IMG]

    My coop is much further along now- but I've made my nest boxes to be really sturdy and a very sound part of the construction. I think they look very nice, too.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2011
  7. Darklingstorm

    Darklingstorm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 10, 2011
    Durant, Oklahoma
    I went with the elevated coop because of water and heat. I'm 5' 4" and only have to bend over a little to stand in my coop. My coop stands 2 feet off the ground and is 4' tall from floor to ceiling. The height help to keep water from getting inside and for letting the wind go all around the coop which helps keep it cooler in summer. I just use a step ladder to get inside. I find cleaning is easy too. I just set a wheelbarrow under the door way and sweep everything into. Even my nest boxes have come out to be dual purpose, we use it as a shelf when we are outside grilling since the boxes are external and under the patio roof line. If you would like to see it, click my website link below. My coop can hold 16 large hens comfortably.
  8. crazyhen

    crazyhen Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 26, 2008
    mtns of ,NC.
    In the winter I love my being able to go inside, sit on a stool and give my hens a treat. They are not as fearful inside as they are out in the run. Also cleanning in bad weather is easier. When the coop is tall, you can have shavings on the floor and build a poop board underneath that has sand with stall dry and some sevin mixed in. That keeps down the odor and bugs at once. I think for just breeding in the early spring the elevated would be fine or for a roo. I like my tall chicken coops. Remember to make all doors high enough that you will not bump your head. [​IMG] Gloria Jean
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    In Birmingham, Alabama you don't have to worry about the cold, but obviously the heat is a concern. I think a coop on the ground works well in both heat and cold, but an elevated coop could have some problems in extreme cold due to the wind blowing under them. You'd have to really think about insulation underneath or keep a lot of bedding in there for the insualtion value. To handle your Birmingham heat, you will need a lot of ventilation up high. A lot. Hot air rises. Don't trap hot air in there.

    Whichever type of coop you build, you need to be able to reach everywhere inside. Chickens will lay in awkward places, you need to be able to clean, or you may have to retrieve a sick or injured chicken that does not want to be caught. If you build one you can't walk in, it needs to be small enough and with enough doors and accesses that you can get to every part. It's also nice if you can put a wheelbarrow under it and scrape the bedding and such into the wheelbarrow.

    The problem I see with yours is that for twelve chickens you need a coop large enough that you will have trouble reaching everywhere inside unless you can actually go in yourself. If you think you might wind up with 10 to 12, build for that number now. There is a rule of thumb we use of 4 square feet per chicken in the coop with 10 square feet per chicken in the run. That's meant to cover everyone fron Denver Colorado to Perth Australia. In Birmingham you could get by with a little less provided you don't leave them locked up in the coop for long periods when they are awake and if you provide extra space outside, but I find the more space I provide the easier it is on me. You can get behavioral problems with chickens if they are crowded, but I also find I have to manage the poop a lot more if space is limited. How you manage them (when you let them out) makes a big difference in space needed. But I strongly recommend providing more instead of trying to squeeze them into the minimum. It's more expensive, but in the long term, you'll be happier.

    I built my nests so I could access them from outside but I don't use that feature. I prefer walking inside to gather eggs. I've found an injured chicken, a possum, and a few snakes in there when I go in. If I were gathering eggs from outside, I would not see that.

    You can cover the run or part of the run to provide shade. Just slope the roof so water runs off. That also gives you a good place to feed outside and keep the feed dry.

    Good luck!!!
  10. oxfordethan

    oxfordethan Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 11, 2011
    Check my page for the coop I built for 3 hens. Obviously would need more room for 10-12. It's elevated (shade. North MS). No exterior nest boxes. Egg door and a clean out door.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by