Feedback wanted

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by imeister, Jan 9, 2016.

  1. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    You do not need four nests, two should be plenty even if you stay with the 12” x 12” nests. I made mine 16” x 16” x16”, mainly because that was my stud spacing and it made framing them in very easy, plus if you cut a 4’ or 8’ piece of wood into 16” lengths you have no waste. I know 12” works for that too but just saying. I personally like the bigger nests for various reasons. 12” will also work.

    Most building materials come in 4’ or 8’ lengths. If you plan your coop and run dimensions around those you can often build something bigger with less cutting and waste. Your lumber costs may not be any more expensive but hardware cloth or roofing costs may increase. Something to look at.

    I don’t know how you plan to floor your coop section and I don’t know where you are located so I have no idea of your weather. Heat kills a lot more chickens than cold but depending on where you are you may need to consider both. You need to be able to reach every place inside the coop for many reasons. You need good ventilation, in the winter over their heads works really well but in the summer as much as you can get. Instead of the top part of that coop being 6.5 feet I’d make it 8’. Give yourself enough vertical room to work with.

    I’m a fan of aprons instead of burying wire straight down. Attach an 18” to 24” piece of wire to the bottom of the run, lay it out horizontal, and bury it maybe 2” which just means taking the turf off and putting it back. The idea is that a digging predator goes up to the fence, hits the wire, and does not know to back up. If your ground is rocky it is much easier to install and very effective.

    I agree with most of the other comments. Being able to stand up in the run would be a great improvement. One potential problem I see is that chickens poop a lot. The more chickens you shoehorn into a small space the more poop you have to deal with. You may wind up doing a lot of poop maintenance in that run section. It would be nice to do that vertical instead of on your knees.

    Silkies can’t fly so they require special considerations but for flying birds you don’t absolutely have to have a ramp. They can easily fly up a few feet, though an intermediate step might help.

    I personally like the side pop door instead of one in the floor but whatever way you do it, it is extremely beneficial to be able to lock them in the coop at times. Say you want to clean the run. How can you do that with the chickens running loose in the run? There will be plenty of other times. Or maybe you want to lock them out of the coop when you are working in there.

    You might want to look through this. I’m not comparing yours to a prefabricated commercial coop, yours is much better. But by looking at the comments you might see some things to avoid. In my opinion designing a small coop is a lot harder than a larger coop because your tolerances are so much tighter.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/852529/money-poorly-spent

    Good luck!
     
  2. imeister

    imeister Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks again. Plan 2.0 addresses many of the concerns mentioned so far, including roost space, number of nest boxes, ramp door, and cleaning depth. I've also modified the language regarding fencing/aproning, because I like the idea of not having to dig trenches...

    For those of you who commented on building materials and waste -- thank you! One of the reasons I wanted to build my own instead of converting another structure or buying a prefab coop was to hone my (meager) design and woodworking skills. This kind of feedback is especially useful.

    I acknowledge this design will require stooping and scooping in the run, and that's an element I think I can live with. It's not for everyone, obviously, and I can totally relate to being less flexible than in years gone past, but the object never was to design the ultimate coop -- just one that works and that pleases me aesthetically. That said, I really do appreciate everyone's candor and keeping things kind. :)

    And because a few have asked, long term I only plan to have 4-5 birds total for eggs (not meat). We're in south NJ, which doesn't get terribly hot, and recent winters have only gotten to single digits at worst.

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  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Something else--I'd rig up a simple pulley to the peak of the coop above the greenhouse for raising and lowering the lid to the run. Have a tie-off to one side or the other to secure. That way you're not trying to prop up the lid while you're working in there.

    Not sure what your management style is going to be, but with this size structure you might also consider putting wheels on one end and making it a mobile tractor. Much easier if you're not cleaning poop out of the run but simply moving the run every few days to fresh grass.
     
  4. imeister

    imeister Out Of The Brooder

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    This is a strong possibility. Right now, this house has *zero* landscaping, and a lot of bare spots on the lawn despite fertilizing. Moving the coop to these areas might just be the ticket for more productive growth, and I'm sure the chickens would enjoy the AMPLE bug supply. Good call on the pulley system too -- probably do the same thing for the pop door so I don't have to open the coop to let them out into the run. Thanks!
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Oh yeah, didn't think about the pop door, but it's not really easily accessible, is it? A pulley (computer wants to correct to pullet, I must post about chicken more than construction lol) would be a great way to raise and lower that door from the exterior. Plus, pulleys are just cool to use [​IMG]
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I see no real improvements in V2.0.
     
  7. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    With the new design birds' access to the roosts are even more limited. They are not necessarily going to jump up and file nicely down the length of the roosts just because you want them to. I anticipate a traffic jam at the end with birds camping out there and access to the back being blocked.
     
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  8. imeister

    imeister Out Of The Brooder

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    @TalkALittle : Hrm... would you anticipate less crowding with only one roost instead? Again, this will only be for 4-5 birds in the long run, and even with only one roost, that means 9-12" per bird.

    @aart : I'm not sure you looked closely. Your original post mentioned several problem points. First, "If you're serious about keeping more than just a few birds long term, you're going to want a bigger coop and run." I do not, in fact, want more than a few birds. The intent is for them to be 'working' pets. Second "You should be able to easily reach to the extents of entire coop and run in case of a incapacitated bird, retrieving mislaid eggs, cleaning, etc." This revision makes the deepest part of the coop only 3 feet instead of 5, and the coop is accessible along its entire width. The run is still an issue, but one I'm willing to deal with, as stated above. And finally "Although I am older and unlimber, being able to go into the coop and run and close the door to tend to birds anytime of the night or day is invaluable." This is a valid point also addressed by @donrae , and the pulley mentioned above would seem to resolve that issue. Specifics are helpful, bland criticisms are not. If you're no longer interested in providing constructive feedback, feel free to leave the thread.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Yeah, sorry, was in a hurry...should have said 'few' improvements and/or waited until I had more time.
    Just saw the tiny floor space and kinda gave up...S'ingMH.
    It's true you made it pretty reachable...tho I can't reach 3' without putting my hand down on the 'floor'...why I made my brooder only 30" deep.

    It's hard to imagine how much space a full grown chicken takes up if you've never had some....and I'm assuming you haven't.

    You're working in 3d?
    Make some 'blocks'.....about 12" long x 10" wide x 14" high...to represent the space a chicken would take up.
    Make 4 or 5 of them, and fit them in the coop...so they can all feed at once...so they can all drink at once.
    Not sure what software you're using and if that's possible.
    Or tape off 3'x5' rectangle on the floor and put 4-5 empty gallon milk jugs in that space...then a feeder and waterer

    I think you're stuck in the mindset of using examples of typical prefabbed coops and just changing things around a bit,
    and gave some feedback on that too.

    I would go at least 4x8 floor space, with access on both 8 foot sides, the run tall enough to walk into, pop door on side rather than bottom of coop.
     
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  10. imeister

    imeister Out Of The Brooder

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    All this is done in PowerPoint, believe it or not, but yes, everything is to scale (in this case, 1" = 1' in the drawing) so putting in some chickens for scale is relatively easy. (see below)
    - Feeders and waterers come in a myriad of shapes and sizes -- I will come up with something more suitable than the dishes in the drawing imply. They're just placeholders.
    - Floorspace is now 3'x8' in v2 -- not so far from the 4x8 you suggest.
    - I'm just not as concerned (as many seem to be, not just you) about the walk-in capability. I know it would probably make things easier, but I don't think it adds enough to the clean-ability or ease of maintenance to warrant the revamp. It's possible I'll regret that decision in 10 years, or that I'll go cuckoo for cochins and need a bigger coop even sooner, but for now, I think this is workable.


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