First coop and run. Need suggestions please


Nov 29, 2015
Hey everyone! Love this site and have been looking for the past week for info. Built our first coop and run, so figured I would share our creation. What you see is one day and took 8 hours to get to this point. We will perfect it to our liking as it moves along... For now, I am not too sure how to finish a few things. Below are the pictures.

Still needs the hardwire mesh at bottom. Figured 6-8 inches below ground.
Still needs chicken wire around bottom of coop and on sides of run
Could I put a pergola type top for the shade and be ok for the vultures here in central Florida? Would be 5-6 inches apart and I am using 5.5 inch wide fence siding.
What about the large opening for the coop during the short winters here? Gets to 30 at night but up to 45 during the day for only a month or so but will be windy for sure. Don't want the little fellas getting too cold. Thought about a hinged door but do not want to go overboard if not needed. Also with the door in the middle of the run, it allows for easy access for the eggs and to clean things out on a regular basis.
The pirtch (or two) will be on the back wall and to the left of the opening and will be higher than the nesting boxes. How tall? How do the get up there? Do I need to build a latter to them? We will have a 5.5 inch ledge in front of the nesting boxes to walk around but in my mind I think I should have several ladders to access all pirtches and nesting boxes easily. Yes or no?
The top of the coop is going to have some sort of slanted roof for the rain water to run off of and will be pretty much enclosed.
As for the winter months, what about a heat lamp under the pirtches with some wire over it so that they can't burn themselves? The wire would get hot though, right?

Any and ALL feedback is appreciated. Here are the pics

Coop is 7ft tall, 6ft wide and 4ft deep
Run is 16ft long by 6ft wide and 5.5ft tall (wanted to keep the run lower than the fence)

Although I am new bird mom- since I obsessively read and research- I can give a tiny bit of advice:

1) use hardware cloth for your entire run- chicken wire allows predators to reach through and grab birds. Or I have read that some people do hardware cloth over the bottom couple of feet of chicken wire on their run.

2) Unsure of your interior coop setup- I'm a little confused. I think we need to know how many birds you are going to have. You don't need a nesting box for each bird.

3) Do some searches on roost recommendations- width, size, etc- it's important so their little feet don't get sores or they can roost and keep their feet warm in cold weather.

4) You are in FL- and you are lucky- I would not worry about heating your coop. If you read some threads, many members are from very cold areas (I am from MA) and do not recommend heating. Chickens can handle cold weather- exception being certain breeds or dramatic drops from what I have read.

5) ventilation is key in cold weather- there are endless threads about it here.

Hope this helped a little =)
You won't need any heat for the winter. Chickens can handle temps well below 0* F as long as they are kept dry and out of the wind. A roof over the run would be a really good idea, so that they can get outside and stretch on rainy days. Ventilation inside the coop is essential to a healthy flock, so don't skimp on roofline vents. Roosts need to be about a foot below the vent openings, and shouldn't be up against any walls, the birds need room to maneuver.
If you plan on keeping the coop open to the run at all times, then you will need to pay extra attention to making the run predator proof. Snakes and rats can easily get through the holes in chicken wire, and raccoons can shred it easily. It's great for keeping chickens in, but lousy at keeping predators out.
Thanks! Need to get some updated pictures this weekend. We have our 5 chicks that are about 16 weeks. The girls are loving it though I work dawn to dusk so I have only went in to say hey as they are settling in on their pirtch for the night. I will be building a door for the coop entrance this weekend to keep the wind out of there though they still have the entire bottom 20" open around the coop. I am sure it will be fine here in Florida.

Pics to come this weekend

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