First Coop Build, how’d I do?

Welllaidacres

Chirping
Jan 2, 2020
56
92
76
Eastern Illinois
My Coop
That's a good question. We are building a "Fort Knox" coop and run this coming spring to go inside our current "sort-of-protected", really semi free range, run. When we do, the plan is to leave the coop door to the run open 24/7 so they can go in and out at will. My thought was, if the run is predator safe, then why do they have to be locked in the coop.
Those are kind of my thoughts too. However, I am newbie, so my expertise is limited.

I still want a pop door though. That way I can either lock them in or out if I need to do maintenance or clean.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
85,818
101,385
1,727
SW Michigan
My Coop
I saw your rope and auto locking mechanism. Very neat design! I'm quite impressed. What made you decide to have a lock? Did you have issues with it coming open? I figured with a covered run I shouldnt have to worry about raccoons or the like having access to it to open it and wasnt going to use a latch.
My run is not totally predator proof so I wanted a lock on it, didn't want to have to walk into the coop to lock it.....then I saw a vid with that type lock and just had to tinker one together.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
Sep 13, 2011
21,510
32,824
1,036
southern Michigan
It's good to have a predator proof coop and run, so that when your flock is locked in, they won't go nuts and start hurting each other.
Right now my birds are 'on lockdown' for three weeks, because we have a hawk who's killed two bantams within a week here. The first was a nice bantam pullet, and the second was a very nice 'escape artist' bantam rooster. That one I saw, and this hawk will hopefully hunt elsewhere if no chickens appear anytime soon.
Snow! Chickens are not thrilled about the white stuff, and won't want to be out in it.
Other predator visitations happen too, and the larger area helps a lot.
Mary
 

Folly's place

Enabler
Sep 13, 2011
21,510
32,824
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southern Michigan
Consider having a safe run as large as you can afford at once, and then a larger section that's 'pretty good'. It takes time, effort, and $$$ to develop a really good effective Ft. Knox.
Mary
 

Welllaidacres

Chirping
Jan 2, 2020
56
92
76
Eastern Illinois
My Coop
I have doubled the size of my coop. It is now 10’x15’. I did this because I felt my other one was getting too small for the 26 pullets and one cockerel I had in it. Only 12 of those are mine, I am raising 15 for a friend. Another reason for the expansion is that if I ever have to lock the girls inside for a few days, I won’t feel bad as I know they have plenty of space. I made a few other modifications. You can now see the ramps in and out of the coop and into the runs. One outside pen is my garden, the other is the chicken run. I will alternate them each year. I also moved the nesting box to a lower height and added these chicken curtains I found. Oh and i almost forgot, i added a pop door with a couple pulleys so that i can open/close it from outside their coop. I Hope you guys like it!
 

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Welllaidacres

Chirping
Jan 2, 2020
56
92
76
Eastern Illinois
My Coop
Very nice design!
That chicken wire isn't actually predator proof though.
Mary
Thanks for the reply. The inside of the barn, where the coop is, is predator proof. All windows and doors shut tight. The cupelas on the roof have hardware cloth over their openings. I am not the slightest bit concerned about the chicken wire in the barn. If the structure around it is predator proof all that had to do is keep the birds in. The run is obviously not with just chicken wire and no overhead coverage. At some point I will upgrade it to hardware cloth, but I had chicken wire sittinghere and t posts, so that’s what was used for now. I wanted to give the birds access to the outside world, even if they haven’t ventured there on their own yet. I work in agricultural and it is our busy planting season right now. When work slows up and I have time, I will upgrade it.
 

Welllaidacres

Chirping
Jan 2, 2020
56
92
76
Eastern Illinois
My Coop
I feel like I’m never done updating my coop ha. Is there a name for this disease I’ve caught? Haha.

I built a water tower to gravity feed my watered and a grit feeder. I built the water tower from a 15 gallon food safe drum I found on amazon. I threaded a spicket in the bottom and put a splitter on. One hose on the splitter runs to my hog nipple waterer. The other hose runs to a horizontal nipple bar I made from 1 1/2” pvc. I hung the pvc pipe at an angle on purpose. I did this because I have a mixed breed flock and the heights of my birds varies. The water tower was built because in the winter, I do not have water to the barn. My water line is not buried below the frost line (installed before I bought the property). I will put a tank heater in this drum come winter time to keep it from freezing. I’m hoping that will be enough heat to keep the bar and nipples thawed but time will tell. This system allows me to provide fresh clean water to my pigs and chickens with less cleaning of basins or cups. I top the barrel off each morning with a garden hose. I plan to build another nipple bar and put it in my run. I will just attach a hose to the spicket at the downhill side of the bar in the coop and run it out to the bar in the run.

In the photos you will also be able to see my grit feeder I made. I constructed this from miscellaneous PVC fittings I had around. The main pipe is 2”pvc with a wye at the bottom. I sawzalled the wye so that the opening was more open for the chickens to get too. I bought a 2 to the 3 adapter for the top to act as a funnel for when I’m dumping bags of grit in. The bottom of the feeder is adapted down to 1 1/2 pvc for no reason other than I only had 1 1/2 caps on hand and an adapter, but no 2” caps.

What do you think? Anybody done something similar? Have tips or suggestions for me to improve this system? When will I stop thinking of upgrades?
 

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