First coop! Can I get feedback?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by cfack, Feb 23, 2015.

  1. cfack

    cfack In the Brooder

    Feb 20, 2015
    Springville Utah


    Here are the pics of my chicken coop. It used to be a quail coop, I have 6 RIR hens that are four days old. I have made some modifications. Its 8' long by 2' wide and about 30 inches high from floor to roof. I have three roosts that are 10.5 inches from the floor with no bedding. The roosts are 12 inches a part but could move them without trouble. I plan on placing the nest boxes opposite the entrance. My enclosure which I haven't built yet will be 11.5 feet by 6 feet. It ends where the green cable boxes are to the left. Unfortunately my city code prevents me from letting them roam outside of an enclosure.

    Some concerns I have are that the roosts are not high enough off the floor for the chickens to walk underneath. Perhaps the chickens won't mind just hopping from roost to roost to exit the coop. Also whats a good angle for the ramp? Can they handle a fairly steep angle as long as I install cleats of some sort? I do have some cracks in the walls, I am slightly concerned about drafts in the winter? I will be installing heat lamps next winter. I have installed two windows to vent ammonia and heat, I hope the windows have enough square inches? I have the long opening on the bottom to remove the floor panels for poop removal. I am probably just being picky since this is my first coop and I want to do it right. Feed back anyone?
  2. Chicky Crazy

    Chicky Crazy Songster

    Feb 27, 2013
    Wow! Nice!!! I'm sure your girls will love it;)
  3. OneLostHen

    OneLostHen Songster

    Mar 29, 2012
    Santa Fe, TX
    As far as low roosts, Mine usually don't mind ducking if need be. I have a low roof run-in for them. They like it enough!
    I don't have a ramp, so I'm not much help there. But once grown, some might find it better to leap up or down.
    If there are small holes, we have used the yellow foam that comes in the squirt gun looking tube. Fills in the holes real nice!
    Good luck!
  4. tcstoehr

    tcstoehr Chirping

    Mar 25, 2014
    Canby, Oregon
    It's not perfect, but it's not bad at all really. But I think only for night/sleeping arrangements. This is not for long term confinement.
    I would use 2x4's not 2x6's for roosts, to prevent hens from roosting lengthwise on the board and piling poop on the board itself.
    I think they can duck under those boards without problems as their necks are quite agile. Again, they should only be in there to roost, they'll be out during the day I hope.
    Make sure every board is solidly attached so no raccoon can strong-arm his way in. Windows must be secured with, at the very least, 1/2" hardware cloth *very* securely attached. Because I assume they'll be left open to allow ventillation.
    IMO, cracks allowing drafts isn't an issue. You just want to prevent heavy airflow across where the hens roost. Cracks, however, might be points of weakness that a toothy predator might take advantage of.

    Take some time to inspect every potential point of entry and may sure it can't be pulled apart. You may need to take some 2x4 or 1x2 pieces of lumber here and there to shore up weak seams or corners. Although, your pictures of the inside look pretty solid already. You didn't scrimp on heavy lumber, that's good. A solid frame is essential.

    Heat lamps... just say NO! You don't want 'em, they don't need 'em. Waste of time and money. And a hazard in that small of a space.

    I would add a window on the back side to allow for some more cross ventilation.

    How 'bout the door? How will that be secured? Will it be left open into a secure run? Or closed like a bank vault?

    How many chickens?
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2015
  5. cfack

    cfack In the Brooder

    Feb 20, 2015
    Springville Utah
    The door to the coop will be open but the enclosure will have 1/2 inch hardware cloth and a secure door. There may be some patching required for the fences of the enclosure in the corners. We dont really have racoons around that I know of. I am debating if the enclosure will have all panels and be completely enclosed or if i will just put hardware cloth on the front and top of the enclosure and utilize the fences that are already there. We have 6 four day old Rhode Island Red hens. Thats the most we are allowed in my city.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2015
  6. tcstoehr

    tcstoehr Chirping

    Mar 25, 2014
    Canby, Oregon
    Hmmmm. Six RIRs in 16 square feet. Generally 24 square feet would be recommended as a minimum, but I think you setup is OK as long as you birds have adequate roosting space and can get outside when they want. What I like is that you have several roosting bars spaced apart from each other. So if there's any squabbling at bed-time, and there will be, the chickens can put some distance between themselves. I have a much larger coop but when my chickens are in there, they're always on the roosting bar or in the nesting boxes. They're only using a small fraction of the space available. This makes sense since they only go in there to sleep or lay eggs.
  7. btguy

    btguy Chirping

    Dec 19, 2013
    North Mississippi
    i see no nest area that is safe from poo, or am i overlooking one.
  8. cfack

    cfack In the Brooder

    Feb 20, 2015
    Springville Utah

    The best boxes will be at the left end. I don't have a picture of where they will be. I plan on placing them a safe distance from the roosts and replacing the bedding of the nest box often.
  9. bruceha2000

    bruceha2000 Free Ranging

    Apr 19, 2012
    NW Vermont
    I agree. They won't need heat once they are fully feathered. Not even in the winter. Not even in Utah. The do in Minneapolis because people who know SQUAT about raising chickens decided that chicken coops must be 34F or higher at all times. Wasteful and unnecessary.

    Yes, they will hop roost to roost, not a problem. My girls will be 3 in June, have never lived with any other chickens and STILL squabble about who sits where at night with a lot of movement between roosts (2 parallel roosts at 4' high, 18" apart).

    Regarding the ramp. Since yours are chicks, they will need one for a while. My suggestion:
    - screw a 2x4 along the short end of the coop (the chicken door end) sticking out 8"
    - get an 8' 2x8 and make full width cleats every 3". They don't have to be tall OR wide, 1/2" is fine. What you are doing is giving them something to hook their nails on which is why they should NOT be wide cleats nor too tall.
    - run the ramp along the front of the coop, ground level (or on a paving stone so the wood isn't on the ground) at the left end of the coop and attached (removable!) on the board you put on in the first step. That way it won't be sticking out into the yard but you can take it down to open the bottom board to clean out.

    Not sure how high the bottom of the chicken door is from the ground but large fowl can and will easily fly up 4' so you probably don't need the ramp when they are older. In fact I would be surprised if the adults use even half the length, they will just "shortcut" on the way up and down. I can't really figure out a way to put a porch in front of the chicken door since the flip up board is there. They aren't particularly "no you first" "no YOU first" "oh, but I insist YOU first" polite when using the door so it is nice to have a staging area. You could probably replace the ramp when they are older with a platform, stump, etc half the distance from the ground to the door.

    You might need to replace the barrel bolts with ones that have a hole in the end (open when the door is latched) to stick a carabiner in to make sure no clever animals can open the doors. You will need something similar on the floor access board.

    You want a BIG window in the back so you can see in from the house - chicken TV is interesting and FREE ... if you ignore the cost of the birds, their home, their feed, etc [​IMG] This is optional of course [​IMG] I can't even see my coop from the house - it is in the barn.

    What sort of fencing do you have around the rest of the yard (outside the designated pen area) and how friendly are the neighbors? I bet "no harm no fowl" (sorry, couldn't resist) if the chickens wander an enclosed back yard and no one complains. Especially if you have the full privacy fence all around. Hens are really VERY quiet critters except when they are begging for treats. Mine get Black Oil Sunflower Seed in the morning and scratch at night and you would think they hadn't eaten in a month with the racket they put up!

    And what defines "an enclosure" anyway? An 8' x 10' fenced area is an enclosure. So is a 50' x 50' or 100' x 100' fenced back yard. Some enclosures are just bigger than others. I can understand they don't want the birds wandering the neighborhood. Unfortunately city "chicken rules" are frequently made by people who have never seen a live chicken let alone raised any. Your six will leave nothing alive in the allotted space resulting in a dirt/mud patch. Much more likely you will have living vegetation if they can roam the yard. Better for the chickens, better for the yard.
  10. Sylvester017

    Sylvester017 Crowing

    Nov 29, 2012
    So. Calif.
    Re your ramp question. We had to replace a decrepit 4-inch wide ramp made out of OSB that came with our little coop and replaced with a sturdier solid wider 12-inch ramp. The little ramp had steps 3-inches apart but we built our new ramp with 4-inch step space. Wish we had stayed with the 3-inches since even the bigger hens like the security of close steps. Our hens got used to the 4-inch spacing but we notice it's not their favorite thing to use. Don't know how steep your "steep" is but you can raise it up a bit at the bottom for less of an angle by using a cinderblock or similar heavy item that won't shift. Secure the top of the ramp to the nest ledge with hinges or hook-and-eyes so the ramp doesn't shift or get knocked down or that will be the last time your chickens will feel secure using it. Once your chickens get moved in you'll start noticing what works for them and you and then you can modify again if necessary. All coops and chickens are different and require different configurations. People don't like their chickens roosting inisde the nestboxes but mine have done it since day one because it's the only enclosed part of their coop so I let them. Just have to be sure to clean out the straw every day in the boxes.

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