First Coop Design & Build - added video of automatic door

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by PeterW, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. PeterW

    PeterW Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 9, 2010
    Galway, Ireland
    Hi all

    Last month was my wife's birthday and for some unknown reason she decided she wanted chickens. After initially being reluctant I soon came round to the idea and started thinking ahead to building a chicken coop. I soon stumbled upon this website and while I gained alot of inspiration for building a coop I also learned that it's not as straight forward as first thought! Since time was not on my side (she wanted chickens for her birthday, not Christmas!) I bought her a small coop to start with and figured we'd build something bigger & better before winter comes. So with the chickens (3 silkie hens & 1 silkie cockerel) content enough for now in their temporary home we're now working on the design of our first coop.

    After a week or so of different ideas and sketches, below picture is what we've settled on for now. This will fit on the corner of a 9' x 12' run and has been designed with the following in mind:
    1. Shelter - 90% of our bad weather comes from the south and there is no natural shelter. The coop will therefore face north with the roof mainly sloped to the south to fend off the wind and rain. The underneath of the coop is closed in for the chickens to take shelter or shade if they need it. The pop door is sheltered by the adjoining wall.
    2. Size - while we only have 4 chickens just now I think it's inevitable that we'll have more in the future. The floor space of this design is 40 square feet. The height is determined by the height of the existing run (6ft)
    3. Practicality - nest boxes positioned on the north facing wall, nearest to the house. The east facing wall will have a large door for cleaning out.

    [​IMG]

    A few days ago that was the final, frozen design and we went ahead and ordered materials. But now, while waiting for the materials to arrive I'm continuing to look at other designs and am starting to have doubts about ours!

    So...does anyone have any comments on this design? Any obvious downsides or considerations that we haven't taken into account? All comments (good & bad) would be greatly appreciated. The last thing I want is to go ahead with the build and then realise we've missed something important.

    Thanks & Best Regards,
    Peter
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2011
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Well at this point, it looks good to me. I like that "carport" section underneath...that'll be nice in heat or snow. You've certainly got your work cut out for you...lol. But you will love it when it's done. So the clean-out door allows access to both "wings"? And in the "carport" section...is it open in the back (where I can't see) so that you can rake underneath for clean-ups?? Looking forward to seeing this as it progresses...it's one of the more unique looking designs I've seen. [​IMG]

    And [​IMG] from Indiana!
     
  3. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Don't forget about ventilation. Figure at least 1 square foot of ventilation per chicken:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-VENTILATION

    Windows are good, but vents high up at the top of walls are better because you can leave them open or mostly open in the winter without cold drafts blowing on chickens when they're roosting. Windows down lower might need to be kept closed in winter.

    If your summers are hot, you may have a problem with heat building up in a closed coop, especially if it's in the sun.

    I'm also wondering about how easy a design like this will be to clean. Think about how you'll scoop and scrape droppings out of all these areas as you stand at your access door. And as the other commenter noted, don't forget to think about how you will clean under the coop, too. I have one coop up on legs and I hate it. The only way I can clean under it is by raking and I can't ever get it as clean as the other areas in my run.

    Think about raising your pop door off the floor an inch or two (or whatever the height of your bedding is going to be). I learned this the hard way. If the pop door is at floor level, the bedding falls out when you open the door.

    Think about adding roof overhangs. I didn't, and if I had it to do over again I'd have at least a foot overhang on all sides. You also might not want to put your nestboxes on a wall where they'll get the runoff from the roof. It might make collecting eggs on a rainy day unpleasant.
     
  4. PeterW

    PeterW Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 9, 2010
    Galway, Ireland
    Hi and many thanks for the replies.

    Regarding ventilation - the windows will open outward from the bottom with the openings covered with chicken wire so they can be left open for ventilation in summer. I was planning to add some louvre type vents in the gable ends too but it sounds like I'll need some significantly bigger openings.

    The "carport" area will be closed off at the back and far side, which would indeed make it difficult to clean. That's one of the areas I've been doubting...whether to raise the floor for easier access underneath or just to build it at ground level to give more height inside the coop. More height inside would allow more scope for ventilation and roosts.

    Good advice regarding the roof overhangs and pop door height. I'll ensure to incorporate those in the final design...whatever that might be!

    Best Regards,
    Peter
     
  5. PeterW

    PeterW Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 9, 2010
    Galway, Ireland
    I forgot to ask...

    I've seen it mentioned on a couple of sites that the main door to the coop should open inwards rather than outwards.
    What's the main reason for this?

    Thanks,
    Peter
     
  6. darkmatter

    darkmatter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Mine doesn't. My Coop and Run doors open outwards with springs to pull them shut if let go, (I do have latches to secure shut). The Run door is spring load because I load up the wheelbarrow with brown gold compost and bang open the door on the way out to put the compost on the garden----the door shuts itself behind me as my hands are full pushing the wheelbarrow. See my BYC page for Coop/Run Pics.
     
  7. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Chicken wire is not recommended. It will keep your chickens in, but it won't keep predators out. Too flimsy. Hardware cloth/welded wire with wire spacing of 1/2" by 1/2" is good.

    They really ought to call that stuff "chicken death wire."
     
  8. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2009
    DFW
    Quote:Mine doesn't. My Coop and Run doors open outwards with springs to pull them shut if let go, (I do have latches to secure shut). The Run door is spring load because I load up the wheelbarrow with brown gold compost and bang open the door on the way out to put the compost on the garden----the door shuts itself behind me as my hands are full pushing the wheelbarrow. See my BYC page for Coop/Run Pics.

    I agree! Especially if your coop is small, an inward opening door would pose terrible design difficulties about where you put your roost, feeder, etc. inside. I'm building a big coop this fall and designing the door on that to open outwards, too.
     
  9. sunflowerenvy

    sunflowerenvy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    south/west tn
    i would make the coop so i could walk into it because it would be hard to clean under the coop and i would get me place to keep my feed out of the weather. also would put rain cutter on building so the rain n snow go near the building and put a awning over the chicken coop door so the rain or snow dont go into the coop

    also i would put a light and couple reciprocal [sp] to plug things in to the wall.
    and put in a feeder n waterer in the coop too
    laura
     
  10. BankerJohn

    BankerJohn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lecanto, Florida
    since you are asking, here are my $0.02 ...

    Design considerations:
    Ventilation: There is never enough. I have seen chickens with nothing more than a roof over with wind screen in the snow climates. Consider the hottest months and plan for that ventilation first!

    Flooring materials: consider carefully your decision on flooring for the interior of a coop. Will it hold moisture and cause mold? Will it be a breeding ground for mites/flies/insects? Everyone has an opinion on flooring types. Personally, I prefer what God provides and that is a sand base in an open coop/run design.

    Feeding station design: do you know how messy chickens are? How often do you want to feed them/refill feeders? Adjustable heights to keep birds from scratching all their food out? Think about this and consider a homemade feeder from a 5 gallon bucket. There are lots of DIY feeders from 5 gallon buckets.

    Water supply: 2 words - Nipple Waterers. I don't care what people say, they will drip. Dripping is not a draw back for me as I have a sand floor in the combined coop/run.

    Critter/Pest management: Racoons, fixes, snakes, rats, etc. All want access to a free food supply. Think about the size of chicken wire you plan to use. What about a digging coon, possum or dog? Is there wire prevention buried underground.

    Access for cleaning? Can you walk into the coop? Will you have to crawl inside and get poop on your knees & hands? Will you be able to reach all areas to clean out easily. If it is not easy to access, it won't get cleaned often. Smells build, birds are unhappy and the experience will be less than enjoyable. A sand floor means you only need a kitty litter scoop to sift the poop out.

    Weather protection: Chickens don't need as much protection as most think. A roof over with wind shield from cold northerly winds will work well. Chickens like the rain.

    Egg collection: Easy access and water/critter tight. I use a milk crate on the ground with astroturf door mat cut to size in the bottom of the crate. The door mat turf bedding is plastic and can be hosed out for cleaning and replaced without having to keep buying costly hay/straw/etc.

    I like the pictures of your design. Keep it simple; the last I checked, the chicken police does not have a building inspector.

    Best of luck with your project. The rewards are well worth it!
     

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