First Coop - Design & Build

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by thebutress, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. thebutress

    thebutress Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 31, 2012
    Onalaska, TX
    Greetings Chicks, Hens, Roo's and whatever else is in between.

    First timer here. I've been wearing this site out recently, as my wife and I decided to be adopted by a family of chickens. Current tally is 4 chicks, with 5 more coming. I'd love some feed back from y'all on my coop design. Here is some information with images attached.


    Who: Up to 9 chickens, depending on the rooster outcome. Breeds are silkies, Maran, Polish, Cochin, maybe a Wyandotte or a d'uccle. ( My wife handles the acquisitions )

    What: Coop

    Where: North of Houston about 2 hours. HOT HOT HOT, humid summers. Winters ( a week long chilly bit in january ;) ) are not very cold at all. The spot we picked for them will get lots of shade and should only have direct sun mid mornings for a little while.

    When: Soon.

    Why: I have already asked my self that. No good answer as of yet... :)

    I'm planning on stained or painted treated wood, some sort of flooring on the raised areas (linoleum), hardware cloth. probably a radiant barrier plywood sheathing under a metal roof to help keep the heat at bay.

    Current size is 128 sf. 8x16.
    6 nest boxes.
    roost over poo board with ramp access for silkies.
    little box to the side of the nesting boxes is a contingency plan in case the silkies prefer the face plant method. will probably hang the feeders and install the nipple waters under the first raised level.

    So..... What do you think? Suggestions? Improvements? Complete cock-ups? (chicken puns = fun)

    Thanks in advance.

    J[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    daughter with a sizzle? maybe? again talk to the acquisitions department.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2012
  2. powers

    powers Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 24, 2012
    Michigan
    Welcome & glad your here! :) Love all your plans!
    This is a great forum for info on your poop box. I was using a poop box w/ a "top" on it with wire. I would haul the top out of the coop once it was covered. I stumbled upon this forum about using PDZ ( a horse stall refresher). You pour it in your box, under the roosting bar & scoop out the poop as needed. I've been using it for about a month now & love it! https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/621363/poop-board-convert-warning-graphic-gross-poop-pictures

    I'm from MI so not used to your hot summers, but we have a rasied coop & it gives our ladies some shade & protection from the elements. It has turned into a favorite napping spot!
    [​IMG]
     
  3. dennin7418

    dennin7418 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 15, 2012
    Sterling, MA
    I think you must have way to much time on your hands haha....mine was designed on a napkin.
     
  4. thebutress

    thebutress Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 31, 2012
    Onalaska, TX
    powers,

    Thanks for the link. I will look into this. Stink control and poo elimination are getting top consideration as we try to figure all this out. Learning from the experience of others is so much better than re-inventing the wheel.


    dennin,

    Nah. I'm an architect, so something like this takes no time at all, and the benefits of being able to show my wife what something might be before I start cutting and nailing is worth the little time it did take.

    That being said, I probably have about 3 pages of sketches in my sketch book that validates the thought I might have spent more time than many folks do on design. It's what I do. It's fun. A designer's version of "measure twice, cut once"
     
  5. Tweakster

    Tweakster Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 2, 2012
    Garden Ridge, TX
    First off, Nice looking design! The openness is a great thing for south Texas. I live on the north side of San Antonio, so I can appreciate how hot and humid it can get. If I may, a few suggestions:

    1. Provide outside access for food and water. By that, I mean being able to fill the water-er and feeder without going inside the run. Chickens generate a lot of droppings and going into the run each day to refill water and feed can fowl your shoes (pun intended). Your use of watering nipples would facilitate that as long as you can fill the water reservoir from outside the run, or hook it up to a water source with a water pressure reducing valve or automatic fill valve. Adding the feed supply to the feeder from outside the run will pay back big time.
    2. Having six nest boxes looks generous. You will probably find that the hens will use one or two of them and hardly ever visit the others. You might be able to cut the number of nest boxes in half, or possible apply simple chicken math and double the number of chickens (layers I would presume). I also admire the outside access to the nest boxes, good job!
    3. Besides chicken droppings, those ladies will also generate a considerable amount of dust. I'm not sure how, they just do. Any horizontal surface will collect droppings and dust, and will need periodic cleaning (or not, I guess). Limit horizontal surfaces whenever and wherever possible. I can tell you want to use the poo board on the upper level, below the roost. The lower level may become problematic for cleaning if it is a solid surface. You may want to consider using a 1/2 inch mesh as the flooring on the lower level so the droppings do just that, drop through.
    4. On the nest box exterior access, the design is great from an egg-collecting and clean-out perspective, but can give some surprises when just collecting eggs as nesting material will tend to fall out when the door is opened. This material may get caught between the boxes and the back door, making it difficult to close at times. Might want to consider removable trays that would slide out but have a back on them that would be high enough to hold the nesting material in. A permanent, low backing to the nest to hold in the nesting material would complicate clean-out.
    5. I also have a raised coop above the run. I find that the area below the run is a favorite hiding place for those hens not wanting to be bothered or caught. The bashful hens tend to hang out there also. This isn't really a problem until you want to catch one of them. While I would not change this in my coop, it is something that I work around (I use the long, wire chicken hook).
    6. With such an open design, which I applaud, it would be advisable to use good quality wire mesh on the run, probably half inch by half inch, to make sure predators cannot get into the run. The coop doesn't offer any protection, so all predator protection has to be provided in the run covering. This is the long way of saying don't use chicken wire unless you are in a location with no dogs or raccoons, both of with can rip through most chicken wire. Raccoons are absolutely the worst predator, they are cunning, nocturnal (you won't see them), can open simple latches, and will rip the head right or leg off a sleeping chicken if they can reach them through the wire. If your location is such that you won't get raccoons (or skunks or possums), and it is fenced so neighbor dogs cannot get in, then chicken wire might be appropriate. The good news in south Texas is that armadillos won't bother the chickens. As an aside, using the smaller half inch mess will also limit sparrows from going into the coop to rob feed. It's not so much the missing feed, but the mites, fleas, and disease they can share with your chickens.

    Again, nice job on the design!
     
  6. KDK1

    KDK1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Do you already have the orientation of the coop set in stone? If not, I would make the roost/nest box area to the north and completely closed in for our Texas winters. Cold blowing rains will soak the coop. I say this from experience living down here on the island.
     
  7. thebutress

    thebutress Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 31, 2012
    Onalaska, TX
    Wow. Thanks for the great responses.

    1. I had hoped to get the nipple waterer system set up to be hands-off. Most of the "kits" i've seen include the pressure reducer, but i hadn't really looked too deeply into how much pressure was too much. The auto-fill idea seems like a interesting alternative. I'll be looking over some of the feeder designs too. We'll figure something out. I think we grabbed one of the hanging type ones to start with, but i've seen a few pvc constructions that would work from outside. we'll see.

    2. I thought I read on here somewhere that 2 hens per nest might be a target, and then i rounded up a bit. Looks like it might be closer to 3-4 per nest? best bet might be to use a modular approach so we can add to them if needed.

    3. good points. I would probably need to look at a second layer under the mesh if we go that way. I had planned to have the feeder and waterers under there and don't want there to be too much falling through there.

    4. love the pan idea. i think i saw a design with a removable backing as well. glad you mentioned this one.

    6. Yes, I definitely planned on the small mesh. I've already heard some first hand stories of some pretty good failures for the chicken wire.





    Sorry, I didn't mention that initially, but the coop and nest will be on the north end off the run. the areas on the upper part of the coop that are shown to be screened in, will recieve some removable panels in the "winter" to button everything back up.
     
  8. thebutress

    thebutress Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 31, 2012
    Onalaska, TX
    I'd appreciate some more comments on the roost size, height, and construction. Also some thoughts on the number of nests etc.

    the plan is to get the basic structure up and keep researching the raised part so we get as close to right as we can.
     
  9. Tweakster

    Tweakster Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 2, 2012
    Garden Ridge, TX
    Here is a resource you may be interested in:
    http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/2902/2902-1091/2902-1091_pdf.pdf

    They recommend:
    Nest Space: Supply a minimum of four nesting boxes for flocks containing 15 hens or less.
    For larger flocks provide one (1) nest for every 4 to 5 hens in the flock. This will help limit
    egg breakage from normal traffic and daily egg laying. Make sure nests have a deep clean
    layer of litter to prevent breakage and help absorb waste or broken-egg material.

    HTH!
     
  10. Tweakster

    Tweakster Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 2, 2012
    Garden Ridge, TX
    And in this one:
    http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/2902/2902-1092/2902-1092_pdf.pdf

    They recommend:
    Perches: With chickens, always provide 6 to 10 inches of perch space per bird. Perches are not usually
    used with meat chickens and waterfowl.
    Nests: Always provide at least one nest for every 4-5 females in the flock.
     

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