First coop- Newbe questions and request for feedback

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MarcBinNC, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. MarcBinNC

    MarcBinNC Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 1, 2011
    Mooresville, NC
    I'm in the process of building my first coop and am raising chickens for the first time. I got 16 day old wyandottes last week so I have to get moving quickly on the coop (I only plan to keep 6-8 but with cold weather and the higher shipping on small orders, it was about the same price to order 16 or 6 so I figured I could brood the rest then sell them to recover some of my feed cost ). Here are the ideas/thoughts I'm working from: I live in a neighborhood so will have to have an enclosed run. I have a basic plan in mind but need to figure out some details before I build to far. We live in north Carolina so we have hot summers and some really cold days in winter (though not many). I also plan on using the deep litter method. I have a base built so far, it's 46" x 72" on 24" stilts. I plan on putting the 3 nesting boxes on a short side and will be 12"x12"x12". I will have large double doors on the back with a kick board for clean out and adding shavings/D.E. The coop door will be centered in the front (long side) with 2 11"x18" opening windows as well as closable eve ventilation. I've actually came up with some cool (at least I think so) 2 Payne windows I built using scrap 1"x wood and plexiglas 8"x10" picture frame glass I got from lowes very cheap. I'll post pics of the windows once I get them finished in case anyone else want to use the design. Now some questions:
    1) is 12x12xx12 a good size for the nesting boxes?
    2) what height should I elevate the coop door, nesting boxes, etc to work Best with the deep litter method? Is 8" inches a good elevation?
    3) Are 3 nesting boxes enough for 6-8 hens?
    4) How far can I place the roosts apart height wise? E.g. How high can a chicken jump up from ground to roost and higher roosts?
    5) having an enclosed run, do I really have to open and close the coop door every morning and night or can I leave it open except in bad weather? As I mentioned, we live in a neighborhood and have a fenced in yard And will have a fenced in run so i believe (could be wrong) the only "predators" will be mice and snakes or the occasional cat or dog that gets into the yard. We have a busy schedule and travel so if closing the door nightly is important, I will need to get an automatic door on order quickly.
    6) is it a good idea to keep food and water in the coop for during the night?
    7) given our climate, should I insulate the walls for winter or will a well built non-drafty coop be sufficient?

    Thanks in advance for any comments/answers.
    Marc
     
  2. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    The nest boxes could be a bit small. I'd make them a bit taller maybe.
    Three boxes will be fine. In fact they'll probably all end up just using one of them.
    How high they can fly up depends on the breed but generally say 3 feet. Even my fat Orps can do that much. My Polish could fly to the top of a 10 foot fence.
    Make sure your food and water aren't exposed to the rain. Be aware though that having it in the coop will attract rats and mice. They don't need to eat and drink at night so the run is good so long as the food can't get rained on.
    Chickens don't need an insulated coop. Just make sure it has good ventilation without a draft on the roosts. Heat will likely stress them more than cold depending on your location.

    You say "given our climate" but we have no way to know what climate that happens to be. Where are you?
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
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  3. MarcBinNC

    MarcBinNC Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 1, 2011
    Mooresville, NC
    Thanks for the reply. as for my climate, Im in Mooresville, NC (20 miles north of Charlotte). We have summers in the high 90's and very high humidity with heat indexes of triple digits. We have winters that get down to the teens on some nights but for the most part we are mid 30's, we rarely have days that stay below freezing all day long. We do have the occasional snow or ice storm.

    Also, would you happen to have any advice about the coop door (question #5)? from a construction standpoint, this is something i need to make a final dicision on (do i build the wall deminsionally for a drop in automatic pocket door or do i just build a flap door) so that i can keep progressing.

    Thanks again,
    Marc
     
  4. redhotchick

    redhotchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 22, 2011
    Fort Worth
    Man let me say something. You are thinking waaay to much here. Don't worry about it. They will tell you what they need. if they need another nest box,they will speak up. Sound to me that they will have all they need. On the predator thing. My birds call mice and snakes lunch!
     
  5. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    I would for sure close the coop door every night. You mention a fenced run but not whether it'll have a top on it. Possums and racoons are active in cities and can climb really well. Plus chicken wire and most types of netting used over the top of runs when they're covered offer no protection against these night time predators.

    I'd allow for the heat more than the cold, though I know it does get pretty chilly there from time to time. I managed to fly there the Christmas it snowed like mad in the north part of the state about 2 years ago lol. I nearly froze my tootie off! Again though, ventilation is what you need the most of. Just be sure they don't have a draft where they roost and the rest is fine.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
  6. SelfSufficient

    SelfSufficient Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 13, 2012
    San Marcos, Tx
    We just "finished" our first coop. For the deep litter I would not elevate the door - or it's harder to clean out as you have to go up and over. Instead you cut a 2x6, or 8, wider than the opening to act as a blocker/ stop. But you can remove it for clean out.

    Our run is going to be SECURE and I do not plan on closing the pop door daily. That is something you should be able to change later on if you feel the need.

    Actually, aside from basic security - most things can.be modified later on. Plus, from a "just been there" don't stress too much because you will change things up during the build - its inevitable!!!:p

    Good luck!!!
     
  7. MarcBinNC

    MarcBinNC Out Of The Brooder

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    ok, when i said elevate the door, I meant the pop door. How high did you make yours above the floor to account for the deep litter?
     
  8. SelfSufficient

    SelfSufficient Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 13, 2012
    San Marcos, Tx
    Arggggg :rolleyes: I didn't consider the pop door. Guess internal modification will be needed when they start using it (only 5 weeks old and run not complete) to keep the litter in. :p

    That is a point I did not see addressed in any of my research and reading.

    I would say "just" elevate it the 6 inches above the floor to avoid the issue I now have to address. They should be able to hop up to it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2012
  9. MarcBinNC

    MarcBinNC Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 1, 2011
    Mooresville, NC
    Chicks are 12 days old today. they are growing so fast and eating so much! I started the coop today. i got the base done, windows done, and the front and back walls and roof framed out



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  10. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    Looking good! Hope you give them some outside time cause they're crowded in that brooder. Crowding can cause problems with picking, etc.
     

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