First Coop Steps...!!!!! In need of final tidbits of advice.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by nikki1, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. nikki1

    nikki1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 16, 2011
    Eatonville, WA
    Hello everyone![​IMG]

    We bought a house last summer, and one of our criteria is that hens had to be allowed. So we moved in in August, and since, with the help of BYC friendly members, I've:

    --Decided to get 5 hens (Unless one of my chicks accidently turns out to be a roo, in which case we drop back 10 and punt.)
    --Chosen my assortment of breeds (1 BR, 1 BO, 1 Australorp, 1 Light Brahma, and 1 impulse buy. Yes, I plan my impulses. I was raised by an engineer, and I'm afraid a few things rubbed off.)
    --Found the perfect spot in the yard.
    --Stolen...oh! I mean "received inspiration" on a coop design from the BYC small coops section.
    --Discovered a small stash of 4x4 and 2x4 lumber the previous homeowners squirrelled away under the porch, and got a Home Depot gift card for Christmas.
    --Researched how to keep the Predators of Death that prowl the Washington woods searching for a chicken dinner out of my coop.

    So, today we took our first steps toward construction. We went to the Habitat for Humanity Restore Store, and bought 2 of the cutest little wooden vents you ever did see. NO! That's not ALL we did there. We also priced paint (very reasonable), perused their selection of used windows (lots!) and found several wood-framed screen doors we could use. (We figure buying a used screen door, ripping out the screen, and replacing it with hardware cloth would be lots easier than trying to build a people door from scratch.) They also have all the nails, screws, and hinges we'll need. I'm PSYCHED! [​IMG]

    To make a long story, well frankly, just a little longer, we start construction in February after we get our tax refund. So here's where I need help. WHAT HAVE I FORGOTTEN OR OVERLOOKED? I've done my very best to become overeducated, but I'd love to have your tips and hints that come with experience. Those little bits of advice that will make the whole thing easier, better, and/or more fun. Thanks so much in advance!


    --Nikki [​IMG]

    (and my 4 year old daughter who adds: [​IMG])
     
  2. KBlue

    KBlue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 21, 2011
    Katy, TX
    Tips:
    1. patience.
    2. coffee and/or beer (depending on mood)
    3. Build the coop bigger than you think you will need. Research "chicken math".

    Have fun!
     
  3. crystal195655

    crystal195655 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 15, 2011
    Glenoma, WA
    [​IMG] I am new also, I live just east of Morton in a town called Glenoma...ever heard of it? Anyway, sounds like you are just about as excited as I am. I will be getting my little fluffy butts in less than 2 weeks now...so excited. You will find tons of wonderful advice here, I know I have. BTW....where is the Habitat for Humaity Restore???? Sounds like a great place to go for building supplies. The advice about building the coop BIGGER than you think you need is great advice....I am already wishing I had gone bigger, and I haven't even gotten my chicks yet....lol Good Luck
     
  4. nikki1

    nikki1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 16, 2011
    Eatonville, WA
    The Habitat for Humanity Restore is in downtown Olympia. Google it for the address, and it's pretty easy to find.

    By the way, I do, indeed, know where Glenoma is, as I work in Morton, and lived in Mineral for years. East Lewis County is a big part of my life. [​IMG]

    Thanks to everyone for the advice. Please keep it coming.

    --Nikki
     
  5. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    Chicken math. You have forgotten that your 5 chickens will be 20 before you know it and you'll be building your second coop..... [​IMG]
     
  6. nikki1

    nikki1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 16, 2011
    Eatonville, WA
    SSSSHHH!

    We need to keep chicken math quiet!!

    First, I'm a math teacher, and my 6th graders are having enough trouble
    with conventional math to clutter their minds with counter-culture
    math! (come to think of it, it was two of my students who got me
    thinking about chickens last year. Maybe THAT'S why they had trouble
    with their work!)

    Second, I have not explained chicken math to my husband. As he's going
    to be my coop contractor, I mustn't alarm him! He's totally on board with having
    some backyard chickens, but he thinks 3-5 will be perfect. I have no
    doubt that we will mutually redefine perfection in time, but I can't freak
    him out prematurely. When the time is right, I'll send him to the feed store
    with our fabulously cute 4 year old daughter, and Daddy will melt like butter.
    But first things first. [​IMG]

    And yes, the coop is planned bigger than is warranted for 5 hens. Everyone
    needs some elbow room, after all. Or is that wing room?

    Thanks to all who have posted. Keep up the helpful hints coming!

    --Nikki [​IMG]

    (and katie, who just typed her own name! This is her smiley choice: [​IMG]
     
  7. acechicks

    acechicks Out Of The Brooder

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    May 9, 2011
    West Michigan
    We build our coop last spring. I spent a lot of time in the coop section looking at everyone coop and reading what worked and didn't work for then. It really helped us build a coop that we love. The one thing i love is our "poop shelve" under the roost. I go out every 2 weeks and clean it off. It takes me less then 10 min and the coop is all clean again. I also read a lot about how important ventilation is. When making our windows we put them on hinges so they all open up. Now we can just open and close them depending on the weather and the smell in the coop.

    Good luck building your coop. Make sure you remember to take pictures!
     
  8. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    Me either - he would seriously freak. We started with a plan to have "4" since our legal limit without a permit is 5. It wasn't long before I learned that with a permit, I was allowed up to 12 hens. Somehow the four became 7, and I had to get the permit. As long as I was paying for the permit, I figured I may as well have 12. And then a hen went broody and I couldn't bear to watch her sitting on an empty nest in triple digit temps so I got her some fertile eggs to hatch. Now we're looking at real estate in areas where there aren't any restrictions......he knows its because I'd like to keep a rooster, which I can't in the city, and that there are a few other breeds that interest me. But I haven't specifically talked numbers or coop size yet. Luckily he's pretty forgiving and since I do all the caretaking, he really doesn't complain....very often.
     
  9. chickerdoodle

    chickerdoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2009
    Oregon
    Like acechicks said--ventilation! A couple of small vents won't be enough--more is better. Just think about placement so they don't get drafts. Also figure out how many raccoon proof locks you'll need. I would clean the poop board a bit more often than every 2 weeks to prevent ammonia build up--even with ventilation--but I am a bit obsessive about those things. . Make sure you have a way for your poeple door to close nicely behind you without accidentally locking you in (its happened to some well meaning folks...).

    Also, nest boxes should be lower than the roosts or they may sleep in them (and leave droppings--ewwww).

    Have fun!! [​IMG]
     
  10. claudicles

    claudicles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 26, 2011
    Sydney, Australia
    I think Katie deserves a smiley of her own to celebrate her new typing skills

    [​IMG]

    Well done Katie [​IMG]
     

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