First time building a Coop !! Help need ideas !

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by kbreak, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. kbreak

    kbreak Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 1, 2011
    Columbia, MS
    We are getting ready to build our first coop. We are gonna build it 8' x 8'. We plan on free ranging but closing them up at night. How many nesting boxes do you need for about 8-10 hens? How big do the nesting boxes need to be? How high off the ground do they need to be? The roosting posts need to be how high off the ground ? How much room per chicken on the roost? How far from the wall does the roosting pole need to be? Could I put 2 roosting poles across the 8' wall? If so would you put one like 12" from the wall and the second pole like 24" from wall.? Lots of questions.

    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011
  2. Animalian

    Animalian Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2011
    nesting boxes need to be lower than the roosts or they'll be slept in (=poopy eggs)

    I'd probably have half as many nests as they are hens. I have four and they all use the same box lol.

    I only have bantams so I can keep roost bars pretty close to the walls. hopefully someone with large fowl will answer you
  3. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    One nest for 4 hens is a common rule of thumb, but they usually use only some; I'd probably give them 2. About 12"x12"x12" is fine; mine prefer the smaller ones; I guess they feel more hidden. You could also try a single community nest about 24' to 30' wide; you can always add a divider later. Nests can be most any height but lower than roosts. For large fowl you want the roost pole (which should not be a pole unless it's about 3" diameter) about 8" from the wall. You only need one if it goes the length of the building, as 9-12" per chicken on the roost is plenty. The higher the roost, the more lateral room they need to fly or flap down, to prevent leg and hip injuries (assuming they fly down rather than use a ladder.) My roosts are 30" and they still fly about 4' or 5' laterally to get down. (I am talking about large fowl as that's what I have.)

    You can build a roost quite high if you wish; they like to sleep high; but chickens do sometimes get injured getting down, especially the heavier ones, or older ones. I have one pullet who sleeps about 6' off the ground, by herself, but she is young and relatively small, and flies well. If my roost were 6' tall I'd have a ladder, but they take up a lot of space. You may want to slant the top of ne nests to prevent their sleeping there.
  4. Hobiedog

    Hobiedog Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 11, 2011
    Lowell, MI
    I'm new here, but this is what I have done for my roosts. At first I used 2 x 4s on edge spaced 6 inches apart. This worked great. I also kept them about 6 inches from the walls. This kept all the poo off the walls and off each of the roost boards. After reading on here about making roosts for cold weather, I live in MI, I turned the boards on the flats so the birds could sit on their feet and stay warmer. Well now my boards are only 4 inches apart, big mistake, now I have poo on the boards that I have to scrape off each day. I am going to redue them, keeping them on their flats but spacing them 6 inches apart. my roosts are about 4 feet long and about 4 feet off the coop floor. I put as many up that I could fit in a 4 x 4 foot area all at the same height. Hope this might help you.
  5. fireguy56

    fireguy56 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 2, 2010
    Slidell, Louisiana
    Hi! Welcome to BYC. You definitely want to put your roosts further away frm the wall than 6" or you'll have poop all over the wall. I suggest for large birds Min. of 12" from wall. As far as height, any height depending on breeds. Some heavier birds don't go too high while others do. Smaller breeds tend to try to get high as possible. I have various heights in my two coops and the birds pick the one they like best. Your 2" x 4" 's should be on the flat so they can cover their feet with their bodies. Nest boxes should be lower than roost. Some people put them on floor, I prefer not to. Don't want to take up floor space. Mine are about 16" off floor, with outside access for egg collection. You can go to BYC main page to Learning Center to get alot of helpful suggestions to your questions. Ventilation is very importand, even in winter so plan to provide plenty. Check out my pages if ya like for ideas. Good luck.
  6. ChickenAl

    ChickenAl Diagnosis...Chicken-Headed

    Jun 5, 2011
    Putnam cty, NY
    We put 3 nesting boxes in for six chickens, and it is definitely overkill. I tried a high one, a low one and one made out of a plastic milk crate. They mostly use the one under the high one, which is on the floor and has the least light in it. It is on the opposite side from the roost and we did not put it in until they were ready to lay. Putting them in too soon may make them use it to sleep in. Yours are outside collects boxes built in to the wall and should be sealed off from access if they are not laying yet so they don't use it to sleep in.
  7. Mommy 2 Wee Ones

    Mommy 2 Wee Ones Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2011
    North Texas
    My coop is a converted 6 x 6 greenhouse, full size screen/storm door with drop down upper window, full size window beside the door, that I covered with OSB board (North facing).

    East side also has a full size almost floor to ceiling window (non-opening) which is left uncovered to get the morning sun, I have their food & water hanging near that window.

    South side again had the full size window. I have 3/4 covered with OSB board, the nest box sits against this wall, that way the girls just walk in & pick their nest, have 4 nest boxes, 12 x 12. I have 14 hens, only 7 are laying, and they still all want to use the same nest box.

    The West side wall is attached to the shed, it had a 4 ft high shelf built in (2 ft deep), made a rung roost, 3 levels, they use it as stairs to get up to the shelf. Am going to make a shelf below the main shelf, to see if the younger girls will spread out a bit more. Because they are the lowest in the pecking order, they puppy pile in one corner of the shelf to keep away from the other girls.

    They have a 20 x 20 ft enclosed run that they stay in till noon, then they can free range till bed time. The laying hens head to the coop when they need to lay their eggs. This is when I hear all the fussin going on, it is usually my Barred Rock who is so noisy. She will fuss & pace back & forth, even though there are 3 other nest boxes available.

    I use the deep litter method, and the hanging feeder & water. Just switched to pellets and there is so much less waste now. My only issue is, the can hear when I open the sliding door to come out, and they come racing over to see if I have any treats. They now like to stand at the slider & look in, can not keep the door open or we have chickens in the breakfast area. [​IMG]


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