First time coop builder- advice and encouragement needed!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by h2oAPBTs, Mar 28, 2018.

  1. h2oAPBTs

    h2oAPBTs In the Brooder

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    Mar 21, 2018
    GOALS:
    -I want to build a Tractor/coop hybrid. I like the hoop/cattle panel design I see all over this site.
    -I want to be able to move it by myself, but I have assistance if need be.
    -I currently have 12 young chickens, planning on paring it down to 7 laying hens and 1 roo.

    PROBLEMS:
    -Incorporating a coop into the run that's large enough for the chickens, if necessary.
    -Predator protection-planning on running a hot wire around the bottom, as I imagine having any sort of wire edging would be difficult in a moving coop, plus I have kids, and I'd worry about the sharp edges on the ground. We have 3 dogs, all of whom respect the heck out of a hot wire. ;)

    I live in Delaware, with summers that can get pretty muggy and warm. Winters usually only dip as low as 20's, with occasional cold snaps of the single digits. Do they need an enclosed coop, or would a good roof and tarp wrap in the winter do ok, with a heat lamp or three to supplement? I see these sorts of tractors on here, but I am unsure of their climate, and if that is their only housing.

    It is very important to me to have a tractor, to help cut down on ticks, and to fertilize the yard in spurts, without killing the grass.

    QUESTIONS:
    Do I need an enclosed coop?
    Is 16'x5' large enough for 8 chickens, with adequate roosting space?
    Is a coop that size going to be too hard to move?
    Anyone want to come help me build it? :p

    The DREAM: A coop plus run, but I would need a coop that is 6' long, by 5' wide to sustain 8 chickens. That amount of lumber seems outside my price range right now.
    chicken-tractor-coop1.jpg

    This tractor doesn't have a coop, just roosting space. I would obviously need nesting boxes, also.
    images.jpg

    I envision a mobile version of this run, but light enough to move! I also wish more folks would post actual dimensions and materials, as it would be much easier to plan! LOL
    42454_hoop_house_a_009.jpg

    Thank you ahead of time for any and all advice to this newbie!
     
  2. jthornton

    jthornton Crowing

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    My Coop
    A chicken tractor/coop for 8 chickens needs to be 8' x 16'. It would be too big to move by hand. Do you have enough flat land that you can move the tractor each week and not be on the same spot for 6-8 weeks?

    Chickens need draft free ventilated place to roost with no extra heat in the winter. Chickens come with a down blanket built in to a variable thickness feathered cover.

    That last photo looks like a well designed hoop coop.

    JT
     
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  3. h2oAPBTs

    h2oAPBTs In the Brooder

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    I have 3/4 of an acre, pretty flat. May have to cut the numbers to 6 chickens. I thought the rule of thumb was 10’ of run/chicken, so I was going for an 80 sq’ run. (5x16) if I build a coop with 2’ of clearance underneath... it’d have to be 5x5, leaving 11’ of run with nothing over top.
     
  4. jthornton

    jthornton Crowing

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    Aug 30, 2017
    Poplar Bluff, MO
    My Coop
    The numbers are not hard and fast but a suggestion for enough space. I have 9 Rhode Island Reds that sleep in a 4' x 5' raised coop. I have a 7' x 9' covered run attached to that. So they have 20 sq ft to sleep in and until sunrise they have 83 sq ft. The nest box, feeder and water is in the run. Around that I have 100' of 5' chain link fence plus one side I use the house as a wall. I feel that 12 birds could live in that space and still have enough room to dodge one that wants to be one step up on the pecking order. Because my RIR's only sleep in the coop the 20 sq ft with 11' of roost and are only confined to the run until sunrise my setup works fine.

    One thing I've noticed is the 7' width is just barely enough space so a sub can avoid a sneak attack from one above it.

    A 5' x 16' chicken tractor will be pretty heavy when your done. If you had large flotation type tires you could probably pull it around. I doubt you could drag it on skids by hand. Just curious why you want to move it?

    JT
     
  5. h2oAPBTs

    h2oAPBTs In the Brooder

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    Thank you for the helpful advice. I have 2 EE's and I'm keeping 6 Australorps, BTW. My primary reasoning behind moving it is to keep the tick population at bay along the treeline to the woods and ditch. I can't free-range, but I would like the "pasture raised" experience, where they can scratch in fresh soil every day, fertilizing and aerating as they go, while having access to grass. They really love that grass! I put some in the manger every day, and it doesn't last long!
     
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  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    My Coop
    Be careful giving too much cut grass, it can clog their crops.


    Ditto Dat^^^

    Do you have a riding lawn mower or UTV that you can use to move it?
    Might think about a chunnel system.
     
  7. h2oAPBTs

    h2oAPBTs In the Brooder

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    I do have a riding mower! Hadn't thought of that! And I'll keep that in mind about the grass. I didn't know that! :O
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Now you'll have to see if your rider has a hitch plate.

    Long pieces of loose grass are the worst, but even too much cut grass clippings can clog em up. It's not an absolute - but a possibility, just use moderation.
     
  9. h2oAPBTs

    h2oAPBTs In the Brooder

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    Hubby and I are hard at work putting a coop in half our pre-existing outdoor shed. We’ve planned a 12’x12’ pen attached. The coop is about 5’ by 8’, and has plenty of head space. We just changed out the door to our screen porch today, so that makes that part easy! :) we’ve decided to just do a small chicken tractor for “free-ranging” them in small groups.
     
  10. h2oAPBTs

    h2oAPBTs In the Brooder

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    Coop complete! Building the 12’x12’ pen this weekend. :)

    35ECFC45-A7DA-4CA2-A793-58F275FDDA41.jpeg

    King Kung Pao
    A49ED1FF-272F-46BA-BE4D-E43268F2FF95.jpeg
    Weaning them off the heat lamp...
    AF52E508-3F66-4880-802B-60ABD0E1EBCB.jpeg A251D142-6393-4399-92DF-3E9478E84FDF.jpeg
    Coon-proofed the roof, too.
    F09A957D-2808-4315-A20A-A47A5E7DFDE1.jpeg
     
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