First Time Coop-Builder: Planning

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by PureFluff, Jul 10, 2010.

  1. PureFluff

    PureFluff In the Brooder

    Jul 10, 2010
    Otis, ORE
    Hi, this is my first attempt at making a coop. I haven't gotten chickens yet and I'm not sure what kind(s) I will get, but I'm working under the assumption that they will not be bantam, as worse comes to worse there will be extra room.

    I plan on trying my hand at housing one rabbit and 3 hens together, using the ideas and information from other people.

    I've been looking at the coop construction on this site and I'm getting some good ideas, but I guess my question is if anyone can give me a list of things to think of as I create my own design? Such as, the nesting boxes (sorry if my terminology is wacky), should there be one for each? More? Less? It seems there are usually just places for perching as well, how many of those are necessary? I got the 4/10 sq. feet thing for coop/run down. How important are windows, how far up should they be? How tall should the coop be off the ground to allow for a proper shadow underneath.

    Also, how small of a space can a chicken get through? I was thinking of the separation for the hutch/rabbit area being just through a tunnel that the chickens would be inable to fit through, same as the feeder for the birds being high enough where the rabbit cannot get it.

  2. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    Welcome to the forum!

    I haven't tried keeping rabbits and chickens together, but I do remember reading in the Storey's book that you have to watch carefully to make sure the rabbit doesn't get bullied by the chickens, or vice versa...I guess...depending on the individuals you have in there.

    Chickens like to use the same nestbox; you'll probably be fine with having only one nestbox for three hens. Chickens like to roost someplace high at night. Figure about a foot of roost width (perhaps a bit less) per bird. They don't end up using all this space when they get settled (they like to squeeze up close together, even in summer), but there is frequently a good deal of jockeying for position, as they work out who gets to roost next to whom each night.

    Windows are important for light and for supplemental ventilation during warmer periods of the year. The main ventilation of your coop, the ventilation you'll keep open or mostly open throughout the winter, should be up high at the tops of the walls so that in winter cold air won't blow over your birds as they roost (that's the dreaded draft, to be avoided).

    I personally don't really like the elevated coop I have. It's on two foot legs. It's hard to clean under the coop. It does make cleaning inside the coop easy because everything is right at waist level, so there's no stooping.

    We've only had one rabbit, and she was quite a bit larger than the bantams we now have. I'm not sure about whether your idea of the rabbit tunnel will really work.
  3. dsqard

    dsqard Crazy "L" Farms

    Jun 11, 2010
    York PA
    One thing I would highly recommend is to see if you have a Restore nearby. My husband and I built a small chicken tractor for our 4 pullets because I thought the ones I was finding online that were either built or a kit were outrageously priced. Turns out we probably spent more on materials than it would have cost to buy one already built. I do have to say we had fun doing it but did not save a cent! Have fun:lol:
  4. PureFluff

    PureFluff In the Brooder

    Jul 10, 2010
    Otis, ORE
    Hmm, yes I suppose I should figure out what breeds of both chicken and rabbit I will have before getting to committed to that idea.

    Of course I guess I could go opposite and get bantam chickens and a Flemish Giant, lol.

    I was thinking of raising the rabbit and the chickens together so they hopefully would be buddy-buddy. If not, I do have a few backup plans.

    Are there any types of materials I should avoid? My family used to own a plumbing business which I live right next to, and we have a lot of things I thought would be cool to incorporate as we have throughout the area (my porch was literally held up by pipes until we rebuilt it) but I'm not sure how well birds work with metal or plastic.

    Also, yeah I'm aware it will be spendy. But I like to build things and we do have quite a bite of materials for the most part to at least start with.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2010
  5. The Chicken Lady

    The Chicken Lady Moderator Staff Member

    Apr 21, 2008
    West Michigan
    Here are some questions to consider as you plan your coop...

    One thing to take into consideration is the climate where you live. Does it snow/rain a lot (so will the birds spend a lot of time indoors)? Does it get really hot or really cold? Does it get humid? Proper ventilation and keeping humidity low are very important.

    What kind of predators are in your region that you need to protect against?

    Do you want your chickens to lay year-round? How will you supply them with adequate light during the winter so that they can if possible? Do you want electricity in your coop?

    How easy will your design be to keep clean?

    Do you want to collect eggs from inside or outside the coop?

    Where will you store your supplies? Is your storage location convenient in snow or other inclement weather?

    Are you planning to raise standard-size or bantam chickens?

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