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Fixing Up a Pre-Fab Coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by TaraontheCoast, Aug 9, 2019.

  1. TaraontheCoast

    TaraontheCoast Songster

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    We got a free coop from friends to start our urban backyard flock. It arrived recently and it's in need of a lot of attention and I'm not sure where to start. I'm going to post my comments, thoughts and pictures below and would love attention called to anything I'm missing. Please note: TOTALLY new to all of this so be kind :D Thank you!
    • The coop is going in our dirt/weed yard, and since we definitely have burrowing rodents, I put galvanized steel hardware cloth (1/2") under the coop and pinned it with stakes.
    • I've heard raccoons (which are very prevalent here) can open these slider locks. Suggestions for alternatives?
    • Our other predators are skunks, possums, rats.
    • Can I have the hardware cloth floor and then put some other bedding on top of it? Researching the deep litter method but I am totally open to anything. We live in the SF Bay Area, in Oakland.
    • Does there need to be a roost inside the actual coop?
    • Best bedding for the nesting box? Does it need any divider if we get 2-3 chickens?
    • I need to repair the sliding tray with a board to support it.
    • What else am I missing?
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  2. CountryFlock

    CountryFlock Songster

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    Hi Coast!

    Oops looks like I don’t know how to use multi quotes on mobile..
     
  3. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Free Ranging

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    My Coop
    Can I have the hardware cloth floor and then put some other bedding on top of it? Researching the deep litter method but I am totally open to anything. We live in the SF Bay Area, in Oakland.

    I personally am not a fan of wire mesh flooring. You'll need to layer on bedding pretty thick to keep the hens from scratching down and cutting themselves on it or catching a toe on it. This would be more work, but I'd attach the HWC on the outside only and apron it out, sort of like how you currently have it, but I'd go out at least 2' (not sure how far out you have it).

    Realistically deep litter probably needs more sq footage to work, but you might have to try it and see.

    I've heard raccoons (which are very prevalent here) can open these slider locks. Suggestions for alternatives?

    A multi-part latch should do, like one of these https://images.homedepot-static.com...dware-hasps-v30-2-1-2-sfty-hasp-zn-64_300.jpg or https://images.homedepot-static.com...ce-gate-latches-slide-bolts-15261-64_1000.jpg with a carbiner or even padlock clasped through the hole.

    Does there need to be a roost inside the actual coop?

    A roost isn't an actual requirement though most of us encourage our chickens to do so - keeps them out of the nests and out of their own poop.

    Best bedding for the nesting box? Does it need any divider if we get 2-3 chickens?


    No divider is needed, if there's room for more than one hen in there they can buddy up.

    ***

    Now for my actual tips/questions:
    - How big is this unit, both the enclosed area only and overall unit? And are you planning to free range or add a run?
    - You're going to want more ventilation in the actual coop portion. One easy place to add it is to replace most of the interior wall with wire mesh.
     
  4. Steven Bussell

    Steven Bussell Songster

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    Looks like Rose cover all your questions with spot on replies.

    We are almost neighbors. I'm a cross the bridge here in Vallejo..
     
    townchicks and Wee Farmer Sarah like this.
  5. TaraontheCoast

    TaraontheCoast Songster

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    Apr 13, 2010
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    Thanks so much for all of the feedback! I can definitely hunt down those latches. We also have a bunch of these - would they work? My 4 year old can't operate them.

    The coop itself does have two of those sliding ventilation windows - there's another one not pictured above the nesting box. Do I still need to add more? I'm far from handy, ha.

    I'll have to research how to install the cloth as a skirt. I have a couple options for the coop location. Where it is now (which is a little sloped downward on dirt and weeds) or on our patio on paved brick. The brick would be tough to predator proof because I couldn't pin down a cloth skirt.

    The entire structure is 4'x8' and I haven't measured the actual coop portion. Lots of daily free range time. If time gets tough I'd get a little mobile tractor so they're protected. Our yard isn't terribly big and we have kids and a dog.
     
    townchicks and Wee Farmer Sarah like this.
  6. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Free Ranging

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    Pac NW
    My Coop
    How durable are those toddler latches? It says plastic and rubber so not sure how strong they are. Also says it attaches through adhesive which could be a problem... I'd at least reinforce with screws if possible.

    As far as ventilation, I'm a big fan of adding more (which is often an issue with these smaller coops), and your climate is moderate so no reason not to. It shouldn't be too hard to replace some or most of that wall with wire. The existing wood serves as a frame to attach it to, or if you don't want to remove all of it, you can make large cut outs and then screw wire to the wood that's left.

    For making an apron, the way I would handle it would be to attach some HWC up maybe a half foot to a foot or so (screw & fender washers to attach to wood, metal hog rings, j clips or just using scrap wire to attach to existing wire mesh), then bend it outwards like an L and pin down the excess to the ground.

    As far as where to place it, I personally wouldn't put it on the pavers since 1) that makes it hard to apron 2) could add some extra maintenance as the bricks may need to be removed and the area underneath cleaned out, if poop starts getting wedged in. Though on the plus side the bricks could possibly help with drainage if you have any flooding/puddling issues. The spot where it's currently at, do you have any puddling issues after rain?

    Good to hear the chickens won't be spending all day inside. You have enough room for 2, maybe 3 standard hens, but they'll appreciate having a little extra time outside as the overall space inside is minimal.
     
    townchicks, Wee Farmer Sarah and aart like this.
  7. rbnk1

    rbnk1 Songster

    We have hardware cloth across the bottom of our coop-keeps moles, snakes, mice pests from burrowing under. We use a few inches of construction grade sand over the floor of our coop-bagged from Home Depot. Rake once a week, I kitty litter scoop the upstairs daily-takes 1 minute. Clean, no smell. Love it.
     
    Wee Farmer Sarah likes this.
  8. TaraontheCoast

    TaraontheCoast Songster

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    Oakland, CA
    Super helpful thank you! A few inches is enough to keep their feet happy?
     
    Wee Farmer Sarah likes this.
  9. so lucky

    so lucky Crowing

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    I have those kind of locks that the OP has on the coop, on a couple of chicken doors. I have found that if you put a little tension on the door, it does keep a person from being able to open it. Sometimes the damp weather warps the door for me. At other times I use a wedge of wood or folded (several times) paper.
    And then the rust accumulated creates another barrier to opening.
    I like the idea of the hardware cloth bottom with a few inches of sand.
     
    Wee Farmer Sarah likes this.
  10. TaraontheCoast

    TaraontheCoast Songster

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    Apr 13, 2010
    Oakland, CA
    Ha, interesting. I actually jam things into my doors here at home because one of them is wonky and the other rattles.
     
    Wee Farmer Sarah likes this.

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