Gave up, bought a coop....Security question and newbie musings...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by wendyrun, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. wendyrun

    wendyrun Out Of The Brooder

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    May 25, 2010
    Gainesville, FL
    Hi All,

    I gave up and bought a coop. We're just too untalented and under-confident to attempt to build something ourselves. I got this kit from Ebay - super easy to put together, took me a little pinch over 1 hour. I'm a little concerned about the quality however and a few questions to see what would keep it together longer and more secure for the chickens.

    [​IMG]


    First, the inside ceiling panel- not visible here - buckled down sometime after assembly. I'm annoyed. There is a large crack, and I tried to force it back upwards, no good. I thought the piece was solid plywood under the roof, and figured I could screw in a hook to hang a feeder but I can see now that is not going to work. I am trying to waste as little space as possible with the water and feeders. I saw good ideas from other BYC folks for putting the food inside the coop, but I don't think there's enough room in this thing to do that [​IMG]
    I was thinking I could squeeze it in to one of the 2 nest boxes?? I don't want anything near the sides that will draw rats any more than just the chickens alone.

    I'm concerned about putting any holes in this thing - but I want to put it on wheels so I can move it around. First thought was two wheels under the nest box side, then just make a rope/hook something on the front to be able to drag it. However, my dad suggested that I could set it up on a sled and glue all the wood to the underside, to avoid putting too many screws. It says it's 'fir' - I don't think it's composite but it seems soft, and my dad thinks it will rot quickly where it's touching the ground. He's the engineer, so I'm wanting him to come here and build the wheel base! But if anyone can see a smarter solution, please weigh in with what you have done!!

    Also I thought about adding a run off the main coop door. We are limited to 2 chickens by city ordinance. The covered area is about 63" x 28" but it still looks small to me. We have a couple of pallets we found that we think we can use to make a sled or eventually a side run. And there won't be any free range unless we are home and outside, b/c we are hawk central here.

    My questions...

    1) Would painting over the wood make it last longer? It's finished but ??
    "High quality non toxic kiln-dried(72hours drying, not just 24hours for regular drying) solid fir wood (cold weather pine) and mesh wire"

    2) Is it safe to have the bottom of the run open to the ground? It's heavy and I am sure we are going to have some night time visits from rats and raccoons. The bottom of the coop is open to the ground. I am really worried about things digging in. I can close the door at night but if we are gone for a night or two, and I leave it open...I was thinking if we are moving it every few days that anything trying to dig in would get discouraged but until we actually have birds in there I just don't know.
    I was wondering if it makes sense to line the bottom in hardware cloth too. Or if doing that will keep the chickens from being able to get into the dirt or be hard on their feet?
    I also saw a tractor on here that someone else made, and they extended the hardware cloth almost like an apron out from the sides of the tractor. I thought that will make it harder to move and kill our grass faster, but might make it a lot safer.

    3) And last question - how often would I need to move the coop around to give them fresh grass? I was just wondering how quickly 2 standard breed girls can make dirt of the lawn:). I believe we're going to be getting barred rocks from a friend who's got a whole mess of chickens but we are waiting a few more weeks since we're going to be gone at the beginning of the month for 4 days so we'll see what he's got ready when we return....


    Sorry I know this is long! We're just getting excited and want to have everything ready! And I'm a world class worrier, so have been anticipating all the visitors we're going to be having and how to keep them at bay....

    thanks for any suggestions!!
    Wendy
     
  2. CoopCrazy

    CoopCrazy Brooder Boss

    Mar 3, 2009
    Columbus,IN
    questions...

    1) Would painting over the wood make it last longer? It's finished but ??
    "High quality non toxic kiln-dried(72hours drying, not just 24hours for regular drying) solid fir wood (cold weather pine) and mesh wire"


    Yes painting or staining should help to keep it longer... Also you said the roof buckled can you hammer in a piece of 2x4 striaght across the ceiling ?? That would give you more support and also a place to hang the waterer....

    2) Is it safe to have the bottom of the run open to the ground? It's heavy and I am sure we are going to have some night time visits from rats and raccoons. The bottom of the coop is open to the ground. I am really worried about things digging in. I can close the door at night but if we are gone for a night or two, and I leave it open...I was thinking if we are moving it every few days that anything trying to dig in would get discouraged but until we actually have birds in there I just don't know.
    I was wondering if it makes sense to line the bottom in hardware cloth too. Or if doing that will keep the chickens from being able to get into the dirt or be hard on their feet?
    I also saw a tractor on here that someone else made, and they extended the hardware cloth almost like an apron out from the sides of the tractor. I thought that will make it harder to move and kill our grass faster, but might make it a lot safer.

    Yes open to grass is fine if you are concerned about digging critters you can put a skirt of hardware cloth along the bottom of the run going ouot atleast 16 inches....


    3) And last question - how often would I need to move the coop around to give them fresh grass? I was just wondering how quickly 2 standard breed girls can make dirt of the lawn:). I believe we're going to be getting barred rocks from a friend who's got a whole mess of chickens but we are waiting a few more weeks since we're going to be gone at the beginning of the month for 4 days so we'll see what he's got ready when we return....


    I would say every two to three days.. they can tear up a yard quick ... Also I would reccomend that oyu get three hens.. Hens are social animals....
     
  3. MareeZoCool

    MareeZoCool Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG] from Ohio! Hello & [​IMG]:woot on your choice for a coop! You can get some Barn paint at a hardware store to paint your coop. That will seal & protect the wood. I got some for mine, it was only $18.00 for a gallon, & I have plenty foe touch-ups & my add-ons. ( we will probly get more hens. LOL!)
     
  4. oldchickenlady

    oldchickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2010
    Cabot, AR
    I would put some clear polyurethane on it, marine grade is the best. Hardware cloth attached at the bottom can be tied up to the sides for moving, stake it down with metal tent stakes rest of the time. I am sorry you can only have 2 chickens...that is just a tease to me! You could make another run on the side and rotate them. That would extend the time you have before you have to move it. Or, you could just add to the existing run, leave the thing stationary in one place and let them free range when you are able to be out with them. You can add all kinds of green/yellow/red veggie scraps, grass clippings (pesticide free of course), fruit to add variety to their diet. That is what I would do in your situation. Pick a spot with good drainage, extend the run more (you can cover with a small tarp to keep dry & provide more shade), put hardare cloth around the bottom and stake it down, then when the grass is gone you could add 3-4 inches of sand. They'll have good dust baths (they love that) you can scoop up poop with a cat litter scoop, sprinkle DE or Stall Dry or Sweet PDZ for any smells that may develop. Let them out to free range when you are home. Enjoy your birds when you get them.
     
  5. ScaredOfShadows

    ScaredOfShadows Chillin' With My Peeps

    First off let me [​IMG] from North Carolina.

    Secondly let me tell you my friend just bought this EXACT coop tractor two months ago and HATES IT. - its already falling apart after 2 months - the pop door handle that opens and closes the door - broke all the hardware on it I helped her replace because it was so cheap - and there no ventilation in the tiny little coop/sleeping part. She has since just let it be a chick grow out pen for her silkie chicks - he adult pair that was in there now use a dog house that she built a door on and it works SO much better.

    Painting and staining will make it last longer - polyurethane would be the best I agree with 'oldchickenlady' on that one.

    seal up all cracks and joint areas with clear silicone caulking because it will leak - we had to seal up my friend's.

    add some small support beams in any areas that need it (1X3's as the thing is so tiny - you'll take up too much room filling it with 2X4's)

    I might suggest completely tacking some tar paper or rubber matting on the top of the roof - because the stuff thats up there doesn't do a great job and will soak up water like a sponge instead of shedding it.

    tack on 2X4 welded wire on the bottom and a 16-18" apron of hardware cloth on the outside. The welded wire is in case it does get tipped over because the thing is VERY easy to tip over if something is determined - my friend's dog kept knocking hers over by accident. the hardware cloth apron is to deter digging.
     
  6. wendyrun

    wendyrun Out Of The Brooder

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    May 25, 2010
    Gainesville, FL
    hi everyone,

    thanks for all the terrific suggestions!!!
    First will attempt to shore up the ceiling with some more wood....had not thought of that and will make it easier to get things hung!
    then I will get started on the painting...I think I have some outdoor paint leftover from the house trim (so it would be all matchy-matchy!!hehee) but maybe the polyurethane is a better move....

    laughing at the "tease"....we're going to try to keep these hens on the DL.....it's a little sketchy per neighborhood bylaws and we have a few fussbudgets, so I need all the tips I can get to keep girls happy and minimal smells [​IMG][​IMG]

    and yes, the last thing I wanted to hear that someone else has this one and it's dud...but I sure would rather hear about it now than learn about it the hard way later!!

    thanks everybody!!
     
  7. FRlEDeggs

    FRlEDeggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 6, 2010
    Hi! I have the EXACT same coop at home, and we needed to secure a few things, like the bottoms of the nest boxes could be pushed up from under, etc. In fact, we re-modeled the whole coop and painted it! bI can post some pictures later, if you like [​IMG]
     
  8. smilingcat

    smilingcat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 1, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    I think the boards are particle boards in which case, nails are big no no. I would use #10 screws 1-1/2" to 2+" depending on the size of the lumber you want to use for reinforcement. 2x4 is way overkill for the size. 2x3 is still an overkill. I would use 2x2, 1x3 or 1x4. Use galvanized screws.

    If the roof has caved in a bit and cracked. use 1x3 or 1x4 and lay it flat against the cracked line. Screw in from the side of the particle board, may want to use a round head wood screw and use a fender washer (big washer with tiny holes in the middle. Ask a guy at the hardware store). The pressure from the screw will then be spread out more on the particle board. It keeps it from breaking the particle board. use caulking material along the crack line and when dry, use liberal amount of paint on the outside. Paint BTW, is colored glue in many cases. The screw and the fender washer isn't pretty but its probably the best thing for your coop roof.

    If the floor board lifts up, use 1x2 furring strip and again use screw. Use wood glue on the furring strip and glue to the floor and to the wall. Then use #8 screw flat head. Screw without the fender washer and pre-drill the hole so that you don't split the furring strip suggest using 3/32" drill bit.

    The coop is cute. A little addition and fixes will fix it right up. Paint inside too. Moisture will destroy the particle board in no time!! Someone suggested marine grade paint. That's the best. Polyurathane is also good, but will allow bit of moisture to work its way in. Regular paint will also allow bit of moisture to work its way in. It's very minute amount though...Stain will keep it looking natural but has the least amount of moisture blockage.

    At the base of your run. dig a trench around the coop and install galvenized or vinyl coated hardware cloth 1/2" mesh size. At the bottom of the trench the cloth should be folded so that the cloth will run horizontal away from the coop by about 12". Cloth needs to go down only 6-10". If you plan to move your coop on a sled then I would cover the bottom of the sled with chicken/poultry wire 1" size.

    Upgrade is not that hard. Go talk to a high school with wood shop. Maybe one of the "better" kids can make the upgrade for you. Just a thought. Pay for the material. The young man/woman gets a free project and a grade for the class. Works to your benefit, works to the students benefit... Everyone would be happy. yes??

    Cute coop! I was the oldest so my father made me do most of the house work. Paint the house every other year... re-wire the house in dead of summer (attic with all the fiberglass insulation. ugghh), work in the yard. He would fertilize it really well and water really well so I ended up having to mow twice a week [​IMG] I also had to help with supper preparation. And I'm glad because of it. I can do most anything around the house. Even plumbing.

    Might be worth taking a class or two in basic plumbing, electrical or other house related projects.


    one mo thing. Add a metal brace on the corners of 2x3 or 2x4 frames for the chicken wire. Butt joints are weak. just an L shaped metal plate use galvenized screws and galvenized plates.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2010
  9. FRlEDeggs

    FRlEDeggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 6, 2010
    Here's some pictures of my coop without the roof:
    We'll also be attaching a 8x4 run, as the changes made the run really short

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    We just moved the wall and the run door over 1 section and used the original coop floor for the cleanout door door. Then we added in a new plywood floor, painted everything, and added a longer roost.
     
  10. Dorte

    Dorte Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 27, 2010

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