General Tips, to help those just building

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by tororider, Feb 14, 2008.

  1. tororider

    tororider Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 6, 2008
    Southeast MI
    Ok, as a newbie who is going to have to build a coop and run here pretty quick I was wondering what you all have learned from building yours. What would you do differently? What woudl you design inside the coop for maximum efficiency? What are you proud of that you did differently?

    Please feel free to post the smallest things from cool latches on doors to removable floors.

    Pictures would be great, I love pictures, will help in recreating things. Thanks
     
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

  3. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    Colorado
    Although most people seem to like having outside access to the nest boxes we chose to have a "people" side and a "chicken" side inside our hen house. That way we walk inside to collect eggs but not into the chicken side. Because we live in Colorado where we can have fierce storms (summer and winter) I didn't want to be standing outside in pouring rain or an arctic snowstorm collecting eggs. Now, we just walk into the people door and enjoy collecting eggs in the warmth of the hen house.

    This has been an especially good idea since my young children love to collect the eggs and sometimes they forget to shut and lock up the nest box doors. In our case, that just means the chickens may climb through to the people side and still be safe and sound inside the hen house. However, if the nest boxes were open to the outside and a door got left open - I would have chickens free ranging at any time and even have a way for a predator to get into the chicken house!

    The biggest mistake we made was to build too small!! I want more chickens and my hen house is full with the nine I have. Fortunately my DH is ready to add on to it this year and more than double the size for me. (Isn't he sweet!!)[​IMG]
     
  4. tororider

    tororider Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 6, 2008
    Southeast MI
    Thanks SpeckledHen,
    I read your page when I first started looking. Unfortunately in my current situation I think I am going to be limited to at biggest a 5x12' run with an interior coop.

    Looking for any suggestions I can get to make it as futureproof as possible.
     
  5. muddler6

    muddler6 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 12, 2007
    Jefferson County, PA
    One thing I have noticed from other folks posts I have read, and from my exprience, figure out about how big you want it and add at least an extra couple feet in each direction. You will end up with more birds, or want to add something else else, trust me I am planning on building a second coop and a tractor this spring. Do some searches online you will be surprised at how many pictures there are out there. Even places like utube has video of coops and set ups people use. I like my bantam coop I have now, everything is within arms reach and the 5 I have in there now are quite comfortable (click on the blue link below if you want to see it) my only complaint is that the run is a little tight when I have to go in and close the door at night in the winter. I did attach a string so I can open it from outside the run, but the goofy things just push the door open if it isn't latched and end up out in the cold and can't get back in. I plan to look for some fixes to that this spring.
     
  6. tororider

    tororider Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 6, 2008
    Southeast MI
    Chirpy,
    I never thought about that, the weather can be nasty here in MI as well. Unfortunately I am not going to have a walk-in coop. I will now consider making an exterior collection door that closes by gravity, and maybe latches too. Thanks
     
  7. tororider

    tororider Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 6, 2008
    Southeast MI
    What does everyone do with feeders/waterers? Outside in the summer and inside in the winter? Inside all the time?
     
  8. muddler6

    muddler6 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 12, 2007
    Jefferson County, PA
    I picked up a tip while in colonial williamsburg and looking at their gates. If you attach a chain roughly mid way across the door, about waist high, and the other end to the door frame, add a weight to the center of the chain (old window weight, or as they did in williamsburg a cannon ball with a loop attached) the weight will pull the door closed. Most hardware stores sell latches that will self-latch when the door is closed.
     
  9. muddler6

    muddler6 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 12, 2007
    Jefferson County, PA
    Quote:My winter waterer is a heated bird bath that I got for $15.00 on clearance at Tractor SUpply, mount it low enough for them to drink from it, and I add a gallon jug with a small hole so it can fill itself and the birds can't climb in. You could also use a heated pet dish, or I saw one you can make from a tin and a light bulb fixture on this site, I think Miss Prissy had that one for show and tell.
     
  10. Charlie Chicken

    Charlie Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 24, 2007
    Phippsburg, ME
    To cut down on the "Wish I had done that" items:

    Build the biggest coop you can. Most coops are too small.

    To make everything easy on both the chickens and the caretakers, locate everything possible inside the coop. Feeder, waterer, shell & grit feeder, nests, roosts and feed supplies if possible. If all the facilities are located inside the coop, chicken chores are a breeze.

    Provide plenty of window light and ventilation and you are in business.
     

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