Great Rejoicing and Coop design questions- long

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by BirdBrain, Jun 4, 2007.

  1. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Alaska
    I am so happy I can't stand myself. My folks have been caring for my 5 cochin males at their ranch (packing peanuts from Ideal) and Mom thinks one of them is really a pullet. This adds a new dimension because previously they had all been destined for the dinner table. I told Mom that she couldn't possibly eat a Henny Penny....that she had to keep it for eggs and one of the roos for company. I further explained that the Henny Penny really would need more Henny Penny's to keep her company. Mom was not especially persuaded. You see we can't keep chickens legally in our neighborhood (I raised cornish rocks in the garage and keep it under wraps until after butchering day) and Dad said to bring the roos to him. He would finish raising them and then invite them to dinner. Mom, however, is becoming attached to the roos (and henny?) and is softening up. Dad has come to my defense and said the if I will come down there and build a coop and run that I can probably plan to go ahead and order some chicks (or find some started pullets in the Houston area).

    Here is the coop question. I was looking at a design for a poultry house and run combined. It is an A-frame structure that is going to be roughly 12 feet long and 7 feet wide. I figured I would use 8 foot boards for the sides of the A frame (rafters). The plan calls for an enclosed end that is 4 feet by 7 feet (28 square feet) and a run that is covered on all sides (except the house end) with chicken wire. Do you think that a run of 8x7 feet (56 square feet) is large enough to house 1 roo and 9 hens? They would be standard size birds.

    I really don't want to have to move this thing. How can I maintain good sanitation? They will be at the ranch and there is plenty of hay, but I got the idea that hay was not the best thing for a run. Should I plan to buy pine shavings? Can these be layered and cleaned out only once or twice a year?

    I had planned to order 2 buff orpingtons, 2 wellsomers or marans, 2 turkens and 2 Ameraucana (probably mutts but my son won't care if they aren't purebred--he just wants colored eggs). Will these birds and two cochins get along well? I'm afraid that the 3 roos that don't make the cut will end up as the main attraction at dinner. Will they do okay in these quarters?

    I am just so excited because I have wanted hens for so long and now it is within sight of becoming a reality--that is if Mom gives the final OK. You see, the care will be up to her and I will get to visit them. My kids just love going to my folks ranch and it would be SO fun for them to gather eggs and enjoy the birds when we are there.

    Thanks for any ideas and thoughts on this plan we've "hatched up".[​IMG]
     
  2. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Well......first, congrats I hope!! I DO hope your mom will let you keep them there. One way to convince her.....build a coop that will be EASY for her to reach into to get eggs, and EASY to clean out. No bending....no far reaching. Im not sure on the dimensions for your design...I personally have never built an A frame type. We have 4 coops, and another going in soon ( I hope) None of ours are A frames....they are walk in type "barns" Good luck on your building....hope all works out for you.
     
  3. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Alaska
    Okay, after talking with my DH he suggests I NOT go with the A-frame concept and I agree with you Deb that it needs to be easy to access for my Mom. So here is what we have come up with--4x8 enclosed coop (probably 8 feet tall) with an attached run (8x8). To increase the size of the run and make it easier for mom to access, I figured we needed to elevate the coop about 18 inches, thus providing an additional 4x8 run area--for a total of 12x8 in the run. The floor of the run will be dirt. Will I need to put down a layer of hay in the run? Or should I go for pine chips--more expensive (the hay is in the barn).

    I was figuring to line the bottom of the coop with cheap vinyl flooring so it would be easier to clean up. I hear lots of people have a droppings are under the roost. How does this work. Can someone post their pics so I can see how to incorporate this in to our plan?

    I was thinking to put large barn doors (2 3x4 doors)on the outside 8 foot wall of the coop. The other 8 foot side will be continuous with the run. I am trying to figure out the placement of everything. Our silly roos still don't perch on their own and they are 15 weeks old. It may be that they are in too small of an area or it may be that it was because they were floor raised for the first 10 weeks. Will my birds figure out how to get to the roosts, or are they just stuck in their ways. Mom goes out every night and puts them on the roost. That is going to get old.

    Any one with ideas on my questions?
     
  4. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Well...I personally would use the straw. My coop floor is dirt/gravel mixed with a little AGLime. My chickens LOVe to dust bathe in there. Under the roost, I put the straw. This catches MOST of the poopies...and is easy to rake out. The feed and water is on the opposite end of the roost and nest boxes. Just keeps it cleaner in my opinion. Once your roosters settle in the new coop, I think they will roost just fine. Might take them a few weeks to get the hang of it. For most, it comes naturally wanting to sleep higher, away from predators. Make sure Mom has a human size door to get in the coop and into the yard in case she needs to. Ya never know when you will be "needed" in thier yard. Good luck with your design....and of course, we want pics! LOL
     
  5. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Alaska
    Deb,
    I so appreciate your replies. I have paged through previous posts and still can't figure out what is the best way to deal with droppings. I am wondering if anyone else has pics of their dropping pit or other ideas for dealing with the droppings.
     
  6. JudyMcKinn

    JudyMcKinn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 24, 2007
    SW MO
    If you are going to put your coop up on legs, you will need to make it narrow enough that you can reach across it, to clean it, or else put a door on each side. (Guess you could rake old straw or pine shavings out with a scoop or something, but also need a way to reach a sick chicken, eggs that miss the nest, etc.) I am assuming if it is up on legs, one can't walk into it.
    As far as your Mom having to clean the coop, etc. Maybe it would be good if you plan to do that for her when you go visit the chicks--just a suggestion. She may stay friendlier to the whole idea if she can just feed, water, gather eggs, etc, and let you have the pen and coop there. ?? And you take care of the "dirty business". LOL
    Re your 4 X 8 enclosed coop--it is suggested 4 square ft. per standard size bird of coop space. This would suggest 7 birds. Were you thinking of keeping the extra roos, if you get the coop built? 3 or more roos will be much too hard on the hens. They will have the feathers all clawed off their backs, etc. One rooster is more than enough for the number of hens you can house in something this size.
    But your run is good sized, and you are in TX, right? So you won't have cold winters, and the chickens will be outside the coop most of the time, except to roost, so you might get by with a couple more. But if they get crowded, they may start pecking each other, and that is hard to get stopped.
    anyway, sounds like your plans are coming along. Good Luck.
     
  7. wren

    wren Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 27, 2007
    St Augustine, FL
    It's fun planning and getting info isn't it? [​IMG] Hope my opinions help. Pine shavings are easy to rake/clean. They are more expensive but absorb stuff well. I use straw in the nests and on the floor and shavings under the roosts. With straw, unless it is in a nest it is hard to only remove the target poopy area. If you decide to clean only 2 times a year, I would use straw b/c it holds up so well. Please don't put a pit under your chickens and clean it only 2x's a year. It will smell and perhaps cause health problems.

    It sounds like you are going to build. I've always used existing sheds and buiildings, I've only built roosts, nests and brooders. The flooring has been wooden or concrete (lots of bedding), so I don't know about vinyl. Would it be slick for chickens? My buildings have always been the walk in type too. I love to fuss with my chickens so it needs to be human size.

    good luck![​IMG]
     
  8. suburbanhomesteader

    suburbanhomesteader Chillin' With My Peeps

    Birdbrain-
    Would you please email me? I am just thinking about raising some cornish rocks for butchering, and have several questions if you have time to answer them.

    Thanks!
    Meg

    [email protected]
     
  9. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Alaska
    You have mail. Let me know if it didn't go through. [​IMG]
     
  10. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Alaska
    Judy,
    If my coop is 4x8 and I put doors on both ends (instead of the long side) I am trying to figure out how I would arrange the roosts and nest. I had originally thought that I would have doors on the long side that opened out to basically expose the whole coop (it would be a 6 foot opening). I thought that reaching in 4 feet would be no problem and I would put nest boxes to the right with a roost above that going around the side and along the back wall. I thought that I could then hang a waterer and food dispenser of some sort in front of the door--easy access for mom. I thought I would put oyster shell and grit dispenser in the run (one of those nifty PVC jobs someone posted pictures of recently. Do I need to reconsider my door placement?

    I think you are right that I need to do the dirty work. Mom did not sound encouraging when I spoke to her the other day. I guess Dad has more work to do in the convincing department. [​IMG] I am hoping she will want to keep one of the roos. I can't see having more than one either.

    Wren, if I did have door on both ends and the roost along the 8 foot back, it would probably make it easier to rake out pine shavings and leave the hay/straw in the main areas. If I had hay/straw over the vinyl floor I am thinking that it would not be slick for them.
     

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