Guidance /Advice please

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by FirstTimeFlock, Feb 5, 2017.

  1. FirstTimeFlock

    FirstTimeFlock Out Of The Brooder

    So I have been doing a lot of reading & searching online for tips & plans to build a portable chicken coop to house the 6 chickens we will be getting in April. (They will be 4 weeks old when we get them. I have ordered 2 Easter Eggers, 2 Silver Laced Wyandottes & 2 Speckled Sussexes.)

    What I have found is that I will need a minimum of 24 square feet for the coop & at least 60 square feet for the run. I would like to have 3 nesting boxes, but how far they should be off of the ground seems to vary depending on who you listen to - one source says 10-20" while another source says 24". I also plan to include a 5' long roost. (Is that big enough?) Other notes I have made for consideration are:
    Include:
    Ventilation
    Shade
    Dust baths box (2' X 2' X 16") (plastic bin?)
    Poop boards
    Lighting
    Grain feeder (big enough to hold enough feed for the flock for one day)
    Waterer
    Feed pans (for supplements)
    Grit
    Calcium (1lb oyster shells/ 100lb of feed once chickens start laying)

    1 quart of water /day/ 4 chickens
    1/4-1/3 lb feed /day/ chicken (organic mix /non GMO commercial pre-mix)

    My questions are these: Did I miss anything? Is there anything else I should consider that will make my life easier in the long run? (ie: Tips on things to include in coop plans to make cleaning the coop easier) Can anyone point me to a good resource for plans? I have found thousands of plans, but am overwhelmed by the number of choices (& find it difficult to refine my search to only include portable coops that house at least 6 chickens).

    TIA for your help!
     
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    First let me WELCOME you here. [​IMG]
    I see that you are doing a lot of research, which is great. let me tackle a few things as other will keep adding GREAT ADVICE all along.
    The nesting box height is not very critical. 12 inches of the ground is just fine. You want it high enough so that when chickens are scratching on the bottom, they don't keep flinging content into nest box. Other thing is you only need 2 instead of 3 for the number of chickens you will be keeping. Most likely all your chickens will be using one nest in turns as favorite. Make your portable coop for example 4' x 6' and mount ot on wheels. This way it can be slightly heavier and still movable. Here is a link to a thread with VERY MANY coops, and going thru the pictures you should get great ideas on what you can build. Don't worry that someone will be mad that you took their IDEA. They should feel PRIDE.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/596294/post-your-chicken-coop-pictures-here

    WISHING YOU BEST,,,,, [​IMG]
     
  3. chameleon

    chameleon Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG]

    You seem to have thought of pretty much everything. I'm still learning as I go along, and so far only have experience with bantams, so I won't say anything about dimentions.

    Something I have found makes things much, much easier for me is to have a large bucket feeder and waterer so I don't have to spend so much time changing water and refilling food. The bucket feeder has pvc pipe corners inserted around the bottom for the chickens to eat out of and a lid on top so the food stays clean and fresh and there is virtually no waste from the chickens beaking food out all over the place. This thread has plenty of information on how to make one: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...te-5-gallon-25-feed-bucket-feeder-for-about-3

    Chickens also get their water dirty incredibly fast so I'm planning on making a nipple waterer as soon as I can find the poultry nipples (they don't seem to exist where I live). I think that's the best way to keep water clean and depending on the size of your system, you only have to refil it once a week. This one would save you space in the run but you can attach them directly to the bucket too https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/another-bucket-fed-nipple-waterer.

    I also love having poop boards, they make cleaning up so much easier and the coop litter goes a lot further. But that's just me, there are many options when it comes to coop setup and you have to decide what works best for you.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    It could help to know where you are located so we would know about your weather year around. How you plan to manage them will make a difference too. Are you planning on this portable coop to be stationary for long periods of time or are you committed to move it regularly? Will your winters allow you to move it regularly? If snow covers the ground is there any benefit in moving it, other than stopping poop build-up? There is not a lot of foraging benefit if all you have is snow. Many people that use tractors only use then in good weather and have a permanent facility for winter or other bad weather.

    The two main reasons you might need to move a tractor regularly are poop build-up or forage is gone. How fast either of these happen will depend on chicken density and your weather. If it is wet weather, poop can start to stink pretty quickly. If it is winter and vegetation is not growing they can wipe it out pretty quickly. If you collect the poop from under the roosts you can extend that part of it some. If it bothers you if the chickens create a bald bare spot you may have to move it really often, maybe as much as twice a day though your plans are fairly large for a tractor. Depending on your weather and other considerations you may be able to go a lot longer between moves.

    Are you planning on moving this by hand or will you have something to pull it for you, like a tractor or pick-up truck? If you move it by hand weight is critical, if by farm tractor you have more leeway with weight.

    I don’t see anything you’ve missed as far as what to consider. Without knowing how you plan to manage it I don’t know how to comment on how you should consider them. These things never go as planned, you’ll always have surprises. One very important thing in all this is that you have to be flexible and adjust as you need to.

    Good luck!
     
  5. FirstTimeFlock

    FirstTimeFlock Out Of The Brooder

    Thank you!
     
  6. FirstTimeFlock

    FirstTimeFlock Out Of The Brooder


    I live on Vancouver Island in BC, Canada. We don't usually see a lot of snow, however we've had a freak snow storm that started Thu & the amount of snow would definitely impede my ability to move a coop. We don't have a tractor, so we will be moving by hand. I am concerned about the weight & have considered making 2 smaller coops, but space, money & wanting all of my new chickens to be together influenced my decision to just build one bigger coop. I have seen some set ups that utilize a dolly to help maneuver the coop & am looking at trying to come up with something similar.
    There are a few reasons that I would like to go with a portable coop. One is that we are currently renting, so I want something we can take with us when we move (which will likely be in 6 months when we will be looking to purchase another home). Another reason is that I would like my chickens to have the benefits of free ranging without the risks of predators.
    We will be getting our 4 week old chickens in mid April, so the weather will be wet, but not overly cold. I do want to incorporate poop boards in our design so that poop can be removed easily & regularly.
    Hope I've answered your questions! Please let me know if I've missed any & thank you for your input!
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Northwest Arkansas
    Several years back I tried a tractor. That didn’t last long, I had to move it too often to suit me. Instead of building it in one piece I built it in two pieces that could be moved separately but joined together. I lost my photos of that in a computer crash many years back. I don’t know if I can describe it so you’ll understand.

    I had a guillotine type door in both sections that I could close with a piece of plywood dropped in from above so I could move them separately with the chickens inside. I’d bolt the two sections together with the guillotine doors matched together so the chickens could go from one section to the other.
     
  8. FirstTimeFlock

    FirstTimeFlock Out Of The Brooder


    Yes, that will be a consideration in our final decision. I've read that or is best to move the coop weekly. If it is too heavy or cumbersome, it will be a deterrent.

    I like the coop designs that have the coop sitting over top of part of the run & have considered doing it in a 3 part design - moveable coop, collapsible run & roof with latches to secure to the run. (Wil[​IMG]
    l see if I can attach some pics of what I have found that I like.)

    Another option is just to use the coops (1 permanent, 1 tractor style that housed 4 chickens) that are currently on the property until we move. Then we can look at building a permanent structure on our new property.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    Consider building your coop on top of a trailer, so it would be easy to move around, as well as easy to take with you when you move. Not sure of your budget but it would cost about $300 new and get a portable 12 x 20 run that you can modify for about $150. Just an Idea. The trailer can be found used for less also.
    [​IMG]
    Trailer is 4 x 8 so it is good enough to build a coop for about 8 chickens. You can get creative and overbuild coop larger to fit onto this chassis.
    [​IMG]
    This canopy can be converted into a run with the addition of fencing/welded wire/hardware cloth/chicken wire, to the wall areas. All depending on how secure you need to make it during daytime. At night, your chickens can be secure in their locked up coop.
     
  10. FirstTimeFlock

    FirstTimeFlock Out Of The Brooder

    Thanks! Those are some great ideas!
     

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