Having second thoughts...


7 Years
May 7, 2012
Wimberley, TX
Isn't it odd how sometimes you wake up and have something on your mind that has no reason to be there right away? Happened to me this morning.

For some reason, as I woke up, I had a doubt about the size of my coop! I'm just about to finish running hardware cloth around the remaining 2 run "walls". The house is 4' wide x 8' long x 8' high - 32SF of floor (ground) - with a nesting cabinet 3' x 4':

See the nesting cabinet in the corner? It's a recycled school book depository - the book deposit holes are, obviously, nesting boxes (which I boarded up yesterday due to too much box "activity" and still about 5-6 weeks before egg laying). The bottom part - which is a storage area - is 3' X 4" and 32" high - I'm going to put hardware cloth on the back of the storage part, cabinet doors - with the wood centers cut out and replaced with hardware cloth for ventilation - on the front, and the storage area will be a 12SF brooding "box". Thinking about "spinning" the cabinet and placing it along that rear wall, making the interior floor space a little more workable, and making it easier to add some roosts in there with 2x4s - or moving it, spun, into the corner of the new part, right in front of where it is, freeing up more floor space in the more enclosed house. A poop tray is going to be added above the cabinet in the next few days.

The framed run is 8' x 8' - the back "wall" is complete. Here's the plan...the bifold door you see will be moved to the end of the run closest to you in the pic, and the area to the right of that will be hardware cloth across the bottom and chicken wire above that. The front "wall" will basically copy the back wall with metal roofing piece at the bottom, hardware cloth, and chicken wire. The slanted roof will be covered with the same metal roofing, so the run will be covered. Once I move the door to the end, and remove the hardware cloth and chicken wire that are currently in front of the nesting boxes, the entire area under roof, so to speak, will be 96SF. I have 13 chicks - there will be 12 in this coop - getting started on a 2nd coop to segregate Buckeyes - have 8 pullets and 1 roo being shipped to me 06/06. On the surface, this appears to be plenty of room for 12 hens and possibly adding a roo later.

The question bothering me...is this going to be OK at night, or do I need to make the "house" part larger? With roosts added to the run, there is plenty of room overall...but are the girls going to be cramped at night in the existing "house"? Using 3SF interior space per bird, I realize I'm borderline at 32SF (with part of it "missing" due to the cabinet) , but doesn't the roofed run area count towards that, since it will all be open?

They'll be free range during the day - every other day, alternating with the Buckeyes. I am in the process of fencing this part of the backyard - about 25' x 50':

I really like that natural roost in the middle of the yard!

Why the heck is this bothering me? 2 reasons: (1) I want to make any necessary adjustment to this setup before I finish enclosing it - or give away 3 or 4 of the girls, which I'd rather not do, and (2) the second coop, which will be to the left of the yard looking at the above pic, will be similar to this setup (but built a little "prettier" with recycled fence boards, and probably off the ground), and I want to make sure I have enough space for 9-12 birds, including the roo. Will be raising Buckeye chicks, since they're so hard to find, on a very small scale.

Any thoughts are highly appreciated - I raised chicks in NM a few years ago, and the total area I had in a coop that was already on the property where I lived was about what I just built, and I had 11 hens and 1 roo then, so I don't know why this is so bothersome - other than I didn't have the cabinet taking up floor space. "New parent" syndrome, I guess!

Have a great day, and God bless!
I should add: if you look closely in the bottom right of the 1st pic, you'll see a little black box attached to the frame. I have Nite Guard lights on each end of the coop, and will be adding 2 more once this project's complete - have had no evidence of critters being curious, even though we have a problem with racoons and foxes around here. Plus I'll be putting rocks - which we have plenty of around here - around the run for decorative purposes, and to help impede any digging. So I'm not too concerned about predators - just total "floor space" available.

Thanks again!

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