Help design my coop & run!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by sharp21, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. sharp21

    sharp21 New Egg

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    Nov 29, 2012
    Hi Gang,

    I'm new here, been doing lots of reading. My wife & I have been interested in backyard chickens for years now & will finally get started this summer! I would like some help in coming up with an excellent design for my yard size & am hoping to tap into the wealth of experience here.

    The area of the yard to be converted looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    It measures 21' wide x 13' deep. The raised garden is 4'x8' for comparison.

    The first step is rebuild the brown fence & pull out the stumps, although I may leave one in to try my hand at chainsaw carving in the future... but I digress.

    I am thinking of putting a half high fence across the front of the area while rebuilding the other fence to that it looks permanent. Some of the other ideas I would like to incorporate are:

    • 3 chickens to start with possible expansion to 5 or 6
    • paddock style areas to rotate the chooks ranging areas
    • water tower made from 55 gallon drum
    • compost area close to the coop
    • plants/garden built in so that it looks great, with some interesting landscape features.

    I'm thinking of a coop with covered run along the back fence as one area, then 3 x 7m paddocks in front of that. Each could be planted with something different? And I would make some of those boards for the grass to grow through to stop the chickens from demolishing it.

    So! Imagine this was your space & you could incorporate all you have learned about raising chickens into the design. How would you do it?

    S.

    Edit: Not sure why my picture won't show... Here is the direct link: http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f65/sharp21/PB300835.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Northwest Arkansas
    :frow Welcome to the forum! :frow Glad you joined us! :frow

    Chickens like to perch. They will fly up to about anything that looks solid enough to land on. When they come down, there is no telling which side of the fence they may jump down on. I’d figure out a way to extend wire fencing above that top railing so they don’t see anything to land on or I’d cover the run like you mentioned. Any fencing around gardens or such needs to not have a solid top rail.

    Definitely plan on more chickens than what you expect. Give them as much space in the coop and run(s) as you can. Chickens have developed ways to live together in a flock. Many of the things that allow them to live together without killing each other is that the weaker runs away from the stronger when there is a conflict or they avoid the stronger to start with. They need room to run or avoid.

    I find the more space I give them, the less hard I have to work. Poop management is one easy example. The more crowded they are the more it builds up and the more you have to work to keep it from stinking.

    The more room I give them the more flexibility I have when a problem shows up. You could probably get by with one nest box but I’d go with two. That way you have flexibility if a hen goes broody or you have one that is a nest box hog.

    Most building materials come in 4’ or 8’ dimensions. If you plan carefully you can often give them more room for no extra money and with less cutting and waste. Think in out-to-out dimensions, not center-to-center.

    I prefer long and narrow instead of wide when it comes to covers. You have to deal with snow load. The wider the coop or run, the longer and heavier the wood needs to be to span that.

    Make your coop tall enough so you can have lots of ventilation above them when they are roosting. Obviously you are in a colder climate. It is important that they have plenty of ventilation above their heads to prevent frostbite. Heat kills a whole lot more chickens than cold. It has something to do with them wearing a down coat. Yours are not going to freeze to death as long as you keep the ventilation in the winter over their heads so a direct breeze does not hit them. In the summer wind chill is not a problem. An easy way to do this is to have enough overhang on your roof to keep the rain out and have some pretty good openings all along the top of your wall. Just cover that opening with hardware cloth to keep predators like raccoons from climbing in.

    I’ll end by giving you links to articles I think everyone should read before building a coop, especially the ventilation and muddy run articles. Good luck and again, :frow


    Pat’s Big Ol' Ventilation Page
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-VENTILATION

    Pat’s Cold Coop (winter design) page:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-winter-coop-temperatures

    Pat’s Big Ol' Mud Page (fixing muddy runs):
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-fix-a-muddy-run
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Baymule

    Baymule Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Haha!! Just a few hens huh?? RIIIIGHT!! Yup, I started with 2, then got 6 more, just added on to the coop and my next number is 20!
    I built a 8'x7' coop with a dirt floor, lots of hardware cloth (for ventilation) and a tin roof. And I made it tall enough for me or the Jolly Green Giant to walk in it. [​IMG] I am now in the process of adding a 8'x12' hoop run to it. My inspiration:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/our-hoop-coops

    http://www.pathfindersfarm.com/hoophouse.html

    http://www.plamondon.com/hoop-coop.html

    Our very own Opa, the best nest box designer EVER!!

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/287684/new-rollout-nest-design-picture-heavy-edited-1-21

    Do a search for hoop coop here on BYC. There are lots of good threads with tons of information and pictures.

    And Sharp21.........WELCOME TO BYC!!!!!!! And don't forget to check out the sister links at the bottom of the page, The Easy Garden, Sufficient Self and Backyard Herds.
     
  4. sharp21

    sharp21 New Egg

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    Nov 29, 2012
    Thanks for the links, I'm in the process of checking them out.

    So is the paddock style of chicken rearing recommended or should I just make a big pen for them?

    S.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Northwest Arkansas
    Like almost everything to do with chickens, I don't think there is a right way or a wrong way, just the way we decide to do it to meet out specific situation and goals.

    Even with just three chickens I'm not sure you have enough space to keep very much green with the paddock style, though that depends a lot on your climate, rainfall and how much sun and warm days you get. You might be able to, I just don't know.
     
  6. Baymule

    Baymule Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I grow a garden year around, very mild winters here allow for me to grow collard, turnip, mustard, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, plus the winter rye grass that comes up in the yard every year. I live on a small city lot, so I cut greens for the girls and give to them. In summer, there is plenty of garden trimmings, kitchen scraps and lots of zuchinni! [​IMG] If I had the room, I would have 3-4 garden (fenced) spaces and rotate them, letting the chickens demolish the garden leftovers, scratch up all the weeds and insects. I now have to pull plants that are seasonally winding down in order to plant for the next season.

    Ridgerunner is right, there is no wrong or right way in chickens, just do what is best for you and your chickens. [​IMG]
     
  7. Baymule

    Baymule Chillin' With My Peeps

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  8. c2chicks

    c2chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    We have 3 hens and went with 3 pens--we've been really happy with the rotating paddock system instead of one big pen. The "decorating" never ends--that's the fun part [​IMG] it's like having a great big dollhouse!! The trellises work like grazing frames--they keep them from digging all the way down to the roots.

    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Oh that is so cool! Also the chickens don't get bored - I have noticed that they luuuuv fresh grass.
     
  10. Manda07

    Manda07 Out Of The Brooder

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    That is really cute and a great idea. I cannot wait to get our chicks in a couple months and start doing fun things for them like this.
     

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