Help! I thought I knew what I wanted but....

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Wise Woman, May 21, 2011.

  1. Wise Woman

    Wise Woman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 12, 2011
    The Enchanted Forest
    now I am having second thoughts. I have been planning our new coop all winter long. I thought I wanted a 6x6 raised coop with and attached 10x6 run that would butt up against our 24x32 pen. I was going to close in the run in the winter so the chickens could be out there all winter. Now hubby says why don't I just build a 6x16 coop that butts up against the pen and they can just stay in the coop if the weather is bad and they don't want to be out. He bought a snow blower this winter and says he will be using it to clear out some areas in the pen come next winter. But I have this vision of a perfect little run that was accessible all winter long. But the thoughts of the bigger coop is very enticing as I would like to have about 2 dozen chickens.

    Our local code says that no permit is needed for buildings under 100 sq ft, so this would be ok. The only thing is I am afraid the cost will be substantially higher on something this size. I am so confused. I have one spot where this coop an go and it is about 7x17 ft so the space we have to work with is limited. Either way they will have access to the big pen, which is where they are all day now as their current coop is inside the pen.

    What would you do? This is going to be our forever coop as we are on a small 1/5 acre lot. I have to get it right and I have to have it done by the fall. I am not opposed to working on it all summer if need be, due to budgetary constraints. We will be taking a set amount of money each payday and buying whatever materials that will buy and will be building it that way. Do they really need a covered run if they have a large coop and a large pen to be in? I am also trying to talk hubby into building some sort of cover in part of the open pen for winter. I hate for them to be stuck indoors for too long, even if it is cold and wet. I thought the closed run would give them some options in bad weather, but then the coop would be very small. Ack!!! I don't know what to do now.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2011
  2. nivtup

    nivtup Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2008
    Shelton Washington
    Bigger is better.
     
  3. oldchickenlady

    oldchickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2010
    Cabot, AR
    If you want 24 chickens a 6x6 coop is not going to be near big enough! You figure 4 square feet per bird in the coop and 10 square feet per bird in the run. 6x6 is only 36 square feet and 10x6 is only 60 square feet...not nearly enough for 24 birds! When chickens are penned into such small areas that is when problems like feather picking begin. A 6x16 coop will be exactly big enough for 24 chickens but leave no room for growth...and you will want more! Or get more if you have roosters. So I would go with 8x16 (less cutting to do also-added bonus). You could still do the 10x6 run enclosed in winter, but I would leave it open to the larger run so they could have more room. Or the other option would be to have fewer birds. Just depends on how much feed you want to buy, how much maintenance you want to do (especially in winter), such as washing and filling waterers (and keeping them from freezing), cleaning poop boards, and how many eggs you need or want.
     
  4. Wise Woman

    Wise Woman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The Enchanted Forest
    Thanks. We can't have roosters, so they all have to go when I get any. No worries there. I have been keeping chickens for 10 years now, so I am aware of feather picking and so on, but in our 8x8 coop, we have had up to 15 chickens at one time with no issues, as they have a big pen to run around in all day and usually only go into the coop to lay eggs, eat and roost. We cannot go 8x16 because the space we have is only 7 ft wide by 17 ft long. If we went bigger we would have to cut into our driveway, which hubby says no to. Plus, if we go that big we need a permit, which will add several hundred more to the cost, so we want to stay within the no permit size. I would like to have up to 24 hens, but may never get that many. Having the 6x16 coop would give me that option though. My current chickens are all very old and I wouldn't be surprised if I loose several this year. I am currently well below the 24 mark. 24 is my max amount since I live on such a small lot and I may never achieve that goal. I would just like to be prepared for that many, just in case, so perhaps I should lose the covered run and go with the bigger coop.
     
  5. oldchickenlady

    oldchickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2010
    Cabot, AR
    Well, due to the amount of space you have to work with, I would go with the 6x16 coop. Yes it will cost more in the beginning, but save you time in the future. You can still have up to 24 chickens, although you might want a few less than that so they will have more room in winter when the snow is on the ground. Also, do remind your hubby about using the snow blower! OR...here is another option...smaller coop with the covered enclosed run, with some roosting space out in the covered run. I made a sort of second story in my covered run to give the hens more places to get away from each other because my run was just a little short of the '10 sq. feet/bird' recommended. Well, some of the hens roosted there all winter, even when it was 8 degrees outside! Now, all but 2 of my chickens roost out there. Some breeds are very cold hardy and can take colder weather better than real hot weather. So now you have more choices to confuse you! lol
     
  6. Dooner

    Dooner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 24, 2011
    It sounds like the 6x16 will work for you. How tall? You could get some extra space with a loft area. I think partially covering part of your run with roosts is a good idae as well.
     
  7. Wise Woman

    Wise Woman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 12, 2011
    The Enchanted Forest
    Thanks for the help! I greatly appreicate it. Oldchickenlady, the smaller coop with the enclosed run was my original plan and I could very easily put roosts out there as it will have a peaked roof on the whole run. So the would be easy enough to do. My husband will be keep the part around the roof line open on all four sides for ventilation, so as long as I put the roosts below that I would be good I think. They would be free to wander in and out of the coop and run as they wished. My main concern is bad weather. We have a large enough pen for them, but when the weather is bad, they need somewhere to go. Which is why I had thought of the covered run in the first place, but then I have to have the smaller coop. However, the food and water would be out in the run and not in the coop and we would have external nest boxes as well, along with plenty of roosts. So if we have roosts inside and out and the run goes under the coop as well, do you think that would suffice for when the weather is bad? I would like to make part of our current pen covered, but that will be a project for next year. The goats would love that too, so I am sure it will happen at some point. But for this year, it is a new coop and a new goat house. Unfortunately, the human's house needs lots of work as well and re-wiring is in our very near future. So step by step. I want everyone to have good, dry, well ventilated and comfortable housing and then I will get to the extras later. If we do a covered run, smaller coop option, I had intended to cover the run sides with clear fiberglass panels come winter to keep snow and rain out. I would be putting a thick layer of sand in the bottom so they have scratching opportunities all winter long.

    Dooner, I could make it what ever height I wanted. I had hoped for something a little shorter this time around though. When hubby built my soap shed he used the 4x8 siding and then put a peaked roof on top of that. He could do something similar with the coop. I just don't know which way is better to go. I would love the bigger coop, but I love the idea of the covered run as well. I can't afford to do the big coop and then make a covered run in the big pen all as well. So I need to decided what I am going to do this year and start doing it! We are making a chicken tractor this week for the juveniles and then will be starting on the big coop.

    Thanks for all the help. I hope to get this worked out within the next couple weeks so I can start buying materials. Such decisions!
     
  8. WhiteMountainsRanch

    WhiteMountainsRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 19, 2010
    Sandy Eggo, CA
    Go with the bigger one. You will be upset at yourself if you choose the little one, you will find out VERY quickly it will be WAY too small. In a 6x6 your only looking at about 9 chickens, MAX. You will be much happier if you built the larger one. Trust me. I built a baby coop that was 4 x 8, (and this is just for juveniles) and found out VERY quickly that it was too small for just about anything. Larger is easier to maintain too, less cleaning, more space for nestboxes and feeders, etc...
     

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