Help on design details post your pic's!!!!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by eastbaychicks, Oct 29, 2009.

  1. eastbaychicks

    eastbaychicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2009
    So I have a question. We're coming near to the end of our coop building project. My husband is asking me for any last minute design changes or additions to the interior. So I have a couple of Q's.

    First, to all who have gone through the effort to document their coop building process.... BRAVO to you. It is a LOT of work, and has saved me a LOT of work. Great tips... great pics. I have learned so much thanks!

    So...... My coop is 8x4 with two pop-outs. One for nesting boxes, it is about 3' off the floor (after litter), and a sleeping area 4.5' off the floor. I'd post pic's but everything's such a mess I'm too embarrassed as of yet.

    Do the birds need them? If so, is there an angle I should stick to?

    how many... how high. If I want them to sleep in my sleeping pop-out how do I convince them to do it? I have a special floor system there for cleaning, so I REALLY prefer they sleep up there. But that being said, they are birds, and there's no reasoning with them sometimes.

    Would a series of successive perches be a better option than a ramp?

    DH has a 4'' overhang on both 8' walls lined with hardwire cloth. Plus one wall is completely lined with windows that open up all the way into the run (safety tip, will it be bad for them to fly out the windows into the run when the windows are 4.5' off the ground).

    Dutch door
    This will be able to open and I'm going to have to make some sort of safety screen to go over that so I'd LOVE ideas on that... pictures speak a 1000 words to the DH.

    Food/water setup
    I have a very protected run that will be soon built and I am wondering if I should store the food outside or just the water and keep the food inside?

    Any other tips for a first-timer.

  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    I can't type much due to carpal tunnel issues, but you can't have windows open without hardware cloth over them, so no, they should not fly out of the windows, or predators can get inside them, too. And don't make your roosts too high unless it's a ladder type or they could be injured flying down or get bumblefoot.

    On my coop pages of my 8x8 original coop are about six pages of construction photos that may answer some of your questions:
  3. eastbaychicks

    eastbaychicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2009
    So it looks like you prefer successive perches to ramps... as long as they are 2x4's? It looks really great! And I did get a lot of ideas from and obvious expert!

  4. chickeydee

    chickeydee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 9, 2009
    Hi I do not have pics , but I have a 4x8 coop . My coop has 4 nesting boxes on the right side of the front door ,and my water and feed is on the left . I have my perches up high and I have three of them so they can climb.. I have a 12/2 roof . My door is 29 inches and is in the middle. I hope this has help you and also my feeder is one that I made from this sight works great .I just pull the top off and fill . good luck . .
  5. clport

    clport Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 21, 2009
    Oregon City, OR
    We've gone through trial and error with my first coop. It is also 4x8 with 4' walls and a peaked roof. We have three nest boxes about 2.5 feet off the ground on a side wall and my DH made a nice ladder up to the boxes for the girls. They don't use it. They just hop up to the boxes. They do use the ledge built just in front of the boxes to land on and then crawl into the nest. As for perches, we initially had their 2x4x4 perch attached to the opposite side wall about 1.5 feet off the ground. That was OK when they were smaller. (By the way I have 3 BO and 1 Jersey Giant). We decided to hang their feeder and waterer from a 2x4 which went across from one side wall to the other, just below the rafters. Well, when they got bigger they wanted to go higher, so that 2x4 became their perch...4 feet off the ground! There's no way to get up there except to jump/fly, either. Needless to say, I had to do something about the food/water containers because they wound up with poop in them all the time. I took them down from hanging and sat them on the floor of the coop, directly under a wide 4 foot long plank which is my poop board (i.e., the girls perch directly above the food and water). I just acquired 9 more chickens from a friend who wanted to "get out of the chicken business" for a while and they came with a coop, but it's not as well-built as the one my DH has made. So, we will be doing a few modifications this weekend in order to house everyone together. Mainly, we'll add some more perches, two more nest boxes and we will make the PVC feeders I've read about on this site. These feeders mount to the walls so they take up no floor space. We'll build a little overhang above them so no one can nest on top and poop in them.
    I think the answer to some of your questions would depend on what breed you intend to raise. That would go a long way in determining where to place your perches.
    Good luck from one newbie to another!
    Forgot to add that perhaps your husband could build a framed screen for the top of the Dutch door. When it's open, you pop the frame into the opening and do something to attach it so it won't fall out. When the door is closed, you store it.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2009
  6. DarkWolf

    DarkWolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 11, 2008
    Murray Kentucky
    Quote:Good job keeping the roosts higher than the nest boxes.

    Quote:Depends.. I put a ramp on mine because the pop door ended up around 16" off the ground.. They like the ramp and use it all the time.. Try and keep it 45 degrees... Not much steeper.

    Quote:Depends on how many chickens... At least 12" of perch space per bird... I prefer to have the roosts all at the same height.. Keeps "king [queen?] of the hill" fighting down.

    Quote:I'd be worried about them flying down from such height. Had one die from an internal egg break.. She went quickly. Besides, they'll end up roosting on the window sills and pooping all over the wall and window.

    Quote:Love the idea.. I'd thought about it for mine, but figured naaa... Too much else to build just yet.. But had it in the back of my mind to modify later.. Having a screen for it? Well that's a tad harder... I may stew over that and get back to you.

    Quote:I like water outside and food inside.. Cuts down on food usage and encurages them to scratch about outside.. I end up tossing out a cup of scratch every other day, if not the inside of a pumpkin or cushaw, or what ever we eat that day... They love green beans.

    Quote:Have fun.. [​IMG]
  7. blurose

    blurose Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 25, 2008
    Winston, Oregon
    I keep the food on the inside so I can lock it up at night. I got tired of those night-time raiders (rats and mice) cleaning out the feeders. I keep the water outside to insure that it stays free of shavings and the inside henhouse stays dry. Here is a pic of my roost. It is a 4x8 ladder made of 2x4s and suspended about 3 feet from the ceiling. This makes sure that everybody has equal roosting height, cutting down on squables. The rungs of the ladder are about 2 feet apart. There is a board ramp attached but nobody uses it anymore. The pullets used the ramp for about a week and now they just fly straight up from the floor. I covered the board ramp with that grippy drawerliner stuff to give them traction. I have lost one pullet a week ago when she was found laying in the henhouse with a broken neck. I think she might have misjudged the distance and flew straight up into one of the rungs. It was one of my brown leghorns, notoriously flightie and nervous.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2009
  8. eastbaychicks

    eastbaychicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2009
    This is all very great information!!!

    I really like the direction you all have set up for your sleeping area. I've been thinking lengthwise, but building them perpendicular to the wall is BRILLIANT!

    Temporary screens that have a hook to store on for the dutch door, that is great. I just have to figure out how to secure it so that no other animals can get in. Any further ideas... are welcome! I'm so excited about being able to just pop open the top part of the door and peek in. After hearing food should go inside I think I'll try to place it on the wall close to the door so I don't even have to walk in there very often. [​IMG]

    And after reading about an internal egg break, I am so going to cover the windows with something to discourage the birdies to use them as a door. Now that you mentioned that I realize that some seem to fly better than others. Like my EE is amazing how far she can go!

    Maybe I'll wait on ramps and watch them... see if they need them before we go to all that work. My coop is very tall on the inside... so I'm a little concerned about them wanting to get up high. I already have a birdie that thinks she can sleep in the tree every night. I have to hunt her down at dusk every day. I almost don't want to free range her anymore because she's being such a pill! Bad girl! I don't think I'll put any perches up high.

    Here's another question. If I use a foam insulation on my ceiling and walls will the birds peck at it?

    Oh THANKS so much for all the tips. I'm loving this.
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:8-12" of roost length per bird, minimum. Higher than the nestboxes, preferably *distinctly* higher (don't make them get out their tape measures <g>). Leave at least 14-16" headroom above the roost, preferably significantly more.

    If I want them to sleep in my sleeping pop-out how do I convince them to do it? I have a special floor system there for cleaning, so I REALLY prefer they sleep up there.

    Your best shot is to make the roost significantly higher than nestboxes, have no other 'perches' anywhere in the coop that they could choose alternatively, and make the sill that holds bedding inside the nestboxes thin plywood so it's less comfy to perch on. And also, make it easy for them to get up and down to/from the roost -- chickens are not helicopters. They may need a ramp or an intermediate "stepstool" if the roost is higher than a coupla feet and the coop is tight on space; they also prefer a long horizontal run coming off the roost so they can sort of fly down, or failing that, a well-placed stepstool type arrangement or if necessary ramp.

    Would a series of successive perches be a better option than a ramp?

    You don't want to tempt them to sleep there; but I use small table type arrangements instead of a ramp and mine seem to like it fine. (Of course they might like a ramp fine too) (well actually they do *not* much use the one ramp I *did* build)

    will it be bad for them to fly out the windows into the run when the windows are 4.5' off the ground

    Even if the windows are into the run I'd still hardwarecloth them -- a) that protects you from anything that gets into the run at night, and b) it prevents them from roosting and pooping all over the windowsill, which they WILL do otherwise (that would probably be their preferrred sleeping spot in nice weather!)

    Good luck, have fun, post pics [​IMG],


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