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Help with inherited coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by margali, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. margali

    margali Out Of The Brooder

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    I inherited some chickens from my renter who moved out. I wanted some feedback on the coop and run she made. Do you see any issues? What do I need to do to make this good for SE Iowa winter?

    Run is 6' x 6' x 3'6" high. There is a door of rabbit wire under the coop end. The top open rectangle has shelving grids over it. Bad pic of the run, good pic of one of the roosters.
    [​IMG]

    Here is the coop. It is made out of plywood with screen over an eave vent and end window. It is roughly 3' square and 33" tall. The nest box sticks out of the back end of the coop. It is 13" high at the coop side and 8" tall at the outside. It is 13" deep and 25" wide.
    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]

    I know the door needs fixed. Do the cracks around the nest box lid need sealed? Is the perch too close to the wall and low? The few times I've looked, all the chickens were laying on the floor.

    Margali
     
  2. BooBear

    BooBear Chicken Cuddler

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    Welcome [​IMG]

    Kudus to you for taking the abandon flock and wanting to improve their current digs.

    The chicken wire I am seeing will not keep out predators. Also the coop itself appears small. How many chickens are being kept in this coop and pen?
    The inside of the coop is not high enough for the chickens to perch in. That is why you are seeing them sleep on the floor. The nest box has some weird specs for chickens.

    Honestly I would redo the coop altogether with specs that would be more comfortable based on the number of chickens currently kept in it and whether or not you intend to add to the flock.

    The coop needs to have interior height that allows the chickens to roost comfortably. The roost needs to be at least a foot if not more from the floor. Also, you want the roost to be higher than the nest box to keep them from trying to sleep in the nest box.
    Reason is chickens love to roost as high as they can comfortably.
    For the nest to be comfortable for a hen each box needs to be 12 inch x 12 inch square. It should not slope down in height as this would not be inviting nor comfortable to the hens.
    The coop needs to be draft free but have good ventilation. You want the roof to keep the coop dry and the nest boxes dry.

    On the run, hardy cloth or stronger welded wire is preferred to keep predators out. Chicken wire is only good at seperating or keeping chickens in. Predators just rip through it like paper. Hardy cloth is good with the 1/2" squares as it keeps predators from being able to reach in and pull the chicken through the wire for a snack.

    I am sure you will get some good tips from others too. Also, check out the coops that other BYC folks made for ideas. You can fix their digs on the cheap by looking for free materials. There are threads on some creative recycle coops n runs here.

    Hope you get lots of eggs from your new flock. [​IMG]
     
  3. margali

    margali Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the tips! They supposedly got the plans out of a book. They said the coop would be okay for up to 6 chickens. There are 4 chickens currently. 2 roos which weigh about 7lbs each and 2 smaller pullets.

    I forgot to add that the whole setup gets slid to a new patch of grass every week. The chickens are normally locked into the coop every night. We broke the door yesterday when we moved the coop.

    I'll put in a better perch for the time being and start looking at plans. Hopefully I can get the next box end fixed or a new coop by the time the small pullets start laying.
     
  4. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

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    Thanks for taking over the flock.

    Get rid of the chicken wire and that 1" x 4"? wire....get 1/4" - 1/2" (no larger) hardwire cloth and cover it, bring it down, under the 2 x 4 and out away from coop 18", landscape staple it into the ground put heavy rocks on it whatever to keep out diggers and keep something from reaching in. *Just saw you are moving it it around so bring it down and under that 2 x 4 framing and attach it to there. Just make sure it is secure under there at night so nothing can get into the coop from the bottom should they dig under and into the run area.

    Get rid of that screen on the eave ventilation and cover with hardwire cloth (same as above). Screen will stop nothing from getting in to them.

    Give them a 2 x 4 with the 4" side up for a roost instead of that branch, chicken sit flat footed and sit on their feet [​IMG] Raise it to 18" or higher if possible.

    Seal off the gaps with hardwire cloth around the coop but make it is as draft free as possible on the sides where you get your worst winter wind from. Cover it with plywood on those areas.

    fix chicken door and add secure latches...no hook and eye jobs raccoons can open latches as well as you can

    Put secure raccoon proof latches on the nest box lid, at least 2 of them


    Go to top of the page and select coop designs and look at the small coop pages....get some ideas and pointers from looking at them


    4 birds need a minimum of 16 sq feet plus waterer and feeder space. No less than 4 sq ft per bird of floor space because on inclement weather days when they need to be locked inside, they will need room to move around comfortably. Overcrowding leads to problems...fighting, picking, and health issues to start.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2011
  5. margali

    margali Out Of The Brooder

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    Okay the coops on the design link are way too cool! Definitely have some ideas for the rebuild.

    Do I need some sort of heat lamp in the coop to help keep the chickens warm? I may have to relocate the two roosters so it would be only two chickens in the coop. These two are the ones that were about a day? a week? old in August.

    [​IMG]


    Thanks for all the help!
    Margali
     
  6. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Milner, Georgia
    Very good of you to take on this task. I know the chickens like the deal also.

    The coop would be fine for 4 to 6 if it were just twice as large. Then you would have roost area and a nest box sectioned off plus room to move around. For me two hens is the most I would put in there, unless it was used as a brooder. Everything that's been said about the HC is good but I wonder how they made it this far without problems? Something is working.

    I really don't see how you can make roost in something that size. Roost are preferably placed above the nest boxes but the coop does not have the heigth to allow for that. but the main thing I would consider is reducing your number. There is just not enough room.

    My problem here is I will not "coop up" my chickens. I know some folks say they don't mind at all, but I wouldn't like and I'm not doing it to them.
     
  7. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    How wonderful are you for taking this huge thing on!

    [​IMG] My father once inherited an old cat that wouldn't leave the house when he got his first place. Not sure how anyone could leave their pets, but it's wonderful you are going to improve the lives of these chickens.

    I would say 2 roos are far too much for two hens. I would get at least one more pullet though. Chickens are flock animals. I would get two instead of just one though [​IMG]

    You could always side the coop that you have with cedar shingles (that's what I did). It adds an extra layer, and it protects the plywood underneath. It also just looks nice. I would make sure nothing is rotting.

    Any problems with predators? Chicken wire that is there would not keep out raccoons or anything else determined to get in. I don't have any issues, so I don't have a covered run. My chickens mostly free range.

    First off, you really have to do something about the pop door. It looks way too accessible. I have a lock on every door to my coop (and I don't have any predators around!) Raccoons can unhinge door latches and such. Raccoons would be my only issue. Those buggers are smart!

    I can't think of anything else right at the moment, but I look forward to hearing how you manage! [​IMG] Keep us updated. And [​IMG]
     
  8. margali

    margali Out Of The Brooder

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    First off, you really have to do something about the pop door. It looks way too accessible. I have a lock on every door to my coop (and I don't have any predators around!) Raccoons can unhinge door latches and such. Raccoons would be my only issue. Those buggers are smart!

    I've been told there are foxes in the area. I've seen raccoon prints in our creek but haven't seen any yet. The biggest predator threat right now is the pair of red tail hawks that circle the yard every day. That's why the chickens haven't free ranged recently.

    Can raccoons open the mini carabiners (like the rock climbing gear) that you can get at the hardware store? I have several of those and some clips like on the end of a dog leash.​
     
  9. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Milner, Georgia
    I don't think the coon are that smart. Even they are an intelligent animal, the carabiner is just a little much for um. One good point here is you have something to work with. Just think it out and you will be in good shape. But still I would not put 4 hens in that little place.
     
  10. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    It's got plenty of ventilation, you could actually close off half or more of the gable vent for winter. It does need a better roosting pole. Your chickens can roost in the gable area, orient the roost along the ridge line 12 inches up from bedding. Your gable vents will be flowing air out, intake of air is the gap along the eave ends. There is no real reason a 3'X3' coop can't house 4 standard birds. If you don't supply heat they will spend days in the run. The coop becomes a roost only and access to nesting box. The nest area can have middle divider to encourage them to lay in the small cubbies. For winter cover the run and 2 or 3 sides with a tarp for shelter.

    6'X6' run allows 9 square ft per bird with 4 birds. If the coop is unheated and not used as winter shelter then they've over the 2 square feet per bird needed.

    We had 7 standard pullets winter through with 4x4 coop. They were fine, spent days in run or free range. You'll note I've substandard mesh on the run area too. We lock the girls in every night when predators in this area are mobile (fox and mink). The hawks are of concern here but the girls are vigilant and have back deck for areal shelter too. Yeah, the run door is always left open...they walk the shoveled paths come winter.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2011

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