Hopefully a Coop and run in the making.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by hopefulpeeps, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. hopefulpeeps

    hopefulpeeps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wanted to start a thread, so that I will have one spot to ask all the questions I'm going to have about building a coop and run. I'm hoping to get some chicks in the spring if I can make this happen on a budget. We don't have very much land and I don't think I'll be giving up any of the tiny bit of flat yard we have. I've got two boys and they need a little room to play. We currently have two small garden areas, the upper area we actually dug into the this side of the hill to make a small flat area. Where I'm thinking I could put chickens is up on this hill behind the house, but that aread has alot of little stumps of trees from when we cleared it a couple years back. Leveling it will prob be about impossible, so honestly I'm very unsure of how I'm going to do this run... Number of chickens I want is about 4, with a max of 6, standards not bantams. I was thinking maybe 4 to start, that way I'd have room for a little chicken math the next year if I wanted. :)

    I've seen some people on here recommend the Purina Mills coup design, which looks good, but I'm worrying it might be a little small, though it claims it can hold 8 full size or 12 bantams. Dimensions are 45" x 45". I'm not a very experinced builder, so I'd like a coop plan that I could just modify instead of trying to come up with something entirely on my own...

    I think I want to do the deep little method too, seems like a little less work, plus our little gardens really need some help, the top ones soil is horrible. I have to compost bin things on my wishlist! :) Does a coop have to be a bit deeper doing this method? I wouldn't want stuff coming out the chicken's door or filling up the nest boxes?

    I'm sure I'm gonna come up with more questions in about 30 seconds, lol!
     
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    My Coop
    From the size of coop your are planning on, I would go with 4 or 5 chickens. Lots of these prefabricated coop companies will claim you can stuff more chickens in them than you should. Which only leads to cannibalism.

    The deep litter method works with about 4 inches of shavings. So if you can swing that in your coop, than you can go that route. If you choose not to go the deep litter method, you can clean out the poop daily, (not too much work with 4 or 5 chickens) or you can use a poop board.

    One thing to consider with a small coop is ventilation. Make sure there are plenty of vents above the chickens, vents you can leave open year round. Moisture build up with all the pooping and breathing during humid weather in the winter, leads to frost bitten combs. As long as chickens are out of the wind and elements, they will stay warm in sub zero weather. So you will need lots of air moving above them so when all this warm moist air rises, it has some place to go other than fall back down on the chickens in the form of frozen water and freeze the combs.

    Enjoy your new chicken adventures!
     
  3. hopefulpeeps

    hopefulpeeps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Franklin, NC

    So vents stay open 24/7? This coop says there's a 1.5 in. gap between roof and walls in the front and the back for ventilation, would that be enough? I know they need to be covered with hardware cloth, but I guess they don't need actual covers. Also I was thinking of trying to change coop to 4x6....
     
  4. Trefoil

    Trefoil Chillin' With My Peeps

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    4 x 6 would be a much better size. And even with that they will need a secure run. One way to look at it is the more room they have, the less likely you are to have aggression problems. Even if you intend to free range them a secure run comes in really handy for bad weather and those days when the predators are out. I think the gap would give enough ventilation as long as you make your coop high enough so there is no breeze on the chickens. If you put your coop on legs, you'll be able to easily have a level coop on uneven ground. Don't worry about the stumps, the chickens will enjoy playing on them and a couple of them can be used as a base for a roost in your run. Also with the coop on legs you can fence in under it so they have shade and/or shelter from rain,ect.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  5. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    My Coop
    I would say if those vents go completely the length of the back and front of the coop, and the chickens are well below these vents, then you should be fine with ventilation. Yes, vents need to be open all the time. If there is no air blowing directly on the chickens from window and cracks in the coop walls, then the chickens will be warm. I know it seems wrong to leave so much open on cold snowy nights, but that moisture has to go somewhere and you don't want your chickens to get frost bite. Frost bitten combs are painful. And the chickens will be more comfortable if they are not wet from perspiration.
     
  6. hopefulpeeps

    hopefulpeeps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How high do roosts need to be and how much head room above that should they have?
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
  7. hopefulpeeps

    hopefulpeeps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So do your runs need some sort of "litter" on the ground? I saw someone say something like that and it had never occured to me.. Though I guess the poop would build up quickly...
     
  8. bj taylor

    bj taylor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i have five birds - all heavy breeds. four feet is max roost height for them. they can manage to get up, with some difficulty, but the hazard is getting down. they can injure their legs or acquire an injury jumping down. mine insist on jumping - no ladder for them - that's for sissies.
     
  9. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    I also have heavy breeds and they are only off the floor about a foot. I think they are too heavy too get far off the ground at their ages. :) But if you are cramped for space, you can raise the roost only 4 or 6 inches from the ground. The chickens won't care as long as they are roosting off the floor. Try to keep the roost bar higher than the nest boxes as well.

    As for ventilation...if you can get a foot above their heads while they are in the roosting position, that is good. As long as the ventilation is not directly in their faces, a few inches above them will work as well. You need the ventilation, but you don't want wind blowing on them. Tough to do in a small coop. But it will work. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  10. hopefulpeeps

    hopefulpeeps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Franklin, NC
    Thanks guys! I love gathering this info in one spot, it's really gonna help when I get down to the nitty gritty of building the coop!

    Has anyone had experience using these plans on mypetchicken?

    http://www.mypetchicken.com/catalog...et-Wood-Chicken-Coop-Building-Plans-p622.aspx

    I've thought of trying to use pallets for at least part of my coop to help cut costs. My questions would be if it would be easy to modify the plans to make the coop a little bigger and also if it's worth buying the plans?
     

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