I need help with coop design.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by OptimisticBear, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. OptimisticBear

    OptimisticBear New Egg

    Apr 19, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    So I am designing a coop and I would like some input from the more seasoned members!
    This is what I have so far. No ventilation yet. And no inside structure yet. The roof is a living roof with an herb garden and the run acts as a water catchment to a rain barrel. Ideas!!??[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Looks good... ALWAYS build bigger than you originally plan! ALWAYS!

    One thing that would help is knowing where you are located.

    Coops for Washington State or MN and ME are much different to coops in FL, AZ and TX
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2012
  3. OptimisticBear

    OptimisticBear New Egg

    Apr 19, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Yeah I have 4 chicks now. Two Barred Plymouth Rocks one Rhode Island Red and one Buff Orpington. The coop is 30sqft with about 5 feet height and the run another 30sqft. I am in Washington State. Bellingham specifically.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2012
  4. Trefoil

    Trefoil Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 7, 2011
    Chicken wire only works to keep chickens in- most predators will either rip holes in it, tear it off, or go through it. Along the same lines you will need either to have a wire bottom to the run or bury wire along the perimeter of the run- predators will burrow under. Weasels are capable of going through a 1" hole according to my hardware guy. You will need roosts in your coop and room for them to get down from the roosts safely. Make it easy for you to clean out. It looks like its going to be a nice coop.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    :frow Welcome to the forum! :frow Glad you joined us! :frow

    I have no experience with either the herbal roof or the rainwater catchment. I’ll not comment on the herbal roof, but my thoughts on the catchment center around the runoff being nutrient rich. If you are not filtering it, the rain barrel will fill up with solids. If you plan on some type of automatic watering system, expect it to get clogged. Even if you do filter it, the effluent will have a lot of nutrients in it. I’d expect algae and other growth to form, so you might get it clogged anyway.

    Chicken poop is pretty hot from the nitrogen. If used directly on plants, it can burn them. It depends some on the plants and if it comes in direct contact with the plant. It is normally recommended to compost the chicken manure first. You may have this all worked out, but that would be my concern.

    The way I understand your climate is that the summers are usually generally mild but you can get some days in the upper 80’s or maybe low 90’s. Winters are usually pretty mild too but the lows can get in the teens Fahrenheit. That’s not too bad for chickens. The heat will be a bigger danger than the cold. As long as they are not in a direct breeze when sleeping, they can easily handle that cold weather. They still need good ventilation in the winter, so just have lots of permanent ventilation over their heads when they are sleeping. In the summers, I recommend even more ventilation. This can be below or at their sleeping level. I’ll give you some links to articles that might help. The ventilation one for sure, but the other two have good information.

    Pat’s Big Ol' Ventilation Page

    Pat’s Cold Coop (winter design) page:

    Pat’s Big Ol' Mud Page (fixing muddy runs):

    That should be big enough for four chickens. I hate to give hard and fast numbers for how much space you need for chickens because it varies so much for each of us depending in the chickens, our climates, and how we manage them. I’ll just mention the more space I give them, the less hard I have to work. I’d be quite comfortable with your space for four chickens.

    Make sure you can walk in the run without banging your head. Also, make sure you can reach everywhere in the run and coop. You may need to clean, gather eggs dropped where you don’t expect them, or maybe retrieve a chicken that does not want to be retrieved.

    Inside the coop, all you really need is a roost and one or two nest boxes. I’d suggest two nest boxes although they will probably all use one. The second one is mainly to give you some flexibility, such as if you have to deal with a broody hen. You can feed and water either in the coop or outside. It just depends on how you manage them. If they are locked in the coop during daylight hours a lot, inside the coop is probably best. If they are allowed outside pretty much during all their waking hours, you can do that in the run.

    You do have some interesting ideas. It will be fun to see how they work out. Good luck and again, :frow
  6. OptimisticBear

    OptimisticBear New Egg

    Apr 19, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Thanks for all of the suggestions. Yeah some might say I'm going a little overboard with all of the "alternative" building methods, but seeing as I hope to build my own house one day with many, and more, of these methods I figured I'd give it a shot on a miniaturized project. The green roof, i think, will be pretty straight forward. I am having a 17% inclined box lined with pond liner. There will be a layer of gravel/rocks for drainage covered with hardware cloth. Above that is the grow medium and of course the plants.

    As for the water catchment I hope my precautions will allow for minimal clogging etc. The system will start filtering by way of "first-flush", which is a container that collects all of the leaves, fecal matter etc that may have collected on the roof since the last rain. When the container, which should be about a gallon for 30 sqft in my case, is full it floats a ball to plug the first flush catchment. The continuing rain will flow freely into the 30 gallon PET container storing the water which will of course have another mesh filter to block any more unwanted debris. The downspout will flow through a 5 micron fabric filter and then through a 1 micron activated charcoal filter before being used as drinking water for the chickens. Hopefully at least!

    As for the poop i hope to use the DLM and have 6" of pine shavings in the coop and 6+" in the run. I bought some food grade DE and from what ive read that seems to work.

    Would hardware cloth be better to use on the run than fine chicken wire?

    I'll look into your links about ventilation, but thanks for all your help!
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2012

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by