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Ideas to improve?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mendiolachicks, Sep 3, 2015.

  1. mendiolachicks

    mendiolachicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 22, 2015
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    My husband bought chickens on a whim from the local hardware store back in April. We had no idea what we were doing when he brought them home, we just decided to try our hand at it.

    Turns out chickens are much more complex than he ever imagined. I didn't figure out how inadequate our coop was until a few weeks ago when our rooster got sick. He is better niw, but I learned a lot when I was here researching his problem.

    This is our coop. I feel like it is completely inadequate for our 3 chickens. I covered it with a heavy duty tarp a couple weeks ago to keep the rain out. But we live in Oklahoma where the summers are killer and the winters are frigid, often with plenty of snow.

    My husband is not going to be home much at all over the coming year, as he starts a new career as a truck driver tomorrow. I haven't seen him in 4 weeks and will not see him for another 6 weeks. I am looking for ideas to improve our coop, with not much money, and not too much saw cutting, as I will likely have to do all the improvements myself.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2015
  2. trailrider330

    trailrider330 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oops! Not seeing any pictures. Do you have some to share?
     
  3. mendiolachicks

    mendiolachicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 22, 2015
    Oklahoma
    I'm trying to upload.. it's being difficult :/
     
  4. mendiolachicks

    mendiolachicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 22, 2015
    Oklahoma
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    The shelf is the only place they have to sleep. it has pine chips in it. No roosts, and no nesting boxes :(
     
  5. trailrider330

    trailrider330 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How large is the coop?
     
  6. mendiolachicks

    mendiolachicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 22, 2015
    Oklahoma
    I think it is 6ft long by 3 or 4 ft wide by 4 ft tall.
     
  7. trailrider330

    trailrider330 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Recommendations are 4 sq. ft. of coop space per bird, so it looks like you are good there. I am assuming you free-range, so they also have a lot of space there. So, here are a couple thoughts:

    1. What about putting a roosting pole above the shelf? Then you could fill the shelf with sweet PDZ and you will have made a poop board which will make cleaning things up much easier.
    2. Make sure that you have adequate ventilation in your coop. You want plenty of fresh air and air movement, even in the winter, you will just want to make sure that it is not drafty or blowing right on your chickens.
    3. Your girls will likely be laying soon, if they aren't already, so you might want to think about adding nest boxes. With only 3 hens you might be able to get away with just one. If you want to avoid lots of cutting and construction, you could even use something like a large covered cat litter pan as a nesting box.
    4. Most importantly, you are going to want to make sure your coop is predator proof. Chicken wire is only good for keeping chickens in so switching that out for 1/2' hardware cloth will be mush more predator proof. It is also advisable to install a hardware cloth skirt to prevent predators that dig from getting under the coop.
    5. You may also want to consider a different style door latch. The one you have installed could easily be opened by animals such as raccoons so it would be safer to use a two-step style latch.

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2015
  8. mendiolachicks

    mendiolachicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 22, 2015
    Oklahoma
    I'm not sure what sweet PDZ is... my idea for improving it was to actually take out the back wall and build them an enclosed room with nesting box and roosting poles onto the back of the structure we already have, with just a small chicken door inside this "run" and a larger door on the outside for me to get in and clean house. Which I still want to do, I just don't feel like I can by myself. For now, I think a roosting pole above the shelf and nesting boxes blow the shelf? I know the latch hook on the outside seems easy, but I can barely open and close it because they are so spaced apart it is a very tight fit. And we live in town, so not too many predators. I think 1 nesting box is enough as I only have 2 hens and 1 rooster..
     
  9. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Runs With Chickens Premium Member

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    I think you are going to want to replace the tarps with something more solid before winter, you definitely need a 2x4 for a roost, and some nest boxes to lay in. The roof will probably cave in under too much of a snow load, you will need some windows so they are not sitting in the dark on a cold winter day. I'm sorry, you really have a bit of work to get it ready, chickens don't need a palace, but they do need an adequate shelter to get through the winter.
     
  10. mendiolachicks

    mendiolachicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 22, 2015
    Oklahoma
    I knew it would be lots of work when I figured out just how inadequate this one is... I really just want to build a room onto the back of it, as I mentioned in my last post, but that will have to wait at least 6 weeks until my husband is home for a few days.
     

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