If you knew then what you know now...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by sarahandbray, Aug 17, 2014.

  1. sarahandbray

    sarahandbray Songster

    Aug 12, 2014
    When building a coop from scratch, what are some things you wished you knew then that you know now? Tricks of the trade, things to be sure to incorporate, things to skip, etc.

    Any advice greatly appreciated as we start building a coop, run, and pasture! Hoping to be done before school starts back up (we're both teachers)

    Thanks--and what a great resource this site has been!

    (Just so you know location and scope of this project...upstate, NY and hoping to have 20-25 hens at a time).

  2. My 2 cents:
    They are chickens, they poop on everything. Upcycle what you can to save $$$. Craigslist is a great resource.
    I absolutely love nipple waterers and feeders from 5 gal buckets. It saves so much time.
    It is a work in progress, when something doesn't work you change it.
    Use netting on top to prevent attacks from above in run from hawks, etc.
    Make sure you build bigger than you think you need. I don't think there is such a thing as overkill on space for chickens.
    You will fall in love with them. Enjoy.
  3. sarahandbray

    sarahandbray Songster

    Aug 12, 2014
    I know there's a learning curve, but being a bit of a perfectionist yet on a tight budget is hard! I would love to go out and drop 3K on a pretty, already built coop, but that's not going to happen.

    Old barn burned down in '05 (original to the property...so 150-years-old!)
    We still have a giant woodpile of all the useable beams and siding from that old barn we are hoping to repurpose into a large coop. Would love to make it a mobile coop (with our big Kubota) but not sure if that's a silly idea or not for a "large" flock.

    I'm finding that wanting to keep 20 hens seems like a LOT...was really hoping that wasn't an extravagant number. I would need a coop with about 80-100sf, correct?

  5. tracecom

    tracecom Songster

    Jan 16, 2010
    That it would cost three times as much as I planned and take four times as long.
    3 people like this.
  6. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Songster

    May 18, 2012
    Northern Virginia
    My Coop
    #1 = Welcome to BYC! This is a great resource and one I used for months before even getting chickens.

    I created a similar thread before building our second chicken coop. I had chickens in a tractor before deciding that we needed to expand. The thread gave me a lot of great ideas, many of which I incorporated into the coop we built.

    Check it out when you get a chance and good luck! https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...at-would-you-have-changed-or-done-differently
  7. ECBW

    ECBW Songster

    Apr 12, 2011
    It is almost inevitable that one would find room for improvement after the initial coop. I projected human perspective into chicken so some of the dimension needed tweaking. Eventually I built a second and larger coop. This actually worked out because the small coop is used as grow-out coop, quarantine coop, convalescence coop, etc., very handy to have.

    Let me offer one specific… Have at least 4” high threshold on the doors to keep bedding material in.
  8. vehve

    vehve The Token Finn

    Biggest regret afterwards was not making the run bigger. I know there are a lot of approximations for size per chicken around BYC, but ideally, I would want about 10sqft per chicken inside the coop, and 20sqft in the run. I'm at about half of that right now, and it's no problem for the chickens, but once winter hits, I know I wouldn't mind the extra space.

    Another thing to consider, is that if you are buying a lot of materials, plan the dimensions according to standard sizes. Plywood comes in 4x8 foot sheets, wood is often precut to certain lengths, hardware cloth comes in certain dimensions etc. Research all the materials you'll be using before deciding on dimensions. Nothing as annoying as having a hundred yards of 2 foot pieces of lumber left because of dodgy planning.

    Also, don't design anything that requires you to crouch for cleaning. And put in a lot of doors that can be used when emptying out bedding and doing other maintenance.

    Drainage is important too, make sure the run doesn't turn into a mud puddle. Think french drains and roofed run.

    Ventilation. Not everything has to be open all the time, but it's easier to make good looking ventilation slots from the start, than to cut into a finished coop afterwards when you notice the inside of the coop has turned into a tropical foul smelling place.

    I'm sure I could think of a lot more things, but these are some things to think about.
    1 person likes this.
  9. I agree with @vehve too.
    Oh, just thought of one thing I dislike is my location of pop door is on far end of coop. It will be fine when we switch to an outdoor opening one, but right now I have to scoot under the roosts to open and close it. ewww Needless to say I have been leaving it open unless it's raining.
  10. vehve

    vehve The Token Finn

    Yeah, that's another thing I'd recommend. Make everything operable from the outside. And always think "What could go wrong with this solution?" and "Is there a more practical way of doing this?" before installing something.

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