Indispensable Features?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by makemineirish, Oct 4, 2012.

  1. makemineirish

    makemineirish Out Of The Brooder

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    I am in the midst of the pencil and paper stage of a frenetic coop design. I like to over-think, over-build, and generally over-do just about everything. I can spend ten minutes evaluating specialty olive oil options in the market, a trivial choice. Yet, this is a giant piece of real estate within direct eyesight (and SMELL) of my patio. I want to do it IMPECCABLY.

    That being said, I would love to hear from BYC on the most valuable features to include in a coop design. Those that I have already incorporated into my design include:

    - Complete exterior access to everything
    - Exterior nesting boxes
    - Raised hen house with mesh floor to allow for deep litter
    - Removable hen house floor for thorough cleaning
    - Removable bins in nest boxes for cleaning
    - Interior doors on nest boxes to prevent entry when warranted
    - Coop door wide enough to accommodate a wheelbarrow.
    - Automatic door on hen house triggered by light exposure
    - Hanging feed and water
    - Staggered height roosts

    Please let me know of any design features that you could not imagine living without on your coop...or things that you wish that you had done. I would love to upcycle your hindsight into my foresight.

    Thanks in advance for any help. Gnawing questions like these are why I became a member rather than continue to lurk in the shadows.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2012
  2. CluckyCharms

    CluckyCharms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sounds awesome so far! The only thing I would suggest, that I don't see, is poop boards. They're boards underneath the roosts that provide a wide and lengthy area for 'collecting poop'. If you add a lip along the outside, creating a virtual "low walled box" you can then put Sweet PDZ and DE in it, to keep the smells at bay and keep clean-up a breeze; cat scoop. =)

    I'm interested in this coop and I hope you continue to post about your progress when you actually start building it...would like to see pictures of this masterpiece. =]
     
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  3. RoostersCrow HensDeliver!

    RoostersCrow HensDeliver! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Using the deep litter method, there is no need for poop boards (which IMO stink a great deal).

    I'm not sure about the staggered height roosts because chickens generally prefer to roost in the highest available spot. When I had multi hieght roosts, my hens always crammed onto the top roost.
     
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  4. Red Barn Farms

    Red Barn Farms ~Friendly Fowl~

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    We're giving advice on 'eye appeal' concerning coop design. You might consider getting flagstone to add around the coop as well as make a path leading to the coop from the patio. Short and medium size shrub plantings along the path will create that 'eye candy' you want.

    Also, don't forget to pick up guttering on your 'materials' trip to the hardware store. It's very important to maintain a clean, healthy dry area for chickens. Keep rain fall-off away from the coop and run area.

    Consider using pine 2" x 4"s for building the roost. It's easier for the chickens to have a better foot gripping, Use sand for the ground in the run area. It creates a more healthy environment and easier to maintain.

    We hope you take pictures as you progress with your coop! Best wishes!
     
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  5. makemineirish

    makemineirish Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks. I am devoting enough thought to this that I may have to start a blog. This is not my first cool project, but I am getting a bit "cocky" about this one (and love that there is an entire community of resources). Unfortunately, I am emotionally invested enough in the final product that I may cry if/when the chicks "fowl" it with feces. (Note to self, stop with the bird puns.)[​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. makemineirish

    makemineirish Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks. I am planning to do a raised henhouse with a substancial iron mesh floor that can be removed to hose it down. The hope is for the excrement to pass through the mesh to the deep litter below. Smell is a HUGE consideration. Thanks for weighing in on that.

    As to the staggered height...
    I fully expect the bantams to take the highest roosts, but thought that they might need some help getting there or down safely in an enclosed area. The staggered heights serve as a ladder. Plus, the added tree branches give me a little more visual interest. While the henhouse is enclosed, I was planning to incorporate some small windows so that I could peek in.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. makemineirish

    makemineirish Out Of The Brooder

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    Done and done on the shrubbery and path. I was thinking Rosemary and Santolina along the coop length with a few other herbs to counteract any smell that might fight its way to the surface.

    Guttering is a fantastic idea! I was already constructing the roof with shingles demoed from my house renovation; gutters will fit right in. While we're at it, let's throw a rain barrel underneath the spout.

    I was planning to use smooth-barked natural tree branches for the roosts. Do you think that 2x4's are a better choice?

    Sand for the run has been added to the shopping list. Easier maintenance is what I am trying to design for under the "ounce of prevention" theory.

    Thanks
     
  8. RiddleMe

    RiddleMe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One thing to consider with a mesh floor is if its large enough for adult poops to pass through it might be too big for younger birds to comfortably/safely walk on during grow out. Just keep an eye on that and be ready with a temp cover if needed.

    WRT your exterior nest boxes, i found it much easier to just build interior, stand alone boxes then put hinged doors/flaps in the exterior wall for exterior access (floor space wasn't an issue for me). Also made it easy when i wanted to modify/swap out the boxes later on. If you do stick with exterior boxes consider making them deep/tall enough that you can convert them to a roll out system later on if necessary.
     
  9. makemineirish

    makemineirish Out Of The Brooder

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    The planned mesh should be small enough for baby chicks, but might not be large enough for adult poop. I may need to revisit that portion of the design as the latter is more important. I am willing to coddle babies for quite a while in an indoor enclosure. A temporary cover would also be entirely doable. Any suggestions as to the minimum mesh size for adult D'Uccle poop passage? Thanks for helping me trouble-hoot my design.

    I was not aware of the roll-out system and have been pouring over the information. I may be using the term "external nesting box" inappropriately. I was planning to do something akin to Heather Bullard's nest box arrangement, http://heatherbullard.typepad.com/heather_bullard_collectio/2010/03/our-chicken-coop.html. There would be a hinged exterior door for access rather than a hinged roof. However, I intended to use stainless steel bowls that exactly fit the box dimensions (more accurately, the box was designed to fit the bowls). I can then just dump contents in the compost, wash the bowl, and replace the lining in seconds. The roll-out may be even more convenient. Thanks for the great new information and leads to research.
     
  10. ailurophile23

    ailurophile23 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have become a big fan of covered runs. Especially if you get much rain. It will help keep the sand dry which will help keep smells down, makes it easier to clean, and provides a wonderful dusting area for the birds. Another item that will go in my next coop is a PVC nipple waterer - I'll still have a bucket waterer for the winter when I may need to heat it to prevent freezing, but for 3/4 or more of the year, I'd prefer a PVC nipple waterer. Completely enclosed so chickens cannot kick debris into it and less splashing of water onto floors/bedding/sand - back to keeping everything really dry!
     

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