Inherited coop needs help

MommaBeth

In the Brooder
May 30, 2017
15
6
19
Folsom, CA
Hello! I'm a new chickie momma who was super excited to buy a house with an existing coop. I've been lurking in the forums for a bit and that, combined with finding out from the neighbors how poorly the previous owners chicken keeping efforts went, made me realize I need to make improvements before we can move the girls in.

The coop is one side of a shed with 2 levels and a small ramp between them. Each level has a fold down door that runs the length for access. I'm pretty happy with the light (there's a window on the upper level plus another one in the shed portion) and ventilation in the coop but I think the spaces seem cramped and I'd love to hear what you think. They are 31" deep by 88" wide but the ceiling height is only 18" on the bottom level and 28" on the top. They also have some very crude roosts barely off of the ground and no nesting boxes.

I'm thinking about lowering the floor of the lower section so it's 24" high, removing the roost bar and putting 2 nest boxes at the end away from the run entrance since it would be a relatively isolated corner for them.

For the upper level I thought I could lose the storage above it and just add that area to the height of that level. Because it's only 31" deep I feel like the roost should be in the middle and run the full 88" length. Alternatively, I could make a more narrow ladder style roost with multiple levels and lean it against the 31" wall. With the increased height I would be able to comfortable fit about 4 30" wide rungs.

Other details need to change too - the run is a little small and done in chicken wire, as were the coop vents. I imagine they don't have anything buried to prevent predators either. Since the run seemed a little cramped we're going to expand it while we're redoing it. I thought it would be nice to have it stretched out to include the space under the small deck off our bedroom to give them a shady spot and so that we have access to chicken tv from the main part of the yard.

So.. what do you think? Do these changes sound like they'll create a good space that our girls will be happy in or should I scrap the existing setup and figure out something completely different?

Thanks for your help!

IMG_2895.JPG
 

Mace Gill

Songster
May 26, 2017
591
891
186
New Jersey
Welcome!

That is a weird space and I'm not sure what to make of it! I might want the nesting boxes on the upper level and the roosts on the lower level. Maybe you could remove the lower shelf and give them a lower door access as well?
 

7 Biddies

Crowing
9 Years
May 22, 2012
2,250
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281
NE GA Mountains
My Coop
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With the roost that low, I'm afraid they wouldn't use it - they like to roost in the highest spots for safety. I'm not even sure why there is chicken wire covering the upper shelf. I think I might take out both shelves and start over, as neither is positioned well. I'd raise the nest boxes a little higher than the current low shelf, have a sloped lid over them, hinged for your easy egg access & sloped so the girls can't sit and poop on it, and put the roost bar a little higher, out in front of the nest boxes. Mine is about 6' up. Forget the upper shelf. Otherwise, they'll want to sleep up there. You don't want the boxes so low that they don't feel safe laying there, either, but so you can still see in to collect eggs, avoiding any snakes that may be looking for an egg meal. Put some sort of perch in front of the boxes, so they can get in them and maybe place it so it also gives them access up to the roost. The pop door should be down by the floor, under the boxes. The rest of that floor area can be used to store feed and such.

Post pics of your finished product.
 
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MommaBeth

In the Brooder
May 30, 2017
15
6
19
Folsom, CA
I think that having the lower door open may be confusing what you're seeing. I'd take another picture of it but I've already been in there dismantling it Both sections have a chicken wire door that flips down to open and in this picture the lower door is open and hanging down. I also have the ramp that goes between levels laying on its side so that might be confusing too.

I've read over and over that chickens like to roost higher than the nesting boxes - which is why I had thought about having them on the lower level. Plus there's no window on that level, just the indirect light from the other windows in the shed so I thought it would feel cozy and secluded.

I'm hesitant to remove the two-level setup because it cuts the footprint in half. We bought our chicks based on there being 38 sq feet of floor space. If it's suddenly only 19 then I have far too many chickens! We got our 8 girls pretty late in the season so at least they can stay inside for a few more weeks while I figure this out. The good news is that the expanded run we planned to set up would be about 150 sq ft and the summer nights here in Northern California are going to be pretty warm soon.
 

MommaBeth

In the Brooder
May 30, 2017
15
6
19
Folsom, CA
It's one side of a larger shed. I'm not sure I could convince the spouse to give up the rest of the shed since it's our only one and we always seem to have some project going on the workbench in the other half.
 

MommaBeth

In the Brooder
May 30, 2017
15
6
19
Folsom, CA
I'm back - I've done a lot of demo, found and destroyed an unbelievable amount of mouse/rat evidence, and I'm full of new ideas. Here's a pic of my coop/shed from the outside so you get a better idea of what I'm working with. Note that there's a nice vent on the cupola but only on this one side. The back would be hard to add one too since there's only about a foot between the coop and my house.
IMG_3151.JPG


There is open space under the eaves though (which I'll secure with hardware cloth), does that seem adequate? Another question is whether the spaces between the undulations of the corrugated roofing need to be dealt with. It may be how the mice/rats were getting in. Should I cover it with more hardware cloth? Fill it with spray foam insulation? Do nothing? I will say that the top of the new enclosure is going to have hardware cloth and that I plan on fitting it between the rafters and wall framing since there is a convenient gap.
IMG_3157.JPG


This is a good shot of the full shed so you can see the division of spaces. The old coop space ended right before that electrical outlet and I plan to expand it all the way to the shelf on the back wall (the outlet is easily moved). I think we'll frame a wall that runs from the edge of the back wall shelf to the front of the coop.
IMG_3153.JPG


So this is looking back to the outside and you can see the coop side window (identical one is on the other side of the door above the work bench). The windows don't open so they're not adding to ventilation unfortunately. You can see that there's a wide threshold that the door doesn't fit in to. I think we'll fit a screen door behind the shed door to access the coop. This would make the coop about 5'x7 1/4' wide.
IMG_3164.JPG

As for nesting boxes, I have 3 options. First is installing outside accessible under the window stacked on top of each other, but then the door would only swing out 90 degrees. I could put them on the wall next to the window, but that cuts in to the space currently being used for the run (which we're also redoing because it's flimsy, too small, and covered in chicken wire instead of hardware cloth). Finally, we could install them on that existing shelf at the end of the coop and make little doors to slide away and let us access the eggs. What are your thoughts?

Here's a bonus shot of the existing run, which you can see I'm already starting to dismantle. Our idea there is to expand it to include the shady space under the deck. I have to leave it mostly up for now though to keep our kids out of that side of the yard.
IMG_3165.JPG
IMG_3168.JPG


Alright - that's it for now. I would love feedback or advice on our plans. I'm so thankful for your knowledge and insights!
 

Mace Gill

Songster
May 26, 2017
591
891
186
New Jersey
I'm back - I've done a lot of demo, found and destroyed an unbelievable amount of mouse/rat evidence, and I'm full of new ideas. Here's a pic of my coop/shed from the outside so you get a better idea of what I'm working with. Note that there's a nice vent on the cupola but only on this one side. The back would be hard to add one too since there's only about a foot between the coop and my house.
View attachment 1030253

There is open space under the eaves though (which I'll secure with hardware cloth), does that seem adequate? Another question is whether the spaces between the undulations of the corrugated roofing need to be dealt with. It may be how the mice/rats were getting in. Should I cover it with more hardware cloth? Fill it with spray foam insulation? Do nothing? I will say that the top of the new enclosure is going to have hardware cloth and that I plan on fitting it between the rafters and wall framing since there is a convenient gap.
View attachment 1030255

This is a good shot of the full shed so you can see the division of spaces. The old coop space ended right before that electrical outlet and I plan to expand it all the way to the shelf on the back wall (the outlet is easily moved). I think we'll frame a wall that runs from the edge of the back wall shelf to the front of the coop.
View attachment 1030254

So this is looking back to the outside and you can see the coop side window (identical one is on the other side of the door above the work bench). The windows don't open so they're not adding to ventilation unfortunately. You can see that there's a wide threshold that the door doesn't fit in to. I think we'll fit a screen door behind the shed door to access the coop. This would make the coop about 5'x7 1/4' wide. View attachment 1030259
As for nesting boxes, I have 3 options. First is installing outside accessible under the window stacked on top of each other, but then the door would only swing out 90 degrees. I could put them on the wall next to the window, but that cuts in to the space currently being used for the run (which we're also redoing because it's flimsy, too small, and covered in chicken wire instead of hardware cloth). Finally, we could install them on that existing shelf at the end of the coop and make little doors to slide away and let us access the eggs. What are your thoughts?

Here's a bonus shot of the existing run, which you can see I'm already starting to dismantle. Our idea there is to expand it to include the shady space under the deck. I have to leave it mostly up for now though to keep our kids out of that side of the yard.
View attachment 1030261 View attachment 1030262

Alright - that's it for now. I would love feedback or advice on our plans. I'm so thankful for your knowledge and insights!
Better pics! Looks to become a chicken palace! Ventilation looks good, you can put nesting boxes inside, but if you install them sticking out under the window, they'll have more floor space. So far so great!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
96,720
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1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Welcome to BYC!

Put vents on the long sides of the cupola ;).
That's actually called a monitor roof, can be excellent ventilation.

Realize that anything else in the shed will get covered thickly with 'bird dust'.

That's still a tight coop space.
How many birds do you plan on having?

What is your climate?
Putting your location in your profile can help folks give better answers/suggestions
 

MommaBeth

In the Brooder
May 30, 2017
15
6
19
Folsom, CA
The bird dust issue is good to know - thank you! Perhaps we will convert the whole shed. It would be easier to do if we had the garage cleared out and could set up storage and a workbench in there, it's currently filled with many boxes from our move that still haven't been unpacked, and we can't really go through them until we get our new garage doors installed and they no longer have to be piled up. I hope that's soon!

We're in the Sacramento California area, Folsom to be precise. We get a lot of sun, many days over 100, and no snow but do see freezing temperatures.

The plan from my latest post would give us ~36 sq ft of floor space in the coop. The current plan for the run will give us about 150 sq feet of run. We have 8 chicks, but don't know yet if there's a rooster we won't be able to keep.
 

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