Initial stages of planning a walk-in coop. (Hoop house vs. Aviary vs. MiniCoop)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by cowchipss, Feb 21, 2015.

  1. cowchipss

    cowchipss Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am looking for help from my BYC friends. I'm planning my next coop and am considering an aviary or hoop design that I can walk in. I'll give you my background if you're interested in chicken stories. Otherise, my plans are at the bottom of the post. 8}

    My short story goes: I recently relocated from Gainesville, FL to South East, FL. Sadly, I was unable to bring my chickens with me. We were in a rental situation with plans to bring them once we were settled and I'd had a chance to arrange the rental yard for chooks. Our lease even had "four chickens" written into it! Finding a chicken "friendly" rental was much harder than we expected for the area we were looking. However, once we moved in, we quickly found that the neighborhood was overrun by racoons. They marauded yards night and during the daylight hours looking for garbage. So our lovely hens stayed up in North FL with good friends because I had no interest in barricading the rental yard and I knew my hens where accustomed to the free-range lifestyle and wouldn't be happy penned up. I get updates on how they are doing and have visited them twice. They are very content and even have a man that they didn't have when they lived with me within city limits (no roosters).

    One year later, I'm in my first house and have a tentative goal to be ready for chickens by the end of the summer. That's a whole set of decisions and plans I've yet to decide on as far as breeds and breeders. I've been planning my next coop causally for the last year to give me something chickeny in my life and still don't know exactly what I want. I was thinking some of the lovely and savvy BYC folks could help me continue to formulate my plan.

    If you've read this far.... Well, you love chickens too! My first coop was an old coop we relocated from my grandparent's coop to my parent's backyard when I was in elementary school and begging for chickens. My father built a run attached to the coop for our hens and we often let them out in the backyard during afternoons. I took a hiatus from chicken keeping during college 2003, grad school, and work-life but started back in 2011. I'm pictured below standing in the run with one of my Easter Eggers.

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    I designed and built my second coop with the help of a good friend and based it off of many of the things I liked about the Dutch Hen House on this BYC page.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/sunnychickens-dutch-hen-house-chicken-coop

    My coop is pictured here with cardboard for extra instillation and protection from windchill on a winter Gainesville night! Normally the front of the enclosed part of the coop is open air with hardware cloth. This coop also stayed behind in North, FL.

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    I love the traditional wooden coops but am leaning toward a hoop house or even more of an aviary style. I have a friend that keeps chickens in a lovely hoop house and like the portability, that you can walk into it, and that it's so easy to clean. We just bought our house and moved in so I'm not interested in building any type of permanent structure in the yard.

    Tonight I found instructions on how to make your own aviary on this website: http://www.instructables.com/id/Walk-in-Bird-Aviary/
    This page is complete with a story about how he got started with birds in the first place and it's touching. The instructions are great and it's designed using panels that you bolt together so it's definitely moveable. I could then put a small nesting & roosting area inside the aviary that's protected from the elements and I'd also put some plants and things to make it cozy! It wouldn't need to be 8 feet tall though but that might make it easier to build since it fits with the cuts of wood..... We seem to be in a relatively predator free area but I'd still plan on putting a wire skirt around the bottom just in case and using hardware cloth of course. I would have to put a roof over it for rain so the run wouldn't turn to mush and have to consider hurricanes as a factors. I'm planning for this space to be large enough for them to spend most of the day and I'd let them into a larger chicken yard in the afternoons and on weekends when I'm home.

    Throwing this out there for anyone who loves to comment on coop design. Pros and cons, etc. I want to build some sort of aviary or hoop house. It will be for a few chickens (3-4) with room to add a few more. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2015
  2. cowchipss

    cowchipss Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Anyone out there with aviaries?
     
  3. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Chicken Obsessed

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    I used chain link on the sides and the dreaded chicken wire on top due to weight of chain link.
    A hoop house would give you portability. I do think that an outside structure like the link with a roof on it would give the wind a lot to get ahold of and blow over. I think most folks with structured runs like the aviary you posted have the posts concreted in to prevent this. Mine have concrete.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Great story, well written...why I kept reading...and the pic of you, at what 8yo, holding that chicken by the legs is precious!!

    Open air coop is probably what you want to peruse, there are quite a few here for folks who live in hot climates.

    Try the advanced search, I'll get you started:
    advanced search>titles only> open air coop
    advanced search>titles only>aviary
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. cowchipss

    cowchipss Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks aart! I'm good at talking about myself and my chickens but I do try keep it interesting too. ;}

    I'm leaning way toward the "open air" coop and that is very helpful to just have a different set of words to Google. Thanks for throwing out another pair of descriptors for what I'm looking for! It helps me pull up more on the subject.

    I found the coop linked below while browsing and a friend of mine was telling me I could do something similar with the instructions on the walk-in aviary I found & then cut plywood & design plywood for the outsides. The mosaic may be a long-term goal and I don't think I'd go anywhere near as elaborate on the roof either. But something simple like that general design is what I'm thinking.

    http://vintagegardengal.com/chickens-chicken-coop-faq/

    I'm also wanting to have it facing the right directions, getting enough daylight for egg production, but also shade for hot afternoon, etc. etc. Also planning to have a chunnel (chicken tunnel) that allows them more outside space that would go around the back of the workshop and would provide plenty of digging and shaded space for them. The last place I kept chickens, we allowed them to have free range of the residential fenced backyard. It was a chicken heaven for them with hedges to hide under but they also dug up nice dirt bathing spots and crapped all over the back slab. It made grilling out.... less glamorous. That's where the chunnels come in. I want my girls to have plenty of places to scratch but also have some of the yard for ourselves. I'm sure well let them out in the yard from time to time too.

    I know at some point I need to just start doing. It's only my second coop design so I'm sure I'll have a list of things I like and "next time I'l; do____".
     
  6. cowchipss

    cowchipss Chillin' With My Peeps

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    LOL 21hens, "the dreaded chicken wire". :}

    What if the aviary was just open air and then I built a smaller structure inside that provided shelter but wouldn't be tall or have a broad roof for gusts of wind to blow over? But then that goes against my gut that says my whole run should be covered so it doesn't turn into muddy chicken poo slickness....
     
  7. Sustained

    Sustained Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I built an aviary style coop out of an old shed that came with the house we bought. It was one of those old tin style sheds and it was an eyesore to say the least.

    I removed 3/4 of 2 of the sides, framed it in heavy duty wood that I recycled from another eyesore that came with the place when I tore it down. It didn't have a floor so I skirted underground around the bottom on all sides with hardware cloth about a foot deep. Used recycled plywood from the previously mentioned eyesore #2 and made a floor in it. I left about 1/4 inch around the outer edges for liquids to run off into the dirt underneath. Bought cheap vinyl tiles and glued them down to the plywood. Voila, easy clean flooring. I use wood shaving bedding in the whole thing but when I go to clean it out, that vinyl really makes it a breeze! Oh I also framed in a door that is made with recycled wood and hardware cloth.

    For protection against wind or rain I bought burlap painters drop cloths and put them above the open sides. They roll down when I need to protect my flock more and roll back up and tie when it's nice out. Kind of like a roll up window shade. I hung a heat lamp from the top of the coop roof and I run an extension cord to it when needed. This winter it stayed warm enough in the coop when the burlaps were down and the heat lamp was on that none of my waterers ever froze.

    I hope that all made sense. I don't know if any of that is of interest to you but it works great for me. Good luck with your aviary style coop! I would recommend it to anyone!
     
  8. cowchipss

    cowchipss Chillin' With My Peeps

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