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is my coop design ok?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Auroradream26, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. Auroradream26

    Auroradream26 Smothered in Feathers Premium Member

    May 14, 2013
    Central, PA
    We're getting our first chicks at the end of next month (4 easter-eggers) and 4 more not long after, probably 2 Sussex and 2 wellsummers. I've drawn up a design for our outside coop for once they're big enough but I need your opinions on it. It'll be 4' X 4' square, about 1' up off the ground. Inside, about 18" up off the floor will be two roosting bars, probably made from 2 X 4s. On the side there will be a big, latching double door for cleaning. On the back will be 3-4 nesting boxes 1' X 1' X 1' with a latching liable lid. The front of the coop will have a door leading into a fenced and roofed run. I was thinking 4' X 6'. My hens will be free range during the day and only penned up at night or when we won't be home.

  2. jmayday

    jmayday Chirping

    Dec 21, 2013
    Downingtown, pa
    Sounds just like the one I am building now except mine is 18"off the ground because I'm tall less stress on my back getting in and out of bending over and such.
  3. SequoyahFarms

    SequoyahFarms Chirping

    Mar 4, 2013
    Knoxville Tn
    Seems a bit on the small side if your planning on having 8 hens. Most people like to allow 4sq ft per hen of coop space and 10 sq ft of run. Plan on where the food and water will go. If you allow them to free range every day, I think your current dimensions would only hold 4 hens. Not trying to be negative. But if you overcrowd, your going to have all kinds of problems including aggression.
    1 person likes this.
  4. TK421

    TK421 Songster

    May 24, 2010
    Central TX
    I agree that it's a little small for 8 birds. If you increase the size if the run, you'd be better off
  5. Auroradream26

    Auroradream26 Smothered in Feathers Premium Member

    May 14, 2013
    Central, PA
    Ok, Thanks guys. 8 is basically our starting number. We will probably only end up with 6 hens if we're lucky (probably less). We're leaving room for a couple roosters which we won't be keeping. We'll definitely boost the run size.
  6. Auroradream26

    Auroradream26 Smothered in Feathers Premium Member

    May 14, 2013
    Central, PA
    How does this sound? I revised my design to the coop being 5' X 5', 2 feet up off the ground. The area under the coop will also be a part of the run. The run itself, in front of the coop 5' X 6'. Does this sound better? Like I said, probably end up being 6 laying hens.
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I think you're still too small on your run size.

    For 6 birds you'll want a good 60 square feet of run space. I know you intend to free range your birds, but there will be times they need to be confined and you'll want that space so they don't have behaviors due to overcrowding. You'll have predator issues and need to keep them confined, or you'll go on vacation, or want to confine them to train them to lay in the nest boxes, etc. It's always best to plan to have an appropriate area to confine your birds, cause if you don't have it, sure enough something will come up and your birds will be stressed from being overcrowded.

    Something else to keep in mind--will you be able to reach inside the coop to catch birds on the roost? That's the easiest way to catch a bird who needs to be inspected or treated, is taking them off the roost at night when they're sleeping. But, you have to be able to physically reach them!

    How many roosts are you going to be able to fit in there? You'll need at lest two for that many hens.

    I'd make the nesting boxes larger. 1x1 would be fine for a bantam, but my big girls like more space, they won't use the smaller boxes I have.

  8. Auroradream26

    Auroradream26 Smothered in Feathers Premium Member

    May 14, 2013
    Central, PA
    Got it. I actually dragged my husband outside this morning (it's been freezing out!) And we measured the area where this is going to go. It turns out that it's A LOT bigger than we thought. It's about 10' X 15'. We're still stuck in that city mindframe and everything is bigger than it looks to us lol. Here I was under the impression that my husband wanted a small coop but he's all for using the entire spot. He said we can make the coop big enough for 10 birds so we can get more in the future if it works out good. Maybe even some meat hens someday (if I can handle it). I had planned on two roosts in the coop before hand but now will probably be more with large double doors on both sides for access to clean (they will be made to seal well). I'm thinking the coop can be 7' X 7' with 2, possibly 3 roosts the whole way across inside. I'll make the nesting boxes bigger too. Is 2 ft Sq ok? And are 4 good? I really appreciate all the help and advice you guys are giving me here. I'd really be screwing this up on my own lol.
  9. colburg

    colburg Songster

    Sep 10, 2012
    Loving, NM
    If you're free ranging, then you can get away with a lot smaller coop and run. I'll tell you what we do and you can use this info as well.

    65 chickens
    Coop is 6'x13' = 78sqft or 1.2 sqft/bird in the coop. Now then, the coop door is only closed on nights that we get below 20F and it's opened first thing in the morning. Otherwise, the coop is always open to the run. BTW, even if we do have a day that stays below 20F, we open everything up. It's only NIGHTS below 20 that they're locked into the coop for extra wind protection.

    Run is 30'x13' = 390sqft plus they can get under the coop area. = 468sqft or 7.2sqft/bird.

    We free range almost every day. We did once leave them penned up for 7 days in a row and there were no problems. We also pen them up when we start finding too many eggs laid in random places. About 4 days in a row straightens them out and they'll lay where they're supposed(for a while anyways).

    For nest boxes we have 4 five gallon buckets and when penned up, everyone uses the boxes so that's plenty of boxes for 60 hens. 1sqft laying boxes are just right.

    Scaling this down for you, if you're free ranging most of the time.

    10 chickens
    Coop is 4x4 or 4x5.
    Run totals 70sqft +/-, including area under coop.
    2 nest boxes 1'x1'x1'.
    10 feet of roost.

  10. Stacyc

    Stacyc In the Brooder

    Aug 27, 2013
    Chicken math! Got my first coop this past fall, got my three hens, two weeks later I knew I needed more, they are so dang cute, and they give back! Having fun plannig for the 8x10 chicken palace that I will work on this spring, 12 chicks on order! Woohoo! Have fun!
    1 person likes this.

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