Just beginning - what is the best coop to start with?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by wenderful, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. wenderful

    wenderful New Egg

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    Mar 25, 2009
    Hi! We live in Idaho on 2 1/2 acres. I would love to get 3-4 hens for eggs and for the kids. I'm wondering what the best coop would be to buy/build. I've looked around and they are so expensive. I really like the idea of turning a doghouse into a coop. Our winters tend to be pretty cold and I know we have predatory birds, fox, and rodents. Is it better to get a portable coop or a stationary one? How much should I plan on spending on a coop? Any and all help would be terrific! Thanks!
     
  2. Year of the Rooster

    Year of the Rooster Sebright Savvy

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  3. wenderful

    wenderful New Egg

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    Thank you. Those are great prices!
     
  4. chickiebaby

    chickiebaby Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 2, 2008
    western mass
    We did the whole first year, maybe a bit more, with a giant sized, very used doghouse. We hacked off one whole side and rehung it, with hinges, so one whole side opened. Then we hung a square over the dog-entrance part, also hinged. Months below freezing here; no problem. They kept each other warm. Seven chickens, I think, before we started building and got more.

    It was really easy and definitely a great way to start. Whatever you build or buy now, you are likely to wish you'd one differentlya year or two from now when you know what you like.

    In short: start easy and cheap, and figure out your own opinions and tastes as you go.

    have fun!
     
  5. bigmike&nan

    bigmike&nan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:AMEN !!

    I was at our local Agway today and took this picture for another member who was asking about the viability of the Chick N Barn line... I shot these two photos with my cellphone.

    The first is of a Chick N Hutch that has been on their lot since last Fall... See how the weather has warped the roof, you might expect similiar results with those Barns YEAROFTHE ROOSTER mentioned above.
    [​IMG]


    Then I shot this doghouse Agway sells - far sturdier than the Barns you see for sale and a lot cheaper... Modify one or two of these into a very hearty structure for about the price of one of those flimsy barns...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2009
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    My suggestion would be to scrounge some free or very cheap thing that can be predatorproofed fairly well, and use that for your first chickens for the summer. If you absolutely had to, you could keep a coupla chickens in a doghouse sized thing in the wintertime too, but it wouldn't be anything close to the best arrangement -- but by then you will have a better idea what your intentions are with the chickens, like whether you think you might want more, and can build a permanent coop (ideally before wintertime) without too much guessing.

    Of course there are lots of ways to do it, and it may be that it comes down to what sort of predator-proof-able structure you manage to come across [​IMG]

    Have fun,

    Pat
     
  7. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    If you have 2.5 acres, you've got room for a BIG coop.

    ALWAYS BUILD BIGGER... you won't regret it.

    I wish I cold have built bigger.
     
  8. wenderful

    wenderful New Egg

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    Mar 25, 2009
    Thanks for all the great advice! I'm thinking of having my husband build a dog house type building with a roost and a room to lay the eggs and then have him attach a run. If he put some wheels on it we could rotate it around the yard this summer. By the end of the summer we should have a better idea of what we want/need as a more permanent solution.

    For the run, the bottom of the run does not have wire, correct? How predator proof can it be if it isn't entirely enclosed?
     
  9. Year of the Rooster

    Year of the Rooster Sebright Savvy

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    West Central Ohio
    bigmike&nan :

    Quote:AMEN !!

    I was at our local Agway today and took this picture for another member who was asking about the viability of the Chick N Barn line... I shot these two photos with my cellphone.

    The first is of a Chick N Hutch that has been on their lot since last Fall... See how the weather has warped the roof, you might expect similiar results with those Barns YEAROFTHE ROOSTER mentioned above.
    http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd80/mikennansourhouse/032509_12151.jpg


    Then I shot this doghouse Agway sells - far sturdier than the Barns you see for sale and a lot cheaper... Modify one or two of these into a very hearty structure for about the price of one of those flimsy barns...

    http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd80/mikennansourhouse/032509_12161.jpg


    Thanks for the tip bigmike&nan! I was also thinking about getting one as a small breeder coop, but with all the warping and such, you've given me a second thought. Thanks! [​IMG]
     
  10. Chicken Rustler

    Chicken Rustler Grabs em n runs

    The best coop to start with is what fits your needs, budget, and likes. To get started I would watch Craigs list and any local papers for cheap or free stuff to use like dog houses, small sheds, chainlink dog kennels etc. I make a lot of things from what others discard as trash. Check out my coop / runI have a total of $45.00 in this one.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=148966
     

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