Just getting started

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mgcohan, Feb 15, 2015.

  1. mgcohan

    mgcohan Hatching

    Feb 15, 2015
    I am overwhelmed by the different sizes, types of coops. My husband is going to build ours. He is very handy. I want it to be easy to clean, but I also want it to be attractive. Any suggestions? I will probably have 6-8 chickens and I live in Alpharetta, GA
  2. RichnSteph

    RichnSteph Songster

    Mar 25, 2014
    Adkins Texas
    I saw on here where someone purchased the plans to an "Amish Dome" or an "Amish Round Topped" coop. Looked really really nice and easy to clean. Whatever you decide to build be sure and include a poop board under the roost for ease of clean up.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Ditto on the poop board....and make it as big as possible and tall enough to walk into.

    Blue Bold type in my signature has 2 articles anyone contemplating having chickens should read.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2015
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    A little north of Atlanta. You are not on the coast but heat is much more of your enemy than cold. I’d guess you seldom see any temperatures near zero Fahrenheit but you may occasionally. So lots of ventilation and shade is important. Heat kills a lot more chickens than cold even a lot further north than you are.

    Look at the coops at the top of this page for inspiration, that brown button up there. Some of those come with plans, some don’t. For that many chickens I’d look at a walk-in coop. For many reasons, not just cleaning, you need to be able to access every part of the coop. For the size I think you need that’s a lot easier with a walk-in.

    I don’t know how closely your neighbors are crowding you, which can make a difference, but to me the key to making it easy to clean is to make it so you seldom have to clean it. Keeping it dry is really important. A wet coop not only is an unhealthy coop but it will stink. You don’t want that. I’ll give you a link that talks about fixing muddy runs; a lot of those principles apply to coops to.

    Pat’s Big Ol' Mud Page (fixing muddy runs):

    One basic idea is to keep water from going into it to start with. Don’t put it in a low spot where water collects, use berms or swales to divert rainwater run-off, slope the roof so water flows away from the coop and run or use gutters and downspouts to achieve that, and position ventilation so rain water doesn’t blow in. Make sure your waterer is not getting the coop wet.

    If water gets in, get it out. That may involve having it high enough that water naturally drains out or having enough ventilation so it can dry out. Raking the bedding or ground or scattering corn or some such treat so the chickens rake it for you can help.

    A big part of cleaning is poop management. A droppings board can really help with that. The more you crowd them the smaller the area they poop in so the more it builds up, the harder you have to work to manage it. Some people build to the absolute minimum size and are out there basically every day managing poop. A big problem with poop build-up is that poop is wet and if it builds up faster than it can dry out, poop can be your source of moisture that makes it stink and a disease risk.

    Part of this is your philosophy too. I don’t try to keep mine in a sterile pristine area. To keep mine healthy I try to keep things dry but allow some poop to be around. That’s how flocks develop flock immunities and share probiotics. They peck at each other’s poop. I prefer strengthening their immune systems instead of trying to protect them from ever coming into contact with a germ. Some people fight hard every day to make sure no bit of poop remains. It’s a losing battle.

    Part of poop management is what do you do with the stuff you take out. I use a droppings board and put that stuff in my compost. On the rare occasions I take any bedding out I do that in the fall and put it directly on my garden. You need a plan for what you do with yours. That’s another reason to clean as seldom as possible, though you need to keep up with your droppings board.

    Good luck and welcome to the adventure.

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