Key Design Pointers

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Ted Brown, Dec 12, 2018.

  1. Ted Brown

    Ted Brown Songster

    New member/1st Post/Complete Novice

    I would appreciate any/all input & critiques. I live in the country, have ample space, like eggs, have a cat. Location is Quebec/Ontario border, 4 real seasons, cold snowy winters. Will not free run; thinking a small flock of 4-6 birds; can/will devote sufficient space to allow for more(?) birds.

    I am building a open pole shed, three 12' by 12' sections, steel sloped (8' to 12') roof, will devote a portion of one section to a coop with access to a run that will be outside of the roofed area although I am prepared to put both coop and run in the one section and under the roof.

    I have thought that an off the ground coop with external access would make cleaning/egg access easier but have read that a walk in coop works best.

    I would greatly appreciate suggestions/recommendations as to what I should build.


  2. tacothechicken

    tacothechicken Songster

    Apr 2, 2015
    Anacortes WA
    My Coop
    I find walk in coops much easier personally, it can be struggle cleaning an off the ground coop depending on hiengt of you and coop and what access point you use to clean. Personally I've had raised top opening coops that were super cute and space efficient but we're a serious hassle to clean and keep sanitary. I perfer larger walk in coops were I can easily reach anything and everything now :)
  3. Perris

    Perris Crowing

    Jan 28, 2018
    Gower, Wales
    hello @Ted Brown ! welcome to BYC :frow I can't advice on your coop but no doubt lots of others will! I just let mine free range.
  4. jthornton

    jthornton Crowing

    Aug 30, 2017
    Poplar Bluff, MO
    My Coop
    You should add your location in your profile so it's always there.

    I would never build a raised floor coop again, it's walk in for me. I hate cleaning my raised floor coop and trying to do anything inside is such a pain.

  5. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

    Jul 31, 2018
    Catalonia, Spain
    My Coop
    Hello Ted Brown.
    Welcome to BYC.
    I think if you are not free ranging then the biggest walk in coop you can build will make your and the chickens life easier.
    Where I am, the weather doesn't get in the cold extremes and the coops I build are just for sleeping in and when the chickens are being cooperative, laying eggs.
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Welcome Ted!
    Your shed will be perfect for chickens, and do plan for more than you start with, because it 'just happens' to most of us. A walk-in coop is by far the best, either on dirt, or a poured concrete floor (helps a lot with predator control).
    Fix any drainage issues FIRST! A wet coop or run is terrible, and retrofitting drainage no fun at all.
    Build big; consider using one 12'x12' section for your coop and covered run combination. Chickens hate snow, and shoveling out an uncovered run in winter is better avoided. Adding an additional outside run would be nice too, but not the best in winter.
    Predators will come! No opening larger than 1/2" in your coop/ run combo, because anything larger will be a big problem. Do it right the first time, unlike many of us who lost birds discovering this.
    Ventilation! I hope your shed faces south, so your openings are in the best places. Look at the Woods coop design for inspiration here; you can have three sides pretty closed, and the south open for light and ventilation, with the lower part of that wall covered in plastic for winter.
    Electricity!!! You will want lighting, and most importantly, unfrozen water in winter. All wiring in conduit and set up right to prevent fires.
    NightingaleJen, aart and jthornton like this.
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    JerryR708 likes this.
  8. Ted Brown

    Ted Brown Songster

    Summary response:

    Thank you for the responses. I am convinced about a walk-in coop & run, currently reading about the Woods designs and thinking about how I can modify to fit within the pole shed. Will incorporate the run within the 12' by 12' section, could extend to outdoors but many folks prefer "free range" so that may be the option.
    • Electricity will be provided - lights and water heater(s?) only.
    • Drainage is excellent, usually 3-6" of topsoil but the pole shed will be natural gravel only.
    • Regarding "floor".
      • The Woods designs have a floor and are also elevated off the ground. WHY IS THIS?
      • I have seen reference to DLM (deep litter method). Need to research - does this apply to both coop and run?
    • The pole shed roof height will run from 8' to 12' back to front and will face south.
      • Is there any reason NOT to use this height and the roof structure for the coop/run.
    aart - thank you for the links, just what I was hoping for.
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    You can have a run out on the ground and free range.
    Run would be in case of a predator event, or any other reason you might want to confine them and for in winter, chicken don't care much for snow.

    Best to have a floored coop raised somewhat keeps the floor from rotting, preferably high enough to get under there yourself in case a bird gets sick or broody or lays under there and to keep rodents from taking up housing..... or you can mesh it off to keep everything from getting under. Oh, aprons are another thing to consider:
    Good examples of anti-dig apron installation:

    IMO, deep litter is best done in run only.
    The term 'deep litter' is often misunderstood and misapplied.
    I've always liked this explanation:

    Managing a truly composting deep litter can be tricky, you have to understand what it contains(both materials and the organisms that break it down) and how it works in order to manage it effectively or it can turn into an unhealthy nightmare. It's not just piling up a bunch of stuff and, viola!

    Nope...can be great for ventilation. My coop is built into a large shed, but the coop itself does have a mesh ceiling.
    If you're going to have metal roof, condensation can be an issue, so foam insulation under metal can be a good idea.
    Kris5902 and Ghosty like this.
  10. jthornton

    jthornton Crowing

    Aug 30, 2017
    Poplar Bluff, MO
    My Coop
    Dunno if you found my link to the Modern Fresh Air Poultry House by Woods or not but I cleaned up the images and made into a nice PDF. If I was starting from scratch with the knowledge I've gained here I'd build a Woods.

    Ghosty and Perris like this.

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