Looking at prefabricated coops, wondering if this company is okay

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Mianna, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. Mianna

    Mianna Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 11, 2013
    St. Petersburg, FL
    Hi there, I'm brand new here and still in the early planning stages of keeping chickens. I've been looking ata lot of prefabricated coops because I'm honestly not handy enough to build one from a plan or repurpose a small shed. I can borrow a couple people to help me put one together as long as it's pure assembly, so the premade ones seem like the best bet even though they're more expensive.

    I'm looking at one from greengardenchicken.com and can't find seller reviews for them. They have an A+ BBB rating, but also had one complaint in January of this year, which was resolved. Beyond that, I can't find much else and I really don't want to get burned on something that (for me) is a big investment.

    Also, this is the specific coop/run I'm looking at: http://www.greengardenchicken.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=279

    I can't have more than 5 hens within city limits, but I'm just happy to be able to have any, St. Pete didn't allow chickens not so very long ago, so I'm really excited and want to be a good chicken mom. Would that be big enough for 3-4 Barnevelders to be comfortable in? Thanks so much for any help, I've been doing a ton or reading and note-taking here and I still have a ton of posts and articles to read!
     
  2. Trefoil

    Trefoil Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I haven't used this company. That said, never pay attention to the "
    Green Garden Chicken Coop With Large Run And Lift For 9 - 14 Birds" descriptions of any on line coop. Or the pictures for that matter, They always look so roomy and when you get them they are a 3' X4' box with a 5' run. 12mm is a little less than 1/2", so most coops made of this material aren't going to be very sturdy. Also pay attention to what they are using for wire. poultry wire is not predator proof. If you or a friend have a pickup, the easiest way is to watch craigslist and buy a coop or a tractor that you can move around for foraging. When buying a premade coop it is very common to have to replace all hardware and wire and to shore up the coop to predator proof it. The roofs commonly leak and depending on what they are made of, don't last too long. You will need to refinish the coop before use or it won't last the summer. Sorry to be such a downer but the bottom line is, don't buy a pre made coop from a company unless they can provide you with references of people that have had the coop a couple of years and will allow you to see it and talk with them about their experience.
     
  3. conny63malies

    conny63malies Overrun With Chickens

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    750$ seems a but much for this coop. I have seen ready built sheds at Home Depot for 990$, delivered. Turn part of the shed into a coop and store your poultry supplies in the other side . 3-4 sides from a dog run from Tsc as a run and you are set.
     
  4. Jakoda

    Jakoda Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with the above posts,, those prefab coops are never big enough!

    I would go with a prefab shed so you can customize it, OR look on craigslist lots of coop makers around that are quite inexpensive
     
  5. kdwag

    kdwag Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Northwest Ohio
    I bought a pre fab coop that advertised big enough for 9 chickens---I have 4 and it's way too small. I spent over $500 for it and have done a lot of reconstructing to make it work. Guess what I'm doing now, getting ready to build a new one. Don't waste your money!! Good luck and welcome to the site.
     
  6. ryeguy

    ryeguy Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 25, 2012
    You might ask around and see if there is someone handy who you can pay to build a coop the way you want. Just give them some example pictures and let them go to town. It can really help someone out. If I didn't build my own there are couple of people on my street who would have been happy to do it for me for a reasonable price.

    Like others mentioned it may be worth looking on Craigslist. Just go to the farm and garden section and search coop. Here in Indianapolis there are a bunch of people who build them and sell them on there.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I understand your problem if you have no experience or confidence in your being able to build or modify a building. Another probable problem is that you won’t have the tools you need. Since you are in the city limits, how pretty it is could be a big consideration. Converting a building to work for you is not all that hard but if you have absolutely no experience, it can seem overwhelming.

    I’m not a big fan of prefabricated coops. How well they are actually put together is always a question. They usually say they will hold a lot more than they actually will. And some might use cheap materials, whether wood or hardware.

    Let’s look at that one. I would probably be pretty or at least good enough so your neighbors won’t complain about appearance. I can’t tell how well it is actually put together. Is the frame strong enough to stand up to a big dog or a raccoon? I don’t know why they are using 12 mm here in the USA instead of saying ½”, but that does not bother me. It’s thick enough if the frame is solid. It looks like they are using hardware cloth and not chicken wire, but I have no idea what gauge or thickness that wire is.

    If you discount the nests, which don’t count, that coop part is 39” x 51”. That’s just under 14 square feet in the coop. The run itself, including the part under the coop which does count, is 39” x 124” or about 34 square feet. You are in St. Pete Florida where your climate would allow them access to the run area all the time. The design is such that if you provide dig protection you never have to lock them in the coop portion. In your climate, that should be OK for 4 hens maximum. If you were up in the snow belt, I’d not suggest four, but in St. Pete that should be OK. But nowhere near the 9 they claim even in your optimum climate. And if you wind up building or converting a building, more space is better. Much better.

    Your enemy there will be heat. Don’t even think about cold being a problem. They can get under that coop for shade, so that helps. I can’t tell enough about the top to see how well that is ventilated and predator protected up high. It looks like that top section has sliding doors you can open to get more ventilation, and that raised top will help get the heat out. I can’t tell if it has wire up there to keep a raccoon out or is built strong enough to keep a raccoon from ripping it apart.

    They give the height of the run section as 42”, which along with the base of 20” gives you a total of 62”. That’s barely 5 feet. From the photo it looks like that might actually be the sides and not the peak under the roof. It’s really convenient for you to be able to stand up in the run. That space under the coop would be a good place to put the feed to keep it dry. You will be in that run wherever you put the feed.

    It looks like the lock on the run section is a barrel lock. A raccoon would not have any real problems opening that. I’d suggest a better type of lock.

    Let’s discuss predators a bit, especially raccoons. In St. Pete you will have raccoons. If you don’t believe me, talk to your local animal control. But whether it is raccoons or something else, not all predators attack each and every day or night. Some people can go years without any predator problems while others will be attacked their first night. When we talk about predators, we are talking about what can happen, not what will happen each and every night.

    The last thing I’ll mention is that chickens poop a lot. If it builds up and gets wet, it will stink. The tighter you house your chickens, the more you have to manage poop, especially in suburbia. If you do get something like that, I’d suggest putting a good layer of sand in the run and under the coop section so you can more easily clean it. Keeping chickens in suburbia usually takes more work than in a rural setting, mainly because space is tighter and your neighbors are closer.

    If I knew how well this coop and run were actually built and what materials were used, it would probably suit you for 4 hens. As far as prebuilt online coops, you probably won’t find many that are much better, especially if pretty is part of your criteria.

    If you can find a suitable building on Craigslist and get it transported to your backyard, you can maybe find a handyman that can fix it up for you and maybe even build a decent run for less than the price of that coop, especially when you factor in shipping. But you’ll have to find a reliable handyman and give pretty good instructions as to what exactly you want done.

    There are some challenges however you go about this. Your climate gives you some really great advantages. You could even build a coop that is mostly wire, with just enough protected space for them to sleep out of the rain and stop a direct wind, keep the nests dry, and a dry place to feed them.

    Lots of people in your situation have come up with a workable solution. I wish you luck!
     
  8. c2chicks

    c2chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    For what it's worth, I don't see a human door in that set up. It seems like it would be pretty tough to clean that run...
     
  9. Mianna

    Mianna Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 11, 2013
    St. Petersburg, FL
    Thank you everyone for all of the information, I definitely need to rethink the whole coop thing. I really wish that I had some building experience or tools so I could at least take a shot at building something, but I only own some basic household tools and a tiny hacksaw.

    I do have to keep aesthetics in mind, like Ridgerunner said, especially since I had to ask both of my immediate neighbors for their blessings to even have one. Our local ordinance says that coops have to be so many feet from neighbors' houses or you have to have their permission, and there's nowhere in my yard that meets the distance requirements. I've seen some coop pictures online that look really roomy and practical, but the appearance might or might not put the neighbors off. I also have to worry about the shed restrictions, we can't put one up without pulling a permit and meeting the distance requirements, which our yard is too small for. Bah, I wish moving to a bigger property was a possibility but that's just not realistic, either.

    If I find someone who can help me modify a shed into a coop, do you think that it would still count as a shed legally, or would it fall under the slightly more relaxed coop requirements? Dumb question, I know, and I think it would no longer count as a shed once it's modified, but I'm not 100% sure.

    Thank you guys again, I'm so new to all of this but I seriously want chickens, to the point of obsession.
     

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