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Looking for feedback

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by kzas, Oct 11, 2015.

  1. kzas

    kzas Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 6, 2015
    Hi, all! We are new to chickens and have been working hard to convert an old bathroom (that was then converted to a dog kennel by the previous owners...hence the already installed doggie door- convenient!) in our garage into a coop. There's a door that leads to a run we are also building. We're probably half way done, and I'd love any feedback, especially on these questions:

    1. Recommendations for materials for the wall (covering insulation.) Plywood?

    2. Recommendations for ventilation: we're thinking of adding a couple large vents at the peak (picture #5). There is also a vent on the opposite wall that is an interior wall- so it will vent into the large garage. We could add another on this wall as well, but I'm not sure how stinky that would make our garage? We also have, as pictured, 2 windows, one of which has an outside pane that lifts out to decrease drafts but still allow ventilation. The door to the run can also be open during the day. I'm nervous as I've heard that ventilation will probably be our #1 problem.

    3. Roofing for the run. Wire? Some kind of actual roof? Netting?

    4. Anything else! We are so new to this, so I'm sure we've made some mistakes here and there, but we've also been reading a lot so hopefully we haven't done anything glaringly (dumb?) ineffective. ;)

    Dimensions of coop: 9 x 5 1/2 feet
    Dimensions of run: 15 x 7

    We are hoping to have 6 chickens. We live in Wisconsin (cold winters, hot/humid summers!)
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    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. CTKen

    CTKen Monkey business Premium Member

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    Africa - near the equator
    Hi,

    I'd certainly consider roofing (or at least protecting from the elements) so you can keep your food dry when it rains. Some kind of predator protection for the top would be a good idea also.
    CT
     
  3. kzas

    kzas Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the reply! I imagined keeping the food and drink in the coop...is it better to keep it in the run?
     
  4. CTKen

    CTKen Monkey business Premium Member

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    Africa - near the equator
    I would personally, but its only an issue of keeping the coop as clean as possible and not attracting mice / rats etc into the coop.
     
  5. Cacique500

    Cacique500 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Atlanta, Georgia
    From what you listed so far, I thought I'd throw a few things out for you:

    1) you will absolutely need some kind of real roof over the run. I can't tell if you have gutters from the picture, but it looks like any rain will run off the roof right into the run...which will be a nasty, smelly, soggy mess. Since you're in WI I'm guessing a lot of snow, so the roof will keep that out of the run as well.

    2) The wire you're using looks too open...would suggest 1/2" hardware cloth to keep raccoon's and other predators from "reaching in". Would also suggest you bury the wire about 12" down or apron out about 18" from the run.

    3) When you add the roof, I would plan on keeping the food outside - it will at some point attract rats/mice and I wouldn't want to be drawing them inside the house.

    4) What have you planned for inside the coop (in the house) for flooring? I would consider a full floor of Sweet PDZ - this will dry the poop out quickly (to keep flies/smell down) and will make it very easy to maintain...just use a kitty litter scoop every day or so and it's back to 100% clean.

    5) What direction do the winds come from in regards to the run? If the house protects the run from the predominant winds you're ok...if not, you may want to figure some kind of partial wall on the run to block the wind. In general, most people would want to block the north and west sides from wind.

    6) For ventilation inside you could always get a decent sized gable fan - the one on our coop (10x16) will completely change the air out in about a minute and has a thermostat so it will turn on where you set the temperature and also where you set the humidity.

    7) I would also 1/2" hardware cloth that window

    Just a few things to get you started...good luck with it!
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2015
  6. kzas

    kzas Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you so much for taking the time to help out! I should note as well that the garage is a detached building from my house.

    1. Gutters are in the works, and it sounds like we'll be adding a roof. :)
    2. We went with the 2x4 welded wire to decrease cost (holy smokes that hardware cloth is expensive!!) We did bury it though, and there was an existing concrete slab buried, so the wire is against that underground.
    3. Interesting. This comment lead me to read this thread: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/913664/omg-my-chickens-ate-mice-help/40
    I'm effectively traumatized. [​IMG] Will my chickens for sure go outside to eat when it's super cold? Or should I bring it in then?
    4. The flooring is concrete, and we have pine shavings to cover to keep warm and for poop purposes. I think we were planning to keep some sort of product like that on the poop board under the roost. Is that reasonable?
    5. Honestly, hadn't even considered the wind, but the run is blocked on the west and north sides. [​IMG]
    6. Awesome- I'll have to look into that. I didn't know there were ones you could set humidity for. That's super nice. Do you notice that yours is expensive to run?
    7. We did hardware cloth on both windows since we felt night time would be the most likely time for a predator attack.

    Thanks again, I really appreciate it!
     
  7. Cacique500

    Cacique500 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    1) awesome

    2) maybe think about just putting one roll down around the bottom (maybe 3 or 4 feet high from the ground) to keep anything from reaching through...otherwise good that it's buried with concrete next to it

    3) yes they may eat the mice, but the problem is that it might be drawing them into your home...not good (especially if they don't eat all of them) :)

    4) absolutely - but at some point you're going to have to get rid of the shavings and clean it all out. Just a matter of how much work you want to put into it. That's why I like the all pdz route - scoop it out and leave the pdz down indefinitely

    5) excellent

    6) not sure yet on the cost to run - shouldn't be THAT bad and it will most likely only run when it's super hot out in the summer (or when I feel it needs to run)...we should have it wired in a few more weeks

    7) excellent!
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    My Coop
    Interesting situation.

    Definitely add some ventilation, I'd do that whole gable end as large as you can....
    .....if gable faces prevailing wind you might wan to rig a hinged damper that can be easily manipulated from below in case of too strong a draft coming in.
    If you vent to garage you'll probably have lots of dust in garage...not sure if that will be a problem for you or not.

    Cover that insulation with something solid or remove it.
    I'd put wire mesh up on the bottom of rafters to keep them off the rafters.

    How big is the bathroom/kennel/coop?
     
  9. kzas

    kzas Out Of The Brooder

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    The coop is 9 feet x 5.5 feet. We're debating the best wall covering for the insulation- plywood? Do you have a favorite material for this, @aart ?
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    My Coop
    I don't use insulation (except for 1/4" plastic foam board under rafters on south roof in summer) not really needed in walls and provides habitat for bugs and rodents.
    But if you want to cover it rather than rip it out the 1/4" plastic foam board might work for ya(~$11 a sheet),
    I used deck screws with bottle caps for washers to put it up.....I don't think the chooks would peck it.

    Sorry I missed the room dims in your OP.
    I'd keep your nests low, 12" off floor, your roosts 12" above nests.
    That'll keep your ventilation way high and roosts low enough not have crashes flying off roosts or to need ramps for dismount from roosts.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2015

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