Looking for opinions on coop & run plans

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by glad_hundegard, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. glad_hundegard

    glad_hundegard Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 9, 2011
    Hey there everyone! I was hoping to get some opinions from more experienced people about my plans for a new coop and run. I know the book answers for square feet and amenities, but I'd like to know how you think this would work in reality.

    I'm going to trick out the 'Minimal Coop' from Building Chicken Coops for Dummies (great book by the way!!!), I'll keep the width and depth 4' each but I'm going to make the height 6" taller all around (so, 4.5' at apex and 3.5' at short end) and lift the whole coop up off the ground. I'm going to make external nest boxes to free up floor space and add a poop board under the roost. Do you guys think that 6 regular sized chickens will be comfortable in this amount of space? I live in San Diego, so they won't be locked in for extended periods of time due to weather. Assuming that all my baby chicks survive being shipped, and that all survive to adulthood... if I end up with 6 chickens total should I add a second roost?

    I'm planning on attaching a run, about 5.5' tall (so that I can stand up in it) with bottom half hardware cloth and top half welded wire with bigger openings. I'm going to be burying the hardware cloth and predator-proofing the heck out of the run. We have almost every predator known to chickens here (I'm in a more rural area). My original plan was to make the run 6' by 10' but after I started outlining that perimeter it looked a little small to me for 6 chickens. Am I being silly? My future chickens won't be free-ranging too often (and never without supervision) because of the aforementioned predator problem. Would it be worth the added cost to make the run an extra 5' longer (so: 6' by 15')? I would love to get people's opinions and experiences!

    Thank you!
     
  2. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2009
    DFW
    So the coop would be 4' by 4'? That's kinda tight quarters for 6 chickens, but as you say they'll only be in there for roosting, so alarm bells don't go off in my head. You'll want to give them around 6 feet of roost width (1 foot per chicken), which you can easily accomplish by running an "L" shaped roost on two adjoining walls. That will give you around 8 feet of roost width, and more if you use shelf supports to hold up the roost (my chickens love to roost on the top of those shelf supports).

    Rather than burying hardware cloth, consider making a welded wire apron attached to the baseboard of your run and extending outwards about 2 feet or so flat on the ground. Stake it down with landscaping staples, weight it with rocks, etc. It's effective against digging predators and much easier for the coop builder.

    Yes, absolutely it would be worth it to make the run bigger! I consider the 10 square feet per chicken a minimum, and not an indication of the amount of space that chickens or the chicken keeper will be delighted with. You and the chickens can probably live with that much space, but bigger is way better.

    Just curious about the dimensions, though. It's easy to get lumber in standard 8 foot lengths. Why not make the run a multiple of 8 and save cuts and materials? You could make a nice 8' by 16' run and that way you'd know your chickens would be getting plenty of room.
     
  3. glad_hundegard

    glad_hundegard Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 9, 2011
    So the coop would be 4' by 4'? That's kinda tight quarters for 6 chickens, but as you say they'll only be in there for roosting, so alarm bells don't go off in my head. You'll want to give them around 6 feet of roost width (1 foot per chicken), which you can easily accomplish by running an "L" shaped roost on two adjoining walls. That will give you around 8 feet of roost width, and more if you use shelf supports to hold up the roost (my chickens love to roost on the top of those shelf supports).

    I was thinking of doing two parallel roosts so that I could put one poop board under them, do you think it would be okay if the inner roost is 6" from the wall and there is 12" between the two? With the nest boxes outside that would give the chicks two levels of 4'x4'... the actual coop floor and the roosts above... at least that's the image in my head, not sure if this would be the reality though. [​IMG]

    Rather than burying hardware cloth, consider making a welded wire apron attached to the baseboard of your run and extending outwards about 2 feet or so flat on the ground. Stake it down with landscaping staples, weight it with rocks, etc. It's effective against digging predators and much easier for the coop builder.

    My general plan/idea was to dig down about 6-8" then apron out the hardware cloth... we live on solid clay and there's no way I'm digging that deep. [​IMG] I was thinking about ordering a truckload of gravel to dump around the base and weight down the cloth with, so I think I'll go ahead with that plan after reading your advice here!

    Yes, absolutely it would be worth it to make the run bigger! I consider the 10 square feet per chicken a minimum, and not an indication of the amount of space that chickens or the chicken keeper will be delighted with. You and the chickens can probably live with that much space, but bigger is way better.

    That was my initial feeling, that bigger would be better... and might save me from behavior problems. I'm just struggling with the cost to value issue, I'd love to do tons of extra stuff but I really have to weigh what will give me the most bang for my buck. I would rather make the run bigger and skimp on the coop size a bit because of our weather here, but wasn't sure what I could get away with.

    Just curious about the dimensions, though. It's easy to get lumber in standard 8 foot lengths. Why not make the run a multiple of 8 and save cuts and materials? You could make a nice 8' by 16' run and that way you'd know your chickens would be getting plenty of room.

    The coop is going to be centered on the run, so I won't have a straight shot on one end. With the original dimensions (6'x10') it made sense because I could get 10' lengths of 2x4. If I'm going to make it bigger though I'll have to rethink the dimensions. My other concern was that I want to cover the roof of the run with wire, and I didn't want to make the run so wide that it would sag. So maybe it'll work to make it 6' by 16' and I can use the 8' lumber for the sides.

    Thank you for the insights and things to ponder, I really appreciate that you took the time to help!
     

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