Looking for some design advice. Input greatly appreciated!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by FLMomRN, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. FLMomRN

    FLMomRN Out Of The Brooder

    25
    0
    29
    Jan 22, 2013
    Florida
    Hi! [​IMG] I decided I would like to have some Muscovy ducks in my back yard (which are currently in my incubator). I started to build a run for them and was planning for an open-style "coop" area. I live in Florida so I'm not concerned about frigid winters.

    Silly me went and caught BYC fever and I now have 2 baby chicks as well. I am hoping to house the 2 chickens and about 3-4 female ducks all together in the run I have started. If I have to build a second coop for the 2 chickens I can, but before I get started I thought I'd post here and see if anyone has any ideas I haven't thought of.

    The run will be 10x18. The back portion (a 10x10 square) will be covered with a metal roof, and the front 10'x8' will be covered with 1/2" hardware cloth. We don't seem to have much for aerial predators but we have pretty ridiculous amounts of squirrels in our yard and I have no desire to feed them. The 10x18 run will then open into a 30x50 area that is fully fenced but not covered. I plan to also let them roam that area for a few hours each day.

    Here is what I have so far:



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    The trees in the photos are a bit misleading. My neighbor has quite a few on her lot and we have a few, but we are actually right in the middle of the suburbs and very close to the Gulf of Mexico. Our lot is 1/2 acre. Other than the squirrels we don't seem to have much for "critters" around here, but I plan to bury more of the hardware cloth just in case.

    Since the run itself will be pretty secure I hope to not have to lock the chicks & ducks into an actual "coop" so to speak. Plus I work from 6:30 pm until 7:30 am 3 nights per week and putting them "to bed" at night would be difficult to coordinate. My plan was to build a 3-sided shelter that would be along the back part of the fence shown...the full 10' wide and about 3' deep. I've done tons of reading here regarding housing requirements, nesting boxes, roosts, etc., yet I still just stare at the space with a blank stare.

    When looking at the photos, the fence on the left side is to the neighbor's yard. The previous fence was old so I added new fence panels right over the old ones to cover any gaps. To the right is our shed, and behind the fence is part of our back yard...I just built that fence to partition off the area. I was thinking about building the nesting boxes so that I can cut holes in that back fence to access the eggs without having to walk through the actual run.

    (edited to add my cheesy paint sketch of my back yard layout) [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    (click to enlarge)

    I do know that whatever I build I would like it to be elevated a bit for easy cleaning. I don't need anything walk-in. I was wondering about ventilation as far as cross-breezes....should I cut a window through the back of the coop and fence? Otherwise only one side of the run will be open.

    I've been going back and forth on whether or not the chickens need separate sleeping quarters but with my luck they'd all just end up sleeping in whatever random places they choose anyway. My main concern for them is shelter from sun and rain.

    I don't really have any specific question other than asking for general advice about how you think the space might best be used. Thanks in advance for any suggestions or feedback! I felt all creative and motivated when I started on the pen but now I'm just not sure what to do next.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
  2. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,490
    89
    163
    Oct 15, 2010
    Westfield, Indiana
    Nice start! You are right about the closed in nature of your area though... It may be kinda blocked off from cooling breezes. You could incorporate a fan in your coop and if you can add alot of shade areas in your run then that would be ideal. Ducks and Chickens can live together; Yet, ducks can be VERY MESSY. Some people will have seperate coops for just that reason. Being down in Florida, you will not have any ice or snow to contend with if you add poles and netting over your run area.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
  3. FLMomRN

    FLMomRN Out Of The Brooder

    25
    0
    29
    Jan 22, 2013
    Florida
    Thanks! A fan should be pretty easy to add. I can mount it to the wall of the shed and have the wiring inside the shed instead of outside to reduce any fire risk.

    I guess I'll make a small separate coop for the chickens in case they want to sleep separately but they will have to share the run. I plan to use sand as a bottom and keep the water over something that will catch the mess the ducks make with it.

    I built it behind the shed like that because I thought it would offer good protection from the nasty wind and rain we have here. Yesterday the storms were so bad that the double front-entry doors to my house blew in on us and our entire yard is flooded. Not to mention the covers were torn off of our rabbit hutches. Rain here likes to fall "sideways" so I thought having the run area with walls on 3 sides would help. I didn't think about the ventilation though. I suppose my best bet is a fan and to maybe cut a window on that back fence but make a door that can close it when the weather is lousy.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by