Looking for suggestions for Coop design.


In the Brooder
5 Years
Jul 20, 2014
Smith Center, KS



My husband owns a fiberglass company. He made a mold for a portable small livestock shelter for my goats. We had a door made for them so they could be used for transporting in a pick up bed.
I have several around the farm and envision them as small portable chicken coops. I would like to breed purebred chickens and need to be able to maintain breeding groups.
They measure 4' w x 6' l x 4' high. They weigh about 100 lbs.

What I wonder is:
should a floor be added? Or should I leave it on the ground. I've read the deep litter method is better on bare ground.
Would it be better to put it on legs? I worry about the wind.
How much ventilation do I need to add?
How many full size chickens would be appropriate in a shelter this size?
I'm thinking to add outside nest boxes to the back.

I look forward to any suggestions.
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Hmmm...... pretty cool. Are they stable in the wind?

You'd need roosts and maybe some ventilation.
Any 'holes' you cut into it would need to be made weather tight, might be a problem...that's where an overhanging roof comes into being a pro.

What do you plan on for a run?

Predator protection?
I like them, they seem to open up a lot of possibilities....

I would not put a floor or raise them up.

The wind would not be an issue around here, but you're in a different area. I'm thinking they're stable on the ground, or you would have gotten rid of them.

Are you talking about confining the birds only to the shelter, or adding a run? If only in the shelter, I'd have a rooster and 2 hens. But, you could wire a run to the front of that, and make it large enough to run a rooster and 5-6 hens, depending on how large you make the run, and on how each individual rooster is with the ladies in question.

Does the door fully enclose the front? As is, I would just face it away from prevailing winds and leave the front open, and not worry about ventilation.
Honestly, it looks and sounds great that it provides a frame. There are still a lot of mods to be done. For example, you would need windows, doors and vents. A roof with overhang would cover over your windows, doors and vents. There will need to be roosts, nests, places to hang feeders and lights. How easy is it to attached components to fiberglass?

Coop this size with access to run, can hold up to about 9, depending on the efficieny of the interior layout.
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I plan to add roosts and a nest box. I'd like the next boxes to be on the outside so I don't have to crawl inside to get eggs. I plan to add runs. I have some portable goat panels that have 4"x 4" galvanized panel inside square tubing. They are 4' tall x 8' long. I will have to add chicken wire to keep chicks contained. I had also considered cattle panel hoop house. The goat panels are pretty expensive. I think the cattle panel hoops would be less expensive even though I'd have to add posts or a landscape timber base. I'm not cheep, I'm thrifty. :) I don't have goats anymore so I'm not sure why I hesitate to use the blue powdered coated panels. It would certainly be easier to move as they connect with galvenized pins like tube livestock panels. I could do it all by myself without help.
I have some goat doors that bolt inside the opening out of the same galvenized panel.
. I wondered if I could just add plywood or a fiberglass sheet to make it a solid door would work. The door is square and the peak of the opening is stationery. I thought I might cover the stationary peak with chicken wire too. I'm not sure about windows. We have a local RV manufacturer might have some obsolete windows I could get or maybe some second hand storm windows. I don't see myself taking the time to make some myself.
I saw some small fiberglass chicken coops that had a solar vent on top. Those wouldn't be hard or expensive to add.
My main concern is whether I need to raise them off the ground or not.
I'm not real concerned about predators digging under as we have a trusting livestock guardian dog.
One thing I do wonder about using separate pens for different breeds. When I'm not saving hatching eggs and want to allow them to free range a few hours a day will they return to their particular coop or do you think they will mix and mingle?
If you have them separate, each in their own little home for a period of time, they generally go back there at night. They're powerful creatures of habit.
Roosts a foot higher than nests(so they don't roost in nests and fill with night poops), vents as high as possible in coop and above roost.
We used cattle panels for the run...we covered it in chicken wire to keep out small birds. Then we put hardware cloth about 2 feet up the sides and extended it out as an apron about 2 feet. The grass has grown through the hardware cloth now and you can't even see it anymore! Ken can mow right over it but it keeps out diggers. Our dog tried digging under it when the chickens were put into it for the first time - after a broken and bloody toenail she gave up. We anchored the cattle panels to steel fence posts driven deep into the ground. We're putting heavy duty clear plastic over it this winter (ala greenhouse) to collect solar heat and keep out most of the snow. Then, just because it can be seen from the street and we live in town, we attached white plastic lattice to the front. It looks pretty doggone good and it's working great. I can stand in it to work - important to me! It has withstood our extremely strong Wyoming winds without even a twitch.

The coop is just a 6 x 8 building. Ken and I have so few building skills that between us we probably couldn't stack a straight sandwich, but it turned out fine. Our biggest problem was understanding ventilation. We thought we had plenty, but ended up adding more as we actually used the coop and saw where we could improve things. So when you think you have enough ventilation, add a little more! It's critical for keeping ammonia odors and excess humidity out. As long as no direct draft is on the birds, they'll be fine.

I can easily visualize your fiberglass structure sitting inside a hoop made of cattle panels - we used three but if you were to use 4 the structure could sit on one far end with the open end facing against the prevailing winds. Then cover the front with hardware cloth (leaving access for the chickens to go in and out, of course).There's a gentleman on here whose avatar is a shot of his coop. The entire front of it is open - just hardware cloth over the frame, and you can see his birds inside the coop happily being chickens. The kicker is that he lives in New England where the winters are much damper, and the photo was taken during the winter.....tons of snow around and on his coop and the birds are thriving. He's raised his chickens like this for years.

Please keep us updateD with photos as you build! The fiberglass structure is intriguing.

I sort of visualized something like this, with your coop inside the run instead of next to it like ours is. By using more cattle panels, your coop could be contained within the panels with the opening facing away from your prevailing winds. That would give your chickens plenty of run space and a warm place within to lay eggs and sleep. Good luck!

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