Looking for suggestions wrt coops from all of you chicken pros out there :)

krowl

Songster
Feb 23, 2017
133
127
147
Eastern Shore, Maryland
I will be getting my first coop for 6 chickens. I am looking for any and all suggestions...what do you wish you had on your first coop that you didn't know was important...what makes things easier (slide out tray or no?), walk in run or not necessary? Auto door? Solar powered lighting, how well does it really work? what did you do to keep animals from digging under...pretty much I will take any and all feedback :) Much appreciated!:cool:
 

wynn4578

Songster
Apr 6, 2015
412
153
131
Oklahoma
The coops I use now are 48x72 (the one shown in my avatar) I have 5 of these running around my pasture. For me it's the ability to easily clean it easy to check eggs and easy to move around. This one the ramp turns into a trailer tongue so I can move it 10 feet or 10 miles if I want plus it's self contained so my run doesn't have to be super secure because the chicken house locks down at night. Add 2 Pyrenees to patrol and I haven't lost a bird to predators in several years.
 

krowl

Songster
Feb 23, 2017
133
127
147
Eastern Shore, Maryland
The coops I use now are 48x72 (the one shown in my avatar) I have 5 of these running around my pasture. For me it's the ability to easily clean it easy to check eggs and easy to move around. This one the ramp turns into a trailer tongue so I can move it 10 feet or 10 miles if I want plus it's self contained so my run doesn't have to be super secure because the chicken house locks down at night. Add 2 Pyrenees to patrol and I haven't lost a bird to predators in several years.

Great information! Thank you!
 

sunflour

Flock Master
8 Years
Jan 10, 2013
14,974
7,757
772
Macon,GA
More space...but that's the usual for most everyone. I started with a 5x10' all in one coop/run with a raised coop ( additional 20 sq feet under the coop for run space) and had to more than double the size of the run the first year with 6 pullets.

Walk in run ( I have) is an absolute must - you will want to be able to stand up to attend, visit, and clean.

If I could rebuild, I would do a regular stand up walk in coop with a large covered protected run. But currently have a full front and and a smaller 1/2 tall but full length back doors to my coop to offer easy cleaning access.

Nest box area that doesn't require the hens walk under their roosts to access the nests.

buried hardware cloth with tampered soil on top and heavy rocks on top of that have worked for me.

It is difficult to clean under a raised coop even with it being over 2.5 feet above the run area.
 

krowl

Songster
Feb 23, 2017
133
127
147
Eastern Shore, Maryland
More space...but that's the usual for most everyone. I started with a 5x10' all in one coop/run with a raised coop ( additional 20 sq feet under the coop for run space) and had to more than double the size of the run the first year with 6 pullets.

Walk in run ( I have) is an absolute must - you will want to be able to stand up to attend, visit, and clean.

If I could rebuild, I would do a regular stand up walk in coop with a large covered protected run. But currently have a full front and and a smaller 1/2 tall but full length back doors to my coop to offer easy cleaning access.

Nest box area that doesn't require the hens walk under their roosts to access the nests.

buried hardware cloth with tampered soil on top and heavy rocks on top of that have worked for me.
Thank you! You said you started with 5x10, what do you have now?
 

sunflour

Flock Master
8 Years
Jan 10, 2013
14,974
7,757
772
Macon,GA
I added an additional 7x10 feet to the covered run. And a small outside area with semi-protection for afternoon pretend ranging.

My coop is 4 X 5 feet + external nest boxes ( 2) . The house is plenty large for 8 hens if they get along and only sleep, lay eggs and occasionally check out what's new there.

Wish I had pics, but not here yet with the move.
 

wynn4578

Songster
Apr 6, 2015
412
153
131
Oklahoma
I also have an 8x10 permanent coop that has 2 runs coming off of each side. It was the second coop I built after deciding the first permanent coop was too small. The runs and the coop in this case are secured. This coop uses the deep litter method and I don't have to clean it often but it takes longer than my portable coops. The size your coop needs to be depends on several factors the 2 big ones being how much run room? Will they free range? And how many birds? I've found that coop size doesn't necessarily matter as long as the chickens can get out during the day, they have plenty of nesting and they have plenty of roost room
 

krowl

Songster
Feb 23, 2017
133
127
147
Eastern Shore, Maryland
I added an additional 7x10 feet to the covered run. And a small outside area with semi-protection for afternoon pretend ranging.

My coop is 4 X 5 feet + external nest boxes ( 2) . The house is plenty large for 8 hens if they get along and only sleep, lay eggs and occasionally check out what's new there.

Wish I had pics, but not here yet with the move.

Wow, that sounds great! My thought process was to look into something with a decent size run too!
 

krowl

Songster
Feb 23, 2017
133
127
147
Eastern Shore, Maryland
I also have an 8x10 permanent coop that has 2 runs coming off of each side. It was the second coop I built after deciding the first permanent coop was too small. The runs and the coop in this case are secured. This coop uses the deep litter method and I don't have to clean it often but it takes longer than my portable coops. The size your coop needs to be depends on several factors the 2 big ones being how much run room? Will they free range? And how many birds? I've found that coop size doesn't necessarily matter as long as the chickens can get out during the day, they have plenty of nesting and they have plenty of roost room


I had read about the deep litter method, you like that method best? I was looking into river sand (I think that's what I was reading about) Does the bottom of your run for your permanent coop have mesh against the bottom of the ground of the run or is it flat against the ground...
 

sunflour

Flock Master
8 Years
Jan 10, 2013
14,974
7,757
772
Macon,GA
Ok, took some quick pics - here's mine:

IMG_6896.jpg


The back part was the original 5x10 built similar to the Wichita Cabin coop.

The Front with the water fount is the addition - with a chicken out door to their chicken playground.

The original front coop door had to be lifted - very heavy and had to brace a ladder under it, so we changed it to an entire front opening - so much easier to access. Around back the door is full width but only about 1/2 to 3/4 of the coop height - a back breaker to clean from that side - and only used to access the gals on their roosts at nite or to totally change the sand in the coop.

Had to apologize, pic taking interrupted a fun bath time:)
 

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