May I request coop measurement suggestions? Please look.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by PoultryPromulgator, Jan 21, 2008.

  1. PoultryPromulgator

    PoultryPromulgator Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 13, 2008
    Brisbane, Australia
    Hi folks.
    I'd like some suggestions regarding how much room hens need to flap about.
    The clearance required above the top roost to roof underside? which I think I'll line with polystyrene refrigerator box packing sheets or foam ceiling tiles and a corflute ceiling liner if I think it's necessary. Would they peck polystyrene apart if they could reach it? Somehow I think they might.

    [​IMG] The flapping clearance required above a kitty litter tray (unless I get a better suggestion, perhaps a large terracotta pot-plant drainage tray)full of dirt appropriate for a dirt bath? How wide and deep should a dirt bath tray be?

    [​IMG] How much general headroom do they feel comfortable with when walking under the coop to their feed/water/dirt-bath area?

    I think I'll be getting An Australorp, a Buff Orpington, and a ISA Brown. How tall do they generally stand? and how high can they reach if they try?

    I think I should replace the tinted glass lift-up door with corflute. It's lighter and would probably let in less heat than glass. What do you think?

    I'm going to go to a car wrecking yard and see if I can find one of those little spinning ventilators that you sometimes see on old delivery vans or on canopies for the top of the canopy above the coop's centre.

    Would they dislike a floor under the roosts and the rest of the coop floor of chromed supermarket welded wire mesh shelves? 1/4" thick wire, 3/4" x 3" spaces? I'll put a slide out sheet of coreflute or ply under it as a manure catcher. If that is an inappropriate floor please give suggestions. I saw one that looked like someone had re-tasked old timber blinds placed on edge spaced 1" to 1-1/2" apart? It looked like it might be odd to walk on but I'm new to this so fill me with chooky wisdom.

    Remembering I'm in a very warm climate so there wont be a problem with cold feet, give me your suggestions regarding what is the most comfortable roost size. 2"x2" corners rounded slightly? 2" x 1" horizontal rounded? or tree branches?

    [​IMG] So. there's a few questions for you. :)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 22, 2008
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:In my tractor I have about 14" there, which on the one hand works (they do roost there no problem) but on the other hand really ought to be more height (they have to duck considerably).

    Would they peck polystyrene apart if they could reach it? Somehow I think they might.

    Yes.

    How much general headroom do they feel comfortable with when walking under the coop to their feed/water/dirt-bath area?

    I have 18-20" under the house part of my tractor. It seems to be fine, they don't have to duck, but they can't stretch up on tippytoes and they probably would not feel comfortable dustbathing in a raised container there. It is fine for part of a larger run but I wouln't make all their run (nor all their shelter) so low. I have ISA Browns btw -Orpingtons would be a bit taller.

    I think I should replace the tinted glass lift-up door with corflute. It's lighter and would probably let in less heat than glass. What do you think?

    I would worry that a dog etc could break through it? Unless your coreflute is different than what I've seen. The least heating option would be strong 1/4" wire mesh, and build a little 'porch' type canopy over it to keep out sun and rain.

    Hope this helps,

    Pat​
     
  3. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2007
    Connecticut
    Pat, You are a great question answereer--on both forums!! Very organized and full of info.

    I second everything she said!! [​IMG]

    As far as the dust bath goes: they get real low so head room in not an issue, but you only need an area just larger thatn a chicken, they dont spread out to much while bathing. I would think a kitty litter pan would be perfect.

    I only have about 12-16 inches of headroom over my roost. Doesnt seem to bother anyone! But I think they will definatley peck any liner they could reach.

    You have to post final pics! I love this design! You should patent and sell it!
     
  4. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    [I just wanted to add to Pat's excellent responses that you should expect the dirt in your dust bath to need replacement frequently!!! Our girls used to have a pan like you describe before they got their outdoor run. One or two good bathe (they lift and kick the dirt onto their backs and then out of the box) and the dirt would be used up.

    Also: not sure aboout the flooring thing....... I have always heard that it's very bad for them to walk on wire mesh or grating all the time. bad for the feet... But would the whole thing be sitting on grass and moved ard frequently? Then probably OK.

    On the Q from the drawing: I do not think there's any problem having the nest boxes on opposite sides.

    Yeah, they will TOTALLY peck the foam. Best cover it up with thin luan plywood or paneling.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2008
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    hm tiffany, thank you, I've often been told I'm full of something but it wasn't 'information' ... lol

    Went back and looked at the diagram after seachick mentioned it (too lazy to look first time [​IMG]), and I have a couple other quick thoughts:

    1) you do not need 2 nest boxes for 3 hens! One would be just fine.

    2) I have mechanical doubts about the looong revolving panel supporting food, water and dusting pan. I think all that will be too heavy and cause saggage if not outright 'self-disassembly', plus you will spill water and possibly food when you turn it. Also the chooks will tend to escape when you're filling the water and food (since it will be effectively both sides open at once). I would really suggest making 2 cabinet-style doors, and don't attach the dusting pan or water to them, either. Oh... and thinking about it, you may not have enough *height* to do what you sketched anyhow, since remember the business end (i.e. bottom regions) of the feeder and waterer need to be at approx the height of the hens' backs. I am not trying to be a party pooper, just that I think you'll have much better luck with a slight redesign.

    3) the cute triangular eglu-style sail is very vogue-y in patio design these days, but not very *functional*, as it provides little enough shade when sun is high and nearly none in a.m. or p.m. Consider a larger rectangular one that goes partway down one or more sides.

    And I'm with seachick about the floor. Why do you want a wire floor anyhow - any specific concern?

    But, want to be clear here, it DOES look like a very clever, doable and functional tractor design overall! Have fun [​IMG]


    Pat
     
  6. PoultryPromulgator

    PoultryPromulgator Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Brisbane, Australia
    Thanks Pat, Tiffanyh and SeaChick.
    All that information is excellent. :)

    So I might use a terracotta pot-plant drainage tray as the dirt bath. I have a seemingly endless supply of the correct dirt as I have a long dirt driveway with a mild erosion problem. It's been keeping me supplied with dirt for the bottom of my Budgies cage for ten years and I know it's the appropriate sandy loam sand/soil for dirt bathing because I've seen many birds dirt-bath in my driveway. I have over thirty species of birds as regular visitors or nesting in my yard (current nested residents include Sacred Kingfishers, Kookaburras, Brown Babblers, Australian Magpies, Noisy Miners, Noisy Friarbirds, Blue-faced Honeyeaters, Masked Lapwings, Rainbow Lorikeets, Scaly-Breasted Lorikeets, Little lorikeets, Crested Doves, e.t.c. I haven't seen a hawk for six or seven years. I even see Crested Doves sit on, and wiggle themselves into, an ant nest in my driveway's loose sand so the ants can clean it of lice. Cool eh? Gotta love nature.

    O.K. So the wire mesh floor is out. I was only thinking this because I have six 36"x21" supermarket wire shelves from the industrial bin after a store re-fit. They are very solid and inflexible, heavily chromed, rust-free, 1/4" wire in a 3/4"x3" hole pattern and thought it would make an excellent poo-thru floor. Probably other way up though.
    [​IMG]

    What do I know? That's why all the questions.
    What is an appropriate floor? I was really hoping not to have to use the deep litter floor style because I'm a lazy bugger. So who can tell me of an alternative, please? Preferably some poo-thru type above a droppings tray.

    The spinning panel design I pinched, oops, um, acquired from an ark design I saw on-line. Sorry, I can't remember where. I've seen hundreds of chicken keeping sites and they all just blur together after a while [​IMG] Except this one of course [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    It is designed so the panel swings 180 degrees and can be latched either way, specifically so refilling feeders e.t.c. can be flee free. I think you might be right about it's size though, so how about two spinning panels? One accessing food and water, one the dirt bowl and a divider between them so dirt won't get flung into the food and water. Thoughts?

    Only one nesting box required eh. Cool. Room for a small cupboard for feed or other supplies.

    I was talking to a sales lady at my local Bunnings hardware store and she said I really should use Snake & Rodent Wire mesh (small 3/8"x 3/4" holes) around the sides to keep the wild mice out. What do you think? It seems to me that if it wasn't mouse-proof size mesh all over then the mice will just use the small mesh as a ladder to reach the larger hole mesh. What hole size do you recommend? I was thinking 1/2"x1" hole Medium-bird aviary mesh clipped to concrete reinforcing mesh, hoop-coop style? I would prefer rigid 1"x1"weldmesh but it isn't cheap and doesn't come in large sheets.

    Can I have your thoughts on paints for the 4"x4" timber frame? Is there a specific type of paint or wood oil preservative you'd recommend? Apparently most paints are non toxic these days but I would still like suggestions. Stick to type not brand unless you're an Aussie too as most American brands aren't available here or have an equivalent in a local brand.

    Good point about dog proofing. I don't think coreflute would be anywhere near strong enough So It'll be coreflute and welded mesh for strength and rigidity, maybe.

    My sketch is not exactly to scale and I didn't know what clearance I needed, hence the question marks. I think I'll go with 22" under the coop and therefore about 1100mm (44") in the run part. Is that cool?

    When I start I'll take photos of every stage and post them.

    Starting point. One, unused for eight years, ute canopy [securely tied to my garden shed]. (ute is Aussie for pick-up truck)
    Sorry for the dark picture but isn't everyone thinking about chicken coops at 2:20am?

    [​IMG]

    Oh yeah, I've been meaning to ask. Who's DH and why is it always his fault? I'm assuming "darn Husband" or something like that but it eludes me what it actually stands for. I'm also assuming that when you tell me I'll smack myself and say Doh! Of course.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 22, 2008
  7. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    DH= dear husband, d*$# husband, etc......

    On the floor, would you consider doing a droppings pit under the roost only?? That is an acceptable solution IMHO, since it still gives the chickens a comfortable walking surface for daytime, yet collects the night-time roost poop and keeps it from being tracked around. You could use your fridge grates for that: build a sort of raised box with them on top, directly under the roost, with a sliding tray underneath you can pull out and scrape off. There are a few examples on this site if you use the "search" function. We simply use a droppings BOARD under the roost, and scrape it off every morning, that's higher maintenance than a pit though.

    I believe that the chickens can get deformed and injured feet if they are on a wire substrate all the time.... but that's book-knowledge, not first-hand experience.

    Good luck and have fun!

    Stacey
     
  8. PoultryPromulgator

    PoultryPromulgator Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 13, 2008
    Brisbane, Australia
    Thanks folks.[​IMG]
    Several people have said that wire is bad for their feet if they are on it all the time. I was getting the opinion from what I'm reading here that the chooks only go into the coop at night or during extreme weather. I'm reasonably certain that when I say wire, people are thinking Chicken Wire or Aviary Mesh or what you call Hardware Cloth, (which I've come to believe isn't cloth at all? [​IMG] ) rather than what I'm talking about.
    I may not have been real clear I was only thinking of inside a coop that will have a hall of 1400mm (55") x 380mm (15") and under one or two roosts 740mm (29") long. (is that big enough for three chooks?)
    It wouldn't have the ability to hurt their feet but I doubt it would be real comfortable either, probably like wearing Masseur Sandals, so that idea is probably out. I may use one, two or three of them to make doors in the wire other end of my tractor.
    Do they wander around much in a coop or just walk across the floor to access their roosts or nest boxes?
    If I put a roost facing the run with an openable window in front of them will they look out it or do they generally face in to the coop? I suppose no one will know unless they have windows at their chickens head height.
    Why shouldn't chickens have a view?[​IMG]
    Do chooks have a problem with mosquitoes? I only ask as I saw a solar powered mozzie repeller on eBay for about $12.00, What do you think? and while I'm mentioning eBay how about this Solar Powered Ventilator

    I hope you helpful folks don't get sick of my questions. [​IMG]

    I had to have a laugh at my previous post as the forums content filter changed d a m n to darn (automatically I'm guessing) which in this font looks like dam. Political correctness gone mad.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 22, 2008
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:a) this is a tractor, right? so, move it once the ground gets too pooey, unless i am missing something here [​IMG]

    b) what Seachick said about a droppings board. Really truly. They do most of their pooing while on the roost, so it will catch probably more than half of it, it's easily scraped off each day, and has zero chance of hurting their feet.

    The spinning panel design I pinched, oops, um, acquired from an ark design I saw on-line. <snip> the panel swings 180 degrees and can be latched either way, specifically so refilling feeders e.t.c. can be flee free.

    Just because someone else did it doesn't mean it's necessarily a good idea... [​IMG]

    The spinning panel is NOT "flee-free" (I like that word) and cannot be made so, and here is why ("c" is the chickens, initially inside):


    panel closed: ====--------|---------====
    c c c



    panel being opened:
    ---
    === ----| ====
    c -----
    c ---- c

    panel halfway open, in process of being spun:
    |
    c |
    === | c ====
    c |
    |

    you see what I mean? You are forced to be opening both halves at once, which will be quite hard to effectively guard, and until the panel comes fully round into the reversed position there is nothing but laziness keeping the chickens from going through.

    how about two spinning panels? One accessing food and water, one the dirt bowl and a divider between them so dirt won't get flung into the food and water. Thoughts?

    Honestly, there is a REASON that you normally see cabinet-style doors rather than spinning panels on this sort of housing [​IMG] Just build two cabinet-style doors, open them one at a time to control chicken escape, and if you are concerned about needing time and leisure to deal with feeder and waterer, either put up a removable 'tennis net' (piece of garden trellis netting) as shown in my tractor on the page I indicated earlier, or, simpler, do not attach feeder and waterer to the door - just have them hanging from ceiling, so you merely reach in, unhook and remove them, and then close door so you can spend as much time as desired on refilling them.

    It seems to me that if it wasn't mouse-proof size mesh all over then the mice will just use the small mesh as a ladder to reach the larger hole mesh.

    I'd think so, although it would probably be successful against the less hungry less ambitious mice.

    What hole size do you recommend? I was thinking 1/2"x1" hole Medium-bird aviary mesh clipped to concrete reinforcing mesh, hoop-coop style?

    as long as the aviary mesh is strong enough a dog etc can't rip through it.

    Can I have your thoughts on paints for the 4"x4" timber frame? Is there a specific type of paint or wood oil preservative you'd recommend?

    a) Is there a reason for the frame to be 4x4 rather than 2x4 on edge? It will be incredibly heavy and I can't see any obvious strength need for it.

    b) If you feel you need to paint, any exterior paint should be fine, the thing is to sand and prime real well first so that you do not get paint flaking off. Partly because you don't want the birds eating it but largely because it will be a real bugger to scrape and repaint should that ever become necessary.

    Have fun!


    Pat​
     
  10. SeaChick

    SeaChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Hi EvilGod,

    The recommended amount of roost is 10" (that's what, like 25 cm?) per bird if they are standard sized....

    The birds will sit backwards and forwards on the roost, so that has to be taken into account when locating them. Lots of books say 18" from a wall (if parallel to a wall) but I think that's so a rooster's tail feathers won't get hurt. Ours is about 15" from the wall and has PLENTY of clearance for our standard hens. Ours do have a window on one end, at their vision height while roosting. cute to see them peering out of it!

    As far as the flooring, I think your fridge grates would pose the same feet-problem as any other wire-floor material like our hardware cloth (not cloth at all of course!).

    How much time they spend inside depends on your climate and whether they are out free-ranging or not. I gather that birds that truly free-range (sunup to sundown) don't spend much time at all inside, just to eat and drink and sleep. Here, if it's cold, windy, very rainy or snowy, my girls go inside and scratch around indoors in the coop litter. Sometimes they all go up on the roost for a nap in the middle of the day. On really cold days they don't go outside to thier run at all. I'm not sure how you intend to use your tractor...

    Stacey
     

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