Need advice for New Coop/Run setup please!

Gammas Bearded Babies

Free Ranging
May 24, 2021
3,249
15,401
726
Middle Tennessee
I've done so much research here and online and looked at sooo many ideas I'm overwhelmed. I'll state what I'm thinking regarding each area based on what I've learned. If I'm misunderstanding or incorrect, please correct me so I can do this right this time. Not sure my husband will agree to any changes in the near future after the pre-fab nightmare and expense we have just been through since getting chicks in May of this year. And I cannot wait to be done using this 2'x2' coop and crawling height run! I have health problems so I need something that will work well with little maintenance and upkeep.
This came today!!!
IMG_20210714_140935.jpg

Based on yalls previous advice (thank U!), we will secure the new structure to the ground with t-posts and wrap hardware cloth around structure with uv resistant zip ties and a predator apron approximately 12" around the structure with hardware cloth to the ground by use of landscaping pins.
I live in middle TENNESSEE and believe the open air coop would work well for our climate. Due to fund/husband limitations I will stick the pre-fab coop inside this new structure for use at night. But ideally I want to get them out of the pre-fab and into more coop space within this new structure.
ROOF AREA
1.Would you cover the roof area with hardware cloth or just chicken wire?

2.We will be using one of these for protection against rain, sun, etc. tarps, shade cloth or what?
AND
3.Would you cover the entire structure with tarps, shade cloths, or what?
Keeping in mind I am interested in the deep litter method within the run area of new structure.
4.Would you do deep litter throughout the entire structure floor area or would you just do it in a section near the coop with the idea that I will at some point be using deep bedding in coop area? My thinking is that they will need a grassy area within the run (or do they?).
Once I am able to afford and attach more permanent roofing such as aluminum, metal, I would like to do a couple poop boards and deep bedding method in coop so that when necessary I can just sweep it out into the run area with the rest of the deep litter.
5.Since I want to do deep litter method through the run, should we place cinder blocks underneath the structure to give it enough room for the necessary layers of deep litter?

The area this structure will be placed is a slight slope...so please keep this in mind as well.

COOP AREA

I live in middle Tennessee. Based on our average weather, will I need side walls of any type if I am going with an open air coop?
I'm not worrying with nesting boxes for a while....they are just now 10 wks old.
IMG_20210714_164653.jpg

20210714_165150~2.jpg

20210714_165210~2.jpg

HAVE I MISSED ANYTHING?!
Thank yall again for all your assistance and advice! I'm super excited to get my babies more room! And ventilation!!! I am beyond thankful God has kept 'em all safe thus far in the pre-fab contraption especially since it has gotten so hot and I would just leave coop sliding door open within run area since no ventilation!
 

Attachments

  • 20210714_165210~2.jpg
    20210714_165210~2.jpg
    1.2 MB · Views: 32
Last edited:

Vacman

Chirping
Dec 25, 2020
141
305
96
Cadillac, MI
As far as your UV Resistant zip ties, I would go with stainless steel zip ties instead. Much stronger and no UV concerns. They really aren't that much more than nylon, but get a decent tool that tightns the ties and snips off the end. I would leave a grassy area for them to scratch in. Cover enough of it so they have some shelter from sun and install the roosting bar in that area along with the nesting boxes. Just pile the deep litter up against the sides and put boards around the base if you are concerned with that straw coming out. Don't worry about the poop. If it starts to build up, throw some scratch grain in that area and they will scratch it down to a powder. Don't forget to extend some of the hardware cloth into the ground to deter digging predators. That's all I can think of right now.
 

BDutch

Natural
7 Years
May 19, 2015
4,516
17,417
817
the Netherlands
My Coop
My Coop
My thoughts:
  • 1 part shelter for rain and sun, and one part open. Natural shade from leaf trees is even better.
  • Grass in such a small place is not possible. Chickens scratch until it’s all gone.
  • I attached the coop outside to the run structure. That way you dont have to enter the run (poopy ground) very often.
  • On top HWC or chicken wire are both ok. I have strong/ wired cat netting. This is easy to attach and holds well too.
 

RogerChicken

Chirping
Jul 10, 2021
29
98
66
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
I don't really know what I'm talking about, but I've never let that stop me before...

ROOF AREA
1.Would you cover the roof area with hardware cloth or just chicken wire?
2.We will be using one of these for protection against rain, sun, etc. tarps, shade cloth or what?
AND
3.Would you cover the entire structure with tarps, shade cloths, or what?

I've generally seen these sorts of structures with some sort of opaque roof on the top and the diagonal parts. Most often rigid, but sometimes a tarp. Mostly for the shade but also to help shed rain.

I suspect if you start with tarps that sooner or later you'll want something rigid. But maybe not.

Keeping in mind I am interested in the deep litter method within the run area of new structure.
4.Would you do deep litter throughout the entire structure floor area or would you just do it in a section near the coop with the idea that I will at some point be using deep bedding in coop area? My thinking is that they will need a grassy area within the run (or do they?).

It won't take long for any grassy area within your run to become a wasteland, unless you plan on tractoring that whole thing around a fair bit, is the impression I get. But that's the sort of thing you're likely to discover on your own.


Once I am able to afford and attach more permanent roofing such as aluminum, metal, I would like to do a couple poop boards and deep bedding method in coop so that when necessary I can just sweep it out into the run area with the rest of the deep litter.
5.Since I want to do deep litter method through the run, should we place cinder blocks underneath the structure to give it enough room for the necessary layers of deep litter?

I feel like you might want a kind of short retaining-wall all around either the inside or the outside, partially to keep in litter but mostly to stop the whole thing from taking flight on a windy day.

The area this structure will be placed is a slight slope...so please keep this in mind as well.

COOP AREA

I live in middle Tennessee. Based on our average weather, will I need side walls of any type if I am going with an open air coop?
I'm not worrying with nesting boxes for a while....they are just now 10 wks old.

I don't think you'd strictly need them, but you might want to put up some sort of walls in a corner or two so they can get out of the sun/wind/rain or whatnot. If they can just pop back into the coop whenever they feel like it, that would probably be sufficient.

HAVE I MISSED ANYTHING?!
Thank yall again for all your assistance and advice! I'm super excited to get my babies more room! And ventilation!!! I am beyond thankful God has kept 'em all safe thus far in the pre-fab contraption especially since it has gotten so hot and I would just leave coop sliding door open within run area since no ventilation!

You're planning on a predator apron, right?
 

JurassicBawk

Songster
6 Years
Jun 23, 2016
301
598
181
Hixson, TN
I'm in the Chattanooga area so a similar climate. I'm previously had a 10x10 chainlink coop under my raised deck, with a custom 4x4 house raised on legs so they could go under/in/over it. We're going to be working on the deck and I added chickens over the past year, so I build a second coop in the yard that's 10x20 but can be divided into 2. I haven't moved the house over because they prefer sleeping outside anyway, but just added 4 3-month old Welbars to the mix and had put in more areas to hide for now for their sake. I go in there multiple times a day to hang out, so I didn't worry about trying to get the coop/nest box access from the outside.

I used 1" coated chicken wire covering the whole structure with it extended 2' on the ground. I used 1/4"hardwire mesh on the other coop so was worried about things getting in the 1" size, but I've got a coop camera and so far between the camera and checking things I cannot tell that anything has ever gotten inside but the chickens. I use Sweet PDZ (horse stall deodorizer/moisture absorber) when it is very muddy out there then put down wood shavings over that, but that's maybe a once a month fix for when it's been raining too much and I haven't added anything in awhile. My yard is also sloped a little bit so it runs out pretty well. I've got 2 Silkie mixes that do not roost and sleep in a little rabbit/chicken coop in the far left corner, plus 2 big plastic rocks that I turned into caves with sand under them so they have a cool place to play. There's a plastic dog house with perch limbs and a nest box inside, a 2.5x4 tractor with nest box, and just recently I added 2 quail coops in there because my 1 pound OEGB was getting broody and was thinking about sitting on quail eggs, so one of those was for her and the lower was for the babies if they wanted to go in. Everone but the Silkie mixes sleep on limbs I have up for them, but make sure if you put up limbs you have them low enough that a raccoon can't reach down and grab a sleeping bird. (I haven't had this problem but my first chicken casualty ever was from a raccoon so I don't trust them and am cautious just in case.) I do have a shade sail over one side where the sun comes in more, but they are under shade trees and do not get direct sun in the summer. This winter I may move their 4x4 house in there, but they rarely slept inside it when they had it and prefered to sleep on top, so I think with as few nights as we get when it's freezing and wet I may just leave them as is. They're fine in the cold, and I only make sure they're put into something covered if it's going to be freezing and wet. With yours being more open and depending on what kind/how many birds you have, you may want to block it more like the Woods coops are built. Good luck with yours.

Edit to add.... do not add a solid top unless you are sure it will not bow under weight. I had the chicken wire on mine plus extra supports every 5' on top, and the first storm after I put them out there I put a tarp on a small portion over the tractor trying to protect them. It quickly held water and ballooned down, taking down the back chainlink wall with it, and almost squished all the birds. I had to go stab it and drag it off in the middle of the storm then fix the chainlink wall the next morning, and resecure the top. Lesson learned the hard way.

The pic is from my coop cam, but I can try to take more if you have any specific questions.
56AB5B89-C9CF-4D40-95E8-33C4FE70B9CD.png
 
Last edited:

Gammas Bearded Babies

Free Ranging
May 24, 2021
3,249
15,401
726
Middle Tennessee
I'm in the Chattanooga area so a similar climate. I'm previously had a 10x10 chainlink coop under my raised deck, with a custom 4x4 house raised on legs so they could go under/in/over it. We're going to be working on the deck and I added chickens over the past year, so I build a second coop in the yard that's 10x20 but can be divided into 2. I haven't moved the house over because they prefer sleeping outside anyway, but just added 4 3-month old Welbars to the mix and had put in more areas to hide for now for their sake. I go in there multiple times a day to hang out, so I didn't worry about trying to get the coop/nest box access from the outside.

I used 1" coated chicken wire covering the whole structure with it extended 2' on the ground. I used 1/4"hardwire mesh on the other coop so was worried about things getting in the 1" size, but I've got a coop camera and so far between the camera and checking things I cannot tell that anything has ever gotten inside but the chickens. I use Sweet PDZ (horse stall deodorizer/moisture absorber) when it is very muddy out there then put down wood shavings over that, but that's maybe a once a month fix for when it's been raining too much and I haven't added anything in awhile. My yard is also sloped a little bit so it runs out pretty well. I've got 2 Silkie mixes that do not roost and sleep in a little rabbit/chicken coop in the far left corner, plus 2 big plastic rocks that I turned into caves with sand under them so they have a cool place to play. There's a plastic dog house with perch limbs and a nest box inside, a 2.5x4 tractor with nest box, and just recently I added 2 quail coops in there because my 1 pound OEGB was getting broody and was thinking about sitting on quail eggs, so one of those was for her and the lower was for the babies if they wanted to go in. Everone but the Silkie mixes sleep on limbs I have up for them, but make sure if you put up limbs you have them low enough that a raccoon can't reach down and grab a sleeping bird. (I haven't had this problem but my first chicken casualty ever was from a raccoon so I don't trust them and am cautious just in case.) I do have a shade sail over one side where the sun comes in more, but they are under shade trees and do not get direct sun in the summer. This winter I may move their 4x4 house in there, but they rarely slept inside it when they had it and prefered to sleep on top, so I think with as few nights as we get when it's freezing and wet I may just leave them as is. They're fine in the cold, and I only make sure they're put into something covered if it's going to be freezing and wet. With yours being more open and depending on what kind/how many birds you have, you may want to block it more like the Woods coops are built. Good luck with yours.

Edit to add.... do not add a solid top unless you are sure it will not bow under weight. I had the chicken wire on mine plus extra supports every 5' on top, and the first storm after I put them out there I put a tarp on a small portion over the tractor trying to protect them. It quickly held water and ballooned down, taking down the back chainlink wall with it, and almost squished all the birds. I had to go stab it and drag it off in the middle of the storm then fix the chainlink wall the next morning, and resecure the top. Lesson learned the hard way.

The pic is from my coop cam, but I can try to take more if you have any specific questions. View attachment 2760086
Oh wow! Sooooo super happy u responded since you understand our area AND I have 3 silkies and 1 polish! After I read all these and ponder them I may reach out to u if that's ok.
 

3KillerBs

Addict
13 Years
Jul 10, 2009
19,291
55,188
1,266
North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop
I can't answer all the questions, but some thoughts,

Chicken wire is good against hawks but raccoons can climb.

You will want a 3-sided shelter at the end that faced the prevailing winter storm winds. Keep them dry and out of the wind and they'll keep themselves warm. (Come winter you might want to add some storm baffles in the run part. See my post here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/winterizing-coop-and-pen-nc-sandhills-version.1431885/

You don't need any bedding or litter until the grass is giving up, which will take an unpredictable amount of time. I am told that if you add the bedding/litter to the top of the slope it will migrate to the bottom over time. So, if the wind direction and slope direction are compatible you can put the sheltered area at the top of the slope.

You will indeed need something to contain your deep litter inside the structure. I'd be more inclined to line the inside with the cinder blocks than to attempt to perch the structure on top of them because of the great difficulty you'd have in leveling it, securing it, and closing gaps -- especially if your soil ever freezes enough to create frost heaving.

We're planning on using either Hardieplanks or metal siding for our bedding-retention system in the Chicken Palace.
 

Gammas Bearded Babies

Free Ranging
May 24, 2021
3,249
15,401
726
Middle Tennessee
You will indeed need something to contain your deep litter inside the structure. I'd be more inclined to line the inside with the cinder blocks than to attempt to perch the structure on top
I don't have the cinder blocks yet.
And based on
You don't need any bedding or litter until the grass is giving up, which will take an unpredictable amount of time.
I shouldn't need anything for a while.
So I'll keep my eyes out for hardieplanks or metal siding for inside the structure for deep litter purposes.
Thank YOU!!!
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom