Need advice on coop for our location

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chickNpink, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. chickNpink

    chickNpink Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2009
    We live in west central Missouri (KC Metro area). We need to get a coop built SOON. We have 3 standards & might possibly add no more than 3 next year. So, we need a coop that will house 3-6. I've looked at ALL the coops here & looked online too. OVERWHELMED is the word! I have seen TONS of things I like. A little from that one, a little from this one.... and so on. We can have nasty, cold winters & hot dry summers here. Before we start, I'd like to know FOR SURE what kind of materials, ventilation, roofing, etc., would be best for the girls. We are leaning towards a stationary coop w/ run attached. Also, it needs to be something that people w/ NO, NONE, NADA carpentry skills can accomplish. Any help &/or advice will be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks so much!!!
  2. Crabella

    Crabella Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2010
    Inland Pacific NW
    Get yourself a copy of the "Coops for Dummies" book. You can get one from the BYC store. You can build a coop. Really you can. And if it not perfectly square or plumb, well, the chickens won't care... honest... LOL Mine don't. [​IMG]
  3. write2caroline

    write2caroline Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2009
    I built two types of coops - one was that a frame coop which I do like very much, it has good ventilation and has been very good about keeping predators outs and chickens safe. I don't have to let them out into the yard as it has the run underneath
    catawabe coop. I think it cost me less than $200 It was close to that even with the hardware and it took two weekends to build

    I have also built the pallet coop. Materials were FREE - we even reused the nails. Both are good for all weather - even in Jacksonville we get below freezing days - albeit not many. I use deep shavings in the pallet coops and hay in the a frames.

    My pallet coops are up off the ground and they do not have a run underneath but when we built them we had already made a run so I didn't need a tractor. The catawabe can be moved - the pallet coops cannot be.

    Chickens are equipped for hard weather. Ventilation is most important. You need them to be draft fee because it is frost that causes problems in winter and too much heat in the summer is also bad. So keep that in mind whatever you decide to build. Also think about how you are going to clean it out. I find the pallet coop is easier to clean because the whole sides open on both sides so I can sweep out the dirty litter easily and hose it down. My A frames also are easy to clean. If you build it - paint it. Paint helps preserve the wood and makes cleaning easier. I waited a year to paint the one coop and that was a mistake. Also think about the roosts. If the girls sit on their fee and the roost is wider - their tooties will be warm too. They don't perch like parakeets and parrots.


    Think about feeding them too. You can use all kinds of found objects and repurpose them for your chickens.

    Last edited: Jun 12, 2011
  4. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Chillin' With My Peeps

    For 6 birds, you need a 4x6 coop minimum (figure 4 sq ft per bird on interior space). As to your weather, it's ambient temp that matters and you are mild (I grew up in Iowa) so insulation is not a requirement as long as the coop has a tight roof, is not drafty but it MUST have ventilation for summer heat and winter moisture and ammonia fumes that accumulate. You should plan a coop that you can either walk inside or that is accessible for cleaning and maintenance. Crawling in poo is not fun. All a coop really provides is a place to roost that protects from the weather, a nest box and feeder can really be anywhere that they are dry and water fount can go anywhere but remember it has to be heated when temps are below freezing and refilled a couple times a day when it's hot so it should be easily accessible.

    Suggest you build for the heat with large open panels for air that are covered with 1/2" hardware cloth and when the weather goes bad, simply close doors & windows or cover the openings and the birds are sheltered. Old wooden frame windows hinged over a wired wall opening make great opening covers as well as letting light and winter sunshine in. Another idea would simply be to reinsert the cut out panel from the vent openings for the winter. Avoid a design with vents that allow cold air to draft directly on the bird's roost as they will sicken easily,like a kid, but again you must have some winter ventilation.

    For a easy run, use a pre-fab chainlink dog kennel and attach a additional panel for a top cover to keep hawks, owls, and coons out and it makes a nice roof to lay a tarp on for shade. For 6 birds at 10 sq ft per bird you need 60 sq ft minimum, but if you put your coop inside the kennel, then you will have to go correspondingly larger and chickens would love it if it was even bigger. Remember to skirt the outside of the run (and coop if it has no floorand is outside the run) to keep diggers out, this is as simple as one side of some 18 to 24 inch wide wire to the base of the run panel and letting it lay flat on the ground.

    For a start up coop, why not find a kid's playhouse, coop, or small building on Craigslist and modify it to meet your needs. That keeps the cost down and allows you to adapt and personalize it to you. Have fun with your birds
  5. azpenguin

    azpenguin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 4, 2011
    Tucson, AZ
    Quote:I've explained to my chickens that if they don't complain about my carpentry work, then I won't start thinking about which ones would make good meat birds.
  6. spotstealer

    spotstealer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 11, 2011
    Poynette, WI
    Here is my setup for my six ladies. Being in WI, I know cold/hot! I just set up the coop with the lower side to the west, and now windows to the north. It is 4X6, with a 12" overhang around. The run is 8X13. The chicken wire is reinforced with coated steel wire now. The run is a variation of a PVC greenhouse.

  7. chickNpink

    chickNpink Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2009
    Thanks so much for all the input! We definitely have some good ideas & advice to start with. Write2caroline & Spotstealer, thanks for the pics! Azpenguin....LOL!!! Also, Craigslist is a great idea! We've been looking daily for a used one, a playhouse & a dog run.....I think a lot of peeps must be doing the same [​IMG] will keep looking!

    Again, I really appreciate it [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2011
  8. Laurajean

    Laurajean Slightly Touched

    Apr 2, 2010
    New Hampshire
    I have to respectfully disagree with the suggestions that you should build your own coop. You stressed two things 1) you need it SOON, and 2) you have zip, zero nada carpentry skills. I think trying to do this under a deadline isn't a great idea. I honestly think you'd be better off buying a ready made coop. Sure, it's fun to build a coop, and a great learning experience, but trying to do this on a learning curve yet fast isn't a good combination. You'll end up very frustrated, and if your coop doesn't come out well, it may be prone to predators or dogs, etc., if you have those in your area, and it will just be heartbreak. I honestly think you should buy a nice ready made coop. You can always start out with a very basic model, and then add on to it by experimenting with your building skills. I also tend to think people too easily say "it's easy" who don't truly understand what ZERO carpentry skills means. It isn't easy. It's not the hardest thing in the world, but why experiment with a deadline? Get them something safe and ready made now, then add on at your leisure. That's my opinion. Good luck! [​IMG]
  9. Horizon Structures

    Horizon Structures Official BYC Sponsor

    Jul 1, 2009
    Atglen, PA
    Quote:I tend to agree. You could also potentially resell the coop then if you decide you do want to build your own, once you get in the groove, maybe decide more on a design, etc.

    However, keep building lead times in mind when ordering pre-made. Our lead time for coops is about 3 - 5 weeks. People hear that and sometimes get flat-out mad at us... they literally want us to have it to them that weekend! No, it doesn't necessarily take that long to build them--it's scheduling and coordinating delivery that takes time too. It's not our fault if people don't plan ahead and only look into a coop when they're "little" chicks are ready for it. I mean, most clothing orders will tell you 4 - 6 weeks. [​IMG] We've even altered some of our marketing campaigns to encourage people to order early too.

    Anywho. Rant over. Just plan ahead with the timing, that is all! [​IMG]
  10. chickNpink

    chickNpink Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2009
    Quote:Point taken [​IMG] .... If it were up to me, I would have bought one long ago. DH insists that it's something we can do (eventhough he travels & is home only a day or 2 a week). Not sure where we stand....maybe the girls will appreciate a cool garage a little longer (they do get outside during the day).....

    Again, thanks for all the input [​IMG]

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