Need coop design advice.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by armednhappy, Nov 14, 2016.

  1. armednhappy

    armednhappy New Egg

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    I'm in the process of building a coop. It will be 8x16, with an 8x10 coop and 8x6 storage area. Additionally, there will be a 16x16 run. Although i will start small, ultimately I'd like to have around 10-12 layers plus a few meat birds.

    My questions are: most coop/run pics i see on here have the run completely fenced in, even on top. I am planning on putting up a 5' fence, with galvanized hardware cloth buried a foot below ground to discourage digging predators. Do i need a fenced in top area?

    Also - I'm planning on a diy pvc waterer with chichen nipples (heated in winter). Is there an advantage for keeping food/water either in or out of the coop? Thanks in advance for the help!

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  2. Coyox

    Coyox Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have a fence at the top of our run, and I think most people do this because predators come from air just as much as they come on foot. We had a situation this summer where a falcon had found my freerangers. Luckily I was able to go out and scare the falcon away and lure them into their run for safety. But even after they were in the run the falcon stood on the top fencing and tried it's **** hardest to get it. I definitely recommend a top.

    Everyone has a different way of doing watering, but I like waterers inside the coop because it's closer to my layers who might not want to leave, and also it doesn't freeze as easy in cold weather.
     
  3. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    We put roofs on our runs to deter aerial attacks (hawks, owls, etc.) but also to keep raccoons and possums from climbing the fenced in run and getting in the coop area.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My run is 8' wide....bent conduit for 'rafters' clamped to Tpost 'studs'.......68" apart and 2" x 4" x 6' welded wire for roof, walls, and apron.
    Apron is much easier, and more efficient against diggers, than burying run wall down a foot below grade.
     
  5. armednhappy

    armednhappy New Egg

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    Nov 13, 2016
    Thanks for all the replies.

    Aart, by apron, do you mean something like hardware cloth bent at a 90° angle against the ground?
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Yep....attached to coop or run walls, or bent 90° if continuation of mesh walls, going out about 18-24".
    Can be laid right on ground, grass will grow up thru mesh.....or buried a couple inches so you can mow over it easily.
    I laid my run apron right on ground, but wish I had buried it a bit as the mower can hit in places it's not real flat.

    Type of mesh used depends on what you have (potentially) digging.
    My run is 2x4 mesh, same was walls and roof.
    But if you're doing apron around coop, you might want to go as small as 1/2" HC, especially if you have rats around.
     
  7. wingdwolf56

    wingdwolf56 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have both. Well, I actually have 2 coops, side by side. One coop is 4x6 and sits on an completely enclosed 4x10 tractor enclosure. The other coop is a 8x10 walk-in coop with a 6x4 walk in enclosure. Both coops open into about a 20x20 pen with no roof. It's great that your coop is a good size. I made my first coop and realized very quickly that, although it was plenty big enough for the girls; it wasn't anywhere near big enough for maintenance. Most everything was made using left over building materials from our house and a large deck and porch I tore down. I would have liked to put a roof on the large pen but I just didn't have enough material. I did buy clear plastic corrugated panels to block the winter wind. I let the chickens out into the big pen only when I know I'm going to be home and can keep an eye on them. Most of the time though, they spend their days in the smaller tractor. Although there are birds of prey in the surrounding area, so far I haven't had a problem. I plan to let them free range a bit next year, so they'll be exposed during the day anyway so I doubt I'll rebuild the big pen and add a roof. Best advice I can give is: if you have space, build coop and pen big and high so you have plenty of room!


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  8. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    I don't put feed or water in the coop. Main reason is I run small coops and want the birds outside every day so feed and water are in run. Other reasoning is rats and mice wont as readily get in the coop if you don't keep feed in it. Moisture in winter coops can be a problem so don't allow containers of water in it. My preferences and style of coops.

    How you manage run either covered or level of protection is greatly influenced by where you live and what's around you. I don't cover runs excepting small growout pens for chicks. I use electric to stop fox, coyote, raccoon from climbing fence or digging under. Small grow out runs I use an apron of 2x4 welded wire.

    Adding: Seriously consider your method of rodent control prior to getting birds and it becomes a problem. I personally use tamper proof bait boxes and chunx style bait right in the run. Some have reasons for not using poison period. There are other methods of control but they really are preventative and won't do much once you're overrun with rats. Take time now to devise a plan of action and implement it from day one. Rodent control is not talked about enough until there is a problem and you don't want that ever.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2016
  9. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    I use the apron around my coop and run and have been very happy with it. The original plan was to lay it out, then cover it with flat rock. We anchored it down to the ground with landscape fabric staples pounded flush to the ground until we could get enough rock gathered. Well, whaddaya know? The grass grew right up through it and we can mow right along the very edge of the run. That helped address the rodent problem too! No flat rock for them to nest under, and no tall grass for them to hide in. We never did put the rock down and we won't now.

    My run is covered to protect against hawks and climbers. But it also keeps small birds and squirrels out. Food waste is a big issue for me, and I don't want to feed any extra critters who might help themselves. Wild birds can also bring in lice and/mites, and the risk of that is usually high enough not to add to the problem.

    I keep food and water out in the run. Winter days are short enough....I don't want them to stay "cooped up" for any longer than they have to be. I don't worry about water for chickens on the nest - they aren't there long enough to suffer any dehydration and they don't eat or drink at night while they're roosting for the night anyway. Don't want any spilled food on the floor of the coop, and in my climate the last thing my coop needs is humidity added to whatever is produced by their own breath and droppings. That would be recipe for frostbite and chilling. Too often, in my opinion, a run is an afterthought with all of our focus on the coop, nests, and roosts. Don't get me wrong, it's critical to have a good setup there that reduces your workload and makes for a comfortable, safe environment for the chickens. But mine are only in there when they are roosting or laying, regardless of what temperatures we are experiencing. The rest of the time they are out in the run. I keep their pop door open 24/7 so they can go in and out at will. They wander out to the run when they get up in the morning and they are out there until the sun starts setting. They are also allowed out in the yard almost everyday, and I'm always surprised by the number of chickens I have who will go out even when there's a lot of snow on the ground!

    Good luck, and definitely welcome to BYC.
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Flat rocks or pavers covering apron can defeat the aprons purpose.......as an animal will dig under rock/paver and the apron.
     

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