Need coop help! With a picture.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by hatchies, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. hatchies

    hatchies In the Brooder

    Mar 18, 2013
    We are new to chicks but are loving the adventure! We have 5 chicks, two weeks old and will be moving them out of the house in 3-4 weeks. My husband built a coop but I just don't think it's enough. Can I get your opinion?

    First of all, we live in an area that gets VERY windy! In the springtime the wind will blow between 20-60 mph. Unfortunately the only place we could place our coop was in an area that will get a lot of wind. The areas that are blocked by the wind are where we park our cars. In the winter it gets cold, into the high negatives at night and below freezing during the day for the most part. Poor chickens! One of our issues is how to block them from the wind and cold. We planned on cutting some spots out and adding chicken wire, probably on the sides but I've read a few posts and seen a few pictures where people don't put chicken wire.

    Is chicken wire necessary?

    Also, we have some neighborhood dogs that run around at night so we put the coop up where dogs couldn't see them and bark at them to scare them into never coming out. Is this too high? It's about 3 feet or so.


    We are also planning on installing a light to provide some warmth during the winter. Is that okay? Will it suffice?

    Another concern is the size. Like I mentioned, we have 5 chicks but I worry that when they are full grown the coop will be too small. My husband disagrees saying they will only be using the coop (should I be calling this a chicken BOX instead of COOP because of the size?) to lay and sleep at night but I'm thinking ahead to next winter when we have snow on the ground. Do chickens want to come out when it's cold and snowy? I tried to take some pictures of the inside but it was a little hard to get a picture that gives an idea. Basically, they are just nesting boxes with no where to roam. Do they need somewhere to walk around?

    My lack of knowledge is really showing here, isn't it!?

    Any suggestions/help/tips/ideas would be greatly appreciated!

  2. BuffOrpington88

    BuffOrpington88 Non-Stop

    Mar 20, 2012
    1. It would be best to use 1/4" hardware cloth to cover the openings. Smaller predators such as weasels would be easily able to enter the coop, and raccoons can fit their hands in through chicken wire. Hardware cloth is the way to go. Good idea to put in windows, ventilation is key.

    2. That height is fine, but they may simply jump out the front. Some chickens don't like to use ramps. Also, jumps higher than 18" can increase the risk of bumblefoot, especially in heavy breeds. When they jump down, they can get small cuts on their foot, which heightens the risk for infection. However, this seems to be very uncommon, so you don't have to worry about it too much. Just thought to mention it.

    3. A light will help with warmth, and it will also force them to lay through the winter. The light tricks them into thinking it's spring.

    4. Our chickens refuse to go out in the snow! [​IMG] There can also be a chance of frostbite if they are out for too long. For a standard size chicken, they need 4 sq. ft. per bird. It would be good if you could also find another area for them to walk around during the winter. Maybe if you had a section of a garage or outbuilding you could put them there.

    Good luck!
  3. miquwid

    miquwid Songster

    Feb 14, 2013
    Western NY
    My Coop
    Hello there and welcome, the basic rule of thumb is 4sqft per chicken so five chickens should have 20sqft of space on the inside along with places to perch (where they sleep at night). For protection you may want to build an enclosed run about 20sqft or larger and several places to perch as well. This way I don't worry too much about predators. But make sure you use something smaller than chicken wire especially since it is windy there not as much debri will fly in and you should double to protect agains predators. Remember it's better to have a space too big than too small. What type of chickens do you have? You can definately let them free range but I would still have a fenced in run when your not around therefore you can keep them protected but yet they can get out and stretch their legs. Your idea is great, I would expand on it in. If it is still cold and windy you may want to wait till the chicks are 8 weeks old to be on the safe side. On my run to protect against wind and cold I wrapped my coop and run in blue tarps and my older girls are doing great no issues. I'm also installing a a thermometer to be on the safe side. Also I added a solar powered motion activitated flood lamp because it's so dark since the coop is a 100 meters from the house.
  4. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Songster

    Oct 15, 2010
    Westfield, Indiana
    The first thing that jumps out at me is that the coop is cantlevered to a wall! You may want to consider a few 4x4 posts under that front edge for sure! As mentioned, 4 sf is close to what you want your coop space for 5 full size chickens. My coop has more that 4sf/bird since I use space for waterers and feeders. You could make several vents on the coop with hinged door flaps. This will give you the ability to close the ones upwind of the BIG WINDS and storms (see pic below). Hope this helps!

    Coop vent with storm flap
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2013
  5. 3KillerBs

    3KillerBs Songster

    Jul 10, 2009
    North Carolina Sandhills
    I've seen a number of photos here of chicken runs with wind panels installed for winter.

    It seems to me that the chickens would be more comfortable if you put wind panels and a solid roof over the windward side of the run. Or, at least, gave them a little, 3-sided shed to shelter in while they're out.

    If nothing else it would give you a secure place to anchor down their feed and water so that a gust doesn't spill it.
  6. Hi, I just built a coop off the purina webpage its 48"x48" and accommodates 8 chickens, easy to build and i have about a 100 dollars in it.can send pictures if you like. Grizj
  7. miquwid

    miquwid Songster

    Feb 14, 2013
    Western NY
    My Coop
    Show pics

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