Need Coop Help!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by EricaD, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. EricaD

    EricaD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2012
    So I'm new to all of this but super excited :)

    We have 5 acres, though mostly wooded, but there are several suitable spots to keep the coop, and I plan to let them free range most of the time anyway.

    The Plan:

    I already succumbed to chicken math and my original plan of getting 3-5 hens has now morphed into 8-10 hens and one roo (ahem, and maybe a couple of ducks, lol). To be fair, we have a sizeable slug problem and I've read that ducks are like slug death squads and we could really use nice, environmentally friendly slug killers!

    The Dilemma:

    We have a couple of good spots where we can build a fixed coop, but I'm also considering something moveable that we could relocate about once a week. But I worry about predators getting underneath a mobile coop, so it would probably need a wire bottom, but then I worry about the chickens' comfort!

    Idea #1 is to build an enclosed/covered, fixed structure using hardware cloth (a big framed box, if you will, with buried wire or set on concrete so that predators can't dig underneath), nice and big (what size footprint would you guys recommend?) with a hen house inside and an automatic door so that they can free range all day. The down side to this is that we both work, so we can't supervise them and I do worry about predators. But we have lots and lots of trees and cover for them to scramble and hide from hawks/eagles, etc. But the idea of them free ranging when we're not there does give me pause.

    Idea #2 is to do the above, but keep them locked up when we're not home, and allow them to free range only on weekends and when we're home (I work 4 days a week, so they'd free range 3 days a week all day, and during spring and summer, for a few hours every evening because it stays light until quite late. But during fall and winter they'd have to be locked up 4 days/week.)

    Idea #3 is to build a moveable enclosure that we can move every week, but not sure how to predator-proof it apart from having a wire bottom. But with this plan, we'd definitely want the automatic door so that they can free range all day every day.

    Making these types of decisions is so hard!

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!
  2. cooped up

    cooped up Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 6, 2012
    Portland, Or
    Welcome to BYC.

    If you are free ranging you won't need to be mobile with your coop.

    The general rule for size of coop is 4 sq. ft. per bird in the coop, and 10 sq. ft. per bird in a run.
    You can cover a run for security from raptures and a concrete floor would keep others out also.I believe that most of the predator stuff happens at night, so secure doors are a must.A coop/run is suitable for the days that they are not able to free range.

    Good luck!
  3. EricaD

    EricaD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2012
    So I think I've figured out what to do!

    I'm going to build it myself (with help) using the plan from TheGardenCoop for the large set up. I'm pondering modifying it to be longer, and adding a second hen house to the opposite side for lots of space and so that I can add more birds later. So it would essentially be an extended double cab :)

    It will be roomy enough for when the birds are locked up, and I can let them free range when someone's at home to keep a watchful eye.


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