Need some advice please.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by PotterWatch, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

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    OK, don't laugh but here are the plans I have drawn up for the coop I am planning to build. I would really like for people to look at it and tell me what they think may not work and perhaps give me ideas to improve it. I am obviously not an architect, and not particularly handy, but I am going to try and build it with minimal help from my very busy husband and perhaps some 6 &8 year old helpers. The back of the coop will butt up against our shed so there will be no windows or other openings on that side. I will be housing six girls in this coop. Thanks for your help!

    The front where I will do all my cleaning from:
    [​IMG]

    The side that will face the yard. I put the pop door here so that we can see them as they go in and out:
    [​IMG]

    The side that will face the fence and no one will ever look at:
    [​IMG]

    Finally, my plans for the inside:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. lauralou

    lauralou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Heather,

    I'm sorry, I don't ever "get it" when I look at drawings, but I have a coop that is similar to the one that you are thinking of. It is 3X7, so that it fits nicely under a 4X8 sheet of plywood for the roof.

    [​IMG]

    The front is 4' high, slanting down to about 3 1/2' high in the back. That way, you can use the 4' dimension of the T-111 board and save a little material on the doors. There are 2 big doors that open, and the pop door is set in a stationary panel between them. The "legs" on the coop are a little over 2' high. For me, that is a good height for leaning in to clean it. Also, the 3' width isn't too much for me to reach the back. I'm not a big woman!

    [​IMG]

    I built in a double-decker nest box, and the roost is maybe 1 foot off the floor, and 1 foot off the back wall. My heavy bodied girls never use the top box, but the lighter, flightier ones do, like the EE's and Andalusians.

    [​IMG]

    The coop has one window, covered with hardware cloth. I saved the piece of siding that came from there, and may reattach it this winter. I'm not sure how that will work out. We don't have a lot of really cold weather here in Virginia. Also, the window faces away from the prevailing wind, and rain never blows in from that direction.

    I like this design a lot, and built a second one just like it as I acquired more birds. (Actually, as I look back over this post, both coops are pictured.) It's very simple and easy to build. Hope I was helpful. Good luck with your coop building!

    Edited to add: My nest boxes are a little bigger than the ones you have planned. They are 15"X15". 12X12 seemed a bit small. Somehow, to my eye, 3" made a difference.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2008
  3. pkeeler

    pkeeler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you get a lot of rain or snow? The pitch of your roof is very shallow. Probably not a big deal in SoCal, if that is where you are from.

    I think you are going to want more ventilation.

    It is hard to tell how you are putting your roof on. To have plywood span 6' in length and 5' in width, without any support is going to lead to sagging. Then with the shallow pitch of the roof, I think you will have rain puddle up on the roof and lead to disaster. I would at least run rafters every 2'. That will give you something to hang your feeders from too.

    You have plenty of room to put your roosts at the same height and 18" is a little low. If it gets hot there, then your present arrangement will work to your advantage. If it gets cold there, I would put them at the same height and move them closer together (1' apart).

    Lauralou, pretty coop [​IMG]

    Laura's roof pitches 6" for 3'. 2" for every 12" is shallow, but I'm from the Northeast. Your roof will pitch 6" over 5'. If you get rain/snow, I would try for 4" for every 12". Or a 20" drop from front to back.
     
  4. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

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    Thanks so much for your replies!

    Lauralou, your pictures are very helpful for me to visualize what mine might look like. I was also thinking about making the nest boxes bigger, I like how yours look.

    Pkeeler, we don't get any snow and very little rain' maybe 17 inches a year. I was planning on putting rafters, but wasn't sure how far apart, so I appreciate the recommendation on that. Of course, I didn't even think of using those to hang my water and feed [​IMG] . Thanks for pointing out that possibility. It does get pretty hot here and I want to give the girls as much room to get away from each other as possible. When they go into this coop, my two groups of three will be living in the same space for the first time. They free range together now, but have separate coops. The couple times I have tried to put them in a coop together was a disaster, but it was also a much smaller coop than this one.

    Keep the advice coming please!

    Edited for spelling and clarity.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2008
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Entirely agree about roof support. YOu could get away with 1x4's or 2x3's (on edge), if you happened to have any straight ones around; although of course the usual 2x4s would be quite fine too. Also agree about ventilation - I'd add ventilation openings high up on the walls, on at least 2 walls, preferably tucked under roof overhang, with closeable covers.

    What are you going to use for roof/roofing?

    A thought about the dimensions of the coop: if you were to make it only 4 feet tall at the front, shading down to 3.5' tall at the back (a perfectly ok slope for a snowless and not very rainy climate, at least if you use good roofing materials), then each side of the coop could be cut out of a sheet of plywood with no seams, which will make construction a lot simpler. (Cut 3' off one end of sheet, then mark and cut the angle for the roof pitch, then drill a few holes and use a power jigsaw to cut out yer doors, then screw on batten-style trim strips to cover over the gap left by the saw kerf).

    Indeed, you might want to try laying out the whole thing on paper, in terms of how to cut it out of 4x8 plywood sheets and whatever size of 2x4 you have (or can easily transport), and then see if there are any other 'meaningless' alterations that would help you make more efficient use of materials.

    Have fun,

    pat
     
  6. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    Your plan looks very doable and usable to me.

    lauralou - I just want to comment that you want your roosts higher than the nest boxes or you may end up with chickens sleeping in the nest boxes and then you end up with poopy eggs. (I know this from personal experience.)
     
  7. lauralou

    lauralou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I was afraid that might happen, and cut out some boards to fit in and block them out of the boxes. I used them for the first few nights, then haven't used them since. They don't get in the boxes to sleep.

    My girls are so smart! Of course, the boards are still in the coops, tucked out of the way, just in case.
     

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