Need some help with a new coop we're renovating this Summer please!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by CandiceN, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. CandiceN

    CandiceN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 30, 2011
    NH
    I just got a 4X8 (6ft tall at highest point) dog house off Craigslist for free (woohoo!). We currently have only 2 chickens in a 3X3 coop with a 4X8X2.5 run. We plan to connect the existing run to the 'new' coop once we get it renovated. We are hoping to add several roost levels w/poop boards on the sides. A few questions...

    1) how many chickens could we have total in this space? Going by the 4sq ft rule it would seem the max would be 8, which would be fine for us (we would probably only have 5-6 for now and see how it goes). If we ever decided to get more than that, could we figure in the outside run space into the calculation? We have half the run covered by a tarp and that's where the 2 we have spend most of their day.

    2) how do we make sure it's insulated for winter? We're in NH so we need it to be warm enough. There are 2 windows built in, which we will be covering with hardware cloth and hopefully adding windows that can be opened or closed (currently there is one missing and the other is built into the wall).

    3) how about ventilation? How do we do that while avoiding drafts on something like this?

    4) suggestions on material for a door? The opening is only about 3 feet tall, but we could still duck under and then stand up inside for cleaning and such. I just can't figure out what to use that is easy to use and easy to secure, since it's not the size of your average door.

    Here is a picture of what we're working with, if that helps at all!

    [​IMG]

    And here it is next to what we currently use:

    [​IMG]

    Thank you in advance for any help you can offer us! The little red coop you see was our first attempt at a coop, so we don't have much experience with this stuff [​IMG]
     
  2. dianaross77

    dianaross77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2010
    Grand Blanc, MI
    I might add a couple of vents on each end of the gable. Just cut a hole and cover with attic vents they sell at home depot or you could use indoor vents that could be left open or closed. Don't worry about insulation. Just make sure you have cold hardy breeds. If you don't get windows that close before it gets cold you could just board them up for the winter. I wouldn't count the outside space in your calculations. The rule is at least 2 sq ft but 4 is better in the coop and 10 sq ft outside space. They won't be spending much time outside in the winter and can start picking at each other if the quarters are too close. As for the door, I would consider cutting a larger opening for it. If you did, you could use a regular door cut down a little.
     
  3. CandiceN

    CandiceN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 30, 2011
    NH
    Thank you for the reply, I appreciate it!
     
  4. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 27, 2010
    Wow, that's cool. My little coop is about the same size and yours has gabling! I've actually had 12 in mine at a time but I was able to configure plenty of roost space. Mine doesn't have windows at this point and could probably use some more ventillation which might make me have to rethink some things a bit. It looks like you might be able to configure plenty of roost space at the roof line. Maybe it's already there in an a-frame structure underneath the roof.

    Now that it's summer you can secure the window with hardware wire and worry about something more later on. It looks like the construction is good and it's framed up on the inside making it easier to mount windows and doors. Let's put it this way if it isn't framed up, you might want to add something like some 2x2" wood framing to mount things. You might want to just measure the window now as it may be a standard size. In that case you can look on-line for a shed window.

    As far as winter, what you have there looks like it's more winterized than what you have although I could be wrong. You can always think more about that later. Once you've secured door and window I'd think about extending that roof line out a bit in either direction and redo the shingles on top. With no overhang water will more easily penetrate. So first things first:

    1) Decide on a location and decide to raise or not (if it's raised enough it offers some outside shelter and will keep them warmer to be off the ground (I can't tell by design whether it is or it isn't). It looks like at minimum it should be sitting on top of some 4x4's.

    2) Eventually you could add some external nesting boxes which would free up room on the inside. For now maybe you have something temporary to use. You might be able to make use of the old house or materials for these.

    3) Secure the window with hardware wire. You might even be able to make a removable frame you can bolt from the outside to the inside. The door, I'd use a plywood rectangle mounted on a more solid square frame. Make the plywood be the back stop or make a backstop inside (so the door can't be pushed in and only opens one way, just like a door in the house). Make it so critters can't push in and make it solid enough so they can't pry it open. Get a solid latch and hinges. Like I say, if it's framed it'll give something solid to mount to.

    4) You may already have a roosting place or you can add 2x4's at the roof line and mount them with fencing brackets.

    In looking at it again, it looks like you have some awning over the windows but the door side is flush. Maybe the best way to start is to worry about that later. It does look like the roof material doesn't cover completely. Maybe you can just clean it up and put another layer on the top. Slap some paint on it.

    If it were me, I'd want to get it up and running as quickly as possible for the hens. Do the most basic first, keep focused on the immediate concerns and that way they can begin to occupy it and you can rennovate over the summer. Chickens are happy. You don't have to do too much at once.

    I like to think of it as a work in progress and when I do something, think about ways to rennovate so it can continue to be occupied and still allow room for future enhancements.

    What a great find, you scored!!! [​IMG]

    BTW, I be that wasn't easy to get home!
     
  5. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Chillin' With My Peeps

    You have a good start. Suggest you plan on cutting the existing door big enough for you the walk in and put a chicken door in it and simply put it in the secure run (that has fine wire down low, skirting, and a wire top) and then you don't have to worry about coop security because the run is solid plus the chickens can come and go as they wish. Cover at least part of the run so the birds can go out in the winter too. You can attach stand alone nest boxes to the run, build them into the coop or set the coop back against the fence and be able to collect eggs without entering the run via a drop door.

    Don't worry about your winter temps, chickens will be fine if the gable vent is on the opposite end of the coop as the roost and the wind is blocked. You need to vent off the warm moist air and the ammonia fumes (air in the chicken door and out the vent) but don't want the cold aid coming in the gable vent and dropping onto the birds.

    As for summer ventilation, consider opening up the entire lower side and covering it in the winter with the piece you cut off
     
  6. CandiceN

    CandiceN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 30, 2011
    NH
    Wow, awesome suggestions, thanks guys!! We are planning to do all those things on some level, so this is great to have some real ideas to work with.

    And no, it was NOT easy to get home; I have the bruises to prove it, lol. It's a LOT heavier than we expected! But it was worth it, and I think the chickens will love it once we're done.

    My hubby power-washed it yesterday and later today we're going to have some help moving it into the right place, then we get down to renovating so we can move the girls in there and get a few friends for them [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2011
  7. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] That thing is built like a tank!!! Except for a door and window you're really ready to go.

    I'm out in California so I don't have to worry about a snow load but alot of people will take a shed like that and extend the roof line at a reduced slope to add additional covered area for more storage (I'd be thinking outside run). You could even wrap the run all the way around but I think the previous poster is right, it's nice to have access to the outside nest box if you want to without going inside.

    When I built my coop I didn't know anything about ventilation. It's been okay so far but I thought it could be improved. This had some good insight on ventilation and airflow:

    http://www.ces.purdue.edu/extmedia/AE/AE-97.html

    I thought a bit of an awning over the door might be cute. More important though, I would think if you did extend that roofline a bit over the door (and in back if necessary), you could do so with brackets or by someother simple means where you don't have to redo any of the existing roofline. I'd work with what ya got.

    I suppose you could just wait and put some corrugated roofing on at some later time and just let that extend out a bit over the door as an awning. That stuff is pretty rigid and strong (and maybe the snow would slip better). You know, just something so when it's dripping it doesn't dribble down the front door side (It sort of reminds me of one of those little barn homes which have little or no awning on the ends).

    Hey, I'm all for simplicity. The thing I love about the chicken coop and yard is that you can always add on later. Just dream up a simple set of plan phases because your ideas might change over time anyway! There's all kinds of possibilities but you kind of have to think of the most important thing(s) to do stepwise and stick to the plan so your don't get overwhelmed!


    BTW: A car jack came in handy for lifting my chicken house one side at a time onto railroad ties and so forth (but be very careful). We're not spring chickens here any more so I don't bother trying to get hubby to help with his bad back (and he doesn't 'do' chicken stuff anyway). But what I wanted to do is raise it up so I could put a corrugated roof on my dog kennel run (and I wanted the water to run off the top of my coop and across the run's new roof).
     

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