Need some opinions please

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by yawningreyhound, Jan 25, 2014.

  1. yawningreyhound

    yawningreyhound Chillin' With My Peeps


    This is the coop with no furnishings. Pop hole is now to lower right. Floor has been vinyled.

    Finishing our coop which is smallish and I have 31 inches in depth (41 inches wide) in which to put roosts. coop is 45inches deep by 41inches wide.

    there is (not shown) a 14" deep by 41" wide nesting tunnel and I've left the top flat as another roost option for them.

    do I just give them one 2x4 about 16inches (parallel) away from the top of the nesting tunnel, hence providing two roost options? OR

    do I split the difference of the 31" available and offer them yet another 2x4 roost, making for 3 roost options?

    I have 5 gold laced Wyandottes.

    thanks guys!

    I may get to move my birds tomorrow evening from where they've been staying next door.

    I'm so excited.

    Marcia in Pinewood Springs, north of Lyons, Colorado

    Last edited: Jan 25, 2014
  2. Dwkuska

    Dwkuska Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 23, 2012
    Graham Wa
    eh... Sorry I am not following... but for 5 hens you should only need about 36-40" of roost as hens normally huddle so close they are almost on top of each other.
  3. yawningreyhound

    yawningreyhound Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm sure hoping they huddle with our lows of -15F, and yet I've read in several places I need to provide 10" of lateral space per "large" hen which I've read these are considered. Especially with our high 90's summers.

    and with the 41" of the top of the nesting tunnel and the 41" of the one roosting bar, that's 82" inches and plenty of space, but I didn't know if they preferred that narrower place to roost rather than the top of the nesting area.

    The birds are in a similar situation only much larger right now, and their roosting bars are 3 2x2s placed about 8 inches apart, plus a roost shelf, plus a nesting tunnel top of about 4 feet by 12 inches. And there's 32 birds.

    This is a conglomeration of flocks brought together through necessity due to the Colorado mountain flooding last September.

    It's a long story.

    But we're near to launch of my coop (started due to taking in, to my evacuated neighbor's 22-bird 8x10 converted tuffshed, a flock of the Sheriff Deputy's chickens he was going to slaughter when he had to evacuate for work), and I'm thrilled.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2014
  4. Dwkuska

    Dwkuska Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 23, 2012
    Graham Wa
    Well my coop has 2 54" roosts and al but 2-3 of the 19 in that pen sit on the top rung with space leftover. Dont ask me how they manage to pack it in so tightly as personally I think they shrink around bed time lol. I noticed your using 2x4's have you ever considered using Dowels? I use 1 3/4" dowels as I figure chickens are meant to roost in trees so a nice round dowel seems a bit more natural for them to grip onto.
  5. yawningreyhound

    yawningreyhound Chillin' With My Peeps

    I totally agree that round seems better, but then when we hit -15F and it was for several days, the flatter surface to keep their toes warm seemed logical. They're not particularly feathery and have been dealing with pecked areas since they arrived; it's way better but I think they have some further tail feathering to do which I'll hope they'll do once they're moved from the large flock. They're presently free ranged in the daytime and I plan on free ranging also with an alternative 8x10 roofed outdoor run for really snowy days.

    I thought I'd offer round roosts in the "summer coop." Another story.

    But in this "winter coop", I thought the flatter wider surface would lend itself to warmer toes.

    I never thought for an instant that we would EVER reach 15 below, much less for days on end with the high of 6F.

    First the dogawful flood, and now these extreme temperatures. I'm a native Coloradan and I've never seen the likes of our present weather.

    Thanks so much!
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    What is a 'nesting tunnel'?

    Birds might squeeze together for warmth, but they still need some room to get settled....~7 feet for 5 birds should be plenty, and flat is better for cold weather.
  7. yawningreyhound

    yawningreyhound Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yeah, we don't have 7 feet in a straight run. We only have 41 x 45 inches. It's a long story, This isn't the coop I would've built or had built, but the people whose birds I watched during the flood evacuation time were grateful, didn't mind that I brought in 7 strange birds (from the deputy who evac'd), and surprised us with a coop of our own and a matching storage building. The coop was darling but oh so inadequate. 23" of roosting area for then 6 birds, cracks between each of the vertical boards (old barnwood was used), 1/2" gaps around all the little doors (door at each of 2 nest boxes, pop door), and the whole side of the building is a door and there's a half inch gap on 3 sides. I sat inside it during one of our now frequent windstorms and it was like being in a vortex.

    Since I'd been trying to read and learn before acquiring a coop, I'd come across Open Air Poultry housing and it seems so sensible...

    But the people spent $500 on the little coop and $375 on the storage/supply building so there's $875 of buildings that we decided to make do. Since the storage had no openings save the big door, we made it the "winter coop" and we're making the drafty many-doored one the "summer coop."

    We added a window, a pop door, and I insulated the floor with a 1/2" piece of Foamular over which I vinyl peel and sticked. The upper half of the building was one thickness of barnwood and very drafty, so we covered that area with a sheet of Masonite and I caulked all the gaping holes in the remaining exposed vertical spaces. The corrugated roofing configuration provides what I think will be excellent ventilation, and I can add more air with the jalousie window we installed for air and light, plus I can open the pop door. When that all becomes inadequate with our hot summers, I'll commission the "summer coop" with all it's draftiness and myriad "windows" we can leave open.

    In between the two coops is an 8x10 bullet proof roofed outdoor run, and we're fencing a huge area in a big circle around the coops/run for free ranging use. We may electrify that fence at night, we're deciding that. We have all manner of wildlife predators, the bear being the most problematic; but he's never ventured as close to our house as the coops are located, so we're thinking a good fence in the daytime will be fine with the birds locked up at night.

    The coop I was watching had a bear rip off the bottom glass of the jalousie window, rip out the screen, and grab two birds off the highest roost which he proceeded to eat on the hillside. This was before my time. So I'm covering the interior of our window with that rebar fencing material that is thin but strong with a 3x4" pattern.

    My dilemma is today we're installing the nesting "tunnel" which I call that because we're not putting in vertical walls in the 41" wide nesting box (I believe I read that term on here somewhere). I noticed that these birds were always squeezed into the nesting boxes up at their present coop, 3 to a box frequently. these are like 12x12's and there were THREE birds in them, all of them from that flock of 7 which was reduced first to 6 thanks to a fox visit; then to 5 when one drowned in the pond when she stepped on the thin ice and couldn't recover. So now I have 5 birds, so in reading about tunnel nests, I decided to start out with that since they seemed to like it. I can always add verticals later. And I don't care if they roost in the nesting boxes, they've been doing that since September 11. I clean the coop's poop and soiled litter every day so I'm not worried about soiled eggs.

    I just want to offer adequate roosting areas that AREN'T nesting areas in case they'd prefer that now that they aren't competing with 27 other birds.

    So we're in a quandary about whether to squeeze two bars into the 31" that will be closer than the recommended 16 inch separation; or just install one kind of in the middle of that 31 inches and hope that and the top of the nesting tunnel will be adequate. This morning, we're thinking they need "launch" room to get up to the roost/nests,too, so maybe a centrally installed single roost in that 31 inches will be adequate with the option of the nesting box top shelf.

    I'm probably overthinking this, but I see how everyone crowds together so nicely on the three 2x2 roosts in the existing neighbor's coop which are extremely close together, like MAYBE 6-7 inches apart. I don't want to provide only one roost if two would be better. Over there, they also have the top of the nesting boxes, plus another high shelf above the 2x2's. There's birds everywhere at night in there. Another person had to leave due to the flood aftermath and now there's 7 MORE birds up there as of a week ago. So that's 32 birds in an 8x10 converted tuffshed that has a pop door that's always open into the 10x10 roofed bulletproof outdoor they're free ranged on every day that isn't inundated with the ground covered by snow or windy (they HATE the wind). It seems like a great situation for a big flock. And all the birds are so darned healthy! They've had birds for 7 years and have enjoyed stellar health throughout...losing some to predators occasionally (comes with the free range territory I guess).

    I hope mine adjust to the new apartment from the villa they'll be leaving.

    I'm so spoiled by the size of that thing! (I still take care of it since my birds are living there) Going to these 3x4' coops is a huge adjustment.

    Thanks everyone for listening! We're so excited about the whole move this evening!

    Wish us luck! I'll send photos when we're done. I've learned SO MUCH on this site and Robert Plamondon's, and if I NEVER drive another poultry staple it'll be too soon...she says 3 lbs of poultry staples later.

    Marcia in Colorado
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014

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