New chick means new hen house in the future

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MandalaMaMa, Feb 28, 2015.

  1. MandalaMaMa

    MandalaMaMa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have been enjoying our 4 hens for the past 2 year so much that I have decided to add to the flock. We just got 6 new babies but this means a bigger hen house in the future. The one we have now is 4' x 4' and we are thinking about building a 4'x8' or 4'x12'. I'm looking for input and if you could do it again what would you do differently. It will be up off the ground at least 12" to 16". We are going to still keep our old one for new chicks or quarantine time or broody hens.

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    Last edited: Feb 28, 2015
  2. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Overrun With Chickens

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    I would build it bigger than I expect to ever need. If I were you I would go with 8x8 since you will now have 10 hens of various breeds. I found that my mixed flock was unhappy in the 8x8 with 12 hens. There was a lot of fighting even though they had a huge run.
    They are much happier in the 8x14 they have now even though I kept the run the same size and added more hens.
     
  3. RJSorensen

    RJSorensen Chicken George

    Yes, I would suggest eight by eight feet as well. There is no such thing as a coop too large. Should you have room to spare in the short term, use it for feed storage and supplies, feeders, or as a place to brood chicks. I even have a place for a chair to sit in my coops, I find the time spent watching the birds and enjoying their behavior to be some of the best time I spend in my day. Build on the ground and take the leap to a medium/small coop. If you are still in at two years, perhaps you are in for the long haul. Always fun to plan and dream, a part of being a successful bird keeper.

    Best to you and your birds,

    RJ
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Ditto the 8x8....x8 so you can walk into it, works good for the lumber usage and 4 feet is restrictively narrow IMO.
     
  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Build as big has possible; how about 8'x12'? Use the ground as the base, with a dig-proof perimeter foundation, and walk-in for you. at the Wood's coop designs, or modify a storage or garden shed. This is your chance to have the best set-up ever. Mary
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I don’t believe in magic numbers for much of anything about chickens, including how much space they need. We keep them in so many different conditions that no one number can fit everyone. I find the more I crowd them the more behavioral problems I have, the less flexibility I have in dealing with any problems that do show up, and the harder I have to work. You might follow the link in my signature for my thoughts about it, but I don’t give magic numbers, mainly things to consider.

    I strongly agree on you keeping that old coop. I suggest you fix it so both coops can open into the same run, maybe even building an internal fence in the run so you can split it if you want or leave a gate open and use it as one run. That will be real handy when you integrate them.

    Many building materials come in 4’ and 8’ dimensions. If you use those in your planning you can usually build a larger coop at no more cost with less cutting and waste. 6’ and 12’ dimensions aren’t all that bad either but avoid silly things like 5’ or 11’.

    For that many hens I’d certainly want a walk-in coop. Eight feet wide is great and I really like that much room but six feet is wide enough that you can put stuff in there and still have some room to work. One advantage to 6’ width is that you can put a roof with overhang on it, just having it slope one way (so the water drains away from the coop and run) and use still standard length materials. The wider you have to span the heavier the wood needs to be to support snow and ice load. You may have seen some roof collapses in the news lately. Still, I really like eight feet. If you have a double-sloped roof instead of a single sloped roof the supporting wood does not have to be that heavy, but that is more complex construction.

    You are on the wet side of the mountains so moisture is likely to be an issue for you. A lot of people have them but I really don’t like a raised floor. If a chicken can get under there it needs to be high enough so you can retrieve a chicken that might not want to be retrieved or they can build a nest under there. If chickens can’t get under there, it can a good place for mice, rats, snakes, or something else to set up housekeeping. You have to give serious thought to how you protect that floor from rot. If it stays damp it can rot. There are things you can do and many people are happy with their raised floors, but my personal preference is for a dirt floor.

    With or without a raised floor, you should not build your coop or run in a low spot that water drains to or even stands. A wet coop or run is a dangerous coop and run because of potential for disease. So think about that before you position your coop. I made mine by closing in the end of a shed but it was on a very slight rise. I did a berm and swale on the upslope side to keep rainwater from running in and filled the bottom of it with a few inches of dirt to raise it up even higher. Mine stays pretty dry but if a little rain or snow blows in through my ventilation it dries out pretty fast. If you don’t have a real option as to where you put it, I strongly recommend hauling in dirt or sand and building it up so water drains away from it, not to it.

    On the coast you are not going to get the really vicious cold temperatures the northern interior of the country regularly sees, at least not often. With your possible moisture issues ventilation is going to be very important especially in winter. I suggest you leave the top few inches at the top of the walls under your overhang open and put your roosts low enough that any breeze that comes in passes over their heads. That will allow air exchange while keeping a breeze off them. If you can manage that, they can handle really cold temperatures.

    Back to the size thing. The bigger you build the coop and run, the more flexibility it gives you in handling things that come up. You have to remain flexible. No matter how much you plan things never work out exactly as you expect.

    Good luck!
     
  7. MandalaMaMa

    MandalaMaMa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks everyone for your input. It has been really helpful. I think we have decided to go with a 8'x8'. This will give us plenty of room plus room to grow. I have attached a photo of what we currently have.The idea is to put the new hen house at the back of the yard and it will just fit there nicely. Both house will be open to the run but the currently one does have a little door that we can close off from the run whenever we need to. You can kinda see the bricks we laid out for checking the size and placement. Now the fun part beginning.

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  8. RJSorensen

    RJSorensen Chicken George

    You will be so glad you went walk in… the pleasure that awaits you inside that new building will astound you.

    Best to you and your new coop,

    RJ
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Great! ..and that little starter coop will be great for raising chicks in.
     

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