New Coop and Run Any Suggestions (New to Chickens too!)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by 4CrazyEggs, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. 4CrazyEggs

    4CrazyEggs Out Of The Brooder

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    My wife, 4 kids, and I are excited to begin this adventure.

    I built this 12'x12' run with an elevated 5'x3.5' coop. I have realized my mistake and added chicken wire to the bottom two feet to prevent the little ones from escaping. I am thinking that I am going to keep about 6 hens and hopefully their eggs. I think I made the entrance too small and have already built a ramp. I put in a wind break divider to reduce the draft from the opening. I am also going to figure out a door to close it off at night if that is advisable. I have not yet built the nesting boxes, figured I had a little time. I was going to cover the inside plywood floor with linoleum squares for easy cleanup. I am going to put a perch in the coop made by 1"x1" square wood stock. Not sure of the placement of the nesting boxes to the roost. There is a large access door on the left for cleaning and egg retrieval.

    I wanted to start with small chicks but was delivered two 11 wk old Ameraucana pullets today by mistake. I wanted to the kids to handle them and get them used to us while in the house under a lamp. Not sure how to get the pullets to use the coop either.

    I plan to free range them in the rest of the backyard if it works out every now and then.

    Food and Water Placement?

    Any suggestions on making it a happy coop and how many Hens it could comfortably support?
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  2. vclark321

    vclark321 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well you are certainly in the right place for information! So many great people here. Your coop looks wonderful and so does the run! Depending on where you are at you can always go to a local feed store and get yourself some chicks that are just days old. I have thrown straw on the floor of my run and I put the girls food under it to give them something to do while I sleep during the day. (night shift worker) I let them out to range after I wake up. I have their water sitting on a flat rock in the run too. I have linoleum in my coop and use straw there too. I am modifying the coop to put the nesting boxes on the outside of the coop with access from the inside and add another roost for the girls. I just got 3 more chicks. When I put the girls outside in their run they investigated the coop and went up and down the ladder and checked everything out on their own. At dusk they put themselves to bed and I lock up the coop and they sleep until I get home in the morning.

    That is my story. You will find things that work for you and things that don't! Good luck and welcome to the joy of chickens!
     
  3. wilbilt

    wilbilt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My first mistake was making the enclosed portion of my coop too small. I was planning for 2-3 birds and built it 32" x 72". Then I found out TSC has a 6 chick minimum purchase. Live and learn, we'll see how it goes.

    I used sheet vinyl on the floor because I had some left over from another project. I have heard the squares are not such a good idea because the edges lift up and gunk gets under them and is impossible to clean out.

    A 2x3 or 2x4 with the wide side up would be better as a roost than a 1x1. Stronger, too.
     
  4. 4CrazyEggs

    4CrazyEggs Out Of The Brooder

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    So unfortunately last night some sort of predator got into the coop last night and took my two 10wk old EE pullets. My wife was unable to catch them to put them in the coop while I was at work and by 5am they were snatched. Only feathers remained. I am frustrated that it occured and am new to Chickens. I am thinking it was a cat. I haven't seen any foxes around my place for years.

    My questions is by looking at the picture do you think I would need to cover the top of the run or just make sure the hens are in the coop with the front door shut? Covering the 12'x12' run that is 5' high will be a chore.

    Any ideas?
     
  5. jeepguy982001

    jeepguy982001 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    4crazyeggs yes covering your run will prevent losses coon or cats can easily climb up that. Locking your hens up good will prevent losses but not every night that is possible before dark "in my opinion" sometimes there is out to eat dinners or staying at a friends house to long, It's better safe then sorry. Wilbilt i used the squares in my coup because i got them in the discontinued pile at Lowe's for 3 cents each and they been fine and you could always staple the corners down if you'd think they'd come up.
     
  6. 4CrazyEggs

    4CrazyEggs Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks JeepGuy that makes sense and are good points to consider. I would like to walk in the coop so I have to raise the height on the roof a bit.
     
  7. jeepguy982001

    jeepguy982001 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    lol don't worry i have to raise mine too. I made it about 3 foot tall which is fine for the chickens except when i need to try to catch the skittish ones. So a rebuild is on the way. Good luck on your run.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012
  8. fried green eggs

    fried green eggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] I'm so sorry for your loss! I have barn cats that won't mess with my chickens during the day but, if they found them sleeping at night - probably. You will want to make a door you can close & latch to keep chickens safe in the coop at night. A simple drop down door with hinges on top, lift with pulley/rope to roof - can also help keep rain out of coop during the day. Covering the run is pretty easy too. I covered my 10'X28' run with heavy black netting from Lowes - it's light weight but, it's pretty strong - believe me. It comes in a 4' x 50' roll for around $15.00. I stapled the netting to 2x4s and pulled it taught and stapled to opposite side of run. I overlapped it 6" and used small zip-ties so there is no gaps. I have been told it gets weak after a couple years in sun so, I plan to replace it every other year. I should have taken a picture of my chickens run from the last snow storm. The snow came down pretty heavy overnight and was very wet (Perfect for making snowmen type) that netting held 6" of snow on top of it. Now it did sag 3' in the middle of run but, the ground in the run was just dirt - no snow. I went in with a plastic rake and hit the netting from underneath and it popped back taught & good as new. It won't do this with most snow but, that night it came down in big wet snowflakes and just stayed on top. [​IMG]


    Lots of great information on this site - you can just type in your questions in the Search under whatever topic and it will give you hours of reading and lots of ideas. Nesting boxes that you can access from the outside of the coop - lots of designs on this site ! I think TSC Chick Days ends before Easter. Good Luck. Your setup for chickens looks Great [​IMG]
     
  9. 4CrazyEggs

    4CrazyEggs Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for great info! Thanks for all the thoughtful comments. I will probably cover them with the netting. Might even add some shade in the summer. Cool em off a little. We have warm summers and cold winters here in Colorado. I am looking forward to the benefits of the care, interaction, and the eggs with the chickens and my kids. I really felt bad for the loss of those two pullets, I probably underestimated teh risk. We have 4 RIRs almost 4 wks old and will not put them out until I have enclosed the top. The little chicks were so friendly and my kids loved holding them but lately we have been taking them out on day trips to the coop and they run, run, run from my kids when they try and handle them or put them back in the brooder. They will still come around the kids but don't wanna be picked up. I am guessing they want to stay out there.
     
  10. Melinda35

    Melinda35 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When you get ready to put your new chicks in the coop just leave them closed in the coop not the run for about a week and then they will know that is where they are supposed to go at night after spending time in the run all day.

    I noticed that you don't have any windows or ventilation in your coop. Not sure about your weather conditions there but you might consider a window for light during the day. Ventilation is important to allow for the moisture to escape and the ammonia smell to not build up. I am no expert on this as I have an open air coop here in Texas. Someone else with better knowledge could give you better information. I do know that it is important though!

    Sorry about your losses. It is definitely a live and learn situation. It will get better!
     

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