New coop construction. Need advice

KathyK

Songster
10 Years
Dec 10, 2009
109
0
109
Liberty Hill, TX
I've spent a lot of time reading posts and looking at everyone's coop pictures and designs. I got so many ideas, and attempted to collect them into something that will work for us and be portable. This is what we have so far:
45558_img_3130.jpg

45558_img_3131.jpg


Part way into this, and have some questions. I have 11 standard chicks at 3 weeks. The coop is 6 x 8 and the run is 10 x 13. We are trying to minimize weight to be able to move this around. The plywood is all 1/4 inch or so. The floor is plywood with what was called white board on top. Nice slick surface. But, there is a crack between the 2 sheets that I am hoping to caulk to keep poo and moisture from collecting. Any other ideas? Is caulking going to stay put if covered with litter? Any problems if the chickens eat it?
We are going to cut windows in the other 2 sides and cover with hardware cloth. We live in a HOT climate. Will hinge the cut out wood to be able to close it in the winter. It will have a sloping metal roof and a full sized door on the open end to facilitate rake out of shavings.
I'm afraid the full sized door is going to make it all too wobbly.
I already see that I should have left a lip at the pop door to keep the shavings in.
I am planning a removable poop board/tray under the roosts. I see that it will have to be elevated off of the floor. Ideas? What about an elevated platform, cut another slot under the window? How high should it be? The roosts are 24" off the floor and 18" from the wall and 18" apart.
Nest boxes? I was planning on putting them on the floor on the opposite wall as the pop door. They will need to be elevated also, right? To keep poopy shavings out? How high?
This monster coop is already very heavy. It sits on 18" tall legs that we hope to put wheels on and move with a lawn tractor. Separating it from the chain link run and moving it also. I'm getting a bit overwhelmed at this point and hope to not make any big mistakes that will cost me in the end. Thanks in advance for any help.
Kathy
 

midget_farms

Songster
12 Years
Apr 15, 2008
1,359
11
194
Dunlap Illinois
I will try to answer some of your questions - but I don't know them all.

1 - no need to caulk the seam in the floor - the litter will cover it & any mess than can get in there will not be of consequence.
2 - Under the roost - I am planning to use low profile storage tubs from walmart (when I build the new coop in a couple weeks). They are about $8 each & setting 3 or 4 under the roost will catch most droppings for easy removal - no building necessary.
3 - you will need a door big enough for you to clean out the coop. If it is too flimsy add more structure! closing this in & having to crawl through the tiny door will be bad news.
4 - nest boxes should be raised. 18 inches will be more than enough, but they will use them if they are on the ground, there is just more chance of the eggs getting broken or the hens dropping eggs anywhere they want.

You have a great start! Good luck
 
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AtholCoop

Songster
11 Years
Sep 27, 2008
306
18
141
North Idaho
Quote:
Looks good so far.

What I like to do on doors is to go ahead and attach the entire panel, and then cut out the opening for the door. You can then use the cut out AS your door. Since the panel is still a solid piece (minus the door opening) you still get to take advantage of it structurally. Then I frame out around the perimeter of the inside of the door, so you have something solid for the hinges and latch hardware, as an advantage it also helps make the door more rigid.

img2107small.jpg


As for moving this thing, as long as you keep the wheels close to the center of gravity you shouldn't have too much problem moving it with a lawn tractor.
 

Shelly_WNC

Songster
9 Years
Feb 23, 2010
382
5
109
Pleasant Shade, TN
Your coop looks great so far ... just make the door big enough for you to get around in the coop for easy cleaning. How high are the walls?

Good luck in your building and post some more pictures of your progress.
 

Manok-Tao

Songster
10 Years
Jan 6, 2010
295
12
121
W-S NC
IT LOOKS GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For the pop door just screw in a piece of scrap wood across the opening to retain the litter.
You say you want to move your coop around, if so make sure you have stout structure at the corners and bottom, if not the movement will start lossening the whole thing.
your roosts look a little small in width...? most use a 2x4 with the 3.5" side laying flat.
no need to caulk the floor, if your using 3-4 inches of litter there will be (should be) no moisture.
I didn't like the idea of the hinges on my removable (seasonal panels), as they would be cumbersome and not to sightly when opened for so many months of the year. Mine are just siding panels (same as exterior of coop) that screww into the frame work around the opening. I can control ventillation when the weather is nasty by keeping some on, all on, some off etc. The seasonal panels I have are hardware clothed on the inside of the coop so the cover boards will fay flush to the outside wall of the coop when screwd on. One thing I did do backwards was hardware cloth my two big windows the same way (on the inside) When I screwd on the Lexan "window" to the outside wall it looked great. I soon could hardly see through them though...the birds are so dusty that the inner pane of the lexan got coverd with the dust....very hard to see inside. Still lets plenty of light in ; but there's no way to clean the inner pane as it trapped behind the wire cloth. When it warms up to the point that the windows will be removed I'm going to put the hardware cloth on the outside wall of the coop and trim it in....then next winter I'll screw the Lexan to the inside wall...allowing me to wipe it down.
Check my page and you'll see my seasonal panel set-up.
Make sure you weather proof the heck out of that 1/4 plywood, I know it's hot where your at and that will toast wood.....it also get's real wet there in about 3 minutes time too....kabooom

Motto to follow when building coop...It's gotta be user freindly to me (first)...then the birds
 
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KathyK

Songster
10 Years
Dec 10, 2009
109
0
109
Liberty Hill, TX
Great idea on the storage containers, Midget. Unfortunately, I cannot crawl into this many times. I don't think the floor would hold up. We created a slide for the poop board yesterday. It works, but is pretty heavy. 6' x 3' plywood. It slides out the right side.
45558_img_3132.jpg

I will cover the board with linoleum or something. Is 6" on either side of the roosts far enough to catch the falling poo? I don't know how far a chicken bum is from it's feet.
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So there is 12" under the poop board that I hope they can use as floor space. This really ate up a ton of their coop area. 4" of shavings....
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The coop is actually 3/8" plywood, not 1/4" as I stated.
I like the door framing, Itholcoop. It will make it heavier, but it needs to hold up. Do I put a removable plywood dam to hold in the shavings when the door is opened?
The walls are 4' high. I wanted to make the door the entire back end, 6x8, for easy cleaning, since I can't climb in.
I guess I need to change the roosts from 2x2's to 2x4's? I thought I read that both were okay.
Hm, makes sense to have the wheels in the center. Argh, we already have 4 legs at the corners. Were planning on wheels at the back and, oh gosh, I don't know what. DH was doing the planning.
I was going to use the plywood window cutouts as the hinged window. I didn't think about blocking out all of the light.
barnie.gif
Back to Lowe's! I'm up to $300 on this baby so far! My friends are calling it the Coop de Ritz.
I'm thinking of raising the nest boxes about 12" off the floor on a platform.
Keep the critiques coming, please. Better to fix it now.
Oh, one more thing, what advantages/disadvantages to hanging food/waterers in side the coop? Can they be outside in the run only? Do they need to be able to eat/drink at night?
Thanks
 

Manok-Tao

Songster
10 Years
Jan 6, 2010
295
12
121
W-S NC
The birds must always have access to water. If your going to shut them in at night then you need to have water in the coop. When they wake up they want water.
From "about April 20th til Sept 15th" I keep my pop door open 24/7. The food is always hanging in the coop and there are waterers both inside and out.
 

midget_farms

Songster
12 Years
Apr 15, 2008
1,359
11
194
Dunlap Illinois
You are making great progress! Keep it up!

You should keep the food & water away from wild birds if possible. Wild birds carry disease & worms & will leave droppings that your chickens will have contact with. That is why some keep the food & water inside the coop. Most wild birds will not go inside an occupied coop for a drink.

The size of the roost depends somewhat on your climate. When in very cold climates the birds will sit on their feet to keep them warm - they need a roost flat enough so their toes can be under the feathers. In warmer climates you can use a smaller roost as their feet wont freeze.

I don't really understand how your poop slide is supposed to work, but the size should be OK. most of my bird droppings are directly under the roost.

You don't need to block out all of the light with your window - use the cut out as the hinged panel as you planned. Believe it or not most birds live outside their entire lives & don't have a fancy coop - a little crack around the window won't hurt a bit.

Like I said before -you are doing good.

Good luck!
 
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KathyK

Songster
10 Years
Dec 10, 2009
109
0
109
Liberty Hill, TX
I live in a warm climate, mostly. Very hot in the summer which is why I was worried about having all of the food/water inside the coop. I bet they will not spend much time in there during hot weather.
The poop slide is removed through a slot in the wall. There is a handle on the outside of the board. It's a snug fit, so it's hard to see the slot.
I was using the hinged window cover to block out the wind and cold, not the light. I was worried that they would need some light during the day inside the coop, during bad weather. The windows will be pretty big to keep it cool during the summer, so there would be some heavy drafts during the winter if they are left open. Do I even need to cover them? What about these folks with the open air winter coops? They would certainly be drafty.
DH is revamping the whole wheel and transport plans. More pics later today.
 

Heathercp

Songster
12 Years
Jul 23, 2008
109
4
144
Chapel Hill, NC
I'm thinking about how your pull-out poop board is going to work.... You said it's a tight fit, right? Did you think about the fact that it'll be covered in stuck on piles of poo when you pull it out? Is it still going to come out, or is all that poo just going to get scraped off into the litter as you slide it out? I couldn't really tell by the picture just how you've constructed the board. I've seen some people make something like a drawer on slides that seems to work pretty well, but then the whole drawer comes out and it's got support on each side as it's being pulled out. I don't want to rain on your parade, but as you said, it's better to make sure it's actually going to work *before* you get the chickens in there.
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I might suggest cutting the hole of you pop door taller and then putting a board to hold back the shavings (as suggested by someone else). With that slick floor of yours (which will I'm sure be nice for cleaning), you'll have to put down enough shavings that the chickens aren't slipping around when they jump down from their roosts.

You might want to put in some kind of bracing with some scrap lumber just to make it a bit more rigid if you do plan to move it around much. I'm no expert in construction (DH does all of that for me), but I think you might be able to reuse some of those 2x2 perches to do this -- if you decide to replace them with 2x4s that is. We've got Australorps and they've got pretty big feet. I don't think they'd be comfortable on a 2" perch. I guess it all depends on the size of your bird.

We've only had our chickens a short time, but are already enjoying them so much. All your hard work on the coop will be worth it in the end.
 

MANNA-PRO

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