New coop!! Help needed!! (PICTURES)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by HunterRanch, Oct 17, 2014.

  1. HunterRanch

    HunterRanch In the Brooder

    Sep 27, 2014
    Thanks so much in advance for reading my ridiculously long, detailed post! ;) It's so nice to have such a great community for support in our new adventure!

    We're new to all of this so please excuse us! Here's the info:

    We live in southern California. The weather ranges from summers in the 80-100s, mild winters (no snow), the air is dry, it never rains, and we have no grass, only dusty dirt. The coop is under a tree that will provide shade from the high sun of the day, as well as it is built against a shed that will provide protection from weather and predators along one side.

    We have a sweet baby rooster (possibly a golden phoenix) that our wonderful neighbors are housing for us until we're set up. As well as two adult laying hens. Their breed is unknown as of right now.. our neighbors' friends can't keep them anymore and will be gifting them to us when we're set. No, we aren't too worried about only having one rooster and two hens. He is very docile and sweet and we hope that the women will raise him to mind his manners. However, should he begin over mating them, we have a nice home for him to go to.

    Our fine feathered friends will only be allowed outside of the coop/run a couple of times a week for an hour or so, unless they quickly learn their boundaries. They will never be allowed out anywhere near dusk as we have a lot of coyotes in our area.
    Our current concern is the coop. Excuse the poor picture quality, it is bright here and our lens is scratched.
    The coop is made from all recycled/reclaimed wood! :)

    This is the front view. We will be putting wood paneling, similar to what can be seen behind the nesting boxes, along the front on a hinge with lock so it can be opened for collecting eggs, cleaning, maintenance, etc. We have considered placing permanent fencing here so that in the hot summer days the front can be opened without chance of anyone escaping to provide a little more air flow. Hard to see in the picture, but there is also a roof on a hinge with lock as well.

    Here is a view down into the nesting coop. Two nesting areas up top will be adorned with straw for the ladies. The ground will have pine bedding. FIRST QUESTION: is this the only place we should have pine bedding? For instance, should we have it in the run as well? (See next picture)

    The bottom right of the nesting coop has an open doorway for access to/from the run. We will be adding the chicken fencing (set into the ground of course to deter our local coyotes) about 4-5 feet out to the right and will be as deep and a tall as the nesting coop. The food/water will be kept here. The very end of the fencing will have an access point so that we can enter as needed as well as let our fine feathered friends out to roam while supervised.

    Now for the QUESTIONS!

    FIRST question: is the floor of the nesting coop the only place we should have pine bedding? Or should it extend into the run as well? Our ground, as you can see, is a dusty dirt, which I think the chickens will like. Being that the coop isn't too tall, I don't worry too much about them hurting their feet when they land on the dirt from outside roosts.

    SECOND question: As of right now the only nesting coop roost we have is six or so inches of the ground in the very back and about six or so inches from the shed (best seen in the first picture). I'm guessing they won't like this roost and we'll end up taking it out. DOES THERE NEED TO BE A ROOST INSIDE? We were planning on adding two different height roosts in the fenced in run that the little ones will have access to 24/7. I'm afraid if they don't have a roost inside and need one, they'll start trying to use the walkway between ramps and dirty the ramps. This is a big question for us, so any help would be appreciated! As you can see, if they do in fact need one, we're going to have to do some major remodeling.

    THIRD question: As of right now we plan on using fencing for the top of the run, rather than a solid roof. Will this play any part as to if the little ones will roost outside? (i.e. maybe they won't feel as safe without a solid roof and thus won't want to sleep outside?)

    FOURTH question: While we have mild winters with no snow, that doesn't mean it doesn't get cool. We find ourselves making fires in the evenings throughout december and january. Is it acceptable to cover the fenced run with a tarp in these months, just in the evenings when it's cool, to help maintain comfort?

    FIFTH question: Do you see any problems or have any suggestions to make?? We're open! We are finishing our coop tomorrow and hope to have the chickens by end of weekend. Any advice on introducing them to the coop etc would be welcome.

    SIXTH question: We have a bit of an outside ant problem here. They're just the tiny ones, nothing crazy. I know the chickens will enjoy them, but will we have any issue with the ants going after the food/water? If so, what can we do?
  2. mississippifarmboy

    mississippifarmboy collects slightly damaged strays

    I'll try to help;
    1) I would put pine shavings in the coop but not in the run unless at some point your run gets muddy. Chickens love dirt and it is good for them.
    2)Just my opinion, but I would only put a roost inside the coop, not in the run. Unless your chicks are very small it might need to be more than 6" from the wall though, our's are from 12" to 18" from the wall. Roosting outside they will be exposed to the weather and invite predators.
    3) Wire will be fine on the top of the run.
    4) No need to use a tarp at all. Chickens do fine in the cold of even northern winters. As long as they are dry and not too drafty, they will do fine.
    5) The only thing I can say is make your coop and run as large as possible, you can over-crowd them, but you can never have too much space. Also be sure you leave a way for some light to enter the coop so the birds can see to find the roost in the evenings. Most chickens won't enter a totally dark coop.
    6) Ants most likely won't bother the water or dry food. If you do have a problem later just hang the feeder and warerer from the roof or you can place then in a very shallow dish of water slightly larger around than the feeder.
  3. Northern nurse

    Northern nurse In the Brooder

    May 2, 2014
    Not to be negative here but just a thought about your present set up, all of your chicken activities are are on the far side of the coop, getting to your eggs or cleaning up chicken poo will be a challenge with your walkway on the side you will be putting the door on, very hard to reach things from what I can see. You also want your roosts high and your nest boxes low. Light and ventilation are important too. I am afraid with this set up your birds will either be sleeping in your nest boxes or roosting and pooping on the walkway. Of course it will work for a while but you might want to check out the many examples of coops on this forum and see if you could reconfigure things to make it more user friendly. Good luck with your venture, chickens are a lot of fun.

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