new coop project - a few pics, several questions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ericz, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. ericz

    ericz Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 16, 2011
    media pa
    hi all,

    i have had out two hens in a small chicken ark since last may, and i want to provide them with more room as well as make room for a few more hens on the spring. maybe six total. right now we have a cochin bantam and a rhode-island red.

    i dismantled an old, un-used structure and am re-purposing it as a coop. here's what i have done so far. it's not in its final location, so i have not nailed the floor down yet.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    i have a few questions, and i am open to any suggestions.

    1) should the high side be the front? south-facing in my case.

    2) should i put in a skylight or maybe use corrugated clear panel for the roof? or just use sheathing, tar-paper and shingles? i figured more light from the sky would lead to better egg-laying, is that the case? but maybe in the summer that would be too much light / heat?

    3) how to insulate for winter? i am in USDA zone 6 - 7.

    4) how to keep water liquid? anything electrical will necessarily involve an extension cord run about 50' from my porch outlet.

    5) maybe "clerestory" windows on the front, and below them, a downward-swinging door for cleanout and general access?

    there's about 2.5 feet of headroom underneath. i will enclose with hardware cloth or chicken wire for a run. i also have a 4x4x8 run completely enclose in chicken wire that i am going to attach as well. i also let them range around the yard on weekend afternoons.

    i am planning on two next boxes (two for six hens is ok?) on one side wall, with outside access doors for egg retrieval.

    i am planning on a trap-door ramp which i can pull up at night wih a cord from outside, and tie off. i got that idea from the chicken ark.

    feeder will hang from underneath one of the cross-members under the floor ( i also throw scratch grains). water, not sure, see above heating question.

    roosts: how many for six hens? front-to-back or lengthwise? they will be away from the nest boxes. what height relative to nest boxes and coop floor?


    i realize that's a lot of questions. i am looking forward to any advice or suggestions you all will offer. thanks in advance for your time and advice,

    -eric
     
  2. superchemicalgirl

    superchemicalgirl HEN PECKED

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    Jan 10, 2010
    Vacationland, Maine
    i have a few questions, and i am open to any suggestions.

    1) should the high side be the front? south-facing in my case.
    Where are you located? If you get a lot of snow or rain, yes, the high side should be the front where you do most of the business. I have a similar type coop and the snow piles up wicked high in the back. I would have to have to shovel that.

    2) should i put in a skylight or maybe use corrugated clear panel for the roof? or just use sheathing, tar-paper and shingles? i figured more light from the sky would lead to better egg-laying, is that the case? but maybe in the summer that would be too much light / heat?
    I'd go for plain shingles, that's just my preference.

    3) how to insulate for winter? i am in USDA zone 6 - 7.
    We used a combination of batting R-13 for regular framed 2x4 walls and owens corning styrofoam sheets. You have to cover both with internal plywood so the girls don't peck it. I used spray expandable foam for cracks around windows and doors. Yes, they eat that, too.

    4) how to keep water liquid? anything electrical will necessarily involve an extension cord run about 50' from my porch outlet.
    Depends on how cold you get. I run a 100 foot extension cord out to my coop and to a heated water base.
    http://www.tractorsupply.com/livest...-heated-base-for-poultry-water-feeder-2167298 (my local farm store had one)

    5) maybe "clerestory" windows on the front, and below them, a downward-swinging door for cleanout and general access?
    No idea what this is.

    there's about 2.5 feet of headroom underneath. i will enclose with hardware cloth or chicken wire for a run. i also have a 4x4x8 run completely enclose in chicken wire that i am going to attach as well. i also let them range around the yard on weekend afternoons.
    My girls love to hang out under the coop. It protects them from snow and rain, heat, and also from predators.

    i am planning on two next boxes (two for six hens is ok?) on one side wall, with outside access doors for egg retrieval.
    Two for 6 hens is fine. Some people on here have difficulty with their external access either leaking or causing the eggs to freeze if not insulated properly. Do a search at the top and read what's worked.

    i am planning on a trap-door ramp which i can pull up at night wih a cord from outside, and tie off. i got that idea from the chicken ark.
    I had one of these as well. My biggest thing was you need to polyurethane (or something similar) it. Mine swelled when we had about 3 weeks straight of rain and I was unable to get it closed. I ended up just going with a regular pop door that opens to the side when I did the addition, with no ramp. They get in and out fine.

    feeder will hang from underneath one of the cross-members under the floor ( i also throw scratch grains). water, not sure, see above heating question.
    If your food is going to be outside, just make sure to take it in at night or you'll be losing some to mice and rats and possibly attracting predators. In non-freezing weather my water always goes outside but my food is always inside. That was it gets less damp and less mess to attract non-chickens.

    roosts: how many for six hens? front-to-back or lengthwise? they will be away from the nest boxes. what height relative to nest boxes and coop floor?
    You want the roosts higher than the nest boxes. About 1 foot per hen.


    i realize that's a lot of questions. i am looking forward to any advice or suggestions you all will offer. thanks in advance for your time and advice,


    Good luck
     
  3. ericz

    ericz Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 16, 2011
    media pa
    here's where i am at so far:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    and my helpers:

    [​IMG]



    if you look along the front side near the top, and the back along the top, you can see a gap between where the siding will go and where the roof will go. i plan to leave these gaps as they are and cover them with hardware cloth. will this be too much ventilation? i am not heating in any way this coop.

    or should i fill in that gap and use heating registers on each end near the top for my vents? with those, i can close them up if it gets really cold. by "heating registers", i mean something along these lines:

    http://www.amazon.com/JR-Products-288-86-AB-TN-Dampered-Register/sim/B002UC8SZA/2



    i live in USDA zone 6 - 7. it gets in the teens sometimes.

    thanks,

    -eric
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2011
  4. superchemicalgirl

    superchemicalgirl HEN PECKED

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    Vacationland, Maine
    I'd leave it open. I leave my windows open all winter, coop's not heated and we get to about -20.
    As long as it doesn't blow on them all night (put the roost lower than the vents)
     
  5. wyododge

    wyododge Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 30, 2011
    Wyoming
    Looking good!!! I would leave the vents open too. Always easier to put up a towel to keep snow or whatever out than to have to cut new ones after it is built. Not sure I would bother with registers either, unless they are on a shelf in the basement. Clear story venting is very efficient, you may want a vent near the bottom that you can 'adjust' in the summer to let cooler air circulate up and help keep things cooler. In the winter if everything seems to be venting properly, you can close it off. It you need a bit more, open it a bit.

    Ohhh ya clear roof panels, I would shingle also but just to keep things cooler in the summer. The temp inside the coop will get much higher in the summer if the roof is clear, kinda like a green house. In the winter a solid roof will hold snow, and provide extra insulation.

    I would not insulate, but we live in the country so mice just shred the insulation and nest inside the walls. It really gets to stinking after awhile. Just our experience though, others here insulate with very good results. We also built our coop inside of a barn, so there was no way to keep the mice out of the wall cavities.

    One thing for sure, that coop is built strong enough to land a C-47 on!!!

    Looks like you got er nailed!!!
     
  6. effie

    effie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 5, 2011
    West(by god) Virginia
    sounds like your first responder covered pretty much everything---but---I had tin on the roof of my first coop with a clear section also and liked having the light inside. Wished I had done it with my new coop.
     
  7. allieloveschickens

    allieloveschickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 20, 2010
    San Diego
    I use a white plastic corrugate roofing on my coop- it's called SunTuf. The white allows a lot of light in without the greenhouse effect that clear corrugate has (you can see photos on my page). Though for winter it will probably not insulate very well- I live in San Diego so we don't have to worry about the cold, but for your climate the plastic roofing might not trap heat as well as a shingled roof would in the winter.
     
  8. goldies99

    goldies99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 22, 2011
    those are some good helpers!!!....nice job so far!!!
     
  9. oldchickenlady

    oldchickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2010
    Cabot, AR
    I just finished my coop yesterday and it looks very much like yours. I recycled some 8 foot long tables for the floor (about 3 ft high with 4x4 legs) then made the front wall 5 ft high and the back wall 4 ft high. I made the back wall in 2 sections (divided horizontally) the bottom piece is hinged and drops down for cleaning. It is 6x8 and is tall enough for me to walk in. The roof is recycled plywood wrapped in recycled heavy vinyl from highway billboard sign. I used 2 pieces of plexiglass to make windows on the upper section of the back wall right in front of the roost so the chickens could see out and have light without extra heat in summer. The poop board is under the roost and is low enough so I can rake the poop off into a bucket without going in the coop. I have a door on one side with a latch up high and one down low. The front wall is solid plywood for 4 feet and open for the top 1 ft (covered in 1x2 welded wire for ventilation), I will cover most of that up with plastic when it gets to be cold and winter weather. There are also 2 vents on the sides. The wood is 4 ft wide so the side walls have an angled gap that gets larger as it runs toward the 5 ft front wall. These are also covered with 1x2 welded wire. I will cover up the area that is just over the roost to eliminate drafts blowing on the chickens when it gets colder. My run is a 12x20 PVC hoop run covered with a tarp. In summer the sides are open but in winter I put more plastic down the sides to block wind, rain, and snow. I have 2 feeders, 1 in the coop and 1 in the run and 2 waterers in the run. Last year I made 2 cookie tin water heaters and they worked great. The only issue with them is you cant hang your waterers they have to sit on top of the cookie tins and that requires level ground if you use the waterers that Tractor Supply sells. Directions for making them are on this site. I found a plug at Walmart that had a wall plug on one side and a light bulb screwed into the other end for a dollar. I used a 40 watt bulb most of the winter but did have to change to a 60 watt bulb during the coldest weather (below zero). I will be using them again this winter.
     

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