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New coop questions.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Huskeriowa, Jan 12, 2011.

  1. Huskeriowa

    Huskeriowa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 19, 2010
    Iowa
    My Coop
    Hi all,

    I am building my coop this weekend and would like some help with a few questions before I start. I have read a ton of information here and still am struggling with a few specific things.

    I have three primary objectives that I want to achieve in building this coop.

    1. Neighbor happiness. I want them to hear very little and smell nothing.
    2. Chicken happiness. I want them to be comfortable and happy.
    3. My happiness. I don't want to kill myself in maintenance and regret that I have chickens.

    First, my chicks are arriving in march. Six chicks in all including a brahma, australorp, faverolles, orpington, sussex, and a free chick of some kind. I tried to order quiet breeds that are docile. And I tried to order the correct number for my coop. The coop will be 4' x 8'. This means that i am exceeding the recommended 4 sq ft / bird and am providing over 5 sq ft / bird. However I have since read that for ease of clean out and happiness of the birds I should be at 6 sq ft / bird.

    Question 1: Should I drop the order to a smaller number?

    The coop is going to be built in the shelving area at the back of a shed. It will vent it to the outside and also into the main shed. I read a ton about the sq footage needed for chickens but there are rarely any references to the height needed for a coop. I can make it three feet tall, or I can make it 4 feet tall. At 3' tall I can better vent the coop but can go to four feet if its what the birds should have.

    Question 2: Do I have a 3' tall coop with great ventilation or a 4' tall coop with decent ventilation?

    I have read that it is recommended that a nest be 18" off the ground. I would prefer to just put it about 12 inches off the ground just above the deep litter method I have read described here.

    Question 3: Am I going to cause a problem putting the nest lower than 18"?


    The roost needs to be higher than the nest so the birds don't roost on the nest. I have also read that the roost should be 15" away from a wall or another roost.

    Question 4: How much higher does the roost need to be compared to the nest and how close can a roost really be to a wall or another roost?

    Question 5: How much headroom does a chicken need between the roost and the ceiling?


    I know the poop board runs the length of the roost. I have not read how far under the roost it the board is placed or more importantly how wide it should be.

    Question 6: How far over a roost does a chickens butt reach?


    Maybe I am over thinking these things but I want to get it right. Ideally I would like the bottom of the nest at 12" above the floor and the roost 24" above the floor but I can make adjustments given any feedback you all may have. Thanks again!
     
  2. sklr112

    sklr112 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 23, 2010
    Quote:Ok, I'll do the best I can to answer a few, and let others chime in.
    Q 1: Keep your order at six, it will be fine. I have a 4x8 coop like yours and I have 10 birds in it, I let them free range most days though.
    Q 2: Which ever you prefer. The chickens won't mind if its 3 or 4 feet tall. If you are going with the deep litter method, maybe you should make it taller.
    Q 3: Having the nest lower than 18" will cause no problems.
    Q 4: I would have the roosts a good 6 to 12" above the nest, but do not put it directly above the nest. I would leave 12" from roost to wall, but whatever you think will be fine. It depends on how big the birds are, really.
    Q 5: From my experience, I would leave 18" at least from roost to ceiling.
     
  3. Huskeriowa

    Huskeriowa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 19, 2010
    Iowa
    My Coop
    Thanks for the reply! I am glad to hear that I don't need to reduce the order. The suggestion of head room and also how much higher to put the roost above the nests gives me an idea of how tall the coop should to be. Given the size of the coop, it would be easiest to position the roosts higher than the nests but directly across from the nests. I know that I read on some post that it was a bad idea to put the nests in direct view of the roosts but maybe that wasn't a hard and fast rule?

    Thanks again.
     
  4. sklr112

    sklr112 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 23, 2010
    No problem.
    Putting the roosts in direct view of nests shouldnt be a problem. That's how I have mine. A lot of people on here seem to treat their chickens better then themselves. Just remember they are chickens and doesnt have to be perfect. As for the droppings try, I would have it go 8 inches to each side of the roost. So 16 inches total. I think mine are only 4 or 5 inches to each side.. it works for the most part.
     
  5. True Grit

    True Grit Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think one thing we didn't do as well as we should have in our 4x4x4 ft coop was to have the vents high enough over the heads of the chickens. The roost is two feet off the floor and the highest vent is 18 inches over that. This summer I will lower the roost to 18 inches off the floor so the vents will be 2 ft over the roosts. BTW I used a poop board for a while but now I just pick the poop off the litter every morning don't bother with a board.
    I am not clear on why the 3 ft high coop would have great ventilation and 4 ft not as good. I cannot picture it. Can you explain a little more?
     
  6. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    More room is ALWAYS better than merely adequate room. Think about cleaning things out - 3 ft tall will not be much fun to clean, and 4 feet won't be much greater but should you have to crawl in there to retrieve something - an injured chicken, perhaps - you would appreciate that extra foot in height, trust me.

    Some folks put nest boxes right on the floor. So their height isn't critical, just that they need to be lower than roosts. Chickens like to roost up high, and if the nest box is higher than roost bars, you can bet some chickens will sleep in there unless you block them off at night.

    If roost bars are parallel to walls, keep the closest bar at least 12 inches, maybe 16 inches away from the wall so the chickens can roost facing either decision without tailfeathers rubbing against the wall. And the distance between roosts is about the same, so nobody poops on anybody on a lower bar (if you use a ladder type roost situation).

    Those are my suggestions.
     
  7. Huskeriowa

    Huskeriowa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 19, 2010
    Iowa
    My Coop
    Yes I will try to explain it but I may fail. The coop is to be built in the back of a shed and will take up the area that I use for shelving. I plan on installing a window in the back of the shed and placing vents on the top of the coop. If i build the coop 3 foot or so tall then I think the window will blow over the top of the coop and the vents and hopefully I should have great ventilation without being drafty. However if I make the coop 4 foot tall I will not have the ability to use the window to blow into the shed and I will not be able to put vents on the top of the coop because it will be butted up against the upper shelf. If the coop is four foot tall I will vent on the top side of the coop but I don't think it will be as effective because I will lose the benefit of the window. Hopefully that helps explain my dilemma. I know the 4 foot tall coop is better for me but I want to do what is right for the birds. A big part of my concern about ventilation comes from warnings from this forum and the fact that it was 12 degrees here today and will likely reach over 100 degrees here in the summer. Thanks again!
     
  8. True Grit

    True Grit Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yes if your shed will get to 100 degrees in the summer you need as much ventilation as possible. So your vents will be on top of the coop in front of the window as in on the roof? What dimensions? Did you read Pat and chickens ventilation page? Not knowing dimensions of your vents I would think it is not enough. I believe that vents are best on the sides of the coop at the top, from what I've read. You would probably want it on three sides at least.
     
  9. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Quote:You don't want your ventilation blowing into the coop in winter at all. The idea is to have a hole at the highest possible place that lets humid air and ammonia out.
    When it is 100 out, they will appreciate a breeze, yes, and that's when the window will come in handy, but a window doesn't make good winter ventilation. I can't quite picture your setup so you'll have to figure out how to do this. The bolded sentence makes it sound like you might need the 4' version and a different place than the window to be the vent. Guess you would have to deal with summer when it comes around, maybe?

    Have you read this? https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-VENTILATION

    There
    are other very good links on that page, too. Good luck.
     
  10. Huskeriowa

    Huskeriowa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 19, 2010
    Iowa
    My Coop
    Yes the vents will be on top of the roof of the coop if the coop is built 3 foot high. However, the coop is built in the shed. If the vents are built on top of the coop they will cover the majority of the area of the coop. The coop will be 32 sq feet and the vents from the coop will be approximately the same area minus any trim material. If I build the coop four feet tall it will have approximately 24 sq feet of ventilation on the top side of the coop but will not have the benefit of the additional window ventilation. The shed itself is 12 x 14 and has two windows to the outside providing ventilation as well as a gable vent. Yes I have read the information at this site concerning ventilation.
     

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