new coop questions

gringold

Chirping
May 2, 2015
88
16
74
Hello,
I have been reading lots, but I still have some questions. First, I am a single, 55 yr. old woman with arthritis, but I still do things. Anyway, I plan to build a 5' x 4' coop that will look basically like a box. I think I have the skills to do that. I built my raised garden beds a few weeks ago and I have built a shelf from scratch before. I am great with a drill, but have never used a saw. I bought a jigsaw to start out with. I am going to get Lowe's to cut my lumber for me. Plus I can't get whole pieces to my house anyway in my car.
1. I am considering using cattle panels to make the run, but not as a hoop house, but as a rectangle with a roof. If I put hardware cloth all around the bottom and make a skirt about 1 foot out, will that be predator proof enough? I plan on locking them up at night, but letting them out during the day of course. I may let them out in my backyard when I am home since my backyard is fenced in. The coop will be next to the house under my screened in porch and small deck.

2. I am hoping to have 5 hens. I have 12 chicks right now, but some are straight run. I bought three leghorn pullets and 3 black Australorps straight run. I went to a different Tractor Supply and they had Wyandotte pullets so I got 2 of those, 2 "reds", and 2 Plymouth Rocks both straight runs. I had to buy six both times. So now I have 12 growing chicks. Will a 6' x 12' run be big enough?

3. If I do use cattle panels, can I frame them in the way I was going to with poultry wire? I am basically planning on making a basic rectangle for the run with the coop being at the corner of one of the ends.

4. Would I be just as well off using hardware cloth over the whole thing or hardware cloth and poultry wire? I'm not sure which is cheaper, the cattle panels with hardware cloth, or the hardware cloth. Obviously the poultry wire would be the cheapest, but I do have raccoons in my neighborhood and opossums.

Thanks for your help.
 

gringold

Chirping
May 2, 2015
88
16
74
Something I forgot. I thought about buying one of the prefab ones, but they don't get very good reviews and I think I can buy the materials to build for cheaper or the same as one of the $200 dollar ones. They also don't seem near big enough.
 

yellowchicks

Chirping
5 Years
Jun 27, 2014
339
70
98
NJ
My Coop
My Coop
A much bigger coop will be needed if you were to keep all 12 chicks.

Using the rule of thumb of providing 4 sf of coop space + 10 sf of run space per chicken, either you have to upsized the coop and run, or downsize the chicken population to no more than five. Since there is always chicken math involve, try to build as big as you can. Lumber usually comes in 8' length, maybe a 6'x8' coop or a 8'x8' coop? If you elevate the coop by 2', area under the coop can count as part of the run area as well, then the total footprint can be smaller.

As for the run fencing, the commonly recommended 1/2" hardware cloth can get expensive, but it can save you a lot of headache or heartache later on. You will have to do a cost vs. risk analysis to find the perfect balance of how much hardware cloth you want to use.
 

gringold

Chirping
May 2, 2015
88
16
74
I am only keeping 5 hens. I already have people willing to take my extra birds. I am thinking about using the roosters for meat birds at about 13 weeks. Do you think they can handle being together for that long?
 

adkhunter1590

Chirping
Apr 14, 2015
94
46
76
Albany, NY
My Coop
My Coop
Sounds like your coop and run meet the guidelines for having comfy chickens :). With 5 you meet the 4sq per bird for the coop and with your plans for a 72sqft run you also have plenty of room. Of course everyone will tell you bigger is better. But without knowing your area limitations and how your backyard setup is, I think it's a waste of time to tell anyone to build bigger when they already have a big enough setup.

As far as using cattle panels for the run they will work as the framing. But your going to want either hardware cloth or regular poultry wire. I recently just built my run and also was met with this same dilemma. The cost for hardware cloth is ridiculous. That's the first thing I want to point out. Regular chicken wire is much cheaper but also not as strong and won't keep out determined predators. The main point in deciding between the two for me came to overall predators coming after my chickens during the daytime hours. I understand the coop needing to be wired up like Fort Knox to keep them safe at night when most vulnerable and most predators are out. But during the day there are much less predators out (except Hawks and other flying creatures). If your also in your backyard a lot there's nothing going after your birds. Nothing needing expensive hardware cloth at least.
So this brings me to suggest doing as I did and make sure the coop is strong and like Fort Knox to protect the birds at night. Use regular chicken wire for the run to keep the birds in there and most everything else out. If it makes you feel better you could run hardware cloth along the bottom of the run. But use chicken wire for the rest.
Here's a picture of the run I just made for my chicks
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Hope this helps you!
 

adkhunter1590

Chirping
Apr 14, 2015
94
46
76
Albany, NY
My Coop
My Coop
Thank you, that is very helpful.  Your run looks nice.  Does it have a top?


Thank you. No it does not have a top at the moment. I considered it but held off for the time being. I don't expect many Hawks to try and get at my chicks mostly because we are outside so much and there's a lot of trees in my run and around my run that it will make a hawks fast decent very difficult. I know Hawks like to come from above and come down fast so with all the trees I don't think they can make it in there quickly or easily. If I find that I am having a problem I will add some aviary netting over the top to stop them.

I also plan to build a roof over a partial amount of the run. That's a project I'll begin in the next month or so. Well before winter at least. we get a lot of snow so they will need a place to walk around in the winter months. My roof will extend from where the coop is out towards the middle. Probably about 12 ft long from the coop and 10-12 ft wide.

Also if you have trees that can be cut don't forget they make great lumber for making things in the run. Example is my watering station I set up. 5 gal bucket with vertical nipples in the bottom. A few bricks to help them reach since they are little still
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Blooie

Team Spina Bifida
6 Years
Feb 25, 2014
17,197
32,576
827
Northwestern Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
I'm a big proponent of hoop runs with cattle panels. My husband and I have zero carpentry skills - between us we can't stack a straight sandwich. But by pounding 8 steel fence posts into the ground and then arching the cattle panels between them, and twisting a little wire to anchor the panels to the fence posts, we ended up with a roomy, easy to maintain and almost lumber-free run that we are very happy with. He was just coming out of hand surgery - he had three knuckles scraped, one knuckle replaced, and they removed a piece of ligament from his arm, coiled it, and put it into the scraped thumb knuckle to act as a a cushion. Yet he was able to handle doing the run this way quite comfortably.

We covered the cattle panels with chicken wire, sewed hardware cloth up the sides about 2 feet high and extended it out about 2 feet as an apron, securing it with landscape fabric staples. It's stood up to our high winds (sometimes in excess of 60 mph) and the snow load beautifully. We had to offset our run from the coop because of a tree he didn't want to lose, so we built a tunnel for them to get from the coop to the run. It's just a covered box with the front side opening into the coop and the other open side going into the run.

The box tunnel that leads from coop to run.. The pop door is a doggie door we found at a Habitat Restore for $15.00. The only lumber used in the run was for the door frame and door.


The completed set-up.
 

donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
31,453
4,056
581
Southern Oregon
I made a grow out pen from cattle panels wrapped with chicken wire. A few things to keep in mind.....

What do you plan to cover it with? I used bird netting and it's not so great. First, the panels are 5foot tall, and I'm 5'4". So, I have netting I have to hunch under when I go in the pen. Second, it sucks at keeping predators out. I lost several chicks to my own darn barn cats despite wrapping that netting until I would have sworn nothing could get in.
Making a gate was a bit of a challenge also. We had to cut one of the panels and I hate to do that.
 

Blooie

Team Spina Bifida
6 Years
Feb 25, 2014
17,197
32,576
827
Northwestern Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
We used some welded wire fencing we had as the closed end on the South side and cut our door opening in another piece of fencing on the north. We decided to make the run bigger this year - took the fence panel off the south end and it came off in one piece, complete with chicken wire, hardware cloth skirt and apron still attached. Put another fence post on each side, arched the new cattle panel, then put the end back on.

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MANNA-PRO

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