New Owner - Coop Build

Vcav860

In the Brooder
Aug 15, 2019
7
12
21
Andover, CT
Greetings all,

I have been stalking for awhile but I am looking for some advice. I am in the process of building a coop slightly under 4x8.

Here is some build information before I get to the more specific questions. I designed it from the top down, meaning my roof is a 4x8 sheet of plywood and footprint is slightly less.
The walls are all framed up as well as the roof sheathing. (Nesting box is not completed and installed yet, and will be covered up when chicks move in, so they don't learn its a great poopin spot.)
The front and back eaves are open but covered with HW cloth.
The front wall will have HW cloth covered windows, with plexi-furring strip framed windows. (awning style, with a chain to change the degree of opening and they will be lockable closed in some way.
The front wall floor to ceiling is about 3'7". The back wall floor to ceiling is about 3'3".
The back wall is composted of fulling opening access doors.
On the floor, from front wall sill (bottom plate) to back wall sill is about 2' 9". (there will only be outside sheathing so one could consider adding another 7" if counting the space between wall studs as floor space.
There will be an additional window on the side across from the nesting boxes.
I plan to run the siding sheathing all the way to the roofline on the sidewalls.
I will be hanging feed and water from the ceiling.


** I am in Eastern CT about 20 minutes east/ south east of Hartford, so our winters can get pretty cold and we can have quite a bit of snow. I have not updated my profile yet.

I keep jumping back and forth on a few decisions. Here are some design images for reference.
upload_2019-8-19_20-8-35.png

Front Wall Framing
upload_2019-8-19_20-10-47.png

Front Wall with Basic Siding Concept
upload_2019-8-19_20-9-6.png

Back Wall Framing
upload_2019-8-19_20-10-6.png

Back wall with access doors.

1) TO POOP BOARD OR NOT TO POOP BOARD?!?!?! THAT IS THE QUESTION!
I am completely undecided on having poop boards or not. I currently have the roost under the taller of the walls, to be the furthest from the ventilation. In order to have a poop board I will have to add height as not to obstruct the nesting boxes. It is possible to move the roost to the back side where the access doors are. As designed the roosts can easily be removed for cleaning. I would design the boards the same way. Making the roosts more vertical I am worried about the birds having enough depth space to get down from the roost safely. How dirty can expect the coop to get without poop boards? Without boards will the entire coop need to be emptied (not planning on deep litter), weekly because the chickens are tracking poop all over the place?

2) Ventilation: Will the open eaves be adequate ventilation through the winter or will I need to a) leave windows open, which will have direct air on the birds basically regardless of where i put the roost. b) add some gable type vents on the side walls near the peak of the sloped roof.
 

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gtaus

Free Ranging
Mar 29, 2019
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Welcome to the BYC forum :welcome

Looks like you got a nice start on your design.

Here are some of my thoughts that you have asked about. First of all, poop board, or not. I use deep litter, and so far, I have not needed any poop board under the roost bars. I know you said you are not going to use deep litter, so depending on the number of chickens you have in your coop, a poop board may help keep things cleaner. The smell will tell how often you need to clean your coop.

It looks like you have designed 3 windows in your coop. I would suggest you don't need that many, as chickens actually prefer a darker environment to sleep and feel safe (or so I am told). You might consider not having the 2 windows in the front of the coop. The one window above the nest boxes would probably give you more than enough light for the coop. Also, if the roost bar is right on the open windows in the front, I would think it could get drafty under the chickens.

I originally designed my coop with lots of windows, but after more research, I cut the number of windows down to only 2 for a 6X12 coop. If you are unsure, you might frame in for the windows but just cover them up at first with siding. If you later decide you really want, or need, those front two windows, then you just cut out the siding around the window frame and install the windows at that time.

As to ventilation, everyone says the more ventilation the better, but it should be above the level of where the chickens roost. I see lots of coops with gable vents on the sides of the coop by the peak.

Looks like you have put some time and effort in this design. I am interested to hear what others have to suggest and what you decide to build. Please keep us updated. Best wishes.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
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Definitely leave the area between the end walls top plates and rafters open and secure with 1/2" HC.
You want a minimum of 1' of space from the wall to the center of the roost for LF chickens so your roost is going to be a lot closer to the center of the coop than your sketch shows.
I had a similar type of coop to yours before I built my new one. I included removable panels (again backed with 1/2" HC) low on the clean out doors. They were below the roost height so I could leave them open during the winter if the temp remained above 20F to keep ventilation up. However, my roof line prevented any rain from getting in.
The more ventilation, the better.
Having lots of light in the coop actually encourages the chickens to go into the coop near dusk. And it helps when you are doing nightly head count when you can't physically get into the coop.
I think that with this type of design, it will be difficult to use a poop board.
I also would strongly advise to build a FULLY secure run attached to the coop so that you can put the food and water in the run. The chickens need landing space to get off the roost too. If food and water are in the coop, the feeder and water will limited space.
As a fellow northerner with long snowy winters, I can tell you that you will not regret making a fully secure predator proof run. The flock will spend the majority of their time in the run during the winter, only accessing the coop to roost and lay eggs.
The run can be winterized by wrapping it with clear tarps to block the wind.
I never closed my pop door on my old coop and don't on my new one either.
 

Vcav860

In the Brooder
Aug 15, 2019
7
12
21
Andover, CT
- G, I put an ungodly amount of time into the designs. Literally hours and hours.

-Dobie, The roost is just sorta thrown in there for reference on the plans. I already have hangers to install it at the proper distance. Now if I add ventilation "squares" to my access doors. Won't that create a draft diagonally across the coop. It would basically pull air from the top front to the bottom back?

Thanks for the input I will definitely keep taking pictures and I am looking forward to what others suggest.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
33,160
269,696
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NY Southern Tier
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My Coop
- G, I put an ungodly amount of time into the designs. Literally hours and hours.

-Dobie, The roost is just sorta thrown in there for reference on the plans. I already have hangers to install it at the proper distance. Now if I add ventilation "squares" to my access doors. Won't that create a draft diagonally across the coop. It would basically pull air from the top front to the bottom back?

Thanks for the input I will definitely keep taking pictures and I am looking forward to what others suggest.
Yes, you did! I know the feeling. I found a plan on-line but still did many many hours of design modifications before building my first coop. And I still built something different after one year because my flock expanded and the first design just wasn't working for me.

You want air movement. That is how the moist air will leave the coop. In the summer, you will want a good draft.
If it's windy or bitter cold in the winter, you can put the covers on the doors. The end wall vents will be open year round. You really want more ventilation than that. You need to think dry, not warm for winter. And honestly, you will have birds that are a lot more likely to die of heat stress than cold stress.

How many chickens are planning on housing and what size will they be?
BTW, what type of roofing are you planning on?
 

Vcav860

In the Brooder
Aug 15, 2019
7
12
21
Andover, CT
Yes, you did! I know the feeling. I found a plan on-line but still did many many hours of design modifications before building my first coop. And I still built something different after one year because my flock expanded and the first design just wasn't working for me.

You want air movement. That is how the moist air will leave the coop. In the summer, you will want a good draft.
If it's windy or bitter cold in the winter, you can put the covers on the doors. The end wall vents will be open year round. You really want more ventilation than that. You need to think dry, not warm for winter. And honestly, you will have birds that are a lot more likely to die of heat stress than cold stress.

How many chickens are planning on housing and what size will they be?
BTW, what type of roofing are you planning on?

I knew I left something out of my original post....8 standard sizes birds. And roofing I believe will be shingles. Father in law is able to get unused roofing materials from work. So in addition to the eave vents you are suggesting I add closable vents to the back doors? (Just to clarify)
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
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NY Southern Tier
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I knew I left something out of my original post....8 standard sizes birds. And roofing I believe will be shingles. Father in law is able to get unused roofing materials from work. So in addition to the eave vents you are suggesting I add closable vents to the back doors? (Just to clarify)
Yes on the vents.
You are going to need to increase your roof pitch to use shingles. The absolute minimum pitch is 12/2. According to your design, you have 12/1. I would shoot for 12/3 personally.
 

gtaus

Free Ranging
Mar 29, 2019
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You are going to need to increase your roof pitch to use shingles. The absolute minimum pitch is 12/2. According to your design, you have 12/1. I would shoot for 12/3 personally.

I built some mostly flat roofs and used regular 3-tab shingles. One was on a heated porch and the shingles failed the first year. Water builds up underneath the shingles and before you know it, you have rain from inside your roof. The other was on an unheated shed and that never had any problems.

If you (OP) don't plan on heating your coop, you might get by without increasing the pitch. But I would be prepared to replace the roof. If you can, I agree to increase the pitch but that might mean you would have to decrease the width of your coop. Or, you would have to add an additional strip for the top roof to make it wider than 4 feet. I know you wanted to start with a simple 4X8 sheet of plywood for the roof, but I think @DobieLover brings up a point to consider.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
33,160
269,696
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NY Southern Tier
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I built some mostly flat roofs and used regular 3-tab shingles. One was on a heated porch and the shingles failed the first year. Water builds up underneath the shingles and before you know it, you have rain from inside your roof. The other was on an unheated shed and that never had any problems.

If you (OP) don't plan on heating your coop, you might get by without increasing the pitch. But I would be prepared to replace the roof. If you can, I agree to increase the pitch but that might mean you would have to decrease the width of your coop. Or, you would have to add an additional strip for the top roof to make it wider than 4 feet. I know you wanted to start with a simple 4X8 sheet of plywood for the roof, but I think @DobieLover brings up a point to consider.
It is against code and all manufacturer recommendations to shingle a roof with less than a 12/2 pitch. When I build, I don't want to have to rebuild sooner than necessary because of failing components that were not installed according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Raising one wall or lowering another is the way the pitch will be increased. Raising the front wall by building a short knee wall on top of it is not hard to do. The area of that short knee wall could also be additional ventilation directly under the roof line and could be covered with 1/2" HC.
I would also just bite the bullet and install longer rafters and fly rafters using outlookers and use three sheets of plywood to make big overhangs all the way around the coop. Large overhangs are so handy to have for lots of reasons.
You can't see the rafters in the sketches but 2' on center is sufficient to carry the snow loads in CT with a span that short.
Big overhangs...
cover image.jpg
 
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