New to backyard chickens. How's my coop/run look?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Toothpick, Apr 25, 2017.

  1. Toothpick

    Toothpick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello everyone,

    I just started raising hens for eggs this year. This is my first flock. I thought I would share my coop and run. Maybe get some suggestions from the more experienced members here.

    I only have 6 hens for now. If I decide to get more I'll purchase or build another coop as this one is to small for any more than 6, in my opinion.

    I dug about a 6 inch trench around the coop and buried hardware cloth all around the parameter, hopefully this will keep the digging predators out.

    I put up chicken wire around their run, it's about 5 foot high. I know this won't stop the predators but it may deter them. They go inside the coop every night on their own and I secure them in. Every morning I let them out.

    I used to feed and water them inside the coop but the ground became covered in chick food and saturated in mud and feces. Today I scooped it all out (or as much as I could), and put pine shavings in there. From now on I'm going to feed/water them outside the coop. I hope this will keep it somewhat dry in there and cleaner for them.

    I mounted a motion light on the shed that shines down on the coop. Hopefully this will help deter predators as well.


    So a couple questions that I hope y'all can answer....

    1. I read here that folks sift the bedding to separate the poop from the clean pine shavings. I'd like to do this because today I thought "boy, I sure am wasting a whole lot of pine shavings" when I cleaned everything. So what do you use for this?

    2. Is it possible to put anything on the ground under the coop to keep it from turning in to mud? I figure for now I'll just use the pine shavings and change them out as necessary. But is there a better option? They've pecked all the grass out and when it rains it's just mud.

    3. Is it necessary to provide roosting options outside of the coop? I'm thinking they might enough something inside the run to roost on during the day and get some shade.

    Sorry for the long winded post. I've been lurking for a while here.

    Thanks for your tips and suggestions!

    -Jason
    Middle Tennessee


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  2. kellyschippy

    kellyschippy Just Hatched

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    I have the same questions as well as the same coop..
    Hoping for answers!
     
  3. Leigti

    Leigti Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your chickens are going to be pretty cramped in that coop but if it is just for laying eggs and sleeping you could get away with it. How big is the run? I would definitely be putting some objects in there for them to roost on, hide under, provide shade and cover from predators. They need protection from the heat, cold, and the rain. Pine shavings work well in the coop and in the run underneath the coop.
    I started out with a small coop like that and I used Pineshade beans. I just scooped out the poop every couple days and left the clean shavings.
    I would definitely put the food and water in the run and not the coop. They don't drink water at night anyway.
     
  4. Chickenrunlady

    Chickenrunlady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your coop is adorable, well done :) My first year with chickens also. For the bottom maybe ut pea gravel then top it with sand, or just leave with the gravel. i think this would help with the mud a lot. Thank you for sharing your coop. It's very sweet. I'm planning on putting in a swing for the chickens also. Apparently they love them.
     
  5. Toothpick

    Toothpick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the tips! The run is 24x18. I can expand it if need be, but I wanted to see how this size works out. The box said the coop would hold 8 chickens. I'm thinking 6 is cramped! They seem to split their time between the coop and the run. But I think that is because I don't have anything in the run for them to roost on and relax on/under. Any suggestions there?


    A swing? I would have never thought of that!
    Thanks for the kind words.
     
  6. Leigti

    Leigti Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My chickens spend a lot of time under my shrubs. They don't feel comfortable in a totally wide open area, they need something to be next to or under. My friends chickens like to hang out on under and near a picnic table that is set out in the middle of their field. Just about anything can work, it just has to provide cover.
     
  7. Toothpick

    Toothpick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I need something to put inside my coop on the ground. These pine shavings are not cutting it. It's moist and stinks. How do I do the sand thing? Just buy sandbox sand and cover the whole coop??

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    And here's an unfinished roost/shade area I built out of scrap wood I had. I plan on putting a roof and 3 sides on it.

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  8. Wandercreek

    Wandercreek Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can add some Sweet PDZ to the wet/mucky area and continue to use shavings as the bedding material. Sweet PDZ is highly absorbent and non-toxic.
     
  9. Toothpick

    Toothpick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think I'll try that PDZ, thanks for the tip. I've got to find a solution as it's only going to get worse.

    I built this today with scrap lumber and 30 bucks in plywood. Should give them some roosting space and shade other than the coop. They spend 80% of the day in the coop right now.

    Thanks everyone for the information so far! This site has been a huge help.

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