New to chickens - already built coop - tell me what's wrong (or right) - Florida

hkeibard

Chirping
Oct 13, 2020
43
116
56
Jacksonville, FL
Ehhh....I'd start with the shavings. Observe and adjust.
If you find the rain comes in on same side consistently, might want to add a solid half or full wall there. Could also maybe extend roof.

Both of you....
Here's how to add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, and then it's always there!
View attachment 2372227
Aart - thanks! Finally did this. I see your posts all the time. Ever so helpful.
 

NewFLChickenMama

In the Brooder
Apr 20, 2019
19
49
46
East Central Florida, USA
Hi Hkeibard-

I'm on the east coast of Central Florida, so our weather should be pretty similar. Heat has been a huge concern for me, days and nights. Cold? What's that? :) I thought I'd chime in and share my setup, even though it's still evolving, and I'm only two years into this adventure myself! Chickens...or as the other half calls them, spoiled rotten little dinosaur Princesses.

During the day in the heat, I always leave a few inches of water for the hens to stand in on the shady side of the run (not for babies, of course- we want NO Drownings!) My darker hens (Barred Rocks) take advantage of it regularly throughout the day, and will just stand there for 5-10 minutes before moving on- I assume they use it more because their dark feathers hold the heat, but that's just a guess- however I have never seen my BOs or any of the Americaunas do more than cruise through the water. I tried a few different containers, but wanting low sides and enough weight that it wouldn't tip over, I found an old concrete birdbath basin worked perfectly for my little flock. I also freeze blocks of ice, and take them cool treats (almost frozen peas and corn kernels are a huge hit here) during the worst of the heat.

My coop is big for the size of my flock (5'x8'), but in the heat they will spread out along the roosting bar. Having an 8 foot bar is crazy for 5 girls, but hey, I had read so much about space, space and more space that I took it to heart and I'm glad I did.

At night, I turn on a small fan in the coop, pulling air from one side window and pushing it towards the opposite window, and not directly where the girls prefer to roost. They will move into the breeze when they want to, though.

In the run, I have a large all-weather shop fan that I run during hot days that keeps the air moving through the 20' x 8' ft long run, and I am not sure who appreciates that most- me or the girls. It also keeps the number of flying pests I deal with down.

One thing I do want to mention is mosquitoes. I have had a camera in my coop almost from the beginning, and the first night I was shocked at the incredible number of mosquitoes that were harassing my ladies. 100s of them, no joke. They clearly annoyed my hens from the constant shuffling about and failure to settle. The next day screens went up over all the openings. Sure, a stray mosquito may get into the coop during the day via the hen's door and get locked in with them, but that's better than an army, imho. Health hazard for the hens? I dunno. I do want them to be able to rest though, and it only cost me a roll of screen and some left over wood from the build. I only did the coop though, not the entire run. The shop fan does a good job of keeping they flying pests out of the run.

Hope there is something in there that helps you!
 

Scissors65

Songster
May 8, 2019
117
256
147
Palmetto, Florida
My Coop
I live in South West Florida and I love your open concept, and great security! I did not read all the comments, so forgive me if it was already mentioned... But when hurricane weather or just our never ending summer rains come, you may need to add some wall protection from rain blowing in on them. Chickens don't let being wet, and sometime our rains are unforgiving.
 

Malamute1

Chirping
Oct 30, 2019
35
70
76
I live about 3hrs south of you. Rain would be my concern. Your coop looks good for summer heat. If fold down side panels not doable you can attach tarp or plastic sheeting under the eves. Strips of Velcro will keep it rolled up and out of the way when not needed. Strategic strips of Velcro on sides and bottom would also help keep it in place when in use during our rain n storm season. I have a small coop and run on wheels. My girls free range from dawn to dusk, so no need for larger coop. They're only in to sleep or lay eggs. For mosquitoes we wrapped the outside with wire screen. It's fairly cheap. You do need a hurricane plan. How many chicks are you planning to have? The longer you can keep them in brooder till feathered the better. Good luck!
 

hkeibard

Chirping
Oct 13, 2020
43
116
56
Jacksonville, FL
Hi Hkeibard-

I'm on the east coast of Central Florida, so our weather should be pretty similar. Heat has been a huge concern for me, days and nights. Cold? What's that? :) I thought I'd chime in and share my setup, even though it's still evolving, and I'm only two years into this adventure myself! Chickens...or as the other half calls them, spoiled rotten little dinosaur Princesses.

During the day in the heat, I always leave a few inches of water for the hens to stand in on the shady side of the run (not for babies, of course- we want NO Drownings!) My darker hens (Barred Rocks) take advantage of it regularly throughout the day, and will just stand there for 5-10 minutes before moving on- I assume they use it more because their dark feathers hold the heat, but that's just a guess- however I have never seen my BOs or any of the Americaunas do more than cruise through the water. I tried a few different containers, but wanting low sides and enough weight that it wouldn't tip over, I found an old concrete birdbath basin worked perfectly for my little flock. I also freeze blocks of ice, and take them cool treats (almost frozen peas and corn kernels are a huge hit here) during the worst of the heat.

My coop is big for the size of my flock (5'x8'), but in the heat they will spread out along the roosting bar. Having an 8 foot bar is crazy for 5 girls, but hey, I had read so much about space, space and more space that I took it to heart and I'm glad I did.

At night, I turn on a small fan in the coop, pulling air from one side window and pushing it towards the opposite window, and not directly where the girls prefer to roost. They will move into the breeze when they want to, though.

In the run, I have a large all-weather shop fan that I run during hot days that keeps the air moving through the 20' x 8' ft long run, and I am not sure who appreciates that most- me or the girls. It also keeps the number of flying pests I deal with down.

One thing I do want to mention is mosquitoes. I have had a camera in my coop almost from the beginning, and the first night I was shocked at the incredible number of mosquitoes that were harassing my ladies. 100s of them, no joke. They clearly annoyed my hens from the constant shuffling about and failure to settle. The next day screens went up over all the openings. Sure, a stray mosquito may get into the coop during the day via the hen's door and get locked in with them, but that's better than an army, imho. Health hazard for the hens? I dunno. I do want them to be able to rest though, and it only cost me a roll of screen and some left over wood from the build. I only did the coop though, not the entire run. The shop fan does a good job of keeping they flying pests out of the run.

Hope there is something in there that helps you!
Thanks for such a thoughtful reply. Again, I fear I missed thinking about mosquitoes. I should have. They get me at sundown plenty enough. We literally just finished attaching the hardware cloth fully on the outside of the coop this weekend and now I wish I had thought of sandwiching finer netting in between the hardware cloth and the panels that were already there. Darn it! Hopefully the fans we'll install will help.
The roost bar that was previously in the coop spanned the width of it so it was just under 10 feet. I was planning on doing something similar. We have plenty of branches and saplings around our property that will fit the bill.
 

hkeibard

Chirping
Oct 13, 2020
43
116
56
Jacksonville, FL
I live about 3hrs south of you. Rain would be my concern. Your coop looks good for summer heat. If fold down side panels not doable you can attach tarp or plastic sheeting under the eves. Strips of Velcro will keep it rolled up and out of the way when not needed. Strategic strips of Velcro on sides and bottom would also help keep it in place when in use during our rain n storm season. I have a small coop and run on wheels. My girls free range from dawn to dusk, so no need for larger coop. They're only in to sleep or lay eggs. For mosquitoes we wrapped the outside with wire screen. It's fairly cheap. You do need a hurricane plan. How many chicks are you planning to have? The longer you can keep them in brooder till feathered the better. Good luck!
Thanks Scissors65 and Malamute1:
Yes - stormy weather aplenty here. Yesterday we were just thinking about attaching tarps to eves that could be rolled down depending on how the rain was hitting. Based on the structure it should be easy enough. And excellent point about velcro strrips on the sides/bottom.

What kind of fold down panels?

Hmm, hurricane plan. Well, uh, I would be lying if I didn't say I've thought about convincing my husband to let me put them in the large fully enclosed barn in case of bad weather. But since he keeps his very precious Triumph motorcycle in there, I don't think that will be a go.
We do have another enclosed building that could be utilized with some repair work done to it if we need to. I'll scour the Florida posts and see what suggestions are about.
 

mviera101

Songster
Jul 17, 2019
286
778
147
S. Fla
🐔
Welcome! You will find so much information and good knowledgeable folks .
Nice job! I live in South FL, and also have an open coop design that you can stand in. Good air flow. The difference is that my nesting box is closed in. I agree that you should skirt the perimeter with wire mesh just below the surface of the dirt. I am in a residential area, but we have racoons, snakes, and possums that would love a chicken dinner. My coop is dirt bottom with hay. I tried shavings and they just blew everywhere.
 

hkeibard

Chirping
Oct 13, 2020
43
116
56
Jacksonville, FL
Hard to say what bedding would work best,
might depend on how much rain comes in the sides.

Might think about an apron around all 3 sides to keep anything from digging under the floor and living there.
Good examples of anti-dig apron installation.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/wire-around-coop.1110498/#post-17093528
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/new-coop-project.1169916/page-2#post-18481208
As an update on our coop we have finished all the hardware cloth installation that included covering the gaps at the top where the wood meets the roof. We also added a double set of latches to the coop door and hinges and latches on the outside nesting boxes. We're about to add a chicken run to the right side of the coop with access for the chickens via a pop door from the coop to the run.

FOR THE APRON: I'm definitely going to do the apron of hardware cloth along the front and backside of the coop. My QUESTION is, SHOULD I ALSO DO AN APRON ALONG THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE COOP THAT WILL EXTEND INTO THE RUN? The chickens will likely dig there while in the run so I'm not sure if it's a good idea or not because of their digging.

Including a photo. Pardon the mess. Inside the coop is still a work in progress. Outside the coop the railroad ties will be removed with the run build which will extend out 16 feet (10x16).
coop side.jpg
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
87,927
106,259
1,737
SW Michigan
My Coop
My QUESTION is, SHOULD I ALSO DO AN APRON ALONG THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE COOP THAT WILL EXTEND INTO THE RUN?
Might depend on how secure your run is....if something can get into the run, then yes.
Just realized the building the coop is against has wide open doors?
Might need apron on that side of coop too.
 

hkeibard

Chirping
Oct 13, 2020
43
116
56
Jacksonville, FL
Might depend on how secure your run is....if something can get into the run, then yes.
Just realized the building the coop is against has wide open doors?
Might need apron on that side of coop too.
Thanks Aart! I should have considered the open door situation. Makes perfect sense. Particularly since I'll be locating the food/supplies (in appropriate containers) along that wall. I'll add that to the list for an apron. For the right side maybe we'll just trench down a good length of hardware cloth so the chickens aren't foraging/scratching through it.

By the way, baby birdos are here and will be 3 weeks old come monday. Still hunkering down in a dog crate brooder in our guest bathroom like a bunch of freeloaders. Once our weather dries up down here in Florida I hope to have them out in the double dog crate brooder in the coop by the end of the week. I have really been enjoying them.
 

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