New to Chickens, Building Coop!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by TSArmendarez, Jun 14, 2019.

  1. TSArmendarez

    TSArmendarez In the Brooder

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    Hi All!

    So we are brand new to chickens. We got 6 chicks at the end of April, (3 Australorps, 3 Amberlinks) for eggs. We live in a suburban area of NE Ohio on 1/3 acre.

    My husband is almost done with the coop and run. The chickens are almost full size now, and currently housed in a huge cardboard brooder box in the garage (industrial shipping size...like you need a step ladder to get into the thing. It's nearly as big sq ft wise as their coop). We let them outside to range in the backyard in the afternoon.

    The coop size is 5x4.5 with the nesting box area at 1x5. It will probably be 4 boxes. The run is 8×5. I know the 4/10 requirements, albeit a little late. I'm hoping this setup will work until close to fall, when we'll add another 4 feet onto the run.

    Do you think this is a feasible size with 6 birds? Especially if they'll be outside in the yard most of the afternoons? My concerns are weather based. It is the rainiest summer Ohio has had since the '40s...so I don't know how much they'll actually want to come into the yard. Also winters can be long and pretty brutal as far as cold goes.

    Also, my yard is turning into a muddy mess. I have some maple mulch from a tree cut down that I'm thinking of laying in the run to help with draining and muckiness.

    For the roosting bar in the coop, do they need a way to get up to it? Like another little ladder walk or something? Or will they jump?

    Do curtains really serve a purpose on the nesting boxes, or are they more decorative?

    We're going to put in 2-3 windows and cover them with framded plexiglass on a hinge to let as much light in during winter as possible.

    We want to move them in ASAP, so we're just going to finish closing in the run, put in the roosts, windows, door and ladder, and the door on the nesting box and then finish roofing the run after. I'm going to lay thick vinyl flooring squares down in the coop, rubber side up, and then put the bedding down. I covered the plywood floor in polyurethane. I'm also trying to think of a way to make a poop board or hammock to make cleaning under the roosts easier. We were hoping to get them in this weekend, but surprise surprise, it's going to rain the next 9 days. We still might be able to do it though.

    I'll take any feedback, insight and advice I can get!

    Also sidenote: these teenage birds DO NOT like us. Well, they don't want to be handled anyway. They run like hell when we try to bring them back in, and don't generally like to be picked up. They aren't aggressive, but definitely evasive. Is that normal for Amberlinks and Australorps, or will they grow out of it? We've never mishandled them, but my toddler loves to chase them, and we've taught him to only touch them with 1 hand so he's gentle. 20190614_210634.jpg 20190614_210546.jpg
     

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  2. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

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    Run size: It'll be ok space right now, while they're younger and smaller. Are you planning (or able) to give them any free range time at all? If not, since you mentioned planning to expand it anyway, is it possible to add more than 4'? The "4/10 rule" you mentioned refers to minimums... ideally you want to go over minimum if at all possible. I'd double or triple the run, if you have room and budget for it - if you need to stretch the budget, maybe make the additional space unroofed for some cost savings?

    Run flooring: Sounds like you're considering doing some form of deep litter. There's quite a lot of info on this site if that's what you're thinking of doing.

    Roost bars: Depends on how high up they are if they need assistance getting up there. I don't like ramps myself, so my birds jump/fly up. Mine aren't that high, about 30" and 45" maybe?

    Nest boxes: Curtains are meant to add privacy. Some people use them, I don't.

    As far as the birds running away, first off, most chickens don't actually like being picked up, so if you minimize that, they'll probably like you a tiny bit more. Your birds are also at the age where that is completely normal behavior... chicks that were friendly become flighty teens, then right around the time they start laying, they'll calm down a lot.
     
  3. jthornton

    jthornton Crowing

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    If you have been approaching them from above ie climbing in the box from the top their instinct is to run from anything that approaches from above. Try sitting in the grass with some treats in your hand and wait for them to come to you. The more your on their level the better it is to gain their trust.

    I don't see any ventilation in the coop part... in NE Ohio you need draft free ventilation especially in the winter. I imagine you get plenty of snow from the lake moisture so the bigger the covered run the better as chickens don't like to walk on snow.

    Large overhangs are nice, extending the roof of the run out over the door will be nice as well so you don't have to stand in the rain to lock them up.

    JT
     
  4. Wee Farmer Sarah

    Wee Farmer Sarah Free Ranging

    Hello and welcome to BYC. Glad to have you join our community. IMHO, I think 5 ft x 4.5 ft coop is way too small for 6 chickens. When they are confined within a small space they tend to get quite annoyed and likely develop some unwanted behaviors such as feather picking or just plain fighting. Your young chickens at this age are quite capable of fluttering and hopping up on high perches, however after they get a bit older, bigger and heavier they would prefer easier access to the roost. Also with the run, I would recommend covering it so it will stay dry and snow free in the winter. Good luck with your flock.
     
  5. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    that size will be an issue especially come winter.

    I see nice framing though for the run. If the run is roofed, and maybe one wall made solid so that it always stayes wind and snow free, that can act as coop.

    Make sure that the run is securely predator-proof and the coop and run can be open to each other at all times (so no pop door)

    And yes, you might need a bit more ventilation in the coop, which under my suggestion would be a roosting area. You could take out most of the wall that joins to the run. With the run roofed and sheltered it would protect the roosting/coop area from snow and weather and blowing snow.


    With the breeds that you have they will fly or jump up without any problem.

    As to taming... train them to come when called. Use food. Chickens are highly food motivated.
     
  6. TSArmendarez

    TSArmendarez In the Brooder

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    So the roof overhang of the coop has venting on both sides, and we're putting in 2-3 windows as well. Will it need more ventilation than that? If so, how is that done or where placed?
     
  7. TSArmendarez

    TSArmendarez In the Brooder

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    Jun 13, 2019
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    They wouldn't be too cold in the winter with the whole side open?
     
    Wee Farmer Sarah likes this.
  8. TSArmendarez

    TSArmendarez In the Brooder

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    Jun 13, 2019
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    I just talked to my husband, and I think we're going to extend it on the nesting box side by 2 feet. That would make it 7×4.5. We may put them in for now though, and extend it come later summer, just because it literally will NOT stop raining here, and I want these poor chicks out of the garage and into a coop and run. And I do plan to "freerange" them in the backyard as much as possible, so during the day when I can be out there and every afternoon (weather permitting). My issue is I have to be out there, because only 1/2 of our backyard is fenced, and I don't want them wandering into the front yard/road or into the neighbor's yard if I'm inside for extended periods of time. So short story, they have to be supervised, lol.
     
  9. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

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    As long as you can free range for a good amount of time it can help offset a tight run, but if realistically that's maybe an hour a day, 5x a week, but not during rain or snow, that's really not that much of an offset.

    I only "free range" maybe 15 minutes a day at this point. Since that's my reality, my run is larger to compensate.
     
  10. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    It depends on what you mean....

    If the run is fully roofed, and you wall in one maybe 2 sides of the run so that snow does NOT blow in, then having the side of the coop that is against the run open will be fine, and no, not too cold.

    If that open coop side is the ONLY vent on the coop, then wind will not blow in, and the air in the coop part will be still air.

    You might have to adjust how much and where you wall the run, so that swirling gusts don't blow in. Because you don't want the coop to have a lovely large vent to the run And then wall up the run and make the run a closed box.

    A good solution when you are starting out is to make WAY more vents than any sane person would want... but also make plywood covers for most of the vents.

    Then come winter you can close up and open up different vents until it works for you.
     

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