New to chickens...UPDATE!!! PIC HEAVY


8 Years
Mar 8, 2011
Indianapolis, IN
First of all Hello to you all!

This is my first post on BYC and I need some help. This is my first time with chickens and I am expecting them here in the next few weeks and I am starting my coop/run this weekend. My coop is going to be a 4x4 floor with insulated walls and a sloped roof. My biggest problem I am having is that I don't know how to connect my run to the coop. I am using my old dog kennel as the run that i am going to be retrofitting for chickens with welded mesh and a chicken wire top. The pen is 84wX92lX48h. Will this be a big enough run to accomidate 5 chickens? It has a door on it that I am not sure what to do with. Any ideas on how to attach this to the coop so I can have the coop door with the plank to go into the pen and still be secured? Any and all help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!!!
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Welcome to the forum!

One common guideline suggests a minimum of 4 square feet per chicken indoors (coop) plus 10 square feet per chicken outdoors (run). The coop and run you're planning are a little undersized for 5 chickens. Have you ordered your chicks yet? If not, you could downsize to 3 chickens and that number would fit the accomodations you plan much better.

To attach the coop to the run, you'll probably need to cut a hole in the existing chainlink, frame it with wood, and then attach that to the chicken pop door of your coop. I imagine that you'd want to keep the existing door to the kennel as your own door to get into the'll want to be able to get in there yourself somehow.
Yeah I have already ordered my chicks, they should be here in a few weeks. But I have not yet started building my coop. I wanted to wait and get some feedback from all of you all. My landlord approved of my coop and chicks, so I can actually build the coop a little bigger then I had originally planned but not by much. I was thinking of a 4x6 coop, that would give my chickens 4.8sq ft. each. It is going to be a slanted roof style coop that will be 2 ft off the ground and I am thinking 4 ft tall in the front, with a slope to 3 ft on the back side. The Dog cage kennel is only a temporary run, but they will free range in the yard whenever we are home. The kennel by itself will give the chickens 10.64sq ft. each, plus i figured since I am doing the coop 2ft off the ground, I will go ahead and screen that in too and that will give them an extra 4.8 square feet each,making a total of 15.44sq ft. each. It also gives them a place to get out of the weather since the run won't be covered. The nesting boxes will hang on the side of the coop so they won't take up any extra space in the coop. Not quite sure how to do this yet though, but I have seen many threads on this topic. Does anyone have a link or pictures on the step by step process of adding these to the coop?
So, what does everyone think of the new plan? Any suggestions or changes that I should make? I know that I will have to make adjustments and I will probably change things a little while I build. I just don't want to miss anything. I have never kept chickens before or built anything like this before. Thankfully I have a friend in the cronstruction buisness that will lend me all the tools and advice I need. He is going to help me get the coop leveled and framed so I have a good starting place, but I will probably end up doing the rest myslef...with some help from my 3 1/2 yr old and my lovely wife of course. I can't wait to get started...
If you are going to use plywood, just stay at 4x8...that way you don't have to do as much sawing. Make the tallest wall 5 foot (1 foot open and covered with hardware cloth for ventilation) and the back wall 4 foot. That will give you 48 sqare feet in the coop and plenty of space for 5 chickens. Since the coop wont be quite big enough to walk into comfortably, you could divide the back wall horizontally to where the bottom part of the back wall will open downward and you could clean it out from there. If you raise the coop off the ground you could just park your wheelbarrow or garden cart right at the back and rake out the shavings/hay or whatever you use straight into it. Also, if you raise your coop, you could fence in around the bottom and use that space for more run area. Check out the coop pages...there are literally hundreds of ideas there! Here is a pic of the front wall of my coop to give you an idea. I made my coop 8x8 because I knew 4x8 would not be enough. I originally got 12 chickens, but I knew I would want more...and I did, I got 8 more Silver laced wyandottes, so the 8x8 coop is maxed out! I will probably build a second one for them.

This is to show how I attached my run to the front of my coop:

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Welcome to the Forum and the world of raising chickens!

This is a great site for getting ideas and advice. Your coop idea sounds great, and it sounds like you have thought a lot of it out already which is good.
They do say that you should have around 4 sqft per bird. My coop's footprint is 8' x 8' with the henhouse taking up 3' x 8' with a two foot space under that they hav access to. The entire thing is covered (it's a Playhouse coop that is on the coop pages) You can see a couple photo's on my page. There is also a 16' x 8' covered outside run attached to it. Most day's when someone is home the girls are free ranging. We have 8 hens living in this coop and actually had 9 up until last summer. They seem to get along just fine, I find that even though they have 8' of roost, all but two bunch up together on one side and the other two roost on an egg box and the middle of the roost. They only use the hen house for sleeping and egg laying, unless they get lazy while ranging, then they have a plant they use to lay eggs in. They seem happy with this set up, but we also have very mild winters and they are outside 365.
Have fun, and enjoy the girls.
I know it would be easier to just leave it at 4x8, but I am renting this house and I live in Indianapolis (right in the city) so I don't want to make it too big. I'm afraid if it is too large my landlord my not be too happy about it. His face was priceless
when I asked if he cared that I got some chickens...He told me he has had some strange requests from renters in the past, but mine topped them all.
Alright so I am starting building on my 4x6 coop next weekend and am making the final plans for my coop. Just so you know, I am going to be getting 2Easter Eggers, 2 Standard Plymouth Barred Rocks, and 1 Black Australorp.
I have a few questions on materials and sizes, if any one has any ideas/suggestions i would be so grateful. So I planning to make it 2 ft off of the ground using 4x4s 1ft in the ground. I am going to build the platform with 2x4s for the supports of the floor covered in a sheet of plywood flooring, with laminate over the top for easy cleaning.
Can I use 2x2s instead of 2x4s for the walls?
I plan on doing a sloped roof by laying 2x4s accross the top with plywood over top of that with a metal roof. Will the 2x2s be strong enough structurally since this structure won't be very big? The front wall will only be 5ft tall with the slop on the back at 4 1/2ft.
Will this be enough of a slop to allow rain pour off? Or should I make the back wall only 4ft tall for a steeper slope?
I plan on making my nesting boxes hang outside to allow more floor space in the coop. I am planning on framing out the spot just as I would a window. I plan on making them 12wx12xhx14d. Do you think that just 2 boxes will be enough for the five hens?
Also, how big do you think I should make the hen door to the run?
I will be framing in either two windows in the front of the coop if I can find two small matching windows, if not then just one bigger window. Do I need anymore light then this? I will be adding vents to the top of the coop to allow for proper ventilation.

Alright that is it (for now at least, I haven't started building yet;)). I know it is a lot of questions, but I have never done anything like this and I have been doing a lot of research because I want to make sure my chickens will be ok. I bolded the actual "questions" so you can tell what they are among the rambling.

Thanks so much,
@oldchickenlady, I have an 8x8' outbuilding I'm planning to turn into a coop - it looks so much like your coop and I'm wondering, do you have more pictures of your coop up somewhere? I'm really curious to see what you did! Thanks! Rebekah
ddmiddle7 two nest boxes will be plenty. They will share - they may even all use the same one. Here's a great plan from the Purina website - I built one like this (though I doubled the size since I had 10 chicks).



You can see the nest boxes on the outside. I attached them by screwing into the pices of plywood from inside the coop. Here's a pic of my finished coop and run.


Here's what the nest boxes look like from the inside.


I would stick with 2x4s, not 2x2s. You can download a PDF of the complete plans free from the Purina website.

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