New to chickens. Will this work?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by GatorBunny, Jun 5, 2012.

  1. GatorBunny

    GatorBunny In the Brooder

    41
    0
    32
    Jun 5, 2012
    Hello,

    We're new to chickens, I've been wanting them for some time now but we just returned from a trip to Kauai where we spent a lot of time with feral chickens and have decided to take the plunge. A local (kind of) feed store has chicks through July (we'd like to get chicks because I would like to socialize them to handling) which means the pressure is on to build a coop!

    I'm not super handy, neither is my boy friend, and we don't own any power tools so we were looking at either buying a pre-made coop or making something easy. We have cats and probably racoons in our neighborhood and I worry that any pre-made coop in our price range will not be predator safe.

    Anyway, what we do already have in our backyard is this structure (pics below)! It's very sturdy, we will need to add a roof and make some other adjustments. The door with the latch actually opens, so it's easy access once we trim the rose bush back.

    I would like some opinions on 1) whether we should cover some of the windows, the windows cover two sides and I worry that they will be too stressed out being that exposed? 2) will the slats on the non-window part let in too much breeze? Should we or can we cover them with plastic or something else? Any suggestions? We live in the San Francisco Bay Area so we don't really have weather. 3) the floor is dirt I believe, can we just cover the dirt up with substrate or should we install a different floor? We plan to build in some shelves for nesting boxes and some perches. 4) This is about 6 square feet by 6 square feet, is it enough space for 3-4 chickens? We plan to maybe knock out one of the windows and create an adjacent run and they can have access to the full yard when we are home to supervise.

    Is this a viable project or should we start from scratch?
    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]
     
  2. AlabamaSweetpea

    AlabamaSweetpea In the Brooder

    94
    3
    31
    Mar 26, 2012
    Mobile, Alabama
    I like it .. with a little work you will have a unique coop. I would take the glass out and use hardware cloth because it will be like a greenhouse or sauna and just build an enclosed 'house' for them to roost. .
     
  3. GatorBunny

    GatorBunny In the Brooder

    41
    0
    32
    Jun 5, 2012
    So the frame itself should not be the house? How big should the inside house be? Can we leave some of the glass?
     
  4. GatorBunny

    GatorBunny In the Brooder

    41
    0
    32
    Jun 5, 2012
    Or if we created an elevated house inside would we not need to make an outside run? At least for the beginning?
     
  5. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Songster

    2,236
    131
    208
    Apr 22, 2012
    Southwest Virginia
    My Coop
    Predators: That structure looks pretty predator proof (minus the non roof), so I wouldn't worry about that.

    Inside space: Chickens don't necessarily need an inside space at night (especially in warm climates) as long as you provide roosts and put a solid roof on this thing (to keep out rain). If you do want to build an inside house space, I've heard from 2-5 sq ft of inside floor space and 1-2 feet of roosting length per chicken. Also, chickens really don't seem to mind being glass. I find that they love to see what's going on outside their space, and my chickens often get agitated if they're in a pen that they can't see out of.

    Breeze: The slats are great--they love breezes as long as they have a space to hide when it's cold and windy, so provide screens made of hardware cloth on the side parallel to the slats for a cross breeze and make sure they also have a section that isn't as breezy. Check out the concept of open air coops, especially if your temps rarely get below freezing.

    Weather: In your area you will mostly have to worry about rain and HEAT... they will overheat easily with the glass windows, so do be careful to provide shade, waterers, and breezes.

    Size: Don't worry about the size, that structure and a run/yard is a good amount of space for 3-4 chickens (if it's a permanent home with no run, 8-10 sq ft per chicken is advisable to keep the peace, so you're good even if you don't have a run).

    Floor: Dirt is GREAT flooring for chicken houses, I always recommend it. You can cover it with wood chips (as long as they're aged and not too green), add to it every week or so, and at the end of a year you can replace the chips and use the old bedding as mulch or compost. You can also cover it with dried leaves or other bedding materials, just don't use straw, it will mold.

    Don't worry so much about this project, it sounds like you've done and are doing your research so that your chickens can be safe and happy. Good luck and keep us posted!
     
  6. AlabamaSweetpea

    AlabamaSweetpea In the Brooder

    94
    3
    31
    Mar 26, 2012
    Mobile, Alabama
    I am building a 10x10 covered coop/run with a 4x4 house inside. Inititially I was going to do 5x6, but changed my mind and after seeing how big the 4x4 osb sheet is, I'm glad I did ... I think I could have made it 3x4 and still had plenty of room. I'm building my coop/run as predator proof as I can, but with the house, I can shut them in at night if need be. Where I live, I know there are opposums, snakes and raccoons, and while I can't afford a security camera, I am going to get a solar motion light and a baby monitor to use at least in the beginning to hear any commotion going on.

    But I really like all the doors and think it will look great. BTW, cover the holes where the door knobs go so a rat can't get in.
     
  7. LittleSticks

    LittleSticks In the Brooder

    65
    13
    41
    Mar 28, 2012
    NW Washington
    You are going to have a great looking coop! Ventilation is the thing that you need to be conscious of while you are building a coop. You want plenty of it. It can be covered with plexiglass if need be. (Use velcro!) Or wood, or clear roofing panels. . . Better to have too much and cover some of it than not have enough and need to saw holes in your coop after the chicks get sick.

    Attach hardware cloth over those slats if they aren't good and sturdy. Raccoons are surprisingly strong. And sneaky!

    If the windows get a lot of sun you may end up painting over some of the panes - blocking the sun in some way. As long as there is enough ventilation from the other two sides I'd leave the windows in for now. Chickens are curious and they love to look out. You'll love to look in and see what they're up to.

    The dirt floor is good as it is. Look up "deep bedding" on this site and you'll find instructions. (That has three words to it but I can't remember the entire phrase. Maybe "deep bedding method." Believe me - someone will let you know!)

    Is this structure on a concrete or solid footing? If it isn't you'll want to attach hardware cloth to the bottom of the coop to keep out burrowing predators. Many people use 2' wide hardware cloth with a 1/2" or 3/4" grid for this. Bend it into the shape of an "L" and attach it to the outside bottom of your coop. One foot of hardware cloth will be vertical, the other foot horizontal. Use screws with washers or fence staples to attach the vertical wire to the coop. The hardware cloth laying on the ground can be covered with dirt, rocks - anything to keep it in place.

    I think you are going to end up with a dream coop. Be sure to send pictures and updates.
     
  8. artsy1

    artsy1 Songster

    298
    2
    101
    Sep 5, 2011
    sarasota
    I would use this, just make a roof. Have ventilation.
    put a perch in there and some nesting boxes. Great to go.

    Make sure nothing can get in, the ground is good left as dirt.
    It's called deep litter method.
    I would make a place where they can free range daily.
     
  9. aggiemae

    aggiemae Songster

    1,408
    131
    216
    Mar 18, 2012
    Salem Oregon
    Chickens love to look out the window, so I say the more windows the better except, of course, for nesting boxes which they prefer to be dim and private.
     
  10. folgerrd

    folgerrd Songster

    Jun 4, 2011
    Canada
    It needs more ventilation. It looks nice though!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: