new to chickens

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by wolfram, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. wolfram

    wolfram In the Brooder

    Dec 12, 2013
    I have been looking into owning chickens for about 2 years and now I finally get to build my coop. I have decided on a tall coop that I can easily walk in and clean up. The design that I have drawn out will be six feet tall eight feet long and 4 feet wide (it has to fit in the space between my sheds). Here are my questions.
    How do you space the perches? I’ve read a lot of different things about perches but the most confusing thing is how far apart they need to be and how much space above them and below them for the next perch. I want to put three perches up (I have a thing for the number three).
    What is the best bedding? I know that it’s more of a preference thing but I have been leaning toward sand and I want to be sure that I haven’t missed anything in my research about the other beddings I had thought about (pine shavings and straw)
    And last but not least can my two Chinese white geese share the coop at night? Right now they get put up in the shed at night to protect them from predators (my dogs killed a fox that was after my little lady goose and that’s when they started sleeping in the shed), but it would be cool to not have to scrub massive amounts of poo off the shed floor every day and I was wondering if they could share a home or if I should build the geese a home of their own


    Mr MKK FARMS Crowing Premium Member

    Sep 27, 2012
    [​IMG] Glad you joined us!
  3. wolfram

    wolfram In the Brooder

    Dec 12, 2013
    i think chickens are going to be awesome. But they have to have somewhere to live first because they cant share my room. ^__^
  4. Primo

    Primo Songster

    May 1, 2013
    Hard to say without seeing your coop plans (access points, nesting boxes etc. Mine is 4X8 and I just used 1 eight foot long 2x4 for the roost. Lots of options for roosts. Don't know anything about geese, but I imagine if you let them in there this means less chickens.

    Mr MKK FARMS Crowing Premium Member

    Sep 27, 2012
    They could. [​IMG]
  6. Trefoil

    Trefoil Songster

    Dec 7, 2011
    A lot depends on the climate where you live. If it gets cold, straw over pine shavings is a lot warmer than the alternatives. I'm from MI and don't use sand, even in the summer. If you're thinking about using sand, then why put a floor in? You can just bury fencing around the perimeter of your coop. You want your roosts at least 16" apart. Unless you are putting your roosts across the 4' dimension of your coop, you're not going to need 3 of them, and you are probably going to want to be able to take them down for easy cleaning, it gets a little tricky making them easy to remove for you but not for the chickens. Your easiest cleanup would be to put the roost across the 8' dimension of your coop with a shelf or apron under it to contain most of their droppings. You best bet is to attach at least a small predator proof run to the coop, then unless your geese get really nasty you will have no problems locking everyone in the coop/run at night. It will also give your goose a secure place for her nest, especially if you put a goose enclosure in the run. My main coop is attached to a 14' x 18' run, the chickens go in at night and the ducks stay in the run unless its really cold and then they go in the coop.
    Good luck and enjoy.
  7. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Crowing

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    The first roost should be no closer that 18 inches from the wall. You can stair step them at 12-15 inches apart and about 18 inches up for each step. If they are too close together, they end up pooping on the bird below them. I start my first step at about 2 1/2 ft off the ground. (I have some heavy breeds and that is about as high as they can fly) 3 perches would use up 4'. 12" of roost will be plenty for 15 heavy hens but if you follow the 4 sq ft per bird rule, you only have a coop big enough for 8. I'd go down to 2 roost and save the floor space. 8 hens plus the 2 geese will be cozy. Build a poop pit under the roosts. You can put chainlink or other heavy wire under the roost so the poop falls on the ground. If you can rake the poop from the outside it sure is easier.

    I have never used sand in the coop but it might be the right flooring with the geese. If things get wet with them, it will dry out the fastest.

  8. wolfram

    wolfram In the Brooder

    Dec 12, 2013
    Thanks guys this is super helpful. I think I like the idea of burying the fence! Thanks for the help guys.
  9. Mahlzeit

    Mahlzeit Songster

    Jul 16, 2007
    Long Island NY
    If you do end up going with a wooden floor over dirt floor I would suggest you cover the plywood with something like linoleum to help the plywood last longer. Also if you want to keep the geese inside the coop I would suggest making a poop board under the roost to catch the droppings. If your gees decide they want to sleep under the roosts they will be covered in chicken droppings.
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    An apron is better for deterring diggers, less work to install and maybe less material.


    I have a 2x4 roost, 12" from wall 8" above a 24" wide roost board...rarely any poop on wall.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2013

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by