Newbie Coop Help Center

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by quickchicken, Jan 24, 2017.

  1. quickchicken

    quickchicken Just Hatched

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    Hey all! I'm a homeschooler from central Ohio. Recently our family decided to invest in chickens!! We've wanted to make the leap for awhile but financially could not. It's still a very tight budget, and we're debating how we should go about a coop. We aren't sure how many chickens we'd like, but everyone says plan for a few more than you think. Maybe 10, MAX? Our yard is very large and we definitely want to take advantage of free ranging. The problem is with the coop itself. I would love to construct one using cheap or free materials found on craigslist. We are not by any means master craftsmen. I'm open to youtube tutorial-ing the heck out of this project, but my mother, who's partnering me on this endeavor, would rather buy one as she is impatient to get the chickens! I understand her excitement, but the coops I've seen are either vastly out of our price range or teeny tiny. Not to mention we have no way of verifying the quality/soundness and security. We do have some things on hand that we think could be usable: milk crates (nesting boxes?), a climber cube (picture one, note we do not have the slide or internal orange platform. the cube is a hollow shell.), also a playhouse (picture two, we saw the DIY coop utilizing a playhouse and since my sister is outgrowing it we've considered incorporating it into the setup), and a food-grade barrel(bottom picture).

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    Can we use any of this stuff? We don't have a truck so hauling pallets and other scraps from nearby junkyards is not exactly viable. We also have a small metal shelf that's pretty sturdy, and we thought about putting milk crates on it inside the climber cube (we've tried and the shelf fits perfectly). My concerns with this are:
    - is that space large enough for 4-6 hens? (The cube is about 4X4X5)
    - It is made from interlocking plastic shells. Will this be warm enough in the spring?
    - We tend to get moles, if we laid down hardware cloth under the cube, would that be sufficient to deter diggers?
    I think that's all for now. Like I said, huge newbie here and my first move was joining BYC. We consider ourselves very good stewards of our animals, and would like to have the happiest, healthiest chickens possible. Thank you all so much for your time, any advice regarding this matter or another would be vastly appreciated! Happy Homesteading!
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2017
  2. Mahlzeit

    Mahlzeit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 16, 2007
    Long Island NY
    You can certainly use those things to make a coop out of. You are going to want to make sure you close the sides up a bit but also leave some ventilation as that is very important. If you click on the coops section of this site you can get a lot of ideas and see coops people have made out of all kinds of things. Moles don't really pose a problem to chickens, they will actually kill the moles if they come around. Hardware cloth is good to keep out other predators though such as raccoons and opossums. You can fit 4-6 chickens in there as long as they are able to get out into a run or free range the yard during the day.
     
  3. Oneofthempeople

    Oneofthempeople Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 20, 2016
    Wisconsin
    I would use the play house for the coop, make a roost inside and close it off with chicken wire (for there safety) block part of it off solid.(cardboard will do at 1st update as you go) leave the door just make a latch for it so you can keep it closed when you need. The slide would be a good play/hiding place for them maybe something to cover the top for extra protection for air born threats (hacks,ect) the barrel cut in 1/2 can be used for nesting box just make sure it can not roll
     
  4. ejcrist

    ejcrist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 16, 2015
    Desert Hills, AZ
    I'm not much of a craftsman either but I just finished my second coop and I'm happy with both I built. You are absolutely correct about the commercial coops - stay far away from them since they are terrible values. You can build your own big enough for 10 birds quite easily, and I'm going to guestimate you can do it for around $500-$600. I'm not talking about anything fancy-schmanzy but just a good quality walk-in coop. I know you said resources are tight but bear in mind the coop has to stand up to all sorts of weather and keep determined predators out, so I'd be hesitant to use anything that isn't up to the job. The amount I'm estimating is approximate but that's for all new raw materials from Homeless Depot or Lowes. If you have any scrap material laying around you can of course use it to reduce costs. Just my opinion but I'd rather wait and save for a well-built structure than take a chance, but that's just me.

    Regarding instructions, you can google iCreatables (http://icreatables.com/) which has YouTube videos of just about any style shed, and just scale down what you need. The framing is the stuff you need to see and the rest is easy. Like I said, I'm not a carpenter or anything either but after building my first coop with attached run I was wondering why I didn't do it before. It was so easy I built a second one about 4x the size of the first 8'X8'. If you have any questions or anything feel free to pm or just ask here. Also look over the coop section here on this site - lots of great ideas there.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!

    I would strongly recommend against using either of those structures as the basis for a coop.
    First they are just too small, and it would take some really creative craftsmanship to make them secure.

    ejcrist offered some good suggestions above.

    Good chicken facilities are neither quick nor cheap....
    .......well, you can get it done well with much less expense, but it will take time to gather materials.

    There's ton of great, and not so great, advice right here on BYC....that too will take time to navigate.
    Here a great place to start reading https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
  6. IdyllwildAcres

    IdyllwildAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Here is an idea for free material, call garage door maintenance companies, ask them what they do with old wood garage doors when they replace them and offer them a place to drop them off. A few doors would make a big coop once you pull them apart and sort the wood.

    Welcome to BYC

    Gary
     

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