newbie coop help


In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 16, 2014
Hi everyone! First post here. Few questions. We just moved onto a mini farm with an exsisting coop. Which really is a metal storage shed with doors that slide shut. Attached to the front is a chain link dog kennel. The floor of the shed is dirt which I put some ag pellet lime on to make more of a floor. There is a roost bar at the top of the shed and the sides have hen boxes which are just 5 gallon buckets on their side.

Any suggestions? What should I do to make it more hen friendly? I have a friend giving me 5 three yr old hens to get started.
Just make sure it has good ventilation. Where are you -- in general, for climate? Except in the far north, they don't need much but protection from wind and rain. They need about 1 sq ft per bird of high coop opening for their humid, ammoniated air to escape.

Pelletized lime is great, I use it too, but it should really be used mixed in with something like, hay, straw, pine shavings, dried leaves -- there are many things that work for litter. Sand is getting popular, too, if you plan on scooping out the poop frequently.
I'm in w KY so normally our weather doesn't get to crazy. I plan on adding some shavings to the floor as well. Just wasnted to put the time down so it wasn't all dirt.

What should I put in the nesting boxes?

I know the older hens wont produce as many eggs but figure its a good way for me to test out the coop and see how I like having chickens w/o the investment of chicks.

Should I close them up in the coop at night?
Closing them up or not depends on how secure your run is. If you are absolutely sure that nothing can get in there at night, then leave it open, that's what I do but I have fort knox attached to my coop. If it is not so secure, lock them up.

The advantage of leaving it open is that you don't have to worry about letting them out for the day, or locking them up. They come and go as they please. But you can only do that if you are absolutely positive that raccoons, weasels, fishercats, foxes, owls etc cannot get in.

I have straw in the nest boxes, others use pine shavings. It doesn't really matter that much, I don't think.
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Here are some pics I took with my phone this morning.

These are the doors that slide shut. I imagine if I am going to be closing it at night I will need to put a latch of some type on it

Nesting buckets

Buckets on other side, no ramp so that will be added later. There are 5 buckets on the other side so thinking I may wait a bit on that

roosting bars across the back, although they are same height if not lower than the nesting buckets. Will they still use them? There is also a bar across the top you can still see.

The outside. nothing fancy.
Great space but I would eliminate the buckets on the left with no ramp to free up more space, with 5 hens your only going to need 2 or 3,I would add more ventilation and keep the doors closed to keep rain out maybe cut a chicken door in the door itself.
I had two eggs today!! One in a bucket one on the ground. Confirms my thoughts the buckets are too high
Congrats on your eggs!! I agree. The buckets look too high. Great size coop though.

I always lock up our chickens every night. I can sleep better knowing they are safe.

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