Newbie coop questions.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by gimike812, Mar 6, 2014.

  1. gimike812

    gimike812 New Egg

    Mar 6, 2014
    Tucson, AZ
    Hi every one. New guy here. This is my 5th week to owning chickens. I have 6 little ladies that have grown up so quick. Its time to get them out of the house and into a coop.

    I have been gathering supplies for a couple months, from random demo and contract side jobs. My plan is to build a 4ftx4ftx4ft box on 2ft high stilts. It will have an attached 5ftlong 6ft high 4ft wide run to the right of it plus the space under the house, fully screened in.

    My questions are
    Should I have a roof over part of the run or is the house and the underside of the house enough shade?

    As far as ventalation we see high heat in the summer I plan to install a whorley bird turbine on the top and bird block holes in the tops of the roof at the high side of the roof pitch. Is more air movement nessecary?

    How big should there door opening be?

    How big should the nesting boxes be? I always have aluminum chaffing trays around I was woundering if anyone uses them to line the bottom of the nesting box. Just lift out and dump to clean the nest?

    As far as the birds pooping will they continue to poop where they sleep or will they go out side or just the main floor of the house.

    I think those are my biggest questions for now.
    Sorry if I am asking stupid questions. I have been reading and lurking for about 2 months now but still very new.
  2. [​IMG]

    I here ya. Getting em out of the house is a good thing.

    I strongly recommend all the shade you can give em. Cover the run also. I lived in the valley and the chickens were constantly looking for shade.

    As much ventilation as possible.

    Opening should be at least 7" wide by 10" tall for full sized chickens.

    Here are a couple of coops I used in Buckeye.
  3. Nest boxes can be 10"X10" or slightly bigger.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    The stupid questions are the ones you don’t ask. And there are very seldom any firm right answers to any of these questions, just opinions and personal preferences. We all keep them in different conditions for different reasons too. What works for me might not work for you. It can be challenging sometime but you need to try to figure out if the opinions and preferences given really suit your situation.

    I’m a little concerned on the sizes you are planning on. You can follow the link in my signature for things I think are important to consider when coming up with a coop and run size.

    Heat kills a lot more chickens than cold. A lot more. I’d provide as much shade as possible and reasonable. Also, sunlight does not come straight down. It will come in from the sides too. You might consider shading the south and west side of the run as well.

    You might want to read these articles. I think they may help you.

    Pat’s Big Ol' Ventilation Page

    Pat’s Big Ol' Mud Page (fixing muddy runs):

    Air Flow Diagrams

    I did not see what size or breed of chickens you have or if you will only have hens. I made my pop door 12” x 12”. A tom midget white turkey had no problem using it. It doesn’t have to be that size for hens but it’s a pretty flexible size.

    Size of the nesting boxes is really subjective. The normal recommended minimum size I see on here is 12” x 12” but I’ve seen them hide nests in smaller places. I personally made mine 16” x 16” x 16”. It’s pretty normal to see two or even three hens sharing a nest. The bigger nests allows them more room so one is not literally laying on top of another. I also allow my hens to hatch with the flock. When the chicks hatch, they will often climb on top of Mama. I had a hen hatch in a cat litter bucket nest. There wasn’t a lot of room in there so she was close to the front. When some of those chicks fell off Mama they fell out of the nest. That doesn’t happen in my 16” nests. By the way, with four hens use 2 nests.

    I like the extra height too. A hen can get through a 6” high opening, I’ve seen that, but it just looks tight. I like to put a fairly high lip, 5” to 6”, to keep the hens from scratching bedding and eggs out. The higher nests allows heat to rise some so it may keep the hen cooler.

    They poop a whole lot while sleeping. You might want to search on droppings boards to see how many of us handle that.
  5. Oh and to help you out, it is a very good idea to keep your coop away from your fence (concrete block valley fencing) as they radiate heat late into the night from that hot desert sun.
  6. moetrout

    moetrout Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2010
    Milan, MI
    Build it BIGGER!!! I think most people that have built their own coop will say they wish they had built it bigger. There could be several reasons you need a bigger coop later:

    You want more chickens, they're kind of like potatoe chips!

    You want to raise some chicks to add to the flock, but where are you going to raise them until they are big enough to go into general population? If you build it bigger you could have 2 areas inside.

    You realize later that if your supplies were stored in the coop you would not have to haul it from the garage every day to feed them.

    You want to breed a specific paair you have, again you could have 2 areas inside the coop.

    Yep! I have had all of these issues. It might be why I have built 3 coops in the last 5 years!
  7. ChirpyChicks1

    ChirpyChicks1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2013
    Agreed, go bigger if you can. Most recommend 4sq ft per bird inside the coop and 10sq ft per bird in the run. My coop for 6 hens is 8'x6' (maybe 10ish ft tall) and I'd still love it bigger.
  8. gimike812

    gimike812 New Egg

    Mar 6, 2014
    Tucson, AZ
    Thanks for all the replies good info to think about. My flock consists of 2 California Whites, 2 Delewares, 1RIR, and 1 Americuna. So far fingers crossed all females. Roosters are not allowed in city limits.

    I dont plan on breeding or hatching. If we want morer in the future we will brood day olds again in the house but thats not likely for at least another season or 2.

    We got into the backyard chicken game for a couple reasons. One is for the fresh eggs and 2 is we have 2 little boys and want to teach them values, respect, responsibility, and skills that are no longer tought. I was amazed when a friends child 9yr old had no clue that green beans came off a plant and not a can from a store. Chickens are our first steps, hopefully composting and gardening follow. Maybe even in a year or two aquaponics.

    As far as the coop size goes I can possibly squeez another 2 feet in length but thats getting large on the construction side and for the area of the side yard. I am trying to keep them in a 5x13 space as to not block walk way and stay farthest from any neighbors.

    I did not take in to consideration the radiant heat from the easternly facing block wall it will be up against. I can run a mist system in the summer heat if needed. During the morning the run will be shaded from the house and afternoon from the block wall. So only a few hours mid day is there direct sunlight. I will also have an automatic watering system to keep the ladies hydrated.
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    You're lucky to be in a climate where mist system will work.......too humid here...I was amazed at how well these work when visiting AZ years ago.

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