Newbie here with questions about the coop and the run

PlymouthRocker

Songster
10 Years
May 7, 2009
407
1
129
Plymouth County MA
Hello, backyard chicken farmers! We have 24 chicks that we got on May 8 when they were a week old. 10 Plymouth White Rocks, 5 Black Sexlinks and 9 Buff Orps.

We converted a lean-to behind our garage to a coop for them. It's about 12 feet by 10 feet and we have two old-time enclosed nesting boxes plus an open wooden one. Here are my coop questions:

1. We have a large piece of plywood (3x4) that is about 4.5 feet from the ground and suspended from the ceiling. The previous owners put it up. Would you take it down? If an egg is laid in the back corner, I'd need a ladder to reach it and I think it would be full of poop. Perhaps I just answered question #1.
smile.png

2. We don't have any roosts yet and am quite ignorant about where to put them and how many to put up and what they should be made of.
3. We have one measly little window in the coop with no screen. Would you put up a screen and secure it so the critters don't get in?
4. There is no ventilation in the coop. We have an opening to the garage from the coop that we have blocked temporarily, but we are thinking a door would be safe from critters when the garage is open (not often, but still). Again, quite ignorant here on how to install ventilation that is economical and with a husband that is no Bob Vila.

Our run is about 12 feet wide and 40 feet long and we have barn-type doors off the lean-to that open into it. We've enclosed it with chicken wire and buried about 18 inches of wire in the dirt. Tonight we put a 10 foot post in the middle of the run and covered the run with netting. We get into the coop through the run, not the garage.

Here are my run questions:
1. How do we secure around the door to the run? We can't attach chicken wire to the bottom of the door, we can't attach the netting around it, there is a gap of 3 inches or so between the door and the fence post. Basically any critter can lift the netting and slide through or dig under the door. I want this to be easy enough for my 7-year old to open but not a raccoon. She feeds the chicks and I water them, and sometimes we don't do that together - so she needs to be able to open the door. However, right now the netting makes it tricky - but without the netting, big trouble.
2. Do you mow the lawn inside your run? Our grass is getting long!

Okay - lots of questions and I'm sorry if these have been asked before. We love our chicks and want them to be safe and sound.

They are out in the run right now for the first time with the netting above them and I feel much safer.

I welcome your advice!
Blessings,
Stacey
 

RendonRoo

Songster
10 Years
Feb 7, 2009
1,147
8
161
ft. worth
Let me see if i can at least answer some of your question.
Coop....Q #1 yes you answered your own question.
#2 Use 2x4 boards with the wider side up. Best to have them all the same height. About 12'' of board per bird.(12 birds= 12 ft. roost)
#3 Screen wire and chicken wire will not keep out predators. It only serves to keep chickens in. Use at least 1/2" hardware cloth. I use the hardware cloth with 2x4 welded wire and have had it proven to keep predators out.
#4 One window probably won't be enough unless you have something to draw the hot air out. Fans can help and power attic vents can help.

Run...Q #1 Once again chicken wire us usually worthless to keep predators out. If you could post a pic of the door i might be able to help there but i can't visualize what your saying. (It's me not u).
#2 When they get big enough to go outside in the run the grass won't stand a chance. They will eat and scratch the ground until it is bare. With that large of a run and with young chicks it may take a while but not very long. Good Luck and welcome to BYC
 

taxus812

In the Brooder
10 Years
May 26, 2009
58
1
39
First welcome to the board.

If you had a picture I could get a better idea of what is needed. From what you are telling me you could probably fill the gap with some wood nailed to the post filling the space entirly. (two 2x4 nailed together = about 3")
 

tomdeggeater

Songster
12 Years
Sep 20, 2007
176
4
136
Rocky Hill, CT.
Welcome Stacy,
First the coop. I would remove the plywood, sounds like a shelf that you don't need. Save the wood though! You'll need it when you build the nesting boxes.
2. Roosts, hmmm. I'll have to draw you a plan.
3. Does the window opening have a sash/frame with glass? Double hung or awning? In any case, use 1/2" hardware cloth to screen the opening and keep the critters out. You can then use window screen if you want to keep out some flies or skeeters, but I don't think the chickens will mind extra food...
4. Ventilation - definately another window for a cross draft, maybe even a window fan in one.
Now to the drawing board... I may have to PM these drawings.
Tom
smile.png
 

PlymouthRocker

Songster
10 Years
May 7, 2009
407
1
129
Plymouth County MA
Ok, I'll take some pix tomorrow and post them. More than chicken wire huh? I think my husband is going to kill me when I tell him this. The chicken wire and fencing was all second-hand and free from a former chicken farmer who now has a soccer field for her kids.

Thanks for all your help and I'll get working on these things. Well, I will get DH to get helping me, I mean!

TY!
Stacey
 

PlymouthRocker

Songster
10 Years
May 7, 2009
407
1
129
Plymouth County MA
HOLY MOLEY!! You are brilliant!!! I was expecting far far less than these amazingly detailed plans. Thank you so much! Truly, my eyes nearly popped out of my head when I saw your drawings. Okay, I will be using some of the wood from the coop we will be taking down to make these. Can't wait to get the girls some place to roost!

We will work on the door too, and get a screen for the window.

The girls loved being outside tonight for a couple of hours. It's so worth it to take the extra time to keep them safe. I lurk on this board and spend most of my time in the PREDATOR/PEST forum to get informed.

THANKS AGAIN!

Blessings,
Stacey
 

SC_Hugh

Songster
10 Years
May 23, 2009
467
1
121
Santa Cruz, CA
Quote:
Newbie here too...I built a 45 degree roost with three bars and my chickens want to roost even higher on the open window door that opens to the inside of the coop. Because the top of this window is higher than the roost, they go for the higher spot. My coop is only 4' wide, so that limits how high the top roosting bar can be without being too close to the wall.

Question: is there a suggested height for the top roosting bar? My chicks are only 5-6 weeks old, so they aren't heavy birds yet.

After I cut a chicken door from coop to run, then I won't have them going in and out that window at all.

Thanks,

--Hughster
 

Bear Foot Farm

Crowing
11 Years
Mar 31, 2008
5,543
306
288
Grifton NC
Question: is there a suggested height for the top roosting bar

The higher the better. They will ALL want to roost on the highest one.

And ALWAYS make the roosts higher than the nest boxes​
 

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