Newbie trying to make a coop/run vs buying pre-fab

MaGlockner

Chirping
May 24, 2020
73
94
76
Massachusetts
Greetings all - I know nuthin' bout construction. I know next to nuthin' bout chickens, but you guys are bringing me up to speed quickly, so - many thanks! Hoping for some help with coop/run ideas before I become so intimidated I give away my 5 chicks and call it done.

While exploring the pile of stuff my dad has lying around with an eye to re-purposing I noticed that 1/4 of his massive blueberry fencing has been pulled down and stored (score!). So, I have pressure treated posts that are 8 ft high and pressure treated 2x4x8s. There's also chicken wire aplenty, but that isn't going to help keep the coyotes and foxes out.

I've also inherited all of Dad's tools, but don't know a table saw from a band saw and honestly, would probably hurt myself trying to use either. I live in Massachusetts, near the 495 belt, so we're right on the edge of getting a lot of snow each storm that passes through. My thought is to have a walk in run that's 6 feet or 7 feet high, six feet wide and 8 feet long, with a 6x4 coop attached.

My current thought is that if I do a salt box style roof, I can bury the posts for the run at different depths to attain the slope I want so that the snow and rain will run off the back end. I have plenty of space, so can position it so that the long part of the run is south facing with the shorter roof part being north facing OR can have the shorter roof part west facing with the 6" wide entrance facing south.

Thoughts on that? and thoughts on how deep each post should be and what the appropriate slope should be?

Again, I'm completely out of my depth. Thanks!
 

Mtnboomer

Songster
Mar 17, 2019
1,013
1,752
232
Southwest Virginia (mountains)
Posts should be placed below frost depth. Here in va, thats between 24-30" typically. You msy have to go deeper.

It us best in northern climates to align structures to maximize solar gain. Google structure orientation axis for solar gain snd you will find plenty of diagrams explaining this. Sounds complicated, but its not.

Your materials sound like a good start. Use chicken wire for run ceiling only. It is useless elsewhere.

Remember that ventilation is very important. Open, but secure soffits are easy solutions to this problem.

4sf/bird for the coop floor (not counting nesting boxes if the boxes are located less than 16" off the floor. Bigger is always better especially in areas of a lot of snow.

10sf/bird run space

16" o.c. stud spacing recommended 24" can be used
24" o.c. roof rafters depending upon roof style and materials

Welded wire fencing snd/or 1/2" hardware cloth better for securing coop openings and run fencing.

Good luck! Have fun! Be creative!
 

MaGlockner

Chirping
May 24, 2020
73
94
76
Massachusetts
Posts should be placed below frost depth. Here in va, thats between 24-30" typically. You msy have to go deeper.

It us best in northern climates to align structures to maximize solar gain. Google structure orientation axis for solar gain snd you will find plenty of diagrams explaining this. Sounds complicated, but its not.

Your materials sound like a good start. Use chicken wire for run ceiling only. It is useless elsewhere.

Remember that ventilation is very important. Open, but secure soffits are easy solutions to this problem.

4sf/bird for the coop floor (not counting nesting boxes if the boxes are located less than 16" off the floor. Bigger is always better especially in areas of a lot of snow.

10sf/bird run space

16" o.c. stud spacing recommended 24" can be used
24" o.c. roof rafters depending upon roof style and materials

Welded wire fencing snd/or 1/2" hardware cloth better for securing coop openings and run fencing.

Good luck! Have fun! Be creative!
ty so much!!! 16" for run?
i was thinking 6x4 for coop floor (6 birds - i have 5)
and 6x12 for run space

want them to have more space, not less

was going to go with two nesting boxes ... any thoughts on that?
 

MaGlockner

Chirping
May 24, 2020
73
94
76
Massachusetts
Psyched!!! Just scored a shed window with screen - not used, on craigslist - $20~~~
kinda feeling like non-chicken peeps may not get how great a score that is!
 

Mtnboomer

Songster
Mar 17, 2019
1,013
1,752
232
Southwest Virginia (mountains)
ty so much!!! 16" for run?
i was thinking 6x4 for coop floor (6 birds - i have 5)
and 6x12 for run space

want them to have more space, not less

was going to go with two nesting boxes ... any thoughts on that?
The 4 sf for coop and 10sf for the run per bird are minimum requirements. Bigger is always better for both. Something to consider is that we often find ourselves adding to the flock in the future even when we don't expect to in the beginning. By building bigger from the start, you can easily accommodate more birds if you desire. If not, your smaller flock will enjoy the extra space.

2 nesting boxes will be sufficient for 5 birds.

A few other considerations are:
if you choose to provide food and water in the coop, run, or both. Allowing space for the containers of choice.

Design with maintenance in mind. Make it easy on yourself by making it easy to clean.

Elevated coop vs on ground. I have an elevated coop. When i say elevated, i mean a min of 24-30" off the ground depending upon its size. Mine is 32" to the bottom of the floor joist. There are many advantages to both styles but a coop "elevated" less than 24" creates a desirable home for unwanted varmints like groundhogs, rats, snakes etc. Higher makes it more open and feel less secure to the critters while creating a more secure coop and many other benefits for your birds.

External vs internal nesting boxes. External are very convenient. I use them and designed my coop so that i never have to enter it except to clean it. All food and water refills can be done from the outside along with egg retrieval. If you build external boxes, DO NOT use the roof of the box as the lid. This creates potential leak issues where the lid meets the wall of the coop, around the lid edge and the hinges. Instead, use the outside wall as a door and connect the roof of the box to the wall of the coop like you wood a porch roof to the wall of a house. This is how i constructed mine and the boxes stay bone dry.
 

AA Maple

Songster
5 Years
Apr 29, 2015
135
58
126
Greetings all - I know nuthin' bout construction.

I've done fine without digging post holes for corner supports. Might want to double up the the corners if you're using 2x4. Search Lowes or Home Depot for "ribbed metal roofing". I roofed all my coops here out of scraps of that from the old roof on the house. For the most part if the roof keeps the rest of it dry a wooden structure should last forever.


Good luck!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
94,902
125,342
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I live in Massachusetts,
Make your coop bigger and/or make your run weather and predator proof.
Good solid roof on run strong enough for snow load.

Here's how to add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, and then it's always there!
1590703731547.png
 

MaGlockner

Chirping
May 24, 2020
73
94
76
Massachusetts
I'm waiting for measurements, but i think lowering it to about 30-32" then enclosing bottom in harware cloth ... if the box itself is 24x ft ... it might work
 

MANNA-PRO

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