'Oooo that's pretty' -> shouldn't decide what to build.

ScottM

Songster
8 Years
Dec 29, 2011
284
89
111
Prince George, BC, Canada
My Coop
My Coop
While aesthetics will be a concern, I'd like to make a functional decision on what type of coop to build,

Here are my needs:

- I expect to have 3-4 egg laying hens MAX
- One side of a garage is available to build off of
- Very Northern Climate (it gets to -25 degrees celcius for several weeks in the winter, and snow is on the ground 5 months of the year)
- I like the idea of deep layer bedding (how do I build for this?)


Here are some questions:

1. Does the 5sqft of space per chicken include or exclude the feeder/water/nesting spaces? (due to climate, these will all be inside)
2. What designs lend themselves best to the deep layer bedding option? How much of a 'base' do I need in total?
3. Why are egg boxes often jutting out from the shape of the overall structure? Is this functional in some way? What about heat conservation?
4. Why are coops often above the ground? Other than predators, is this for a heating/cooling factor?
5. I'm most drawn to this one (https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=50744) but would set it on the ground and not up high. Is that a good fit?

Any advice appreciated,

Scott
 

citychickx6

Songster
8 Years
May 14, 2011
1,044
34
151
Loveland
welcome-byc.gif

You will find lots of great information on here.
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I cannot answer all or even most of your questions but I can answer the nest box question.

The nest boxes that protrude outside of the building is to make gathering eggs easier and to give that floor space back to the chickens.

The raising of coops is to deter pests like mice from messing up the food and to give hens a shady spot to hang out in hot areas.

For me the five sq ft per hen is adequate but if they are going to spend a lot of time in doors you may want to increase it some. I say some since the hens need each others warmth in the winter more than a huge cold area to be. I would make it 6 sq ft per bird with the food and water inside in your cold climate.
 

harveyhorses

Songster
11 Years
Jan 16, 2010
670
154
241
Powhatan Va
I am not going to be a lot of help, but welcome!
I think the nest boxes stick out for easy egg collecting. Mine are inside my coop, because that is how it got built.
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Mine is also raised off the ground a couple of feet, because it gives them some covered area when the weather is bad. Are you going to have a run for them? My run is covered now, so when we get snow (maybe two weeks a year) or rain, I do not have to walk through muck to get my eggs. I took over an unused dog run and built my coop completly inside it.
You will probably want to think about the everyday stuff, where the feed will be kept, How you will take care of the water. SECURITY.
Good luck.
 

ci_cyfarth

Chirping
8 Years
Dec 29, 2011
74
1
91
Columbia, MO
I'm planning to build my coop a couple of feet above ground in order to maximize space -- it'll give the hens a nice shady spot and keep the run nice and large -- but also to keep the coop nice and dry instead of having to worry about water getting in up through the floor when it rains. While the spot I'm working in drains relatively well, I'd rather not take the chance.

There's also the predator/vermin angle, too, as others have mentioned.
 

ChickensAreSweet

Heavenly Grains for Hens
9 Years
Jun 8, 2010
15,100
721
398
Pacific NW- where the Douglas Firs grow
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If your chickens will be living basically inside due to inclement weather in the winter, then I'd not go with a 5 sq. ft. per chicken at all.

I'd count the usual "4 sq. ft. per chicken inside the coop and 10 square feet per chicken in the run" that is often quoted here on BYC as all inside the coop.

In other words, I'd look to give each chicken 14 square feet minimum INSIDE the coop, and this is to prevent cannibalism.

I would definitely build an additional run not counting the 14 sq. ft., which they might not use very much in the winter.

Just my opinion!
 

gardendufus

Songster
8 Years
Nov 28, 2011
793
37
123
CO Springs-First Chics 3/2/12
Well, I'm sure not the expert here, am only now building my first coop. BUT, I spent the last 6 weeks researching and deciding what I wanted to do, so for what it's worth, here's what I think I learned about the deep litter method. I live in Colorado Springs, so my weather is milder than yours, but we still have occasional sub zero weather and lotsa teens and twenties.

Some people will have different opinions, but here is what I have decided to believe.

Deep litter method on artificial (wood, linoleum, etc) floors works, BUT, the litter is not garden ready until having spent some amount of time in a regular compost outside the coop.
Deep litter method used directly on the ground will, over time become a true compost and be ready to utilize in the garden upon removal from the coop. I understand that this has to do with the natural moisture of the ground working on the litter somehow. Theoretically this makes sense to me.

I am using a sub-ground level floor in my coop (essentially the ground dug out 1 ft or so below ground level, walled by concrete blocks as a foundation for the building). This allows the litter to become appx 1 ft deep before it touches the wood in the coop, hopefully avoiding any wood rot on the coop itself. This should also provide some natural warmth (from decomposition) inside the coop during the winter, and require cleanout only once a year. If I do this in the spring, then the buildup of the warm compost should be well along by the time the next winter hits.

OK guys, I'm working on my coop now, so if I'm wrong wrong wrong, now's the time to convince me.
 

bobbieschicks

Chicken Tender
8 Years
Jun 24, 2011
4,565
232
261
King George, VA
My Coop
My Coop
1. Does the 5sqft of space per chicken include or exclude the feeder/water/nesting spaces? (due to climate, these will all be inside)
Excludes the additions - you will need to consider the size of additions when designing your coop.

2. What designs lend themselves best to the deep layer bedding option? How much of a 'base' do I need in total?
Any design that allows you to pile up shavings to a deep layer then clean up when it stinks. Start with about 2"-3" of pine shavings over vinyl or dirt. Then add shavings and DE as needed to reduce stink and moisture. If you use a manure board under your roost you will need to clean that out often or the stink/poop will pile up too much.

3. Why are egg boxes often jutting out from the shape of the overall structure? Is this functional in some way? What about heat conservation?
For less floor space being taken up and easy access from outside chicken coop/run to gather eggs depending on your run configuration. Eggs stay warm for awhile in our nest boxes even in the freezing temps.

4. Why are coops often above the ground? Other than predators, is this for a heating/cooling factor?
I raised our coop to keep out ground animals, have a shady spot for the chickens to hang out during the day and to make it easier on my back getting in and out to clean it.

5. I'm most drawn to this one (https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=50744) but would set it on the ground and not up high. Is that a good fit?
That looks like a great coop for the number of chickens you are considering. That design is a tractor and you could move it around if you need to - but not if you build off your garage as one of the walls? I would reconsider the clear plastic panels if you get alot of sunshine - otherwise you may end up with too hot chickens.
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Nov 23, 2010
34,032
29,957
1,117
St. Louis, MO
Designing for deep litter, place board barriers across floor level openings (pop doors, man doors) otherwise shavings will prevent closing the doors.
 

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