Open Coop design? -Update on page 2

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by kameron, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. kameron

    kameron Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 8, 2012

    I'm new to chickens and trying to learn as much as possible. Below is my coop/run I built. I live in the city and the only predators I would need to worry about are cats. Here in the SW we get about 3 inches of precipitation a year and maybe two or three nights in the winter below 30 degrees. Were the coop is placed the summer sun will only shine for part of the morning and then it will be shaded. The whole structure is about 10 feet long, 5 1/2 feet wide and about 4 feet tall. I'm only planning on about 3 hens. Will this coop/ run set up work or will they need more of an enclosed structure? I still have to add a roost. Thanks.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  2. NovaAman

    NovaAman Overrun With Chickens

    You need 4 sq ft per bird in the coop itself. You'd need 10 sq feet for each bird in the run. SO, I think the run part should be fine.

    Also, Welcome to BYC.

    Are you going to let the girls run around in the yard at all?
  3. kameron

    kameron Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 8, 2012
    Thanks for the reply. Look like I may add some more room to the side of the coop on the right. That way I could have a longer roost. Currently I don't have a yard for them that's fenced yet. Maybe a silly question but will they fly away? How hard would they be to shuffle back in?
  4. gardendufus

    gardendufus Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well, yes, they will fly away. Or even walk. I have a neighbor who doesn't fence hers in on a lot that is only about 1/8 acre. They are found many times, as much as a block or two away, exploring the neighborhood. Just a matter of time til some roaming dog gets a free meal.

    As for enclosing your structure, I would definitely put a roof over it or over at least half of it so they can get out of inclement weather. Also you didn't say anything about wind. If it's wet and windy they need some protection from that. But you are up against a wall, that will help.

    Disclaimer: I am hardly an expert.
  5. kameron

    kameron Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 8, 2012
    I'm nervous to let them free range because I don't know if I could chase them back in the run. If I'm outside while they're free ranging will they usually follow me?
  6. gardendufus

    gardendufus Chillin' With My Peeps

    In my limited experience........yes they will follow you especially if they look to you to bring/food or treats..........yes they will give up following you and take off on their own when they either give up on more food from you, or see something that catches their interest, or see another hen taking off. They always think the other hen has spotted food, LOL.

    They will not stay around you indefinitely, and individual birds may be more prone to just taking off for no reason. The other birds will likely follow. They call it a 'flock mentality' for a reason. You know, birds of a feather stick together and all that.

    Mine always come back to me when I call (if they are close enough to hear). Cuz they think I may have acquired some new food, I think. They will generally come back to the coop in the evening, as long as they have learned that's where the bed (roost) is.
  7. PeepsAreForMe

    PeepsAreForMe Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2012
    Pemberton Borough, NJ
    Don't be afraid to let them free range! Just don't let them out if you won't be home. I only have 3 hens too but I also have a rooster. Most of the time he is where they are and once in a while will make a specific sound and alert them to something he thinks is threatening. I have not taught mine to come when called yet, but you can always lure them back with food!! They are definitely food friends.

    As for your predators, I have read a lot of new comers who say their only predator is "so and so" and they don't worry much until something comes and gets all their chickens. I would hate for you to find out the hard way you have more to worry about than cats. Welcome - you can learn so much on this site!!
  8. ailurophile23

    ailurophile23 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 21, 2010
    Don't ever try to "chase" the hens back into the run - time-consuming, frustrating for you and the hens, and generally unsuccessful. Start them off in their coop/run and go out daily with a treat - I find meal worms work well. Always use the same container and give it a shake to announce it is treat time and talk to them in a really excited voice. At the same time, develop a vocal call for them too - "Here chickie, chickie" or whistle - whatever works for you. Just be excited. And then give them the treat. They will often get to the point where they come running when they just see the container. This way, when you let them out, you do have a means of rounding them back up in case you need to. Also, the first few times you let them out, do it late in the day when they will only have an hour or so before they are ready for bed as the sun sets. Stay with them and they should put themselves to bed once it starts to get dark. And have your jar of meal worms on hand just in case you want them in sooner.
    1 person likes this.
  9. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN
    [​IMG] I use a shaker cup of scratch but trained my chickens in much the same way. It's well worth the effort. I can let my chickens out at any time of day now and they'll go back in when I let them know it's time. I used to call for them but after they scattered far and wide when a hawk took a shot at them, I realized it would be very nice if they could hear me from farther away. So, my husband bought a cute and LOUD bell that he attached to the coop. I changed the routine to call, ring the bell, and toss the scratch. It didn't take long for them to learn to respond to the bell. AND, when I added some new ladies to the flock, the veterans showed them the ropes so I didn't have to do a thing to train them.
  10. KnobbyOaks

    KnobbyOaks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 10, 2012
    Central Texas
    Thank you for the tip of using a bell. I will definitely plan for that. A brass bell can be heard a long way away. (Good use for that dinner bell)

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