Our first coop, any suggestions experienced chickenfolk?

AnnesChicks

Songster
10 Years
Mar 4, 2009
167
1
109
Aberdeen, Washington
We have a new homemade 4X6 coop, elevated so the hens can use the space underneath for a covered run area, plus a 6X12 dog run. We borrowed a lot of ideas from this site and are really pleased with the results. We used a combo of new and recycled materials so it was not very costly. So take a look and let us know if you have any suggestions



Because our yard is not fully fenced, and our neighbor lost both cats to coyotes last spring, I'm a bit worried about varmits The run is older chainlink (heavy) but we ran 3' hi chicken wire around the bottom attached with zip ties, we used hardware cloth around the underneath the coop, stapled top and bottom to a wood frame. We used old fencing over the top of the run, secured all around the edges with zip ties.



We realized already that the light is too low and needs to be rigged up a different way. Are the nest boxes too high? And someone has been roosting on the water at night, I can tell by the poop piles, any ideas to keep them off?


Although our weather has been stormy, cold, snowy the girls seem cozy, we have eight about 3 months old. Sorry this is so long and I hope the pictures come through, if not visit our page. Thanks
 

WoodlandWoman

Crowing
12 Years
May 8, 2007
5,717
67
283
Wisconsin
That looks so good! That's a nice coop. Your chickens look very happy in there.

Are you sure they aren't just roosting on the branch above the water? It that's the case, then just move the water. If they're actually roosting on top of the water container, I would try to put something cone shaped on top. Even if it's just something like a cereal box cut open and shaped into a cone, tacked on with a little duct tape.


Once they get used to roosting in a regular spot, you may be able to quit using the cone.
 

jaku

Songster
12 Years
Jan 13, 2008
2,134
3
191
Howard City, Michigan
Quote:I keep my layers' water inside during the winter, so it takes a little longer to freeze, and it's AWFUL. Alway spilling, stinky, and full of chips. I was soo glad when we got a warm up so I could put it outside in the run.
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
533
448
South Georgia
Funnels work well as cones if you happen to have some large ones lying around.

Another option is string. I keep the hens off the galvanized waterer by simply tying string from the handle to a position up high on the wall. I tie it in a bow so I can undo and retie when I clean it. It does not have a pointy handle on top. Instead it has a flat top handle about 3" wide. Stupid design if you ask me. I will just buy the plastic ones after this. Trick with them is not to carry them by the bowl (upside down) when they are full. Messes up the alignment and thus the seal. Besides, you can use ACV in them.
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
533
448
South Georgia
If waterer is full of chips, is it too low? Can you set it on something to get it up to chicken's back height or more, so they don't kick the chips in? I kept raising feeders and waterers as they grew to avoid this. Not 100%, but close. They will stretch up to eat and drink; watch them.
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
533
448
South Georgia
Also. Find an old round metal cookie tin at a flea market. Drill hole in the side, insert lamp kit, insert small light bulb, replace lid, place waterer on cookie tin. No more frozen water. And lots cheaper than commercial alternatives.

Doesn't everyone have an old Christmas cookie tin or fruitcake tin lying around?
 

Cetawin

Chicken Beader
11 Years
Mar 20, 2008
13,752
127
333
NW Kentucky
Looks great and the girls will love it! One question...did you secure hardwire cloth or chicken wire from inside rhe chain link fence, under it and out away from run? If not, I would do so. Runit under the chain link fence and out 2 or 3 feet, fasten down with landscape staples or spikes, put rocks, dirt, plants or whatever on top. that will stop the diggers.


Remember if you have coyote problems...secure from digging and make sure that top is secured and durable. coyotes will team up and jump up on top..then they bounce until they get the chicken wire or etc to cave. They are a real PITA.


Also a good shotgun works wonders.
 

orchidchick

Songster
12 Years
Mar 23, 2008
218
2
144
south florida
Looks great!


I have a very similar setup as far as the run and did what the other posters suggested and laid down a skirt around the perimeter and slid it under the run about 8" or so as opposed to making an L up the side and it helps keep the chickens from digging out as well (man, can they dig!!)

Home Depot sells 6' kennel panels and the hardware that you can clamp on for the roof that I ended up getting to support the wire and graduated PVC pipe that I then covered with a tarp to make a Roof 'cause it rains so much here in Fla. The panels may be something to consider for the coyotes where you are.

You could try setting your waterer up on a cinderblock laid on its side.

Have fun with your flock!

Orchidchick
 

Ridgerunner

Free Ranging
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
25,315
14,747
727
Southeast Louisiana
Do you have enough roost length for 8 chickens. Check them at night and see how they are arranged. You may need another roost.

Looks like you have a nice perch to help them get to the nesting boxes. Should not be a problem.
 

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