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Overwhelmed trying to find the perfect coop. Need advice!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by treehuggingjess, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. treehuggingjess

    treehuggingjess In the Brooder

    Feb 15, 2012
    I have eight chicks, and I've been looking all over for the right coop for them once they are big enough to go outside. Out of everything I've seen so far, I like these two the best:


    I'm not sure if they are big enough, though, even though I will free range during the day. I would obviously have to go back over it with 1/2 inch hardware cloth. I am also worried about burrowing animals such as foxes, raccoons, and weasels. I know you can put hardware cloth on the bottom, or around the edges and bury it, but that would render the coop immovable. Our yard gets really muddy during rain, so I would prefer to have something I can move once a week or so. We do have a fenced in back yard, but there are people who let their dogs run loose in the neighborhood, and we are only a few houses over from the woods. Suggestions??!!

  2. FiveHens

    FiveHens Songster

    Apr 7, 2010
    Hi! I have to say, You would do better to have too much space (from personal experience) than too little. Since the rule of thumb is 4 square feet per chicken, your first coop would hold 6 max, and your second option definitely less than that, in the indoors part. I think that, perhaps, a better option might be to search craigslist for an old shed or outbuilding/playhouse of some variety, and then modify that to serve as a chicken coop. The modifications would be fairly easy, the structure would be more durable, and you would be sure to have room for all your chicks. Although your first option especially looks like a high-grade chicken coop, I would be inclined to advise you to always buy/build bigger than you need. This will keep the chickens from picking on each other during bad weather when they're indoors, or just in the normal course of things.
    With a well-fenced yard, you should be OK with the dogs, so long as they cannot dig in and your chickens can not fly out. As long as you are free ranging your chickens (in your yard), why do you need to move your coop? Seems like they would attack all areas of the yard equally...Just my two cents. [​IMG] Best of luck with your new chicks!
  3. treehuggingjess

    treehuggingjess In the Brooder

    Feb 15, 2012
    Thanks for the advice! I have searched Craigslist high and low for over a month now, and all of the storage sheds are outrageous - like $800 - $2000!! The playhouses (wooden) start at $500 +. I'm really not wanting/able not spend more than $400 + cost of slight modifications. I have definitely considered it though.

    Although I do plan on free-ranging them since I am home most of the time, I can't always be outside to watch for hawks. I want them to have a safe place to scratch if the weather is nasty, if I have to go somewhere, or if I am preoccupied with a lot of stuff inside the house. As far as nighttime, our fence is 4ft chain-link, and there are gaps big enough where the double-wide gate is for a small dog or predator to sneak through (or even a chicken to sneak out) without climbing. I don't think I can't afford 100 ft of hardware cloth to keep diggers out of the yard completely, and we share two sides of fencing with neighbors, so I would have to ask permission to hang anything on their fences.

    Sigh. I wish it didn't have to be so complicated! LOL. I just want to keep my birds happy, safe, dry, and at a comfortable temperature. I guess that's all any of us want though, right?
  4. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Both of those are really too small for 8 chickens. In your area, a tight housing space is more doable, but those run spaces are tiny too. You really need around 80 sq. ft of outdoor space as a minimum unless they free range (in your yard in your case) most of the day, every day...at least if you want to avoid behavioral problems. The youtube guy was being generous in saying his housing might work for 6 hens...in that set-up, I couldn't even see how you'd manage an extra roost without the nest boxes getting pooped into overnight. In largest of the other tractors- that would only give 4 sq. ft of outdoor space per bird...less than half of what's recommended. It'll seem really spacious when your chicks are small -but will seem really crowded when they're the size of housecats.

    Why don't you do a search on hoop coops or hoop runs. You can get a lot of run space without too much money with that model. I don't think you guys get much snow or cold do you?? So do a decent sized run and build your own simple housing if you have basic carpentry skills. Maybe attach two dog houses together (you can often get them cheap or free on CL) and modify??? You can put something together (coop/run) for $400 if you have some carpentry skills. If you're carpentry-challenged, then it'll be a bit more difficult to stay under budget, especially if you have time constraints.

    Good luck! I know it's tough when you're first getting started with chickens, getting set up and all.
  5. GingerluvsJasmine

    GingerluvsJasmine In the Brooder

    Nov 15, 2011
    Build it yourself. You can't go wrong.
  6. CarolJ

    CarolJ Dogwood Trace Farm

    Jun 3, 2011
    Middle Tennessee
    If you're in Nashville (I saw you were looking at the Nashville Craigslist) - there is a guy in Monteagle that sells chicken coops. He makes them himself, and his prices are great. We bought one like the one in the link below last summer. It was perfect for our flock of 7 chickens. We also bought an additional 6-foot run to make sure they had plenty of room. Just thought I'd recommend him since we were so happy with our coop.


    ETA: I meant to also say that the nest boxes are small. We knocked out the divider in each set of two and ended up with two nest boxes, which was more than enough for our flock - and they worked out well for us.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2012
  7. cooped up

    cooped up Chirping

    Feb 6, 2012
    Portland, Or
    My coop came from friends that had old scrap from re-models or roof jobs.It hardly cost anything and is respectable living quarters for the birds.I happened across a business that sell stuff from construction re-models also. With what I had and collected ,I maybe spent $50.{of course there are plans to remodel as new ideas come to mind---- coop dimensions are directly related to chicken math}

  8. mikecnorthwest

    mikecnorthwest Songster

    Mar 27, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    My Coop

    This website sells inexpensive plans to an outstanding coop. The plans are very easy to follow. If you can't build it yourself, any handyman or carpenter can build it for you. I've been to the designer's home on a city wide coop tour and a friend of mine built one after I recommended it. He had no issues with the construction.
  9. treehuggingjess

    treehuggingjess In the Brooder

    Feb 15, 2012
    Thanks everyone! I just don't think we are handy enough to put something together ourselves, and we don't know anyone else who knows how to do it either. Kind of sad that my generation typically doesn't know how to do much other than fix computers and tech things. That's the main reason I got chickens - to live a more simple, sustainable life. Anyway, we do have a 6x6x6 chain dog kennel that isn't being used, so I'm thinking about just putting a tarp over that and doing some nesting boxes or a couple of small hutches for when the weather is bad. It doesn't really get super cold here - we've had an extremely warm Winter, but sometimes it will snow a few flakes LOL. We do get tornadoes and high winds/bad storms, though, so that could be an issue if they don't have a really sturdy/enclosed shelter. I would really love to make use of the dog kennel in some way, as it even has a human-sized access door built in, and it's free! Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
  10. fried green eggs

    fried green eggs Songster

    Mar 25, 2011
    S.E. Michigan
    Dog Kennels are easy to use - Hardware cloth attached with light wire on inside so chickens can't stick heads out and nothing can grab and pull them out. Lots of pic on this site just type in "kennel runs" in search. Congrats on the Kennel find!

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