Planning a new coop.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Hugerat, May 14, 2010.

  1. Hugerat

    Hugerat Out Of The Brooder

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    May 14, 2010
    I have just recently talked my wife into having 2-3 hens. My thought currently are to add a coop to the side of our current yard shed probably about 2x6, attached to a run behind the shed that will be 5x10. I have been looking at some of the designs and have noticed poop trays under the roosts. I thought it might be nice to be able to pull this out from out side like a indoor bird cage or do the floor under the roost in hardware cloth and let it fall through to a sand bed out side making it easy to rake up.

    Any thought are appreciated.
     
  2. ghillie

    ghillie Hen Pecked

    Nov 13, 2008
    Colorado Springs, Co
    [​IMG]

    My only advise, make it bigger than you originally think. If you can. I am building my second coop right now because the first is now too small.
     
  3. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2009
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    There have been many discussions here about the "fall through" theory. The problem is the size of chicken poo. In order for the wire not to end up catching a lot of the poop, the spacing in the wire needs to be pretty large, and even then some will hit the wire and stick. Then there's the raking part...I myself didn't like the idea of raking then picking up piles of accumulated poop to dispose of it.

    Personally, I like the tray method because I find it very easy to dump the contents of the tray out into our composter; so easy that I do this every morning. Anything that sticks to the plastic (not much does) gets hosed off, then I stand the tray up to dry before replacing it in the coop when I tuck the chickens in for the night. There's a picture of my set up on my BYC page if you want to take a look.
     
  4. MareeZoCool

    MareeZoCool Chillin' With My Peeps

    I use straw as my base flooring. I rake it daily, then add it to my compost pile. The chickens love the daily fresh straw and it smells so good! Pile the straw deep- at least 6", then it's easier to clear out the nastys.
     
  5. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 25, 2009
    South Alabama
    Pull-out dropping boards for a small coop seem so "right" to me. You could put nestboxes in, then on top of them have the dropping board, and (of course) above that the roost...compact arrangement. Having the door running parallel with the roost board (rather than a narrower door at one end of the dropping board) you could actually design it so that the egg gathering door doubles for the dropping board door.

    Ditto what was said about building bigger. You *will* probably want another chicken or two but if you do stay at 2-3 hens then a larger coop will be easier to maintain being as there will be more square footage for each individual chicken...resulting in a "lighter load" on the coop.

    Also, I strongly recommend a minimum of 3 chickens. Reason being *if* something happened to one, and you had only two chickens, then the remaining lone chicken would be very lonely...with 3 chickens at least there would still be a pair.

    One last thing....use chicken/poultry wire NO WHERE IN YOUR COOP OR RUN. I would say that nothing less than 2"x4" welded wire and hardware cloth no larger (in mesh opening) than 1/2" should be used. And these need to be used at appropriate places. For the actual coop, 1/2" hardware cloth (or smaller) should be used. For the run area I would shoot for using the same hardware cloth, BUT...if that's too expensive then go with the 2"x4" welded wire but trim the bottom 2-3 feet with some 1/2" hardware cloth to keep coons from reaching through and grabbing a chicken. Don't forget to add an apron of wire around the perimeter to stop digging predators.

    Ok, I'll be quiet now. [​IMG]

    Best wishes!
    Ed
     
  6. Hugerat

    Hugerat Out Of The Brooder

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    May 14, 2010
    Great ideas thanks. I have noticed many people builds slanted surfaced above the nesting boxes to keep the chicken from roosting on top of them. Putting the roost and a drop pan above the boxes does make the design much easier for me to visualize for a small coop.

    I was ready for 5-6 hens but we will start out slow. The coop is going to be an addition to the current yard shed, this will give us a nice view of the girls from the patio. In looking at it this weekend I think it will probably be more like 3 feet deep and 5 feet wide. Double doors on the front to match the shed, thinking I will have a hardware cloth screen insert for that opening so I can leave it open in the good weather, and remove for easy access to clean.

    My run will be outlined with landscape timbers and filled with a bed of gravel under sand. Instead of extending the hardware cloth 12 inches below grade I am thinking I will line the bottom of the run with the cloth, just seems less labor intensive that excavating around the entire run?
     
  7. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 25, 2009
    South Alabama
    Quote:Yes, stacking the nestboxes, board, and roosts helps to compact things a bit. Just be sure the dropping board extends past the front of the nestboxes a couple of inches.

    3x5 feet will give you a nice sized coop for three large fowl birds. Plenty of ventilation...the screen insert sounds good...the more air the better!

    Well, you really only have to excavate down an inch or three if you install an apron around the edge of the coop. Extend the apron out maybe 18" and pull the dirt back over the wire. Grass will soon be growing there and no one will know it's there. Digging predators will walk up to the fence, start digging and quickly hit the apron (that they're standing on)...most predators aren't smart enough to figure it out and will give up. If you decide instead to bury the wire inside the run then you will need to dig down deep so that the chickens can have sufficient depth to scratch in *and* to dig out dustbaths in. Make sure the gravel is fairly deep, too, so that the sand goes deep enough for them to dig in, too.

    Sounds like you've got a plan going!!!
    Ed
     
  8. JanetSmithery

    JanetSmithery Out Of The Brooder

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    May 11, 2010
    Eugene, OR
    Maybe it's just me, but a 2'x6' coop seems awfully narrow, particularly so if that's the exterior dimensions of the coop...inside could be 4-6" smaller, easy. It might create cleaning difficulties, too, depending on door placement and style. 3'x5' might be more manageable. It gives you enough square footage for almost 4 birds, at least.
     
  9. zDoc

    zDoc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Farmington NM
    First off [​IMG] 2 X 6 seems a bit small to me too, especially when the addiction kicks in and you want to add more. [​IMG] I built mine 4 X 8 cause it was easy (that's what the wood panels came in). [​IMG]
     
  10. Hugerat

    Hugerat Out Of The Brooder

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    May 14, 2010
    Thanks for the sizing advice. I think I will leave it just big enough for 3-4 ladies. I live in a suburb of Chicago and my lot is large for the neighborhood 75x165. Chickens are allowed but I am sure if I ended up with a huge flock someone would try to change to laws. Sometimes built in limitations are a good thing.[​IMG]
     

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