Planning on building a coop... any advise or comments appreciated!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by m_herrington, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. m_herrington

    m_herrington Songster

    Apr 18, 2008
    At the moment, I have 26 Golden Commets, 6 RIR, 5 Auracana, and 4 NHR. I don't know if I will keep them all for a total of 41 yet or if I will thin down to more like 30. They are all under 2 weeks old right now. I live in Ohio.

    The plans for the coop at the moment are to build a 12' X16' shed type structure with 8' sidewalls, then seperate it into 3 seperate areas. It will have a dirt floor... I would like to use DLM.

    One 10' X 12' for the main coop with 8 to 16 nest boxes and about a 4' x 4' or 5' ft stadium style roost with probably other random branches mounted for additional roost space.

    One 6' X 4' area again for the chickens... whether it be to keep a specific breed seperate or for troublemakers... or babies... or whatever.

    In the 6' X 8' thats left I intend to have storage for feed and bedding etc.

    The front of the building will be a 12 ft side facing south. I have read that it is best to have south facing windows... and is it east or west facing that is good as well? can anyone answer that?

    To the east is woods and also where I intend to put my run. There may be a couple small trees inside the run. I know that horses and cow are not supposed to eat cherry tree leaves... is this true with chickens? does anyone know?

    The run will be at least 16' X 20'. I may extend it past the back of the coop 4 ft to make it 20' X 20' plus the 4' X12' behind the coop. I will probably use 2x4 wire (I have some already and can get more free) with chicken wire run the first 3 ft for extra predator protection. I am not sure what to use to cover it.

    The chicken schedule will run about 7am let out of coop into run for the day while I am at work. When I get home from work around 530 they will be let out to free range until they get locked in the coop for the night.

    Does anyone see any flaws? Which directions should I put windows? I would like advice and constructive criticism please.

    Thank You!
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Sounds good to me [​IMG]

    Only comment, you might think about making the interior partition walls removeable (that is, moveable) in case your space-distribution needs change in the future. As long as the coop is built so that they don't need to be structural walls - and they shouldn't - this is not a huge deal and you might really be glad of it someday.

    Quote:In a cold climate, personally I'd put more windows on the East i.e. downwind-in-wintertime side than on the West i.e. where you want insulation rather than glazing. I'd still probably have some sort of ventilation opening, even if it's closeable with plywood etc rather than a window, on the West side, so you can catch whatever breezes are available in summer.

    I know that horses and cow are not supposed to eat cherry tree leaves... is this true with chickens? does anyone know?

    That's a good question. I don't know! [​IMG] All I can tell you is that the problem with cherries and livestock is that the wilted (NOT fresh) leaves contain cyanide (well, I think it's a precursor that's converted to cyanide in the animal's body - same result). In the absence of further information I don't think I'd worry about freerange chickens around cherry trees but would not want cherry leaves falling into a run that gets et bare and is populated with bored chickens.

    If someone else can find an answer to this I'm pretty curious myself, now [​IMG]

    Good luck and have fun,

  3. MsMcChick

    MsMcChick Songster

    Oct 3, 2007
    I couldn't tell you anything about the cherry trees, but I agree, south and east are supposed to be the best. And I also agree with the ventilation. I'm looking into how to make mine work well too. I think it will be down in the eve's, with slideable covers and wire mesh over it.
    Make sure when putting in the windows, if you plan to open them, that you use some type of sturdy mesh covering so critters can't rip the screens open and get in.
    Best of luck
  4. I'm making my windows like this (there may be a more technical way to describe this but I'm not a carpenter):

    Windows on the south and north sides are small, about 6"X14" and up high...mostly for ventilation. Covered with hardware cloth. The plywood that was cut out to make the window will be added back to the outside wall as a hinged "hatch cover". I will hinge from the BOTTOM. On the sides of the hatch I plan to put light chain that can hook to the eave if I want the hatch open for ventilation but not all the way open. In the full open position, the hatch will just drop down to the wall.

    On the West side, I'm putting a row of lexan windows just to let in as much light as possible late in the day. About waist height, I have a huge bank of windows, about 2.5'X 6' goes all the way across the back wall. I am going to use the same hatch system described above but with three hatches going across. My coop plans called for permanent nest boxes in this space but it was too complicated for me to build it that way...the plan did not give me enough description to work with.

    On the East side I have my door and I think I will put windows on either side of the door...this sounds stupid but I really want window boxes on the coop. I'm planning on painting it like a little Keys bungalow...bright pastels. My biggest concern is's already so hot this summer and in the dog days I don't want them miserable at night.

    Next year I will run power and water right to the coop, but I just don't have the time right now.

    Good luck with your coop and chickens. I love the idea of moveable interior walls, and next time I build a hen house, it will be big enough to use that idea!
  5. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    I dont know much about elaborate coop planning or buiilding. I don't follow the normal planning for coops and so on. But let me say you are on the right track, so allow me to toss this at you. See if there is something in it you can adapt for your own use:

    "After trying all the designs of houses ever seen or read of,
    and after trying many patterns of my own, I at last evolved a house that gives all the bodily comfort and entails the least lost motion in the care of fowls.

    These pens are eight feet square, five feet high behind, and seven and one-half feet high at the comb, open front to the east, over which is a three-foot projection to keep out rain and under which the attendant walks to care for fowls.

    These pens are built side by side into long houses, there being no limit to the length. Between each two pens is
    the feed hopper built into the partition and feeding both sides, holding one sack of dry mash and one of mixed grains in its respective compartments.

    Full length along the outside is the green feed trough,
    from which the hens eat through the opening. The water buckets are also on the outside. Thus all the hens are fed greens and watered without opening a single gate or door. The hoppers inside are filled once in about two weeks.

    The dropping boards and ground floor are cleaned once per week by simply raking the filth from the top of the sand which covers the floors. Sand is the only material to use on the floors of poultry houses.

    These twenty hens have clean sand upon the ground floor and roosting boards, which is raked clean regularly.
    They have dry mash and mixed grain by them continually; they can stick their heads through to the green feed trough outside and eat green feed every hour during the day; they drink water from clean galvanized buckets on the outside; they dust in the sand; they jump up to the feed hopper; they jump down again to the green feed trough ; they run to the water; they hop up to the nest boxes (which, by the
    way, is the most important move of the day), and after depositing their feed and board "rent", plus any extra profit, they jump down and up again to the perches for an afternoon rest, or stretch out into the afternoon sunshine, which comes in through the western window, cut in the back wall.

    Their whole day is given up to their own individual care, and with all the necessaries before them, all the time is available for making eggs, and with their morning sun bath, and afternoon sun bath and free from draft or foul, dusty air, with all these ideal conditions, they have either got to "lay or bust."

    One acre of good fertile soil with plenty of cheap water for irrigation all that any one family can handle without hiring help. With this system it is possible to keep one thousand hens on one acre and produce all the greens which they
    can consume and still have room for a home garden of vegetables, fruit and berries.

    With rich soil and plenty of cheap water, fresh, crisp, succulent green feed in the way of beets, kale, alfalfa, chard, cabbage and barley can be grown luxuriantly, and the tonnage produced on one intensified acre is almost beyond belief.

    Fresh, crisp, succulent green feed is the secret of success in egg production, and any ambitious, industrious
    person need have no fears if located on fertile soil with plenty of cheap water and a neary market, for these are the essentials of success."
    - - Chas. Weeks, "Egg Farming in California," 1922
  6. m_herrington

    m_herrington Songster

    Apr 18, 2008
    Thank You everyone for your responses!

    so, here is the idea all drawn out:


    Windows on east and south side with one on the west (thats the side that faces the road).
    My parents have old farmhouse windows that I can use, but they will have to be hinged open somehow.

    Then, hatches that can be open in the summer for ventilation and closed during the winter on the west and north sides. Does anyone do anything special to help keep the hatches air tight when they shut them for the winter? or is that just added ventilation?

    I will be covering all windows and hatches with hardware cloth.

    I'm thinking a half-wall solid and then chicken wire the rest of the way up to divide the chicken rooms... and maybe just use screws to hold it all so that it would be somewhat moveable, I like that idea!

    I'm still wondering about cherry leaves... maybe I should post that elsewhere?

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