Please critique my coop design before I build it

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by morte100, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. morte100

    morte100 New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Apr 21, 2009
    Renton, WA
    I'd rather make my mistakes on paper than build something that doesn't work, so here's my first draft. I'll try to describe my plan with enough detail that those helpful souls that want to can tell me if it looks like it will work or if it needs improvement.

    I plan to keep 3 standard laying hens (the most my city allows). My wife had chickens as a kid and is worried they're going to smell up the backyard. I designed my coop to be easy to clean to hopefully keep that from being a problem. There will be a secure attached run that they'll have access to during the day with pine shavings that can be changed to keep the smell to a minimum as well.

    I took a lot of ideas from the Eglu

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Like the Eglu, it will essentially be nothing more than a bedroom for the hens. Feed and water will be in a separate covered area of an attached run, so the coop itself is pretty small at 32"W x 32"L. It's 32" high in the front and 24" in the back. Also, it will be on 6" legs that aren't shown here.

    My current plan is that the hens will spend their days in the protection of the run, "free range" around the backyard when I'm home, and presumably only go in the coop to lay and sleep.

    Building material will be 3/4" ply because that's what I have around. The slideout tray is sheet metal. The roosts are wood 2x2's. The roof may be made from some leftover hardibacker board framed by 2x4's. The indentation in the middle may be planted for a green roof, but that might make the roof to heavy to easily remove for cleaning.

    That's all I can think of. I'm as green as they come in all this, so I appreciate opinions. Thanks.
     
  2. GardeNerd

    GardeNerd Chillin' With My Peeps

    That's a great layout and it should work wonderfully. It looks well thought out.

    I see you are in WA. Are you going to put a roof on the run so they can still be out when its a little rainy?
     
  3. unionwirewoman

    unionwirewoman Chillin' With My Peeps

    788
    8
    151
    Sep 14, 2007
    Kalispell , MT
    I'll give you my advice and opinion and you may take what you want . Since you live in Washington , I would assume your winters tend to get a little chilly like ours here in Montana . That being said, if your coop is going to be kept outside....you might have some problems with keeping them warm . With having a floor design like you proposed ( especially with the sheet metal underneath the 2x2's) , the vents (which you will need a few ) , and no insulation for the coop , I'm leaning towards not such a great idea for northern states . I do LOVE the idea for it , it's very functional for warmer climates ,though . If you do decide to build it , I would reconsider using hardi backer for the roof . It is meant to get mildly wet , not for sun/rain/snow exposure and will crumble in no time . Good luck ! I hope others will come along to give you more options/advice . Oh..I almost forgot.....[​IMG]
     
  4. morte100

    morte100 New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Apr 21, 2009
    Renton, WA
    I'm learning already. Thanks!

    The run will be covered at one end with a sunbrella type canvas to keep the feed dry and provide some shade and rain protection. During really rainy weather, I may cover the run on 3 sides with a tarp if needed.

    Our winters in the Seattle area don't get nearly as cold as yours in Montana, but I take your point. Perhaps I'll do a plywood floor that the tray sits on to keep out drafts, and during our rare freezes, I was thinking a lightbulb in the corner would work. The circles at the top are vents front and back. Will the 7 be sufficient?
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2009
  5. unionwirewoman

    unionwirewoman Chillin' With My Peeps

    788
    8
    151
    Sep 14, 2007
    Kalispell , MT
    Well I'll give you an idea of what we have for vents . Our one coop is 8'x10' and has 8 total vents . I think you'd be better off with 4 total depending on diameter . Ours are 3" holes . Seattle's not too bad for winter...sorry , didn't know you lived around there ! I guess I was concerned about drafts . You could get away with putting a 60 watt in there..as long as you buy the heavy duty ( won't shatter as much ) lamps...( sorry electrical term ) bulbs . You'[​IMG]d have to buy a guard for it and make sure it's at least a foot away from wood . Just my 2 cents . Wish I knew how to play on the computer like you do ! I have trouble enough typing what I want to say !!!
     
  6. morte100

    morte100 New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Apr 21, 2009
    Renton, WA
    Well, I wish I knew how to do the things that I imagine you can with wiring. Electricians are danged expensive!

    By the way, we hardly ever get snow here, but we've had a bunch here this winter, at least by Seattle standards. As soon as I posted about the lightbulb, it occurred to me that it might be tough to put a bare bulb in a 32x32x32 coop and keep it far enough away from wood and chicken heads to be safe. Hmmm.... I may have to come up with another last resort measure for those rare freezing cold snaps.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2009
  7. unionwirewoman

    unionwirewoman Chillin' With My Peeps

    788
    8
    151
    Sep 14, 2007
    Kalispell , MT
    Quote:Well......you could always put your hens in the bathtub when the weather turns cold like my cousin did ![​IMG]

    Seriously though.......could you make your coop a tad bit taller ? That would at least solve the "bulb" problem.
     
  8. Sissy

    Sissy Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,764
    11
    191
    Jul 18, 2007
    Sevier county, Tn.
    Oh to play it safe for the lamp
    please try coop a bit taller,& maybe a little larger.
    if you can.
    and chx wont smell
    if you use wood shavings and a few sprinkles
    of permectrin for lice and mites..
    with a hand full or two of fresh shaving stired in . every month or so. i have the same shavings since last
    sept. and have no problem ..have 5 ladies and the roo.
    in an 4x8 coop with the same size run..
    hope this helps.
     
  9. Chickenfortress

    Chickenfortress Chillin' With My Peeps

    224
    4
    131
    May 8, 2008
    You could try heat tape instead of a bulb. It could be suspended in eye bolts to get a little clearance from the wood. It doesn't damage duct tape when you use it to secure the tape to piping, so no chance of damaging much of anything.
     
  10. CityChook

    CityChook Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,719
    12
    171
    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    first, [​IMG] from MN!

    I'm puzzled about the slide-out tray. Is it to collect poo from between the slats and then you slide it out to clean it? Then how will you clean the slats?

    Maybe consider making it easier on yourself and having a simple floor with pine shavings on top. When you want to clean it, you simply sweep it out, wash it down and refill. Easy peasy. Even easier if you put a couple good coats of semi-gloss paint on the floor first. I think scraping all those slats would be a *bummer.*

    Also, you'll want to have roost vs. having them sleep on the floor. They like to be up a little higher when they sleep and it would need to be higher than the nest box (or else they'll sleep in the box and you don't want that - pooey eggs).

    I agree that it should be a little bigger. I had my 4 chickens in a large dog crate while their coop was being built - I think it was 27x36, and man, was it crowded. It's an invitation to stink as well as bickering. A small coop, while cute and warmer, is significantly harder to maintain poo management and ventilation.

    Consider a window - it's nice to have natural sunlight as well as an easy way to look inside when necessary.

    There are tons of great coops on this site, both in the coop forum and on the coop design page. Do some searching. You're on the right track. Have fun!
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2009

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by