Please critique my coop ideas

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by sonomachx, May 4, 2011.

  1. sonomachx

    sonomachx Out Of The Brooder

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    May 4, 2011
    We have a old chain link dog run that I would like to covert into a chicken coop/run. It is from a fencing company, so very heavy gauge wire. The local police dept. uses the same runs for their dogs. It measures 10ft x 6ft and is 6ft tall. It is built onto the side of our garage, and is bolted to the garage, so it cannot be moved, lifted up, etc... The roof is also chain link with shade cloth. The floor used to be gravel, but I am thinking of switching it out for decomposed granite thinking this will still provide good drainage, be cheap and better for hens to scratch. Along the perimeter of the run, is leftover flagstone pavers set into gravel. The run was initially built to confine an escape artist pit bull with separation anxiety so it is pretty tough. We live in town, so the only pests/predators we have to worry about are dogs, opossums, rats and raccoons. I am planning on covering the bottom 2 to 3 ft of the chain link with either hardware cloth or poultry wire. The chicken wire is cheapest, so I am tempted to go this route. I've also read that plastic zip ties work well to attach it to the chain link, and I these would certainly be easier than hog rings. What do you think? We are planning on getting 3 to 4 hens. Since the run is so tough, I am hoping I won't have to lock up the girls every night (with two toddlers in the house, our bedtime routine is already complicated enough [​IMG]

    Inside the run, I plan to build a shelter for the girls using some leftover plywood, fence posts, and redwood planks we have from previous projects. I am thinking of building a 3ft by 4ft raised coop, with a slanted corrugated plastic roof. Where we live, winter temps will drop into the 20's (F) at night and summer temps will reach 100 during the day. Most days however are pretty mild (70's day and 40-50 at night). My main goal for the coop will be easy maintenance and no smells to bother the neighbors. Considering we will only have 3 to 4 hens, would a wire floor be best or is the deep litter method with a droppings board still the way to go? Inside the coop I plan on using either a milk crate or 5 gallon bucket as a nest box.

    What do you think of my ideas so far?
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:You could also consider coarse sand, that usually works well.

    Along the perimeter of the run, is leftover flagstone pavers set into gravel.

    This is along the *inside* of the run (I am guessing, to keep dog in)? If so, I would suggest still adding a digproofing apron on the outside, since due to quirks of animal behavior those pavers inside will not stop a really determined dog/whatever from getting IN the same way as they do the job against one trying to get OUT. I mean, they do offer some security but are still a bit iffy IMO. (If OTOH they are on the OUTSIDE of the run, you're good)

    I am planning on covering the bottom 2 to 3 ft of the chain link with either hardware cloth or poultry wire. The chicken wire is cheapest, so I am tempted to go this route. I've also read that plastic zip ties work well to attach it to the chain link, and I these would certainly be easier than hog rings. What do you think?

    Chickenwire wouldn't provide *much* worse security than hardwarecloth, I'd certainly use it myself if budget was an issue (actually, in fact, I *do* use it in some places over chainlink run panels, as budget *is* an issue LOL). I would however not trust zip-ties. The cheap white ones don't last long; the black ones that are more expensive will last longer but still not as long as decent metal. My solution to most problems like this is a $20 roll of 17 gauge steel electric-fence wire, which will provide for all your wire-twist-tie and sewing-wire-mesh-together needs for the entire rest of your life and then some [​IMG]

    We are planning on getting 3 to 4 hens. Since the run is so tough, I am hoping I won't have to lock up the girls every night (with two toddlers in the house, our bedtime routine is already complicated enough

    Eeee. Well, it's a free country. I wouldn't do it myself, though. Primarily because of rats. There is a good chance that you will end up ranching up a whole buncha rats as soon as they find the all-night buffet. But also because it is easier to *believe* there are no weasels around, and no possible weaknesses in your run that a 4"-diameter possum or coon can sneak thru, than for it to actually be TRUE, especially as time passes and things age. One particular vulnerability of kennel-panel runs is that most of them have rounded corners and gaps around the doorway, which you have to block with lumber and/or wire, the attachment of which can weaken enough with weathering that an animal can shove its way in some night.

    Considering we will only have 3 to 4 hens, would a wire floor be best or is the deep litter method with a droppings board still the way to go?

    No no, composting-style "what people always seem to mean when they say "the" deep litter method" works poorly or actively-backfires in leetle tiny raised coops like that. It is not one of your options.

    Your choices are between a wire floor -- which I would not do myself, and you would have to cover with something solid during the cold part of the year, but I suppose it is technically an option -- or what most people do which is to put a couple inches of shavings in the coop and clean it out as needed.

    BTW if you are absolutely positive there is no way you could ever have more than 3-4 chickesn -- e.g. if you're limited to that by zoning -- then 3x4 is a reasonable size; but otherwise, it won't cost that much more to make it larger and could make life a lot easier when you decide you need a couple more chickens [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2011

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