Please critique my new coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Xtina, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. Xtina

    Xtina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sigh...five years into owning hens and some days I still feel like I know absolutely nothing.

    So after saying goodbye to our first coop (a mostly successful coop that was getting old), we went with a chicken tractor this summer. I promptly realized I hated the chicken tractor method and so I tore it to pieces and asked neighbors for scrap wood. I combined the tractor scrap with the neighbors' scrap, plus a little bit of material from my husband's garage to come up with this design.

    Now that my husband has seen this, he says "Oh, that's what you want...we'll rebuild it this spring to be pretty." Now, even though I'm quite proud of my work, I'm not taking offense, because this is an essentially free coop built from scrap by someone who has absolutely no carpentry experience.

    My real question is, will this coop do the job over the winter? I just read the BYC's facebook post about whether or not we have insulation in our coops and I started getting paranoid. Will this new setup keep the girls warm enough? Is the plastic sheeting going to cause problems with the ventilation? It already caused a problem with my attempt to keep deep hay in the outer run part - the hay got soaked in the first good rain. But I don't want the whole coop to be covered in plastic! I want the girls to get some sunshine and fresh air as well. In my last coop, the girls had a choice between an "outdoor" roost in the run and a warmer roost in the enclosed coop part, but they would never choose the indoor coop, so I figured NW Oregon just doesn't get cold enough for them to want to go inside...but I'd hate to find out that they are making the wrong choice and wake up to frostbitten chickens one day. I don't (and won't) use heat lamps on them, so this has to work just the way it is.

    My other questions are, how am I going to make this prettier? I figure wood siding in the place of the plastic, but I want less of the run to be covered with wood. I want more of it to have sunshine than it currently does. Anyway, I suppose this has gone on long enough. Here are the pics!

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  2. Primo

    Primo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't see an actual "roost" in there. Just a box they walk into. Edit: I just spotted the branch over the box. From what I can see that box will only be used for laying eggs. If it were me, I would scrap that box, use the wood plus a little more and build an actual enclosed coup with roost and attach it to the outside and allow the rest to be the "run", You could then remove the plastic.
     
  3. Xtina

    Xtina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, that's good advice. I can envision that working in v2. The reason I strayed away from that was that, like I mentioned, with my first coop they didn't like roosting "indoors." They preferred the outer roost and would only go indoors when I physically removed the other option.
     
  4. Primo

    Primo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, If you want them to stay in the warmer sheltered area, then you can't give them the option. It's my way or the highway so to speak. If they only have one roost then that is where they will go. To me version 1 looks like a rough winter for them.
     
  5. Primo

    Primo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    But I do applaud you for working with what you had. That wasn't easy I know
     
  6. Primo

    Primo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One last follow up, as long as you can keep the drafts off them they should be fine this winter. Maybe just drape some more plastic over the front just to get through the winter until you can build what you want. Good luck.
     
  7. Xtina

    Xtina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I considered that, but was afraid to do it since they jump up there to get onto the roost. I'm afraid that if I put up a plastic sheet, they will not get up there anymore. They actually stopped using the roost when I tried to give them a ramp up to it. Somehow, they'd rather flap up there than easily strut.
     
  8. hosspak

    hosspak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This was a great temp idea, but not good for the Barbie Dream home chickens need. If you like the pyramid design go with it but change it up. If you have the room and budget I would stretch it to 12 ft long by whatever it is now or even better go to 8 ft tall. That way adults can walk upright inside, easier on the back when cleaning. I would lose the crate box and make the coop house the full depth of a sheet of plywood (4 feet). 2 sheets standing up would make the house 8 ft tall by 4 ft deep and however wide you want at the bottom. Cut another pc of plywood into pyramid shape for the back wall and put in 3 nest boxes that can be accessed from outside the coop.
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    This is the back end of my new coop, there is 3 nest boxes for easy access and clean out. Of course your design would be taller than mine but I enclosed this part of the yard for the run. My entire coop run is cover by plywood and rolled asphalt roof. You can cover have of you run and leave the other uncovered, but as mine is fully covered they will stay pretty dry and still get open air and sunshine. I would also get rid of the plastic sheeting because the flapping in the wind (if like my birds) freaks them out. And put up poultry mesh to keep the good things in and keep the bad things out.
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    My coop/run is 12 ft long x 38 in. I have one high perch and one low perch in the open run area and one perch inside the coop house. My birds decide where they feel comfortable for the night, sometimes in/ sometimes outside. They seem very happy. We went with the barn paint scheme since we consider our backyard, our little ranch.
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    I had plenty of diff size PVC laying around so I made these feeders that I can fill from the outside. I also installed a auto-filling watering system so I don't have to clean and refill the water everyday. Low maintenance makes Farmer Hoss a happy man.
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    Chicken tractors are great if you want to move it around for your garden but if you want something more permanent, might as well reach for the dream house.

    BTW, almost all of the materials for my coop were recycled. Whatever you build, take the time and build what you want and do it nice. You'll be glad you did...
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2013
  9. hannahrachel

    hannahrachel Out Of The Brooder

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    Primo has some good, solid advice about buildig and I agree there. I terms of making it "prettier", I personally would straighten out the plastic so that it is in-line with the a-frame structure of the coop, if that makes sense. I see for the nestbox door the plastic doesn't cover all the way around it. Maybe you could cut out a square with scissors and then staple the hole around the door? It would make the coop more airtight.

    So long as things stay ventilated--but not drafty--your hens will be fine this winter. To encourage them to stay in the coop during the nights, I would put more pine shavings on the floor and add a lip so that the bedding doesn't fall into the run when you open the door... Although I wouldn't worry too much about frostbite; if it gets too cold, they'll go inside and snuggle up [​IMG]

    I'm impressed that you tackled the whole coop by yourself. Good job! I hope this winter things go well.
     
  10. hannahrachel

    hannahrachel Out Of The Brooder

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    Oh, I see hosspak commented while I was writing my comment. There's good advice there too. One thing I love about the BYC community is that lots of people are more than happy to share their advice. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2013

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