Please evaluate my coop design!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Redoubt Renee, Feb 28, 2017.

  1. Redoubt Renee

    Redoubt Renee Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 12, 2015
    North Idaho
    Hiya!

    So I'm finally going to be able to get started with chickens this year and I'm so excited. I'm purchasing third acre property, but it is kinda weird shape. It is long and skinny, like 30'x400'ish. I'm wanting the out buildings to be on the long skinny side too so I don't have to worry about getting them too close to the property line. Anyway, I do 3D modeling, and I don't know a whole lot about framing, but I thought I would give it a shot. All the lumber models are based on actual lumber dimensions, not "2x4".

    For ventilation, the 8(4 on each side) triangular pieces of plywood will be removable with hardware cloth screening for max airflow in summer and the 4 tops ones will be able to fold in for winter venting. If I need more ventilation in summer, the incline under the roosts will be closed off from the chickens with wire, so I could crack those open or make a removable screen over the opening.

    The side doors open for easy litter scooping and the 8 nesting boxes are accessible from outside. When I need access to the inside, I have a human sized door next to the chicken door. There is 58 feet of roost, the inside is a little less than 160 sq ft and the overall outside dimesions are less than 200 sq ft, so no permit needed to build.

    Ok, what am I missing? How many chickens would this fit? Will I need more or better situated ventilation? Would I have enough nesting boxes for the the amount of chickens I could fit?

    I haven't compiled a list of building materials yet, so I don't know how much it would cost to build just yet.[​IMG]

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  2. ScottandSam

    ScottandSam Still learning Premium Member

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    The coop I am building has 164 sq ft inside. I figure 40 birds.

    Scott
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2017
  3. Paganrose

    Paganrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Albany,, Wisconsin
    [​IMG]
    Figure about 4sqft per bird of indoor space- so 160sqft=40 birds. Also don't forget about the outdoor run-figure 10sqft per bird.

    You will need less roost space, Only 1ft per bird, plus it will be difficult to clean under all those roosts. (Chicken poo the most when sleeping) They should Ideally be 16"-18" away from each other, they look to be spaced much further apart in your mock up, you could save quite a bit of floor space from being poop covered. Plus some of those roosts are below the nest boxes, you might have birds roosting in the boxes instead, unless you have some very heavy birds. I personally like poop boards- easy to clean and keeps the majority of poo out of the area Chickens will scratch around in.

    I am not a fan of doors that swing up- rain and snow could collect in them, causing rot, and securing them is challenging. I would suggest a full sized person door, not where the roof will shed water or snow. Also think about whether you want to walk thru the outside run to access the human door.

    From a builders prospective- that roof line if very expensive- consider the peak running the long way or a shed roof?

    With everything covered by boards it will be very dark in there, maybe thing about switching some of the vent covers to plexi? Chickens need light to lay well in the winter.

    IF this is a new build, think about having electricity- for lights or water heaters.
     
  4. mclanea

    mclanea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think if you made the whole thing a bit taller so you could hang a stock door you'll be a lot happier. Like someone else said I think you might have more roost space than you need. But if you raised the whole thing up a bit you might increase your cost of the build slightly but you'd create some space for storage. (feed, stuff like that)

    Maybe think about the poop cleanup doors swinging out instead of folding up? Seems like it'd be hard to prop it open then get a shovel under there without having to get on your hands/knees... which isn't exactly elegant!
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    How many chickens can you fit in that building? I don’t have a clue. What is your climate, what will you have for flock make-up, what are your goals, what ages and sexes, how will you manage them, how much room will they have outside, when will outside space be available to them, will you be integrating chickens later, will a broody hen raise chicks with the flock, and just so many other things to consider. You might follow the link in my signature to get some ideas about what I think you need to consider but I don’t give you any set numbers. We are all unique so we all need varying amounts of room.

    Instead of trying to determine how many chickens you might be able to fit into a building, I suggest you determine your goals and how many chickens you need to meet your goals (think ahead of how many you will have later) then design something to give them sufficient room.

    I don’t know the physical dimensions (length, width, or height) of that building. The least expensive building materials usually come in 4’ and 8’ dimensions, you can often save cutting and waste by planning around those. The problem with that usually comes with the roof. You need a slope on the roof so rain drains off so either your building width is less or the roofing materials are longer. I really like an overhang so I can leave the tops of the walls open year around without rain or snow coming in.

    Some comments on your design:

    How high off the ground is that? If it is not high enough for the chickens to get under it, that becomes a perfect place for Mama Mouse or Rat to raise a family. That can attract snakes. If it is high enough for chickens to get under it, you need to be able to reach under there. You may find a hen making her nest under there. You may need to retrieve an injured or dead chicken. Having it high enough so you can see and use a rake is important to me.

    I built my main coop with a dirt floor. I put it where water doesn’t run to it and stand, plus I added a few inches of dirt inside to get the floor level up where it stays dry. Lots of people use raised floors and really like them. I chose otherwise.

    Those ladder type roosts make inside access pretty rough, other than that bit right in the middle. I think that lack of access will be extremely frustrating to you.

    What size are your nests? The bigger they are the more hens they can handle. A general recommendation is one nest for every four hens if those nests are 12” x 12”. I made mine 16” x 16”, mainly because that fits my stud spacing. Those have no problems handling five hens each. This is pure personal preference, but I like to go inside to gather eggs, not use external openings. I’ve found dead hens, snakes, nests in the coop corner instead of in the nests, and even a possum once by going inside when I’d have missed them if I collected eggs from outside. I have to go inside to close my pop door. I think it’s a good check on your flock to look inside your coop. If you have one of those little elevated coops for just a few hens obviously you can’t do that, but if you are building a walk-in coop, I think it is good management practice to regularly walk in.

    I don’t see studs on your walls. Are you sure those will handle wind load? If you do use more studs for strength and use external nest openings, make sure the studs don’t get in the way of you nest openings. Same thing on the ends. If you use studs for strength will they be in the way of your cleanouts?

    How tall is that? You need to be able to stand up in there if you are doing any work inside. Wearing a hard hat won’t help. Those block your vision up high so you still continually bang into things. Even if you don’t hit hard enough to hurt your neck or head, that constant banging is awfully aggravating. A baseball type cap is as bad about blocking your vision and they sure don’t protect your head that much.

    There are two different lines of thought on whether a rectangle or square is a better shape for your coop. The closer you are to a square the less you normally spend on the walls and maybe foundation. But the longer your roof span, which often means you have to buy heavier more expensive rafters. Your roofing costs can go up. There is some cost trade-off but I like a rectangle shape better, with the width based on your roof design. I personally prefer a shed type roof, say make one of the walls (back or front, probably front) 8’ tall and the other so you have good slope for drainage and possibly show if that’s a consideration.

    A lot of that is personal preference, I recognize that. Good luck however you decide to go.
     
  6. Redoubt Renee

    Redoubt Renee Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 12, 2015
    North Idaho
    I don't really think I'm going to do a run, they will have about 2250 sq ft of fenced yard. But I could probably remove the lowest bar and move the remaining bars closer together farther up to remedy that and the nesting box situation. Should I move the nesting boxes higher?

    I like the idea of using plexi glass for the triangle pieces with hardware cloth.

    I'm not really wanting a full size person door, I'm hoping to not have to go in there much at all, that is why I want the outside access for eggs and poop. I plan on sand under the roosts and they won't have access to the area under roosts. I can move the roosts closer together to reduce the sq ft of the area under the roosts, but I want to keep the design tethered to 4x8 plywood, so I would rather reduce the roost space and increase the area in the middle rather than reduce the size of the coop all together down to 8x16. I would want to have room to grow. Also, I'm playing with the idea of making this design split into two halves. I might want to split the flock into layers and pullet fryers and then close off one half of the coop for just the layers once the fryers have been butchered.

    I did overbuild the roof, but where I'm at will get lots of rain but no wind(it is in the middle of a forest). I wanted the overhang to protect the center vent at the top which will always be open and covered with hardware cloth. As for the rain and snow collecting, it doesn't show on the plans, but I'm going to have a trim board horizontal around the outside(I might use flashing too) to protect against rain drip and all the little doors I have made, the seams are backed with 2x4s to avoid draft(not sure it will work, but thats the idea).

    I'm not that worried about egg production in winter, eggs are fourth on the list of my reasons for doing this. I'll probably end up donating a majority of the eggs to charity and give them away to friends. Also, the property where these girls will be isn't build-able, so I may or may not be able to get limited electricity, so I'm planning on designing for off grid use. I have a solar setup, but I'm figuring out ways to limit electric needs and replace with other energy forms.

    Thanks for the input! :)
     
  7. Paganrose

    Paganrose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Albany,, Wisconsin
     
  8. Redoubt Renee

    Redoubt Renee Out Of The Brooder

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    1
    24
    Jul 12, 2015
    North Idaho
    Climate is North Idaho, forest. At least 2250 sq ft of fenced yard(available anytime but night), flock made up of SL, GL BLR Wyandottes, RIR, Barred Rock, LV and Buff Orpingtons, Black Australorps. Goals are 1) Learning small livestock management, 2) Meat, 3) chicks, 4) eggs, 5)maybe a vanity breed or two later.


    Um, what else...oh, I designed it based on 4x8 lumber so I would have to do minimal cutting. The exact dimensions from ground to top and eave to eave is 9'2" x 21'6" x 10'6", but it will be a tiny bit shorter because I didn't account for how the posts attach to the blocks per se. The little dude standing next to it should be an average man size compared. I'm 5'7". As I mentioned above, I need a thin building to make the most of my property shape, which is only 30' at the widest.

    I was considering more studs, but not going to get alot of wind. I'm having to remove huge trees just to get any sunlight. It is basically a 30 x 400 sliver of land that I have to clear a path into. Not alot of brush, just tall trees.

    The coop is raised almost 18", maybe more with the style of block used.
    Climate is North Idaho, forest. At least 2250 sq ft of fenced yard(available anytime but night), flock made up of SL, GL BLR Wyandottes, RIR, Barred Rock, LV and Buff Orpingtons, Black Australorps. Goals are 1) Learning small livestock management, 2) Meat, 3) chicks, 4) eggs, 5)maybe a vanity breed or two later.


    Um, what else...oh, I designed it based on 4x8 lumber so I would have to do minimal cutting. The exact dimensions from ground to top and eave to eave is 9'2" x 21'6" x 10'6", but it will be a tiny bit shorter because I didn't account for how the posts attach to the blocks per se. The little dude standing next to it should be an average man size compared. I'm 5'7". As I mentioned above, I need a thin building to make the most of my property shape, which is only 30' at the widest.

    I was considering more studs, but not going to get alot of wind. I'm having to remove huge trees just to get any sunlight. It is basically a 30 x 400 sliver of land that I have to clear a path into. Not alot of brush, just tall trees.

    The coop is raised almost 18", maybe more with the style of block used.
    Um, what else...oh, I designed it based on 4x8 lumber so I would have to do minimal cutting. The exact dimensions from ground to top and eave to eave is 9'2" x 21'6" x 10'6", but it will be a tiny bit shorter because I didn't account for how the posts attach to the blocks per se. The little dude standing next to it should be an average man size compared. I'm 5'7". As I mentioned above, I need a thin building to make the most of my property shape, which is only 30' at the widest.

    The nesting boxes at 10" wide, 12" deep and 12" tall. I'm not committed to those dimensions, that is just a quick build to see how they would fit.

    The I can access under the ladder roosts via the doors on the sides.

    Thanks for the input!
     
  9. Redoubt Renee

    Redoubt Renee Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 12, 2015
    North Idaho
    The property isn't build-able for septic reasons. In my county, you can build anything under 200 sq ft without a permit. That is why I've been referencing the eave to eave measurement. Fencing will be small opening field fencing, with a buried barrier and aviary netting. I'll have Nigerian goats too, so I'll be out there everyday. There is a human door, I just don't want a full size human door. It will be easy to get in and out, I just want the outside access features so I can reduce the need to go in there everyday and disturb things. I will probably work in more windows to this design, maybe even skylights. I suppose I don't have to block access to the under, I guess chickens don't mind getting pooped on :p
     
  10. Redoubt Renee

    Redoubt Renee Out Of The Brooder

    15
    1
    24
    Jul 12, 2015
    North Idaho
    I went and measured the distance from roost to roost in the model and it was only about 19", but I'm modifying it to 16"
     

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