Prepping for first coop - what am I missing?

Krugerrand

Songster
Apr 17, 2020
400
906
183
SW Pennsylvania
I'm planning on getting chickens this Spring for the first time. The plan is for 2-3 hens to start. Local ordinances cap me at 6. Perhaps a few years down the road, I can build something similar to the Wichita Cabin Coop and go for 6.

For now, I'm thinking smaller. I purchased plans from Etsy (Not sure if I should post a link to it ... until I build it, I'm hesitant that would be an endorsement of sorts) It's 3'x 5' with the two nesting boxes; 3'x 4' excluding the nesting boxes; and it should make something looking like this:

Small-Flock-Chicken-Coop.jpg



My run plan is to copy Blooie's Motel Chix run concept. ... probably 2 or 3 cattle panels for about 48-70 sqft of hoop run space.

I plan to raise the coop about 2' off the ground with simple storage underneath. That should make cleaning easier and keep it above the snow line.

The door looks small to me for adequate cleaning, so I'm thinking of moving it to the higher side and make it full sized to the coop.

The rafter openings will get hardware cloth and some other ventilation may be needed.

The plan is to add a linoleum floor cover and a layer of Stall Dry or Sweet PDZ for easier cleaning.

Am I missing anything? Any enhancement recommendations?

Thanks for any feedback!
 

Rldad1

Songster
Jul 13, 2020
346
1,031
176
North Alabama
If you can max out at 6 chickens then build for 6. I suggest that you make your coop 6X4 minimum with the nest boxes to the outside so they don't take up any room. Your run should be a minimum of 60 square feet and 120 wouldn't be too big. Build up as high as you can so you can stand in the coop. Makes working inside much easier. You need at least 1 square foot of ventilation per chicken and more is better. Add hardware cloth all over so that there is no place with a hole bigger than 1/2 inch. If you don't have a solid roof on your run then put hardware cloth over it also. Chicken wire is only good to keep chickens in. Most predator's can rip right through chicken wire like a hot knife through butter. Also add aprons of HC all around the outside of coop and run to keep the diggers out. Here is a pic of my coop and run for 5 chickens to give you an example.
Coop 12.jpg
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
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I'd build for 6, personally... it'll save you work and money in the long run OR since you're looking at a hoop "run" skip the extra work of building a wood coop and use the hoop set up as a coop/run combo.
 

Krugerrand

Songster
Apr 17, 2020
400
906
183
SW Pennsylvania
Lots of votes for building for 6. Some of the reasons I'm starting small ...
- if I build for 6, I'd like something considerably bigger, (thinking Wichita Cabin Coop style) But, before making that sort of commitment in cost and effort, I want to be sure chicken life works for me.
- I've read a number of things where people isolate chickens for illness or behavior ... and so I thought if I end up with 6, I could use the smaller coop for such a situation.
- As chickens age and produce less, my kids are not going to want to rotate the flock. So, I figure by starting small for a couple years, I can incrementally add to the flock so that I have a more steady supply of eggs; then I can go all in with a bigger coop

There certainly could be a lot that I'm missing. This is all new to me ... but that was the thought process.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
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I get you - I started off with a small coop (though a full sized run) and then 2 years later had a much larger coop built for the max number of birds that I figured I'd want. And I've since recycled the small coop parts into a brooder, a covered feed station, and a compost sifter, to recoup the cost of it.

(new coop left, old coop right)
coopold.jpg


But we like encouraging people to think bigger at the start, partially because even if you don't ever get to 6 birds, the birds you do have won't ever complain that there's more space to use, and also because smaller set ups tend to be harder to maintain. But I think you did a good job catching most of the flaws of the current design - the human access door is kind of small, and I would NOT want to have to bend down and get in it to clean, and more ventilation under the roofline.
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
10,793
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This is my current coop, designed for 4 hens:

0121211125-jpg.2497653


It has a huge access door -- as close to the entire wall as we could manage without compromising structure.

0121211419b-jpg.2497870


I am too short to quite reach 4 feet across to touch the far wall (my tall sons can), but I *can* reach it with the fork and shovel for cleaning. Anything larger than that I'd make walk-in.
 

Krugerrand

Songster
Apr 17, 2020
400
906
183
SW Pennsylvania
This is my current coop, designed for 4 hens:

0121211125-jpg.2497653


It has a huge access door -- as close to the entire wall as we could manage without compromising structure.

0121211419b-jpg.2497870


I am too short to quite reach 4 feet across to touch the far wall (my tall sons can), but I *can* reach it with the fork and shovel for cleaning. Anything larger than that I'd make walk-in.
I like the large door. "compromising structure" is a key consideration.

Why the canopy of the top? Shade? Stop rain?
 

Krugerrand

Songster
Apr 17, 2020
400
906
183
SW Pennsylvania
I get you - I started off with a small coop (though a full sized run) and then 2 years later had a much larger coop built for the max number of birds that I figured I'd want. And I've since recycled the small coop parts into a brooder, a covered feed station, and a compost sifter, to recoup the cost of it.

(new coop left, old coop right)
View attachment 2568666

But we like encouraging people to think bigger at the start, partially because even if you don't ever get to 6 birds, the birds you do have won't ever complain that there's more space to use, and also because smaller set ups tend to be harder to maintain. But I think you did a good job catching most of the flaws of the current design - the human access door is kind of small, and I would NOT want to have to bend down and get in it to clean, and more ventilation under the roofline.
I'm thinking of stretching each side by 4". That will bring my square footage (excluding nesting boxes) to 14.44.
Per adoptabirdnetwork that would be solid space for 3 birds, and if i go with smaller hens I could do 4.
So far, Tractor Supply is looking to be almost my only place to get pullets. They have a minimum purchase of 4. If they end up with some more Bantam's in stock, I may go two of those, an Easter Egger and an ISA Brown.

By adding 4 inches, I could build a stand for it directly on a buried cinder-block base of 4 x 2.5 without having to cut any.
Like here:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/hredirect2.php?c=6793677
 

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