Raised coop with run area underneath, or walk-in coop- Which is best?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by coddledeggs, Sep 7, 2016.

  1. coddledeggs

    coddledeggs Out Of The Brooder

    Hi all,
    I am in the process of designing my first chicken coop. The coop will be 5 by 8 ft with an attached 8 by 12 roofed run. We live in a very mild central California coast climate so I expect that my flock ( I don't plan on having more than 7 hens) will spend most of their time in the run. My question is: Should I build a raised coop with additional run space underneath, or would you make it a walk-in run for ease of cleaning? I'm a little concerned about ease of cleaning of the raised coop, and the area underneath it. Could some of you experienced chicken keepers weigh in? I would appreciate all advice!
     
  2. CuzChickens

    CuzChickens CountryChick

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    Hello Coddledeggs!

    I strongly recommend a raised coop by 18 inches. I will give you the resons. A. Extra shade B. Predators have a harder time getting in. C. Extra square footage. I will include a picture of my coop that I designed and built. And cleaning it out is a tiny bit of a pain, but the pros outweigh the cons by alot. Not a great pic, but it gives you and idea.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. coddledeggs

    coddledeggs Out Of The Brooder

    Thanks so much for your reply, CuzChickens. Beautiful coop and chickens! How do you reach under to clean it out? Do you use the deep litter method?
     
  4. CuzChickens

    CuzChickens CountryChick

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    Thank you! It is 5 feet tall in the front, sloping down to 3 feet at the back where the nesting boxes are. I drive a wheel barrow up and put it under the door, the get in and scrape everything out and cart it away. I will get some better pics of it as soon as I can. I have not tried the deep litter method yet, I will in the winter. I have the coop on skids so I can pull it around to fresh grass.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Both...actually all three,
    raised coop(at least 2' for chicken shade and ease of keeper crawling under if necessary),
    walk in coop,
    and walk in run.

    But I'm old and knees don't work well.
     
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  6. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Howdy coddledeggs

    Being in a sub tropical climate, we opted for a raised coop with slatted timber floor and deep litter in the run. As you mentioned, with our climate, the girls do spend the majority of their time in the run and really only go into the coop to lay eggs and roost.

    As CuzChickens mentioned, this also give us extra room, extra shade and less chance of predators getting in. However, we really do not have a lot of predators to contend with. It also provides more ventilation for what can be uncomfortably humid evenings and provides further protection from tropical downpours.

    We designed the floor to slide out in two parts. Each morning I simply dustpan and bush the overnight poops and follow that with a wipe clean.

    Every weekend I slide the floor out and wash it with hot soapy water and leave it to dry before putting back.

    When the floor is out I can stand up in the coop to scrub walls etc when needed. The nest boxes are fixed slightly above the floor so they remain in place when the floor is removed.

    However, as mentioned, we are sub tropical and this would not be suitable for all.

    Half of the slide out floor:
    [​IMG]

    This was taken during construction and as you can see, if the floor is out, you could easily duck under and stand in the coop to reach walls etc:

    [​IMG]

    During construction:
    [​IMG]

    The finished product. There is a chicken door above the ramp. A small viewing door on the opposite side. The darker, decorative panels are actually a door and there is a lift up door on the other end. You can see the hole in the above image where that door is.:
    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    We do them in so many different ways. Almost anything can work but you need to make it convenient for you. You’ll find that you care about these things a lot more than the chickens do.

    In my opinion you need to be able to reach every part of the inside of your coop. I’m not just talking about cleaning. Some people try to keep the coop cleaned to the level of their personal bathroom, I’m a lot more relaxed about clean than that. Whatever level you clean to, access will be critical. But it’s a lot more than about cleaning. You can never tell where a hen might lay an egg. You might need to retrieve a chicken that doesn’t want to be retrieved. You may need to do modifications or repairs. You may need to roost train your chickens. There are just all kinds of reasons you might need to access the inside of your coop. Often it’s a good thing to keep the chickens from escaping when you are accessing the inside of your coop.

    You are talking about a 5’ x 8’ coop. Lay out an area 5’ x 8’ and try reaching across to get to the far side. It would be challenging for me to use a hammer or cordless screw driver over that distance. If you build a 5’ x 8’ raised non-walk-in coop you might want to plan on several openings so you can access all of the inside. If you elevate the coop, make it high enough you can drive a wheelbarrow under it to scrape it out. That should make it high enough that you can access under the coop too.

    While you have that 5’ x 8’ area laid out, draw in the roosts and anything else you might have in there. I don’t know how you are doing your nests, feeders, or waterers. Then step into the area and try to imaging working in there standing up, like a walk-in coop. Think about scraping poop off of a droppings board or gathering eggs. It will be tight but you can probably manage, especially if you leave the people door open, but don’t let the chickens escape. Maybe it would work better to make a walk-in 6’ x 8’? The chickens won’t need the room but you might. Since most building materials come in 4’ or 8’ dimensions a 6x8 might leave you a lot less waste material than a 5x8. Or maybe you were going to use that drop-off to make the nests.

    Now you’ve experienced both types of coops, elevated and walk-in. 5’ x 8’ is kind of an awkward size for either but you can probably make either work. I strongly advise the run be high enough that you can walk in there without bending over. You should also be able to stand up in a walk-in coop.

    Personally I like going inside the coop. I’ve found snakes, dead chickens, and even a possum once. I’ve found eggs in strange places and a hen hanging out inside that needed treatment. But I have 38 chickens right now, not seven, so I’m in a totally different situation from you.

    You are correct, in your climate the chickens will spend almost all their time out-of-doors. I’m not sure what the hottest day of your summer is, heat may be an enemy. Cold definitely will not be. The area under a raised coop provides good shade and it can be a great place to hang a feeder. A covered run will provide some shade certain parts of the day but sun can come in from the sides too. You might position your coop on the southwester or western side to provide shade during the hottest part of the day.

    To me there is no clear cut answer as to which one is best. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Good luck!
     
    2 people like this.
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I like walk in coops.

    Have plenty of ventilation, and the coop will be shade. No reason for the birds to go under it to get shade, there's shade in the coop itself.

    Being able to walk in---as Ridgerunner said, reaching across that much space is going to be problematic.

    If I have a hen go broody in a corner, I can walk up to her and deal with her. If I need to catch a bird off the roost at night, I just walk up to them and pick them up. New hen lays in a corner, no problem, I just get the egg. Heaven forbid a bird dies tucked away in a corner. I don't have to fish the corpse out with a rake, I just walk up to it and pick it up. No contortions for feeding. Cleaning is a breeze, just open the door and rake things out. Bring new bag of shavings, etc inside and upend it.

    "Extra" space in the coop can be used for storage, or a broody buster cage, or a sick bird isolation area, etc.
     
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  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Even if coop is in the shade of trees, under the coop-what I call the 'under run', can be a really good for a place that always stays dry for dust bathing and shelter from rain.
     
  10. CuzChickens

    CuzChickens CountryChick

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    I like them having shade under the coop, because in the coop, they do not always have breeze, under the coop, there is breeze coming from all directions. It also gives chickens lower on the pecking order a place for shade if others don't let it in the coop.
     

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