Random coop and run questions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Huskeriowa, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. Huskeriowa

    Huskeriowa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 19, 2010
    My Coop
    Hi all. I have spent the last week reading posts from the members here on various topics and now feel that I have most of the information I need to get started. But, I do still have some specific question and would welcome any input.

    My coop will be the back of a shed that I use to store my tractor in etc. I know this isn't a traditional way to make a coop but its what I have available. I am putting the chicken door on the back of the shed and a ramp will lead to a shelving area that I already have built. I will make some modifications of course but generally the coop floor will be a little over 4.5 sq feet per chicken. The nesting boxes will be extended out the back wall of the shed and I am not including the area of the nesting boxes in the above stated floor space. I couldn't find a post that specifically stated whether the nesting box area is included in the recommended floor space or if that is considered separate. So, my questions concerning the coop are:

    1. The height of the coop will be about 3 feet with the roosts a little over six inches over the poop board and floor. Am I being abusive providing a 3 foot ceiling? If so, I will get rid of shelves in the shed to add to the height but I would prefer not to do this.
    2. Is it better to have the nesting boxes at the same height as the floor or should they be elevated a few inches?
    3. I live in Iowa. Its either too cold or too hot. During the winter months for warmth is 4.5 sq foot too much area per bird? The birds I am looking at are considered all weather birds.
    4. The shed itself has decent ventilation with windows, vents and doors. I plan on venting the coup into the shed and hopefully that would provide enough ventilation? I will also add a screened window to the coop that will ventilate to the outdoors. From what I have read you want a way to get rid of moisture without forcing a breeze on the birds. Does it make sense to ventilate a coop into another ventilated building or am I asking for trouble?

    I also have some general questions about the run. Total area will provide 8 birds with 22 sq foot each for 180 sq ft total. 70 sq ft will be covered with corrugated roofing and the rest will be covered with wire. To keep my neighbors (and wife) happy I am going to go the extra effort and try to make it attractive. Part of the run will be made out of cedar planks to hide the chickens from the neighbors view. The majority of the run will be cedar posts and wire fencing.

    1. I would like to make the wire part of the fence out of black wire. I have seen some that is 2" x 4". Do vinyl coated galvanized fences hold up to any type of chicken abuse? The bottom third of the run will be made out of the tough smaller holed fabric that I have read about here to keep predators out.
    2. I see a lot of 20 gauge wire in the stores. It seems flimsy and I don't think I trust it. What gauge should I be looking for?

    I am sure I will have more questions as I go. Chicks arrive the end of march so I need to get going on the project. Thanks again for any suggestions!
  2. clairabean

    clairabean Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2010
    Kootenays of BC!
    1. The only abuse of a three foot ceiling is when YOU have to clean it out!
    2. Nesting boxes are a preference. I had mine up about two feet off the floor, my ladies preferred the floor, so I put them ont he ground. (Actual wood apple crates)
    3. Most adult birds do not require heat. And with such a low ceiling it should keep the heat in. But ventilation/condensation may become a problem for you. And with such a low ceiling you can not put a heating light in anyways.

    For fencing think of the predators wanting to come IN, rather than the chickens wanting to get OUT.
  3. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    My 2 cents is to make the roost higher, though with a poop board they probably would'nt walk under it anyway. I dunno, I don't have a poop board, as for my girls the roosts are to 18" up, total hieght to gable is 3'-3". Slanted roof line and still plenty of room to roost. They walk under the roosts to get into the nest boxes. Mine are external too, 10"x10" cut openings to the 2 cubby nests.

    Old barns are plenty ventilated and see no problem with venting that side only, with a closed barn you can have half or more of your coop cage framed. No wind and nearly all ventilated. Depending how secure the barn is to predators basic chicken wire is all you'd need. Easy.

    Hardware cloth is what folks use. It's rugged stuff. Burying it 6" or more into the ground makes the run impenitrable. I personally don't use it. Predators of concern for me are nocturnal and my chooks are locked in the coop every night.

    Good luck and don't sweat the little things. Your girls are going to love all the space your providing for them.
  4. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    The 3' ceiling will be fine. You probably need to put the nest boxes on the floor since the roost will be only a little way off the floor, to discourage them from sleeping in the nests, as they like to sleep wherever is highest. You can add the nests later, and I would keep the number down -- 4 per bird is usually a waste of nest boxes and floor space; they wind up all using one or two anyway. You're not supposed to count the nest boxes in the square footage, though. There's no such thing as too much room, really. In a huge coop in a really cold climate, there are some things you can do to make their sleeping area a little cozier, like stacking bales of hay, but otherwise, lots of space is a good thing. Your ventilation sounds like it will work fine, if you leave at least windows open in the shed, but you really won't know til you try. It isn't the chickens that will abuse the fencing on the run, it is the coons, fox, bobcat, stray dog, etc., etc. Otherwise, the run sounds fine. You do need to extend the smaller gauge wire on the ground about 2' out (grass will grow through it and cover it) to prevent digging under. Or pile pavers or concrete blocks, or dig down 2' and bury the wire (too much like work for me) or whatever method you use. Be sure to tie this apron strongly to the fencing, or use something very heavy.

    Sounds like you have done your research; that's great; far too many coops are built then have to be modified in major ways, or cause the chickens to suffer. Good luck to you!

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