Really big coop!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Avrilon, Aug 6, 2007.

  1. Avrilon

    Avrilon In the Brooder

    Aug 2, 2007
    Georgia Mountains
    Hi guys. [​IMG] I’m new here and need some input on our coop. First of all, it seems really big to me. DH and I bought 10 acres that came with an existing chicken coop and we want to use it, but it seems way larger than our needs since we really only want about 10 chickens. Does the coop being ridiculously large for the flock make any difference? Or, should it be “cozier”? [​IMG]

    Here are some pictures as it looks now with our tenants’ junk in it (we can’t move to the farm for 3 more years [​IMG] ). They are using it as a tool/junk shed and it looks pretty nasty, but you can still see enough I hope. We will be moving the coop (when we move there) to another area – and it will look much nicer when we get it established. The coop measures approximately 12’ x 20’ and has 42 nest boxes. The nest boxes are at opposite ends of the room (24 on one end and 18 on the other). It has wood floors and is currently covered with pressboard – not sure why. The ramp to the chicken entrance was temporarily replaced with real steps by the previous owner when they got rid of their chickens and decided to use it as a big dog house. That will be changed to a more chicken friendly entrance. Also, the windows are currently open (no protective wiring) and won’t be when we have the chickens. There is currently no place for the chickens to perch, but we’ll fix that when the time comes.

    By looking at the photos, can you tell me…

    1. Is the large size detrimental to a small flock?

    2. Where should we put the perches?

    3. What is your favorite bedding and flooring material? I live in the south if that matters – the farm is in the north Georgia mountains.

    4. Are there too many openings in the coop for during the winter? We usually have pretty mild winters, but do get temps down into the 20’s and even lower at times. The back has 3 large windows, as you can see, and the front has 2 smaller ones.

    5. We will be moving the coop before we get the chickens and I’m wondering if it should be in the shade of trees since summers get pretty hot here. Or, should it be in the middle of a grassy field to keep them warmer in the winter?

    I’m sorry for so many questions – and this being so long, but I’m trying to learn as much as I can before we move - and I’ve got a million other things I’m studying too. I appreciate any suggestions you can offer. Here are the pictures:

    View from the back:

    Showing chicken entrance with temporary stairs:

    Front entrance, showing door leading in to the coop (there are two windows on this wall) and where 24 of the 42 nest boxes are (hard to see because of our tenants' tools and stuff). The other 18 nest boxes are on the opposite wall:

    I wish I had some better pictures, but his is all I have right now. Thanks again for any input/help!

    Last edited: Aug 6, 2007
  2. sara

    sara Title Needed Here

    Wow! That's nice! You should be able to fill that up without too much trouble![​IMG]
  3. 2mnypets

    2mnypets Songster

    Apr 11, 2007
    Galesburg, IL.
    What an awesome chicken coop I must say first of all. Now to the questions at hand. Since you have a lot of room to work with I will say that you can always section a part of the coop off to make a storage area for all your chicken needs. I would make some perches or roosts going with the 12' section. Just make sure you stagger them so they aren't poo'ing on each others head if you make them on top of each other. I wouldn't put them directly above the nests because you don't want to confuse the chickens on where they sleep and where they lay eggs. I personally like straw because it is easier to clean up than pine bedding. I only using the pine bedding when they are in the brooder box inside my house. When they are old enough to go to the bigger brooder that we made inside our first coop, we switch to straw. My girls prefer the straw in their nest boxes. Tried to put the pine bedding in the nest boxes and they kept kicking it all out. I think they like the straw because they can make an actual "nest" out of it. The windows will definitely have to be closed in. Not only for weather, but predators. The location of your coop needs to be where you can see it the best when you are in your house...if that is possible. That way you and your chickens stand to see predators coming a whole lot faster. You can always add a window A/C unit like we have in ours. Let the deciding factor for the location be the safety issue first. Best of luck to you and keep us informed.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2007
  4. Southern28Chick

    Southern28Chick Flew The Coop

    Apr 16, 2007
    [​IMG] That is the nicest chicken house I've ever seen.
  5. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    [​IMG] Welcome to BYC!!!

    What a nice building! It will be perfect for what you want.

    Here's what I would do. I would move it to an open area kinda close to trees on the west side of the coop. But not too close just close enough to help shade it from the western summer sun but not close enough that a tree could fall on it in a high wind (can you tell I'm a victim of Hurricane Ivan?). I'd also plan for bushes around, especially if you're planning to free range, to provide cover from preditory birds. But I also agree that safety first is important so do put it close enough to the house to see what's going on. As for the inside, to begin with I would build a framework, complete with door, as a temporary wall to "fence off" an area the appropriate size for the number of birds you want on the side that has the pop door if there are also nest boxes on that side. The steps that are there would be fine, there is no reason not to use them if you want rather than have to build something else. My reasons for doing this is that I feel that the best bedding to use is pine shavings, the deep litter method, with DE to help keep things dry so by fencing off only the area you need you will use far less bedding and save $. I, personally, don't care for straw because it is not absorbant and the straws are hollow and make a great home for mites and lice. I would also cover the windows with hardware cloth which will allow free flow of air yet keep preditors out. I would then plan to cover all the windows in the winter either with plexiglass or heavy plastic that can be removed when the heat comes back. As for perches, I use 2x4's with the flat side up and you'll want to figure probably 2' of space per bird. I know this is a little overkill, but each flock has it's peckers who will torture the others so this will allow a little manuvering (sp?) room. Anyway, these are a few of my thoughts. I'm so sorry you can't move to your farm for 3 years. That would drive me nuts. I hope we see you often!!
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2007
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Wow, lucky you! Perfect for sectioning off a feed/supply storage area!
    What part of the N. Ga. Mtns? I'm in Fannin County right at the NC border. If you're ever in need of some hatching eggs or chicks, if you live close to me, we may be able to circumvent that nasty Post Office, LOL.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2007
  7. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    NW Florida
    I have to agree, that is one wonderful coop. I wish I had one like it! (But then again, I'm sure I'd fill it with chickens if I did, LOL)

    It's great that you will have space to keep everything you need right there too.

    And if you ever decide to add MORE chickens (careful, it's a bit of an obsessive hobby!) you have space for a brooder in there, and you can eventually take down the wall and have LOTS of them! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

  8. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    That coop is so nice you could like turn it in to a guest house! I'd leave the steps in. My birds have no problem traveling stairs.
  9. ChickMomma

    ChickMomma In the Brooder

    Apr 26, 2007
    Wow what an awesome coop! I would love to be able to have that many chickens. Right now I have a house for 10 but only have 6. I cannot decide what else I want because I want one of everything!
    Anyway back to your coop. I would do roosts like this.
    think that they are very neat. I also agree that you could make a storage room to one end if you are positive you dont want as many chickens as that coop will hold.
    I would put hardware cloth over the windows. I have plexiglass panes that I put in my windows in the winter to allow light but help keep out the cold.
    Just my 2 cents!
  10. Avrilon

    Avrilon In the Brooder

    Aug 2, 2007
    Georgia Mountains
    OoooOOOoooo! Thanks so much for the suggestions! I had no idea there were so many different kinds of coops until I came here for the first time last week. Ours is big, but I sure don't think it is very pretty!

    2mNYpets, I didn't even think about dividing the coop - DOH! [​IMG] That would work out very well! Having it in view from the house will be a bit more challenging, but we have plenty of time for reconfiguring things before we move.

    BeckyLA, how do pine shavings come? I mean, can I go to a feed store and get it in bags? Yes, I am a real newbie at this! [​IMG] It' funny how different chickens like different things for bedding, but the pine shavings sound good from what I've read. Would I scatter the DE around the floor and in the bedding? 2' per bird sounds good to me since we have the room. And yes, not being able to move to the farm is driving both DH and me a crazy. It has a huge pond (or small lake?) and rolling hills and most of all - is away from the city and I can finally have animals! Patience is a virtue... patience is a virtue... [​IMG] Sigh... I am so ready to move there.

    Speckledhen, our little farm is in Dahlonega - NW from town about 10 miles very close to Camp Merrill, if you know where that is. We're right in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. I'll keep you in mind when we want our chickens! It's nice to see some Georgia people here. [​IMG] What kind of chickens do you have? I'm in the process of deciding what kind I want. Since I want eggs and pets, I reckon I want my chickens to be decent layers (though we dont need a lot of eggs) and friendly/docile. Of course, I want purty birds too! [​IMG]

    Chickmomma, thanks so much for that wonderful perch link! I'm going to put that in my favorites and show it to my DH. He can build most anything and who knows... once we move the coop, the girls might have window boxes w/ flowers and fancy landscaping - lol... That perch set-up looks great though.

    Thanks again for the comments and suggestions,


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