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Recommended prefabricated coops and runs?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by BigMamaY, May 7, 2017.

  1. BigMamaY

    BigMamaY New Egg

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    May 7, 2017
    Hi everyone,

    I'm new here, and only in the planning stages of becoming a chick mama. My husband and I are both really pathetic in the handiness department, so I was considering buying one of those chicken coops from Amazon or Tractor Supply that are already made, and you just assemble (which will be stretching our abilities as it is :)). Are there any decent ones that are lasting and durable, easy to use and keep clean, and safe for the chickens? Or would I be better off looking for someone knowledgeable and handy to help us construct our own? If this topic has already been covered elsewhere, please feel free to direct me there. I looked, but didn't see it.

    Thanks so much!
     
  2. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    I wouldn't get one from Amazon because you really want to see it in person to get a feel for how it is made. The ones I've seen at Tractor Supply don't look too bad if you are only getting a small flock. Building it yourself is not really all that difficult. BYC is full of coops built by people that have never built anything before. Finding a friend who is handy is probably your best option though. Then you can gain some skill helping him/her build it. It is much cheaper and sturdier to build one than buy one.
    Do you know anyone nearby who has chickens?
     
  3. MotorcycleChick

    MotorcycleChick Gone quackers

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    I own two (I bought them a day apart, or it would be one) prefab coops from TSC. I don't recommend any prefab coop. If you feel you must (I get it!) then please plan on adding another roof soon (the original one will fall apart in as little as two weeks). You can just put a piece of plywood on the top, and nail it down. No big deal. The nest box might sag, and fall apart in a few months. You might need to remove it, and add another piece of wood.
    Or...
    A small flock can be put in a doghouse. Elevate it if you can but it works. So does a shed. You can find discount sheds that were returned or "floor" models. I know Pennsylvania has a bunch of roadside places (a company rents or buys a small piece of land, and puts some stuff there with information on how to contact the business) that sell and lease coops and sheds.
     
  4. Dayrel

    Dayrel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The inexpensive pre-fab coops are cheap for a reason. I have one from TSC that I did *a lot* of upgrades to before I started using it and I still consider it a starter coop. Also, be aware that pre-fab coops are often rated for far higher occupancy than is reasonable. The rule of thumb for a small backyard operations is 4sqft/hen in the coop and 10sqft/hen in the run area. Mine was rated for 8 birds, but by those measures is really only good for 2-3.

    If you are willing to attempt a build-yourself and will keep only a small number of chickens (2-4), then I'd suggest looking at building a simple A-frame coop/run. You can click on the "Coops" link at the top to see a bunch of coops that others have built.

    You might also want to use CraigsList for new/used coops in your area. Some of these may be quite nice and solidly built.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2017
  5. MotorcycleChick

    MotorcycleChick Gone quackers

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    Totally agree with this!
    One additional thing. Be sure that the new coop is CLEAN!!!. Mites and disease are a threat.
     
  6. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Having seen a large number of these coops, I have come to the disturbing conclusion that most of these small pre-fab coops are NOT made to house chickens. They are made as a product to sell to inexperienced people who don't know any better. As such, the makers of these things start with a price point they feel buyers will pay, then set about constructing what they think you will think looks like a chicken coop from cheap, flimsy materials that they can offer to meet this price point. Features that help sell it are too many nest boxes and wildly overstated claims of how many birds you can house in them. But as a coop to raise chickens.........despite the names and claims.......they are not that.

    The very best way for someone to get a decent coop is to built it themselves, but we know some do not have that desire or ability. For those, best options is to scan Craigslist for new or used coops. Of those I've seen on Craigslist, while larger than those from TSC, Amazon, etc, they still fit the pattern of vastly overstating how many birds a coop will hold, and since many are built to an OK standard, the cost of labor and materials will run the price of these up a lot. By a lot, I mean $1,000 to start and 2X to 3X times that for modest coops to realistically house a dozen birds. Even so, a lot of these folks seem to know nothing about raising birds either. Even though they make a good, sturdy building they seem to know nothing about poultry husband and what it takes to keep birds safe and healthy and they too will vastly overstate capacities.

    Yet another option is to find a plan you really like and find someone local to build it for you. Short of building it yourself, this may be the best option of all. Same materials cost.......you only pay for the labor to have someone else assemble it for you.
     

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