Restoration project for first time owner.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Elweirdo, Jan 30, 2017.

  1. Elweirdo

    Elweirdo New Egg

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    Jan 27, 2017
    Gig Harbor
    I'm a total chicken newb. Never owned one. LOVE the idea of fresh eggs and new life forms around the house.
    We moved recently and new house has a small coop with a small run.
    Some pictures of what is left.
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    I have a LOT of work to do before any birds set foot in here.
    Hopefully, this thread will chronicle those efforts and allow me the benefit of your, the gentle readers, advice.

    Right off the bat there are a lot of obvious things to handle.
    Clean up.
    Remove and replace chicken wire and larger fencing with hardware cloth.
    Add entrance to the run. I'm thinking of making it taller as well.
    Replace the roof, roosts, nest box, ramp and pop door.
    Add ventilation.
    It looks like it used to be electrified. I'll determine if I need that later.
    There are a couple of spot where it appears something has dug under the fence into the run. We can't have that.
    More clean up.

    Questions I have:
    The most obvious question is Should I start from scratch?
    Are the old litter, looks like sawdust, and droppings compostable? .
    I'm only planning on three birds. How many would you estimate this coop could hold?

    So off I go. Thanks for reading,
    Jeff
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017
  2. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    The framing looks sound. If the boards aren't rotted you can keep the basic structure in tact. Needs lots more ventilation/windows. Replace the roof as you said. Wood shavings will take forever to compost. Better to move them somewhere and burn them. 3-4 hens should fit in there if you expand the run just a little more.
     
  3. PapaBear4

    PapaBear4 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hey, welcome to the group! Chickens are a lot of fun, and the eggs are great.

    Should you start from scratch? Depends on your long term plan and immediate time and funds available. If you're looking to get your eggs sooner rather than later, don't start from scratch. Use what you've got and start planning for your longer term vision.

    Will it compost? Yes, eventually. Pine shavings and the like do take a while to break all the way down. But it also depends on what you're going to be using it for. As long as it doesn't smell like chicken poop any more it can likely be used as a top dressing for your garden or flowers or fruit trees. Just don't expect it to look like dirt for a while.

    How many hens? Three is a good place to start. I think you could safely get as many as 6 in there. Here's my thought process...
    In the current setup the run looks to be the limiting factor. The general guidelines are 2 sq ft per bird in the coop plus 10 sq ft per bird in the run. Eight to ten inches of roost space each and one nest box for every 6 hens (minimum of 2 boxes). What you have there looks to be a 4x4 coop and an 8x8 run [plus the under-coop space? I'm never sure if this should count or not]. (4x4)/2=8 in the coop. (8x8)[+(4x4)]/10=6 or [8] in the run. Though the pure numbers say up to 8 hens, looking at it my gut tells me to not do more than 6. More space per bird = less population stress = healthier hens.
    So 3 hens (~12-18 eggs/week) is a good place to start. Like I said, I think you could pretty easily do 6 (~24-36 eggs/week). But maintenance/cleaning time and bedding input is going to go up.

    If you're wanting more eggs than that, start with what you've got and learn learn learn! And start planning your new coop for however many you think you want in the long run!

    Happy chickening!
     
  4. tlzimmerman

    tlzimmerman Out Of The Brooder

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    Speaking from experience in my first chicken try last year, predators are way more savvy and strong than you think they are.....and once they find your chickens they are relentless.

    As you rebuild, overbuild. I do think there is no reason to get rid of that hen house though if you make the run more sound. Worse case it could later be used as a breeding pen if you get a roo and want to hatch your own chicks.
     
  5. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I"m looking at the good, the bad and the ugly.

    From what I see, you have a predator problem. They either climbed in (electric fence was put up to stop that), dug in........no apron......or flew in.......no top cover. You have chicken wire tacked up to the run area under the coop, which will keep the birds in, but will not keep determined predators out. The 2" x 4" wire on the run will keep coons and such on the outside, but they can reach through it. If you have weasels and such, they could go through that like it wasn't even there. Weasels would be cause to change out the wire to hardware cloth. And there is no apron, so diggers can go under it at will. So assuming no weasels, going around under the coop with 1" x 2" welded wire to replace chicken wire would be a good idea, and the same stuff can be used to install a 2' wide apron on the ground around the entire perimeter to keep diggers out. That leaves the top. What to do about the top.

    If Gig Harbor is the one in Washington, you probably get a lot of rain. If so, putting a hard top cover on top of the run would be a good idea. It sheds the rain, sheds hawks and such and if you then raise the side wires up to the top, sheds climbers like coons and such. In short, you close in the box.

    That leaves the coop. Does it even have nest boxes? It would work for a while just as is, with nest boxes (you won't need those for about 4 months AFTER you get your chicks, so no rush on that).

    What you would need is more ventilation. Take the openings on the doors and make those about half the size of the door and that might do it. Roof looks like it was placed over a plywood decking either after the fact or when built. If it sheds rain, and works........well it works for now.

    As for birds, 3 to 4 birds is what you need for a dozen eggs per week. You have room enough for 4. If you buy straight run chicks, you might get 4 hens, 4 roosters or any combination thereof. Assuming you do not want a rooster, and you do not need one, you could buy sexed chicks. Either sexed or sex links.
     
  6. N F C

    N F C just blowing in the wind Premium Member Project Manager

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    In addition to the other suggestions you've been given, I'd put some sort of top over the run to keep out things like hawks. You could use something as simple as shade cloth to give the chickens some protection and shade to something more durable like plastic panels that will also help keep the run dry.

    Also, maybe I'm just missing them, but are there any nesting boxes? You'll want those once your chickens get close to laying so they don't just drop their eggs any/every where.

    Good luck with your project!
     
  7. N F C

    N F C just blowing in the wind Premium Member Project Manager

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    @Howard E looks like you and I were typing at the same time with the same thoughts, lol.
     
  8. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Gentile or Gentle? Some of us are neither!!! [​IMG]
     
  9. Elweirdo

    Elweirdo New Egg

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    Jan 27, 2017
    Gig Harbor
    Terrific stuff. Thank you all.
    There were a couple of makeshift nesting boxes in there that got instantly thrown away due to overall crappiness. I'll build new ones.
    It is Gig Harbor WA and it rains like a temperate rainforest here so a covered run is what I am thinking as well although many of the locals I drive by are not covered.
    The entire run needs to be redone. There is no access and it's not tall enough for me to stand in. Both unacceptable. So taller and larger.
    I'll be landscaping this weekend so the coop is on hold until that is done. Hopefully it'll warm up too.
    Edited original post for spelling.
     
  10. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Hello again Elweirdo [I said hello on the new member introductions]

    I do not have any more to add over the fantastic advice you have already received so I am really just posting to subscribe and sticky beak [​IMG]

    I would love to follow your progress and throw in the occasional “Good Job!” [​IMG]
     

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