Securing/Modifying a TSC Coop - Seeking Advice

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Claggett, Mar 2, 2017.

  1. Claggett

    Claggett New Egg

    Nov 13, 2016
    Hello All,

    I've been browsing these forums for months, but this is my first post. I am thinking of taking the plunge into the chicken keeping world this spring.

    This coop caught my eye in tractor supply, as a much sturdier looking "pre-built" than most I'd seen. I assume they've over-estimated the chicken capacity, and I was thinking of keeping more like 8 chickens in it, with hopefully some free range time during the day. I liked the sturdy feeling asphalt roof and I liked the fact the sides were made of serious hardware cloth (small enough holes to actually be useful, as opposed to chicken wire which I understand won't keep out all the predators we'll be facing).

    The two engineering things I"m concerned about are (1) we get really heavy winds in the winter on our property and I'm afraid it would lift this bad boy up and turn it over and (2) I know it would need significant enhancements to stop predators from digging under it.

    I was thinking of getting it and nailing the white bottom of the white frame to pressure treated 1x8s or 1x10s...something to create a flatter base. Then using galvanized hardware cloth to create either a secure "floor" of the coop or at least an apron a couple of feet out to deter digging. Also, stacking cement blocks on the 1x8s (or 1x10s) wooden base to hold it down against the wind. Not sure if it's better to put the wooden and cement apron on the outside of the coop or inside.

    Thoughts? Better ways to do it?
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC participation!

    Unless there are no other options....don't do it.
    Not only are they of shoddy construction, they are poorly designed for chicken basics.
    I actually touched these at TSC the other day, they had 3 models set up.
    Yes, the HC looks pretty good....but the rest is pretty much junk for long term.

    The coop itself is under 3x5...good for 3-4 birds.

    Tho much can depend on your climate and goals.
    They can be great for chicks, or broody hens, or isolation/sick bay in the future.

    Try this thread search, for more info.
    advanced search>titles only> pre fab coops
  3. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 20, 2015
    Southern N.C. Mountains

    If you can't build one, check your local craigslist as well. I know in my area there are a few individuals that build and sell some fairly decent coops with optional attached runs. It may cost more, but the ones I have seen "look" sturdier and would last longer than the ones at TSC or WalMart . Chickens are becoming the "in thing", so I would think that you may be able to find something suitable.

    Just my thoughts.
  4. chknemprr

    chknemprr New Egg

    Mar 2, 2017
    I have this exact coop. It's actually very sturdy. My TS had it set up in store as a model so I was able to see it before I bought it and I loved it. We're on uneven ground so nailing the wood to the bottom was a must and it also helped secure it. We also built a run to add on to the front and used cedar garden border nailed to the bottom.


    The cedar fencing is now on both sides of the coop and goes all the way around. Chickens have also been added :)

    I would recommend the coop tbh it's very sturdy and three of us put it together in about an hour. It's got a slide out tray for cleaning and lots of easy access to the sleeping area. The latches on the egg collection boxes are very sturdy as well.
    Soon2BChixMom and Claggett like this.
  5. chknemprr

    chknemprr New Egg

    Mar 2, 2017
    I should add we keep 6 chickens in this. The coop with the run is about 144 square feet and they have access to the run at all times unless we are doing some type of maintenance.
    1 person likes this.
  6. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2014

    How long have you had the coop? Until you have had it for a year and experienced it in all seasons, you might want to hold off on giving it a good review. I've not read any posts from prefab owners who haven't experienced problems after about two years.
    1 person likes this.
  7. cowboyclayt

    cowboyclayt Chillin' With My Peeps

    :welcome :frow :yiipchick
    I have heard chickens don't like the feel of wire under their feet.
  8. Claggett

    Claggett New Egg

    Nov 13, 2016
    That's pretty much exactly the set-up I was imagining. It was set up at my TSC too, and I thought the quality seemed much better than any other prefab I've looked at.

    I get why people prefer to build really nice ones (especially if they have contractor friends or mad carpentry skills)...but it's a little daunting to think you can't try your hand at chickens without investing in a serious construction project and investment.
  9. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    Nothing wrong IMO with starting out with a prefab coop as your "first chicken home." However you need to be realistic about how many chickens they'll hold. The existing coop on the structure you're looking at is not suitable for 8 chickens. If you're willing to modify it so that the entire structure becomes the coop and then let the chickens free range or add a run outside, then you absolutely can fit 8 in there without issue.

    I currently have a prefab coop as well but the manufacturer was far more realistic about how many chickens it would fit: 3. I ended up with 4 and have had to alter the coop since in order to accommodate the extra. Now that I know that I'm enjoying having chickens, in the future, I plan to have a nice coop/shed combo built to match the house, but as a starter, the prefab should hold up a couple of years until that happens.

    A hardware cloth apron would be great for additional predator protection. I don't believe in having birds walk on a wire floor though.
    1 person likes this.
  10. Zoomie

    Zoomie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 6, 2015
    Mora, NM USA
    I've got a pre-fab coop. Mine is really flimsy. We put it inside our barn, in one of the stalls, and that's really helped because we, too, have ferocious winds that blast us all the time. No way would it have stayed where we put it, plus I think think the roof would not have stood up to rain and snow very well, but inside, it's fine. I've had mine for going on three years now, and I'm glad I got it because I've had close to three years of fresh eggs. It supposedly holds 9 chickens... [​IMG] I have TWO in there. If they are quiet birds you might get away with 4 but that would be pushing it.

    I have not seen that exact coop in person, but all the ones I have seen in person have really goofy perches. Take those out, and use a 2X4 turned so that the 4" side is uppermost. That way when the chickens perch at night they can cover their feet with their feathers, no dangly toes to get frost-bitten in the cold weather.

    If I were going to set mine up outside, I would put in a cement wall that it could sit on and that I could anchor it to. That stops the digging predators (saving money on that buried hardware cloth) and keeps the coop in place. Then you don't need to put wire on the bottom of your run. I'd probably put metal roofing over the top of the current roofing. I know there will be no leaks with a metal roof that is put on properly, but, it could be difficult to screw on so more plywood with tar paper on it first might help out.

    This coop does not seem to have very good ventilation; mine actually does have very good ventilation, in addition to a window on the side it has two vents at the top, covered well with hardware cloth, one on each end. With that coop, you might think about that, putting in extra ventilation. You might also consider painting it with real paint. Mine is more like stained, the paint is so thin. I see some of the reviewers of this coop felt this way too.

    I can't tell, but it looks like there are more nest boxes than necessary. Maybe that extra space could be utilized better but it would need a higher roof for the birds. However, maybe you could wall it off from the inside, and store tools or feed or grit etc. in the space.

    Now, the pre-fab is not my only coop. But, it got me started, and gave me time to work out where and how and so on that I wanted a permanent and better coop, but it's worked out so well with putting it in the barn that I use it and will continue to do so. Currently there is a pair of Barnevelder 8 week old chicks in there. It's great for isolating a breeding pair, putting a broody and her chicks and so on. I think they have their place, and as long as you are aware of the drawbacks, they can work in certain situations.

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