seeking design advise

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jennlynn, Jan 9, 2016.

  1. jennlynn

    jennlynn Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 28, 2015
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    [​IMG]
    Here is the latest photo of our 8x12 shed (with electricity) we've decided to turn into a coop for 6 hens. We're getting the day old chicks on the 19th and I plan on using the Mama Heating Pad system in our house for about the first week before moving them out here.
    We had a couple of mild days last week and were able to coat the floor with a layer of Blackjack #57. My next plan of attack is installing the roosts, but I'm not sure which wall to use. I've researched the proper height/width, spacing, etc., but I'm stuck on where to put everything.
    That back window is on the east side and the pop door leading to the covered run (you can see the light coming in on the bottom left) is on the south side. There's also another window, a bit larger than the one here in the picture, that's cut out of the main door. I'm also planning to keep their water and food here in the run to keep the rats, opossums, and raccoons out of it.

    I guess my main question is does it really matter which wall I use for the roosts and boxes? I appreciate any advise, as this is our first experience with chickens!
     
  2. FridayYet

    FridayYet Innocent Bystander

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    Hi Jennlynn,

    It doesn't really matter which wall you decide to use, but there are a few things that might make things easier. Chickens poop a lot while roosting, so make sure you can reach in clean under the roosts, or be able to turn under the waste if using the deep litter method. You'll also want to have a barrier to keep the litter in - a board/lip inside your pop door and your clean out door so it doesn't fall out when the doors are opened.

    You might also want to position your nest boxes so you can access the eggs from outside - on a wall that's not in the run. (Keeps your shoes cleaner if you are just making an egg run)

    It's looking really nice. Do you have any other windows? You'll need more ventilation in Austin, since your summers are hot!
     
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  3. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Overrun With Chickens

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    Nice size coop! I have a large coop as well and when I had the roosts on the back wall opposite the human door It worked better for them. That gave them the most room to get on and off the roosts.
    I ended up adding a few (make that a lot) more hens and needed to divide my coop. My roosts now run along the long wall and it is not as nice for them. Less room to get up and down makes them cranky at bedtime and again in the morning.

    I also think you will find to keep the heat down inside the coop you will need more ventilation.
    I made awning style windows for mine so the rain stays out but the air comes in. Cheap and easy to do and oh so handy when it is hot.
     
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  4. jennlynn

    jennlynn Out Of The Brooder

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    Yeah, I figured I'd need another window but didn't want to cut a hole on the north side in the winter while they'd be so small since we're brooding them out here. And thanks for the advise on installing the roosts on that back wall. I didn't think about how much room they'd need getting on and off them, so that makes sense.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nice size coop!
    What's the ventilation like?

    How do you plan on handling manure and nests?
     
  6. shmeggs

    shmeggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You were speaking of windows I have large windows on the east side because that is where the sun first comes up. That way they will start laying earlier in the day. Far as nest boxes be sure you have one nest box per four hens, I have mine 12-18 inches off floor it works good
     
  7. jennlynn

    jennlynn Out Of The Brooder

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    Well, it's been decided that we need to cut out another window or two but I think we can wait til it gets warmer since the baby chicks will be in their brooder out here after about the first week.
    And I'm thinking I like the plastic nesting boxes made by Miller Manufacturing--they're ventilated and have a little roost at the entrance. I'd like to be able to clean them really well, and the plastic will allow this.
    As far as manure, the deep litter method and possibly a poop tray. We have a good size compost pile going and I like that I can "speed things up" in it by adding their poop.
    After doing a little more research (bc I'm totally obsessed w this project right now[​IMG])we're going to paint the walls with Killz and seal up all the cracks where the panels meet to prevent mites. Didn't know this was a thing--mites burrowing into the raw wood.
     
  8. jennlynn

    jennlynn Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 28, 2015
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    Thanks for the tip! The largest window is the east facing one on the door--it's covered w carpenters mesh and can be opened and closed. I plan on leaving it open most of the time.
    I'm thinking 2 nesting boxes for 6 hens. Right?
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Another thought crossed my mind while I was just out tending my birds.

    Have you given any thought to the future, and about how you will expand your flock by adding new chicks/birds?
    With that big a space just being built, now would be the time to decide how you might split the coop to accommodate a grow out area for new chicks.

    I put 2 people doors into my coop to facilitate a separate area created by a temporary chicken wire wall.
    I later added a second pop door and separate run.
    It was an excellent plan that has been invaluable many times over the past 2 years......
    .....for new chicks to grow out, a rogue cockerel, a broody hen and I even put the wall up for a couple days this fall to pinpoint who was laying a certain egg.

    Also, think about where/how you will store your feed and other supplies.

    I really like the poop boards, not that fond of sifting them every other day, but the poops go right to a friends compost and the coop is much cleaner overall.

    All those things will help determine the layout and location of all the coops gear.
     
  10. shmeggs

    shmeggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    2 boxes are good for 6 hens but in a coop large as you have I would go ahead put more nest boxes in now because keeping chickens is addictive . We started out with 6 now we have almost 40 . Lol
     

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