seeking input on coop improvements, please! (pic intensive)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by technodoll, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. technodoll

    technodoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We moved here this summer and inherited an ancient chicken coop, the former owner kept a flock so we decided hey, why not?

    We now have 11 hens and 3 roos, all seem pretty happy in their space but the outside run is too small and bare, will be expanded next summer to a big secure fenced free-range park of sorts (we have feral cats here, coyotes, hawks, racoons, you name it!).

    That part will be the easy part, LOL!

    Here's what the buildings look like. We actually have TWO coops, joined in the middle by a semi-open space. The flock lives in the smaller, insulated coop with attached run on the right, the left coop is decrepit and is being used as storage for now.

    [​IMG]

    Should we put a door to close off this open space (to prevent icy blasts & snow accumulation when the main coop door is opened in the freezing winter) or would a heavy tarp/plastic be OK - like a shower curtain? We're very, very low on cash at the moment so am trying to be creative... plus a tarp can be removed in the summer, which gives us free access to our water supply. Hmmm.

    [​IMG]

    Here is the decrepit coop, which I was thinking to clean up with 4x8 planks on the walls and thermal insulation on the ceiling to hide the mold (I can't afford to rip everything out). The boarded-up window would be replaced by a functioning one which opens for ventilation (we are getting two for free) - so I would use this coop in the winter as a daytime playing space for the flock so they don't get bored in their insulated coop... No snow and ice in here but it would be as cold as the outside.

    [​IMG]

    Ideas on how to maximize this space are most welcomed! I also want to use it as a 2nd coop in the summer if a hen goes broody and we get chicks... I don't like the dirt floor as critters are digging their way in to steal food when the ground is soft, but I don't know what kind of critter [​IMG] - should I put planks down in the spring, after the ground thaws?

    This is their current, mostly insulated coop. Floor is plywood on dirt, ceiling has old pink stuff, basically a mouse toilet (sooo gross! I can't wait to change that next year!). We have electricity and water when the ground isn't frozen.

    [​IMG]

    Please do not laugh at my attempt to add insulation with no skills and hardly any tools! LOL

    We are changing the window that faces the main coop door, as it does not open and we are severely lacking in ventilation. Humidity these days is about 95 to 100% in the coop, but it's been raining nonstop, drizzling, just miserable.

    I love how the door opens outwards and there is an edge to keep the bedding from falling out. Nesting boxes are close to the door, also practical... but I have to walk in every day to add food and change their water. Ceiling is 5'5" high so I have to walk around stooped over, LOL!

    [​IMG]

    Most of the flock sleeps up on the pallet, which is awesome: keeps them bundled together, warm, and the poop is easy to clean up!

    [​IMG]

    Finally, a photo of the tiny nekkid outside run:

    [​IMG]

    No wonder the girls scream to be let out to free-range a bit every day, LOL!

    OK now that you've seen everything... tell me, how do I make it better for me and for the flock, without breaking the bank?

    Thank you! [​IMG]
     
  2. HarlansHollowFarms

    HarlansHollowFarms bana-bhuidseach anns gára

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    They have alot more room then my 26 birds....they look pretty darn happy to me!

    I like your coop. [​IMG]
     
  3. technodoll

    technodoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    LOL thank you... it's not what I would want for my flock but it's what was there... seeking to make it better though.

    Someday we'll sell this place and one of the requirements of the new home will be to build a big, brand-new coop in our back yard! No more rickety ancient crooked building, LOL! [​IMG]
     
  4. archerobx

    archerobx Chillin' With My Peeps

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    cool place
    tell you what, you live anywhere near cabonga resiivior and let me crash in the coop I will help you fixer up
     
  5. poultrypatch

    poultrypatch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I LOVE your coop and the area around it looks so nice and peaceful ! I envy you the lovely area . Pretty chickies too .
    Liz
    Rochester, MA
     
  6. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

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    The part your using looks pretty darn good. The biggest problem you have, is need for ventilation - get it quick, the mold is screaming big issue, but at least it's not where they are . . . YET. If it were me and low on cash I would just add some vents, like airconditioning wall ones? with scrap wood doors that could close over them . . . maybe someone else will have a cheaper suggestion.
    YOu shouldn't have to fill that big feeder everyday for that number of chickens, but the water will go fast one thing you can do is build a little low platform on the door that swings out, that way when you open the door your waterer will swing out to you, it also serves to keep it off of the ground and cleaner and flat (with the way it is tilting in that one pic it is going to empty onto the floor and add to your humiddity issues).
    Let me think on it some more tonight . . .
     
  7. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator Staff Member

    Best improvement to make: GET MORE CHICKENS!!!


    [​IMG]
     
  8. Luna_Chick66

    Luna_Chick66 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I love your little rustic coop! and even your insulating skills!

    I am with the person above: get more chickens.

    [​IMG]

    ps - I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the weathered wood on the outside. I wonder if it's too late to stain it or use some preservative?
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
  9. technodoll

    technodoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 25, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    The part your using looks pretty darn good. The biggest problem you have, is need for ventilation - get it quick, the mold is screaming big issue, but at least it's not where they are . . . YET. If it were me and low on cash I would just add some vents, like airconditioning wall ones? with scrap wood doors that could close over them . . . maybe someone else will have a cheaper suggestion.
    YOu shouldn't have to fill that big feeder everyday for that number of chickens, but the water will go fast one thing you can do is build a little low platform on the door that swings out, that way when you open the door your waterer will swing out to you, it also serves to keep it off of the ground and cleaner and flat (with the way it is tilting in that one pic it is going to empty onto the floor and add to your humiddity issues).

    Katy, you're absolutely right about the ventilation, I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out where to put vents and how big they should be?? Suggestions? the coop is about 11 x 12...

    Should I put on on the east wall and one on the west wall to get cross ventilation? those sides get less wind blasts than the north and south walls... I could cut holes (the walls are two layers of wood with about 6" of empty space between them, go figure). I love the idea of AC-type vents with a cover on them for the siberian days!

    The water dispenser is actually straight, just my lens that warped on the photo LOL! there is no water dripping on the floor at all and because it hangs from the ceiling it's all very clean, the chickens just drink and don't play around with it or anything. It gets cleaned out and refilled every day, if I drink clean water then so should my flock [​IMG]

    And the feeder is only full at the very bottom where you can see the food, the silo in the middle is empty. I have no idea why I bought such a huge one, call it beginner's mistake LOL!​
     
  10. technodoll

    technodoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quebec, Canada
    ps - I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the weathered wood on the outside. I wonder if it's too late to stain it or use some preservative?

    Luna, I wanted to stain the wood but it's so porous and brittle, there is no chance in heck anything would work [​IMG] I wish the buildings had been preserved over the decades, I'm sure they were gorgeous at some point. You can see faint residue of red paint here and there...

    Next spring or summer, if I'm lucky enough to get a broody hen and one of my three roos is actually doing his job, I will see if I can hatch some of my own chicks! So excited! Then my flock would get bigger! [​IMG]
     

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