simple coop design questions...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Eciton, May 18, 2011.

  1. Eciton

    Eciton New Egg

    May 18, 2011
    first off, great forum. we're very glad we found it.

    ok. we've just about finished a small coop for 2 hens (about all we can get away with) and it measures about 2.5' x 4.5' not including the run or the nesting boxes. I had originally read that apprx 2 sq ft per bird was acceptable but now im seein here that people recommend 4sq ft each...... I would hate to have to rebuild it if I dont have to, comments?

    secondly, is there a problem having chickens live on a wire floor so the droppings fall through? how do you keep it from getting too cold in the winter? (we're in rural Va, gets nippy in the winter)

    thanks for all the input!
  2. Chicken.Lytle

    Chicken.Lytle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 19, 2010
    Montgomery County, TX
    Welcome to BYC! You have come to the coolest place on the internet for chicken knowledge.

    I started with chickens last summer and the people of BYC have been great. This year I have tried hatching and buying chicks for even more chickeny joy. Please visit my BYC Page for my blog links that you may find informative or amusing.

    My suggestion is to make external nest boxes for laying and feeding. With only two hens it will not be a problem to close off three sides of access to food or water.

    I do not recommend a wire floor. Chicken poo can get pretty big and if it does not fall through, there is no point to the wire. I would suggest adding a floor and covering it with sand. They like to scratch and the poo dries fast. For such a small coop you could quickly clean it with a (specially-bough kitchen sieve) or cat litter scooper.

    And you are right about the winter. A wire floor would probably be too drafty in winter.
  3. SlowMoneyFarm

    SlowMoneyFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 11, 2011
    If droppings get through so will air. :-D you could "insulate" it by putting straw bales around the base to keep air out. I had over a dozen get into a 4'x4' shelter during bad weather. It doesn't get bitter cold for all winter here but they came through ok. .
  4. ginger c.

    ginger c. Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2011
    We're new to this too. I'm working on the coop now. But...

    2.5 x 4.5 = 11.25 sqft or 5.625 sqft per bird.

    That gives you 3 sqft for feeder & waterer. You should be fine. Don't forget your roost. I've read to use a 2x4 with the 4" as the top so the birds can splay their toes and cover them with their feathers. If their toes curl under, they won't get warmed.

    The birds will huddle together for warmth in the winter. Once feathered out, they should be fine. If you're very worried about cold, run power to the coop and add a heat lamp for winter. My wife found something to cover an extension cord plug from water/snow so you could simply run an extension cord out in the cold days. Some sort of light in the winter will be good for laying, too. Extend the daylight hours by adding light in the morning.

    I don't know about adults, but a wire floor is not good for chicks.

    Hope that helps.

    GC's DH
  5. Eciton

    Eciton New Egg

    May 18, 2011
    appreciate the quick replies!

    sounds like we are good to go for the sizing, i was concerned because some of the floor space is going to be eaten up by an exit hole to the run (which is below the coop) and the feeder/water supply.

    i often have found it odd that volume isnt really referenced often, just sqft. seems that if a bird can hop/fly upwards than it can make use of more space in a smaller footprint.

    anyhow, my wife is concerned that i havent planned for enough venting. currently we have 3 door which can open and a roof vent (apprx 4'' wide by 4.5' long) Seems like it is more than plenty for summer but when we close them up for cold days in the winter is the roof vent enough? i was considering some eave vents as well just under the roofing but dont want the venting to send drafts right by the roosting chickens. how much higher does the roost have to be than the nesting boxes?

    EDITED: forgot to add, i've decided on PT plywood for the flooring since my wife wants to do the "deep litter" method. I was debating whether to overlay the PT plywood with rubber or plastic to make the droppings not rot it out... opinions?

    thanks again!!
    Last edited: May 18, 2011
  6. Alabama ee

    Alabama ee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2010
    Quote:Ours has a wire floor. It works very well. I do put a soft plastic type of netting on top of the wire. It is a easier on their feet. In the winter, I put cardboard on top of the wire.
    That helped keep the heat in. I just shook the poo off. When it became too dirty, I just replaced the cardboard. I just put the cardboard in when the temps were
    really low. Here in North Alabama, it usually does not have weather that dips below30 Fahrenheit for long
  7. zookeeper15133

    zookeeper15133 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2010
    SW PA

    Your size is good. If you can get a scrap of linoleum to put on the floor, it makes cleaning very easy. With your size, a piece of plastic runner should work, I think they come 30" wide.

    Whether you use sand or wood chips, put a lip around your floor hole so it doesn't end up all on the ground.

    I wouldn't worry about extra heat for the winter. They should be fine.
  8. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sounds like you guys are going to have some fun. The weather here is quite cold too and I've observed several ideas used. Removable 2" blue foam panels sandwiched between 1/4" plywood that attach from the outside and a deep bin (painted or oiled) under them with woodchips (or sawdust if you have access to a sawmill) that shop vac up easily when either frozen or dried. The drawback here is condensation, but our area is arid due to the cold so opening a panel on a warm day helps but you have to allow air flow due to the poo/urine smell. I've also read about a guy in the upper US that gives the birds a outside run, in the snow and if the birds want out to play, they go and do just fine.
  9. Chicken.Lytle

    Chicken.Lytle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 19, 2010
    Montgomery County, TX
    Please see my Weather Outside if Frightful blog post for winter tips and a link to patandchickens' excellent Winterizing page. There is another patandchickens page on Ventilation. Excellent information there.
  10. laseterlass

    laseterlass Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2011
    Anchorage Alaska
    Quote:Hi Bryan I am in anchorage and you get colder and hotter than we do. I am insulating, not heating. The ventilation is my concern. I was planning on a few door knob size holes on the top front eaves of the coop about a foot above where the girls will roost. It is a 4x4x3 coop with 4 or 5 Orpingtons. What has been your plan of action for ventilation?

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