small coop dimensions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by snorkelies, May 11, 2009.

  1. snorkelies

    snorkelies Out Of The Brooder

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    May 10, 2009
    We are in the process of building our coop, and I wanted to run some dimensions by the group to see if it sounds reasonable.

    We have 4 one week old pullets (rhode island red, barred rock, buff orpington, mutt americana), and a relatively small backyard in a city setting.

    4.5'x3' base for the coop, with a 3' wall on the side connecting to the run, and 2.5' tall on the far end. The roof will be hinged and flip opened, and we will have a box outside the coop for a nest box. The coop is raised 12" off the ground so the chickens can get underneath it from the run (this can be raised further as well), and the run is going to be 4.5'x5' (not including the space under the coop).

    Does this sound reasonable?
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    It's not overly generous on size for 4 chickens, but if yours happen to get along well together it may work fine. It will be hard to manage that sort of setup in Serious Winter, if that happens where you live. If you live in a warm climate, no problem; if you live somewhere colder though you might consider some tweaks, including a larger indoor portion.

    If you are going to have an ample roof overhang then 4.5' may make some sense as a coop dimension but otherwise I would really recommend either 4' or 6', as making MUCH more efficient and easier use of standard lumber and plywood sheet dimensions.

    Otherwise, sounds fine to me, go on, have fun [​IMG]

    Pat
     
  3. snorkelies

    snorkelies Out Of The Brooder

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    May 10, 2009
    First, more questions:

    How high should the roost poles be? How much head room do they need? I am thinking of placing the entrance to the nest box 3" or 4" up, how high above that should the roost poles be?

    And I was also thinking of putting the door into the run in the floor towards the back of the coop (low side), with a ramp/ladder. That way the roost can be on the high side (which will be adjacent to the run, so the water will run off the roof and into the yard instead of into the run), but not be directly over the entrance to the run. Is it a good idea to keep the roost away from the door?

    We were thinking of doing an A-frame design for the attached run, with one side on hinges that totally flips opened for easy access. How tall should the A-frame run be?

    Should food and water be in the run or coop? Do they need full access to food and water overnight when they get older?

    Now more info:

    It is always 40-80 degrees where we live (whenever it gets below 40 or above 80 there are weather advisories all over the news and no one wants to leave their house. It is kind of ridiculous), so I suspect the chickens will usually be in the run (the coop will be opened all day and we will lock them in at night).

    We chose the odd 4.5' because we are working with scraps of lumber and plywood (we are doing some major renovations on our house, so we have lots of extra stuff lying around, and we want to build the coop entirely of what we already have). Basically we had some good 2x4's that were about 5.5-6' long, so we scooted in a bit from that to leave handles on the ends to pick it up and move it around the yard, and were left with 4.5' interior dimension. And I wanted it a little wider than 4', just so the run could be a little wider and not quite as long, it will work better with our yard setup and allow us to move it around to more places in the yard.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:The roost should be enough higher than the nestboxes that a chicken looks at 'em and sez to itself 'whoa, that roost is for sure the highest place around, I shall put myself *there* to sleep'. As a ballpark I'd say a foot at *minimum*, a few ft is safer.

    They'll need 14" headroom on the roost as a bare minimum, closer to 2' is better (they like to stretch in the morning, mine do anyhow).

    You don't want the nestboxes just inches off the floor -- either put 'em high enough to let chickens get underneath and use the floor area (i.e. 12-14" minimum underneath nestbox floor) or just put the nestbox at floor level and be done with it, no cleaning-underneath issues to worry about. Either way, a 4-6" lip will keep nestbox bedding from getting kicked out.

    And I was also thinking of putting the door into the run in the floor

    The problems with that arrangement are a) you lose much of what little floor space you have, and b) they will constantly be kicking all the bedding out onto the ground. Jigger things around so your popdoor can be in a *wall*, you and the chickens will both be much happier that way.

    We were thinking of doing an A-frame design for the attached run, with one side on hinges that totally flips opened for easy access. How tall should the A-frame run be?

    Tall enough that they can USE most of the floor space. The difficulty with very slanty walls is that chcikens end up not being able to get full use out of a strip along either side, because of how the wall slants down. They can poke their head over there but not actually BE there, walking around, you know? A flat-topped rectangular-type run will use hardly any more material than an A-frame one, and be much more comfy and spacious for the chickens. (Unless you made the A-frame one insanely tall - but then you get into using lots more material).

    Should food and water be in the run or coop? Do they need full access to food and water overnight when they get older?

    Depends when you shut them in and let them out. If you will *never* shut them in early or let them out later than daybreak, food and water can be outside; otherwise, best to have at least a small waterer inside, if not both. In a very small tight coop you'll want to engineer any indoor waterers/feeders to be wall-mounted and space-conserving.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     

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