Small Run and Coop for 4 layers, MANY Questions.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Wolfman, Jun 2, 2010.

  1. Wolfman

    Wolfman In the Brooder

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    Hello to everyone, I (we) got 4 layers two weeks ago, 2 golden sex-links, and 2 Barred Rocks (Plymouth's). They are about 6 weeks old. They are currently living in a big wood box in the garage with a heat lamp above them, and straw on the floor. They seem to be doing good. No or not much pecking, use the roost a lot, getting a lot of feathers in, just the center of the back left. Though they have a problem with pooping in their water supply, have to clean it out daily. These will not be Pets just Layers, I know that honorably mean, [​IMG] it's just I don't have time for pets and the kids will lose interest after a few weeks/months, just like their rabbits.

    I was not planning on a very big run or coop, seeing some of the designs, it looked like small would be OK, now I'm not so sure.

    The Plan:

    Run; 6' x 4' x 3' high, total SF 24. This is built. It was build with cedar 2x2 frame and 2x2 dog mesh wire, The kind sold for dog runs. The wire is much heaver then chicken wire. (I will add a picture later) I did not put a floor on it, thinking the chickens could scratch, eat bugs, and poop on the ground. We would just move it around as required.

    Any comments?

    Coop; (Not Built) My plan here was to build a coop (8 sf) 4' x 2' x 2-3' high, T-111 exterior, 2x2 framing, Nest boxes out side of coop floor plan. Attached but hanging on the side, access through the top or back. Floor would be plywood, maybe vinyl on that, 1 1/2" of insulation on walls and ceiling, with FRP (Hard fiberglass reinforced plastic) on the inside. This is used in commercial kitchens a lot and is easy to clean and lasts a long time. The roof will be sloped, not sure on the actual roofing yet. I used asphalt shingles for the rabbit cage, and the roof was VERY heavy. Really to heavy, it makes it very hard to move the rabbits cage. So any ideas on that would be very helpful. I was going to have 1 roost the length of the coop (4') not sure how high to have it off the floor. Water and food in the Coop or out? Both will be hanging, which will (hope) keep them from pooping in it.

    What else, any comments?

    Predators: No birds to speak of, have not seen a raccoon in several years, few dogs in the area, very rarely will we see one lose. I would call where we live the suburbs, Pacific North West, North of Seattle, Rains a lot, sometimes, I don't think the weather is too bad. OK size yard but not fenced all the way, so free run of the yard would be a bad Idea.

    OK as you all can see I probably need some help, so PLEASE help a way. Just one thing, the coop and run need to be movable, Thanks.
     
  2. NellaBean

    NellaBean Graceland Farms

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    Broodyland, TN
    My Coop
    The coop is too small. I built a 4x2 coop recently, meant for a breeding pair or trio of bantam cochins. I did keep a RIR roo in there temporarily and it was a tight fit. It's just very narrow.....4x4 would be perfect for your 4 girls. The run really should be bigger as well, but if you are moving it around like a tractor so it has fresh ground every day, you may be able to get away with it.

    Actually my little coop/pen setup is the same size as what you propose. 2x4 coop, 6x4 run.

    [​IMG]

    I really feel like it should not be used for more than 2 standard lf birds, or a trio of bantams. If you could up the size of your coop to 4x4, that would help a lot.
     
  3. Orchid

    Orchid Songster

    May 10, 2010
    North Central MN
    From what I have read and been told (I am new to this too) it kind of depends on your climate. If you live where it's warm and your chickens will be outdoors a lot, then you're going to want a much bigger run. If you live where it gets very cold and your chickens will be inside a lot, you're going to want a much bigger coop. Regardless of climate, you're going to want at the very least 3 square feet of coop per chicken and 10 square feet of run, minimum.

    At least, that's what I've been told. [​IMG]

    We are finishing our first coop and run for four chickens; the coop is 4 x 4 and the run is 8 x 8.
     
  4. Wolfman

    Wolfman In the Brooder

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    Jun 2, 2010
    NellaBean, you set up is very much like what I was planning, I think I could do a 4 x 4 coop, have to think about how to make it movable.

    Orchid, I just don't see being able to get a 40 sf Run. 4 x 10 is, well huge for the area it will be in.

    The corrent run is 4 x 6, if I elevated the coop say 2' and put a run under that would that be OK? Also should I plan on covering the run with plastic in the rain? Do chickens like rain?
     
  5. elmo

    elmo Songster

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    DFW
    I think you may find your run is too small by half. The usual rule of thumb is 10 square feet of outdoor space per bird. I myself would not scrimp on outdoor space since that's where chickens will spend most of their time most if not all of the year. The more crowded the birds are the more you'll need to watch out for fights caused by stress, and the more work you'll need to do to keep things clean and sanitary. With so little space, you may find you need to move the tractor daily or perhaps even more frequently if you don't want all the grass under the tractor to be scratched to death.

    You may not think there are raccoons in your area, but you haven't been putting out chicken dinner in a takeout box in your back yard before. Raccoons are everywhere, even in quite urban environments. It's best to build a secure coop/run first rather than build one after having to clean up the mess left after a massacre.
     
  6. Orchid

    Orchid Songster

    May 10, 2010
    North Central MN
    Quote:Ever hear the expression "mad as a wet hen"? [​IMG] Chickens do not like rain. If you elevated the coop, and the coop was 4 x 4, that would give you an additional 16 sf of run space which would get you to 40 sf! [​IMG] That would also give your chickens a place to get out of the rain besides their coop.
     
  7. Tomhusker

    Tomhusker Songster

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    Our new coop and run was built under the same basic needs of what you have. We intend on 4 (maybe 5) hens. I built a 4x4 coop, elevated 20", attached to a 8x4 run. The area under the coop will be incorporated into the run, making it a 12x4 run. 48 sq ft. We are just wrapping up with attaching the run to the coop, then I will have pics of the completed project up by the week end. Nothing fancy, but workable.

    As for moving it, It is lite enough that a set of wheels could be bolted onto one pair of legs and a couple of 2x4's to the other legs and then just move it like a cart.
     
  8. NellaBean

    NellaBean Graceland Farms

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    My Coop
    Quote:Yes, that would be perfect. An elevated 4x4 coop adds enough square footage to give you the perfect amount for those 4 hens.

    In the case of my coop, I have wheels to attach to the back end of the coop portion, just haven't gotten around to adding them yet....and when I lift the front of the run, it tilts the coop back onto the wheels just enough to be able to roll it around. So far, I have used a dolly under the coop working in the same fashion. Lifting the front of the run tilts the weight back onto the wheels and makes it movable.

    I would definitely devise some sort of cover for most if not all of the run. You can see my fancy schmancy tarp in the picture above (LOL), but you could just as easily use the plastic/pvc corrugated roofing panels for the run. They are very lightweight and easy to use.
     
  9. Wolfman

    Wolfman In the Brooder

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    elmo; would you suggest a floor on the run, say 2" x 2" wire, or leaving it open and securing the coop to the ground somehow? I do not want to deal with raccoons. And Yes they are around, just have not seen them in a while. Few years back they use to walk though our back yard. We are next to a "Wet Land", its not really just some old alders and a LOT of blackberry vines.

    I will go with the 4 x 4 coop. Now just how to build it using the materials I have.

    The run as it is now is very light, my 8 & 12 year old can carry it around. I was hoping to build the coop in the same way, ie LIGHT. But maybe it will work better with some wheels. I don't want to drag it.

    And as for the "Grass" the area where the coop & run will be is not grass, more like weed base ground covering. [​IMG] So I'm not to worried about then "messing" it up. I thought their would be lots of bugs ad pants to pick at.

    Any Ideas about the actual coop construction?
     
  10. chics in the sun

    chics in the sun Songster

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    All I have to add is that you only THINK they won't be your pets. You just wait........[​IMG]
     

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