Smoky Mountain Hen House - COMPLETE!!! (pg 5)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by DawnSuiter, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. DawnSuiter

    DawnSuiter Chillin' With My Peeps

    So, hello! I am planning my coop, as so many others are. After much indicision I have just decided to go forth with some decisions and hope the rest "works itself out"! So I'm looking for everyone to play devil's advocate for me here, since I have NO idea what I'm doing! I have never had chickens or frankly ever even been around any!

    At this point I'm unsure of dimensions, but I will keep posting my progress here & photos when we start. I WOULD like to stay within the sf of a sheet of Ondura (opaque corrugated plastic roofing) (EDITED: this plan has been scratched due to feedback)

    Here's what I was thinking.. btw this Hen House is going to accommodate 8 hens... for now. specifically 8 Black Australorps.

    First the overall plan is a Hen House with a fenced in "front yard" which leads to a long run. This entire setup is inside of our very large fenced yard (3' tall) currently occupied part time by our dogs. I expect 90% of their lives they will have access to the whole property inside & outside of the dog run...up to 3 acres easily accessible because I think the chickens can make short work of that short fence!!! [​IMG]

    The idea is to create a habitat suitable for full time living with no "ranging" for those times we head off skiing in the winter, and any other time we may not be home for a couple of days.

    So, I am clearly going to use as much scrap as possible, I have several building projects in various states of completion, which is where a lot of my materials are coming from to avoid any costs.

    The Hen House will be raised on pier blocks & pressure treated 4X4s or cinder blocks with pressure treated base plate & frame. I plan to wrap the underneath with chicken wire to keep them within the confines of their "mini yard" when necessary. On that 3/4in plywood sheet cut to fit with a hardwood floor (we have scraps from our house) this floor is applied with a good adhesive providing a water tight seal. Pine chip bedding with a smattering of straw and straw filled nest boxes (2). I also have this large 3" deep rectangular black tub I found in the concrete isle at lowes.. I plan to slide this filled with wood chips under roosting perches to catch alot of the poop. Chicken wire will prevent them from playing int he bin and I can open a door in the back to slide it out, dump it and put it back again. i still need one more access point for sweeping out the coop but I think during the build that will become obvious!

    The walls.. I really like the idea of palettes.. so.. Palettes for the walls. I will use extra slats to close up the inside of the walls and screw those down to the floor. Then fill the inside with insulation, cover with foam or thin plywood, house wrap & some type of exterior treatment. I will frame/cut in some narrow horizontal windows under the roofline on all 4 sides, with a strip of metal & wood... on the inside of the coop I plan to staple window screen to it, and then in winter cover the outside with shrink wrap/window plastic.

    The Roof... also a palette or rather palette like framing, I would like to sort of leave the eves of the roof open.. raise it up on a 2X4 and leave it fully open on the non windy sides (covered in wire or screen. Will this be enough ventilation in the winter months?

    Anyway... I want to use an opaque or clear sheet of plastic roofing with the low side in the front of the hen house because in both summer and winter the front of the hen house will see sunlight first thing, and the back is usually shaded year round.

    Also a mild solar light to extend the short days in the winter or perhaps it'll only create a nightlight environment.

    Small door in the front with a ramp into the play yard in the grass which is big enough for us to walk into with perches & some wood chips & hay, and they can also get under their house.

    Then from the play yard I plan to make a long run, only 3' tall or so by installing some fencing paralel to our current dog yard and then bending it over to meet the 3' dog fence creating a long narrow tube of sorts with grass bottom. We should hopefully be able to detatch it from the dog fence essentially opening it up on top for any cleaning.

    Well.. I think that's about it for the initial planning..
    What do you think? What's wrong with it? What's good about it? What did I forget? Not sure if heat will be needed but i will have the leftover light from when they were chicks... maybe this will work.

    Food? I'm thinking a tiny trough like the pvc feeder we've seen here, or just some type of metal corner supports (metal bent into an L shape bent a little further creating a V) for food... not sure about water yet.. I'm thinking a hanging waterer will take up too much space.

    We live in the smokies at slight elevation, so it can get pretty nippy.. I'm guessing it's better to keep the food & water inside.

    Edit: 06/05/08
    So... after many comments, more reading & a book on backyard poultry.. I have a NEW revised plan... to include a "brooding" house & a location to keep a rooster so we can let the natural process happen from time to time. Will post appropriately at the end of this thread to keep things in order... but for newcomers.. here's the link to my chicken album on Picassa: Chicken Album
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2008
  2. DawnSuiter

    DawnSuiter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well.. I either scared everyone away with my super long post :eek: or perhaps there is simply nothing anyone can critique about my plan![​IMG] [​IMG]

    Either way.. just got an email that my new chicks won't be here until LATE JULY! A whole nother month away. I'm worried now that they won't be fully grown by the dead of winter and I'm worried that they won't be able to handle moving out to a coop in the dead of winter. They should be about 4.5 months old when the snow starts to fall here, and MAYBE 6 months before we hit the freezing mark on the old mercury.
     
  3. ChickyPooh

    ChickyPooh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As long as they stay real warm your chicks should be fine. When my chickens get out its not really a big deal because they try to get back in o be with the others. Chickens aren't dumb, they know strength and safety lies in numbers. I won't be able to help you with your coop though, sry,( I'm not to good with construction myself). [​IMG]
     
  4. ChickyPooh

    ChickyPooh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    (FYI) Your post would be easier. to understand if there were more pictures in stead of word
     
  5. tricia

    tricia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It sounds like you really have it figured out quite well! In the summer I leave their water outside - just easier and keeps the coop cleaner. I leave the food inside so possums and raccoons dont come in the yard and eat it. I don't know how cold it gets in TN but I definitely have to put the water inside in the winter here in WI!!

    How big will the coop be? I'm excited to see pics as you build it!



    BTW - Welcome to the wonderful world of chickens!!! What made you decide to get them? Just curious, since you havent really been around them. [​IMG] I think its great your are doing it - and they are quite easy to keep.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2008
  6. DawnSuiter

    DawnSuiter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi tricia! I'm guessing the coop will be around 4' tall by 3' deep by 7.5 feet wide, whatever will fit under a single sheet of corrugated roofing.

    Thanks for the "welcome"! I decided to get chickens when I learned (from 4H) that you can mail order them! A friend of my daughters ordered some to show at the County Fair. We're working toward becoming completely self sufficient and eating healthy foods. Did you know you can grow Rhubarb & Parsnips in snowy winter? So, we have some good food gardens started, and were onto what's next. Learning about them I figured that we would be able to keep the dog run & yard pest free, have some really good quality eggs and good quality compost for the following years garden. It really seemed like a win-win situation.

    I am definitely an animal person and have reared several wild birds, coons, possums and my folks bred/raised & showed Great Danes (3+ dozen dogs at a time) & my mom is a vet tech & I was practically raised in an animal hospital... so.. lotsa animal experience in GENERAL for me. So.. hopefully chickens will be no problem for us.
     
  7. Dilly

    Dilly Cooped Up

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    Apr 15, 2008
    Hello and welcome. I feel the problem with being able to offer suggestions is the lack of deminsions.

    Your ideas are fine as long as it all fits together functionally. You have to lay out a plan, a Blueprint at least in your mind. Sizes are very important and then lay out what it is you are going to have inside the coop. Also, is this the max of chickens you will have, or do you plan on expanding? That will determine if you are building enough coop.

    All in all the theory is good thus far.

    Dilly
     
  8. tricia

    tricia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It certainly is a win-win with chickens! The only thing about your coop - remember that you need to be able to go in and get eggs, change water, food and clean it. If 4 feet tall really doesn't bother you then it's not a big deal, just thinkng about your comfort. [​IMG]
     
  9. Dilly

    Dilly Cooped Up

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    Apr 15, 2008
    Quote:With that size coop you are already pushing past the recommended space. * hens should have 24 sq. feet. Your coop with be 22.5 So there is no room for more. I think you may want to consider going larger. The hens will be at full capacity with what you have planned.
     
  10. DawnSuiter

    DawnSuiter Chillin' With My Peeps

    ok.. so it may yet be still tooo small. Well.. fortunately my simple rectange box can be expanded in any direction. I will consider where I should expand a few more feet and start work on the actual blue print.

    I am not sure we'll ever have MORE than 8 chickens, that's MORE than enough to feed my family & my neighbors too and should be enough left for me to donate to the local food shelter weekly, so more would certainly be just for the fun of it I guess and not at all necessary.

    Tricia: the raised coop I'm considering I shouldn't have to get in.. I'll have doors on the back that will allow me to use a squeegee? or broom to sweek it out the back into a bucket or something to take to the compost pile. And I suppose I should make our nest boxes stick out of the side of the box as to not occupy any interior space. In yours and others experience will that work out ok? It seems odd to me to build a 2' tall animal a 6' tall house... am I alone on that?
     

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