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Solutions For My Coop Shortcomings?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by StephanieC, Feb 6, 2015.

  1. StephanieC

    StephanieC Out Of The Brooder

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    May 8, 2014
    Florida
    I would appreciate some advice on what to do about my existing coop, a prefabricated A-frame that was marketed as a chicken tractor for 6 to 9 chickens, which I now know it is too small for.

    Photos are at the end of this post.

    The coop is about 5’ tall, and measures, at the bottom, 66” long and 44” wide inside. The top level is 26” wide inside, or 24” wide at the roost bar level, and 29” high from floor to peak. The chickens can get past each other but it is a squeeze. Roost bar is 66” long.
    My photos show the details of the coop as I now use it, slightly modified from the original setup. It was designed as a mobile coop, but since the chickens ended up ranging all day, I stopped moving it. It came with a fold down ladder, but I hated this because I didn’t ever put it up (the bottom is quite predator proof, with a wire floor as well as hardware cloth all around) and the birds pooped all over it every night and then were walking through it. I took it off, and now leave it leaning up against one of the access doors (the one that lets in the least rain when open). At night I move it away, close the small door up top and the door down and that’s that.

    The coop originally had a shorter roost bar and the nests were supposed to go at the ends of the upstairs. I had five chickens and this made things way too tight, so I made plastic box nest boxes for downstairs and made a full length roost bar (all at the suggestion of forum members).

    The bottom is covered with hay now, to which I add some every few days, and once in a while I rake the whole thing out. All awkward because it is down low. I have two pans covering the upstairs hardware cloth floor, to catch poop because it’s hard to get poop off hardware cloth. Often the chickens poop where the ladder used to be, so at night I make sure the nest box is under that area and put down a pan as well.

    So this is how the coop presently works. I am down to three chickens (two lost to predators). In the morning I let them out of the top of the coop at dawn (only one of them is bright enough to figure out how to drop down through the six inch wide slot where the ladder used to be). I place the ladder as you see it and keep both doors on that side open all day. I scrape the poop trays and the top of the nest box and put them back. The coop isn’t used during the day except to lay eggs in the box downstairs, otherwise the downstairs isn’t used ever. The upstairs floor keeps the chickens from flying up and down from the roost bar, and things are so narrow up there that I doubt they could do it anyway. The A-frame design means that only part of the downstairs stays dry if it rains, and it rains a lot because we are in Florida. At dusk they put themselves to bed, and I close up and lock.

    I want to have a total of 5 birds, I liked it that way, so I need to add a couple. I realize the coop is marginal for that number of birds, and especially with newcomers. Can anyone see a practical way to add to this coop so that it is bigger? I could have it made longer, but that doesn’t solve the width issue. I spend a ridiculous amount of time running this through my head, but I never come up with anything that seems practical.
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    Also, can chickens adapt to a new home fairly easily, if I were to replace the coop with something entirely different?
     
  2. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 15, 2014
    Massachusetts
    Could you remove the existing floor, put the whole thing up on legs, give it a new lower floor, then extend the siding down to enclose the whole A frame before adding new roosts that span the larger interior?
     
  3. Lucky KY Chicks

    Lucky KY Chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 13, 2014
    Kentucky
    Can't help with construction but yes they will adapt to a new coop as long as it's big enough with roosts they like. My chickens stay locked up for two weeks when I move them. This is with their old coop still on the property. If you got rid of the old coop all together you can probably just spend a few evenings herding them into the new coop.
     
  4. StephanieC

    StephanieC Out Of The Brooder

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    May 8, 2014
    Florida
    Well, I can't do that myself, but I could have that done. And yes, I think that might be just the thing. So the part that is A-frame now, would become a gable roof. I like that! Now, to rustle up a carpenter, because I would need to get this done in such a way that the coop would only be out of commission for a day or so.

    Any other ideas?

    Thanks!
     

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