Starting my FIRST flock! Coop design musts?!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by SeanClark5879, Feb 24, 2018.

  1. So I know that the coop should be at least 4 square feet per chicken and the run 10 square feet per chicken, but I have some questions. So I live in town and I'm planning on getting 6-10 hens and possible a bantam rooster (if my husband is okay with the rooster), so I'm basically planning for 7 birds at the moment.

    1.) Do nesting boxes count towards the square footage in a coop? I was thinking about doing a 4×6 coop with a 4×1 nesting box lineup. I wasn' sure if this coop could hold just the 6 hens or if the nesting boxes would give me the needed space for the rooster as well as I'm not sure if I'm getting one or not.

    2.) How high off the ground should my coop be? I've seen anywhere between 2'-3' but I wasn't sure what was recommended most.

    3.) So my chickens won't be able to free range unless I am outside with them as I don't trust my neighbours so I was curious I'd the 10 square foot per chicken was still the minimum for the run.

    4.) To help maximize my space I was thinking of planting an herb garden atop of my chicken run, so I was curious what height my run should be and if I should just avoid this all together.

    5.) So starting my flock I was thinking of getting Barred Rocks, Buff Orpingtons, and/or Black Austrolorps but I wasn't sure if these were beginner friendly birds. I see a lot of Sussex in my local farm supply stores so I wasn't sure if those would work better for me.

    6.) How often should I add new chicks to my flock to maintain egg production? I was thinking about getting chicks every three years or so and build a second smaller coop attached to the same run

    7.) In relations to the coops door should the nesting boxes be on a side wall instead of across?
  2. Cyprus

    Cyprus Master of the 'never give up' attitude

    Jan 19, 2018
    SE Wisconsin
    My Coop
    I can't answer many of these questions as I am not experienced enough. However, I can answer your nesting box questions.

    Nesting boxes do not count towards square footage. They can be on any wall. To maximize space with nesting boxes I would recommend building external boxes where the entrance is a hole in the wall, with the back of the boxes outside the coop. Then have a lifting back or top to collect the eggs from outside.

    Like this
  3. I was planning on having exterior boxes like that but I wasn't sure if if it would grant me that +1 bird space or not lol I was thinking of having the door on the north wall, the boxes on the east wall, and a full door on the south side to open up and clean out everything. And it's 1 nesting box per 2-3 hens correct?
    ButtonquailGirl14 likes this.
  4. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Addict

    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado
    The only other thing I would add is that plywood, siding and 2x4's come in 8' lengths. I have had small coops before......never again.
    Why not go with a 4x8 coop? That way there is a bit of room inside to put a feeder/waterer and nests.

    Oh and you will need to expand the quote to see where I answered your questions.
    I just realized they are totally hidden due to the new format shrinking quotes.
    ButtonquailGirl14 and Wyorp Rock like this.
  5. I was thinking about having it be 4×6 with a 12×6 run, and I'm thinking about doing the PVC auto feeder and the PVC poultry nipple waterers
    ButtonquailGirl14 likes this.
  6. Go bigger especially since they will be locked in a lot. 24 sq ft is tiny, I would go 10x12 walk in shed with as big a run you can manage. Size matters. Go big or go home!

    ButtonquailGirl14 and henless like this.
  7. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Addict

    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado
    My apologies..... When I answered your questions and hit post I forgot how much the quote shrinks.

    There are answers inside where I quoted you above.
    You will have to expand it by clicking the bottom center of the blue area (hope that makes sense).
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    Welcome to BYC. You will only need 2 nest boxes. And you need at least 4 s.f. of open floor space in coop per bird. And yes, you should have at least 10 s.f. of run space per bird. I strongly advocate for a walk in coop for many reasons including ease of tending the flock, increased cu. ft. of space for increased air quality and better litter management as well as better use of vertical space. See @aart's article re this. If you are in a cold climate, you will benefit from having the nest boxes INSIDE the foot print of your coop. side car style nest boxes = frozen eggs in the winter!

    Ventilation should be at least = to 10% of floor space of coop, or 1 s.f./bird.

    Is there a reason why you want a rooster? Are you and your neighbors ok with him crowing at 4 AM? And continuing to crow all day long? IMO, a rooster brings extra difficulty to flock management, and a flock with a roo requires MORE than the recommended 4/10 s.f./bird. Do your zoning ordinances allow roosters in town?

    Chicken wire only keeps chickens in. It does not keep predators out. For safety, cover all openings with 1/2" hardware cloth and put a buried skirt around your coop and run.
  9. Technically I don't live within the town's limits as I'm on a rural route but I have neighbours. I don't trust my hens wondering in their yards more so than the neighbours coming onto my yard. As for the rooster it was mainly for chick production so I could have my hens have chicks instead of having to purchase new ones ever few years.

    And can you explain the ventilation a tad bit more?
  10. This is the kind of coop I was thinking, but I'm still in the designing process

    Attached Files:

    Smuvers Farm likes this.

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