Starting out, beginner, need a lot of advice:)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Xanatos, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. Xanatos

    Xanatos In the Brooder

    Jan 14, 2010
    Hey folks, i'm 22, i live on a little over an acre of free land I can use for farming some veggies and such, and I want to raise some chickens, perhaps a pair of goats. I really have no idea what I am doing, but I have an old clubhouse I can convert into a nice chicken coop, though I may want to expand and make it bigger, I don;t know if I should keep it raised off the ground as it is, or if i should use a floor (what kind?) or put it on the ground level, with a buried barrier to prevent digging animals from getting under the wall (i've read this) etc, I have so many questions, and there;s a ton of information, but its too much for me to take in at once, could anyone offer some solid beginner advice for me to get started, keep in mind I plan to build on the initial design and maximize my growing so i can get as much out of my yard as possible, and I would like to use as much synergy as possible without having a ton of expense (like letting the chickens free range to tear up weeds and dirt so I don't have to plow it for veggies, etc)

    any advice is appreciated, thanks!

    Complete Noob,

  2. They Call Me Pete

    They Call Me Pete Songster

    Mar 23, 2009
    I'd post some pics of the clubhouse you want to convert for people to see. I'd make it predator proof. Also I don't free range mine in my yard due to a large hawk population and my neighbor used to until a coyote took two of hers.
  3. Omran

    Omran Songster

    Jul 26, 2008
    Bagdad KY
    Quote:[​IMG] [​IMG] you are in the right place, and that's very good for a start.
    2 would you please post pictures and dementions of your club house, it will make it easier for us to help you figure out the plan.
    Good Luck.
  4. Barred Rocker

    Barred Rocker cracked egg

    Jul 15, 2009
    King and Queen Co, Va
    If your floor is wood you definitely don't want it sitting on the ground. Rot, termites, mildew, all kinds of bad things happen. Wood and moisture don't go together. If you're going to put it on the ground then I'd go with concrete or pavers or something that isn't affected by dirt and moisture. My humble opinion is just leave it up off the ground. It's one less thing you have to mess with and actually chickens love going up to go to bed at night. But I know some folks prefer ground level coops.
    You should be able to find out everything you need here at byc. I've raised chickens for 40 years and thought I knew it all. When I found this site I found out I didn't know as much as I thought I did. lol
  5. Bantimna

    Bantimna Songster

    Sep 29, 2009
    South Africa
    If you want your coop raised I suggest using concrete or something that is not wood. Wood would rot and you will then have to replace it.

  6. You're lucky to have an existing building, and I'd suggest that you bring it up to snuff for a few hens, I agree that a pic is needed, and then you'll get extensive assistance. And be sure to visit BYC's coop section. For a start, your instincts about predators are right- make that your focus as you modify, then concentrate on chicken health and comfort. It's always better to start small, eveluate, then decide where you're going. Chickens can be addictive so don't get in over your head- you'll want various ages over the years so you always get eggs...[​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2010
  7. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Songster

    Mar 25, 2009
    South Alabama
    For what it's worth... [​IMG]

    It depends on how high your structure is off of the ground on whether to lower it or not. If it's one of those kid's fort-type strutures with a sliding board coming off of it you might want to lower it a bit. If the house is too small for you to enter and work (cleaning, getting eggs, feeding, etc,.) then it needs to be at a height that is easy for you to work from the outside with. Just a tad below waist high so that you can bend over into the coop without the edge of the floor hitting you in the chest/stomach would work good.

    If the club house is big enough (enough floor space and head room) for fixtures, chickens, and you to work in comfortably then closer to ground level would be good. As someone mentioned, though, don't put it flat on the ground as the flooring will rot...leaving a couple of feet below it gives the chickens somewhere to get out of the rain/sun and also keeps most of the "splash" from the rain from hitting it (and causing possible water damage).

    If you live in a windy area or subject to occasional high winds... If it's a taller structure and the legs are already sunken into the ground/cement, then if you lower it you need to re-anchor the legs either by sinking back into the ground sufficiently or either driving some rebar 2-3 feet into the ground next to the legs and connecting the legs to the rebar. Otherwise, in a thunderstorm, windstorm the coop might end up on it's side. Just a thought...

    Whatever you do I would recommend you go by Lowe's, Home Depot, or somewhere and shop the linoleum/vinyl floor remnant bins and get enough flooring (the rolled up type, not the little squares) to cover the floor. This will help protect the structure from moisture damage and also make cleaning easier.

    Post those pictures! [​IMG]

    Best wishes,
  8. Xanatos

    Xanatos In the Brooder

    Jan 14, 2010
    I think i had posted this in the wrong thread, lol, here goes again!

    Last edited: Jan 21, 2010
  9. gsim

    gsim Songster

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    I would go with raised and make it 18" minimum if possible. Otherwise, rodents and snakes will take up residence under it. Do a run that you can walk into. Enclose the coop with it completely. I used 2x4 welded wire, 6 ft tall, set in cement. Then I would put a 2 ft roll of hardware cloth around the entire thing at ground level inside the run. Covering is optional. Chooks can sit around under the coop on hot days or rainy ones. Feed inside only. Water outside. Since you will free-range, expect flock losses. It happens to all free-rangers eventually. Expect also to put up with poop where you do not want it and flower beds being ripped up, etc. It all goes with the territory.

    Use deep litter method and do make a linoleum-covered poop board 24" wide and scrape it daily. [​IMG] You will find that air quality is greatly improved and that your litter changing is maybe yearly instead of monthly. Make lots of ventilation. I did 1 sq ft for every 4 chickens I have. Ventilation I speak of is permanent full-time year-round. It should be at top of walls or better yet, in gables and rooftops like a turbine vent. Continuous soffit vents are great too and extend life span of shingles. Use guillotine type drop-down doors and use overhead cable-pulley op that can be done from outside even tho door is inside. If small coop, use nest bump-out and pay attention to potential water leakage around hinge area. Use OSB 3/4" for floors and glue linoleum on top of that before framing side walls. Easier cleanup and maintenance. Do put min of two windows that open and close for added ventilation at mid level. Pay close attention to predator-proofing your setup. It will be tested.

    Take short puffs, long breaks and laugh a lot.

    Last edited: Jan 21, 2010

  10. Xanatos

    Xanatos In the Brooder

    Jan 14, 2010
    Wow, detailed answer! thanks!

    I admit though, I only understood about half of that, and I understand the reasoning behind even less, would you mind elaborating on some of those points?

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