Still in the Pre-Planning Phase

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by wolfandfinch, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. wolfandfinch

    wolfandfinch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Still no chickens here, my garden plans have been majorly stalled. That said I think about my chicks-to-be a LOT, and have been rethinking my coop more times than I'd care to admit - to my husband - to you guys no problem [​IMG]

    Anyways, my question:

    Do you think it is better to build something simple at first so that you can learn about the chickens you have, get a feel for them and then build again when you know what you're doing (I've never had chickens)

    OR

    Is it better to go for it now and build the best thing I can build because let's be realistic, when am I going to get to renovate a chicken coop?


    How many of you went all out and built something fancy only to find it didn't work and was a waste of time and money? How many of you built something temporary and have been living with it for years?

    Please note, I live in an urban area (practically downtown), and chickens are only one component of all the homesteading stuff I'm working on and learning about [​IMG]
     
  2. hallerlake

    hallerlake Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I have an A frame tractor. I'm now in the process of building a larger coop. I will keep the A frame so I can separate birds if I feel the need. I think starting out small is good if you've never kept chickens. Suppose you discover you don't like keeping chickens or develop an allergy to birds? I wouldn't want to to spend a lot of money until I was sure what I was doing. But that's me. I know other people will recommend building as big as you can afford and have room for because they assume you will want more chickens.
     
  3. wolfandfinch

    wolfandfinch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I should note that I have all the lumber, ply, siding, vents, roofing tiles and nails etc that I could use. i can't imagine needing to spend more than $100 on everything else, unless I can't find a decent deal on the hardware cloth.

    but yes, point taken [​IMG]
     
  4. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Don't get me wrong, I have a nice little coop and attached run. But if I could do it over I would go bigger and not take shortcuts...depending on how money factored in. Build what you are going to love looking at and hanging around.
     
  5. perchie.girl

    perchie.girl Desert Dweller Premium Member

    still giggling here ahem.

    My first coop was quite an experience.... my background in engineering never prepared me for it. Suffice it to say I banged it together and learned along the way. And Yes mine was in the city.

    I had seen how aviarys were put together All wire with metal clips on the edges. I though that looks easy the wire makes the shape.... So I go and buy some welded wire for my chicken coop. Even figured out how many feet and started laying it out in the driveway..... The wire was six feet high and so I cut the strips eight feet long. It rolled up on me.

    So I figured it would hold together once I got the sides put together. I used wire ties..... It started taking shape.... six feet by eight feet long by six feet wide.... top Yep sides yep So I was standing there proud about this amorphous shape turining into my chicken coop. All out of wire. Then I made the mistake of reaching for that One last pice of wire at the end and let go of what I was holding.... The whole thing snapped back into a roll with me in it.... I couldnt get out without cutting some of my wire ties. So the only way to salvage the wire was to build structure around it one straight edge at a time.... It worked.

    So my first coop if you looked at it it stood reasonably square it had one solid plywood wall to anchor everything but if you looked very closely you would see that NONE of the supporting boards was fastened to each other.

    So first thing foremost. Build your structure THEN put your wire on it. Or start with something already made then hone your building skills on a run.

    I will be the first person to say I spend waaayy too much time analysing things.
     
  6. wolfandfinch

    wolfandfinch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    perchie.girl :

    Then I made the mistake of reaching for that One last pice of wire at the end and let go of what I was holding.... The whole thing snapped back into a roll with me in it.... I couldnt get out without cutting some of my wire ties. .

    HAHAHA oh man, if only you could have got that on video -youtube sensation!​
     
  7. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Have to say I cracked up at the vision of being rolled up in a piece of hardware cloth. I've done it in chicken wire, myself....

    Anyway, OP, since you have the materials I'd go ahead and build an 8'x8' coop. If keeping chickens turns into disaster, it will be easy enough to convert it into a tool/garden shed. I read on here nearly daily about people wishing they had built bigger. In your climate the chickens will want to stay inside during part of the winter and they will need plenty of space to feel comfortable and uncrowded. Actually, if you are thinking of more than 5 or 6, I would build it even bigger.

    Here are a couple of links to some excellent information about coops, written by someone else in Canada:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-winter-coop-temperatures

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-VENTILATION
     
  8. wolfandfinch

    wolfandfinch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I am only allowed to have 4 chickens here in the city... so there's no way I'm having more - chicken math or no!


    We're also short on space. I think the question is less about size as "features". Should I go all out with the matching siding, shingled roof, fancy roll out nest boxes etc. and a standing room run? Or should I go with an easier project?
     
  9. perchie.girl

    perchie.girl Desert Dweller Premium Member

    Quote:I am only allowed to have 4 chickens here in the city... so there's no way I'm having more - chicken math or no!


    We're also short on space. I think the question is less about size as "features". Should I go all out with the matching siding, shingled roof, fancy roll out nest boxes etc. and a standing room run? Or should I go with an easier project?

    Four times four is sixteen square feet needed coop space for your chickens. You could build a nice 4x4 stand up coop make it look like an out house....LOL. naw... you could build a 4 x 8 shed save half for the chickies and half for storage do the siding and shingles too. have the nest box accessible from inside the shed case of bad weather. Plus 4 x 8 is the exact size of a sheet of plywood. Less cutting and fitting. So it could be a combo of simple but with features of custom..... Then later on when chicken math takes over you can double the amount of chickens you have.... um er convert it over to a lawn shed...
     
  10. wolfandfinch

    wolfandfinch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 5, 2011
    Vancouver BC
    perchie.girl :

    Four times four is sixteen square feet needed coop space for your chickens. You could build a nice 4x4 stand up coop make it look like an out house....LOL. naw... you could build a 4 x 8 shed save half for the chickies and half for storage do the siding and shingles too. have the nest box accessible from inside the shed case of bad weather. Plus 4 x 8 is the exact size of a sheet of plywood. Less cutting and fitting. So it could be a combo of simple but with features of custom..... Then later on when chicken math takes over you can double the amount of chickens you have.... um er convert it over to a lawn shed...

    It is true that I would like some space for storing supplies. My main thoughts for the fancy version are:

    around 5X6 feet
    nest boxes to the exterior of those dimensions
    siding left over from our house
    chicken door (probably automatic)
    window (antique) with hardware cloth to open up in summer
    built in venting
    insulated
    lino in pull out droppings "drawer" that is the bottom of the coop - for easier cleaning
    2X4 roost
    PVC water-er and feeder
    one whole side swings open
    elevated 2 feet off ground to give shady place for hens to hide under
    whole thing 3 feet high (total elevation of roof 5', elevation at top of nesting boxes 3.5)
    built in step to access roof'
    rooftop garden (Green roof) of salad greens
    vertical plantings on exterior (outside of run) to house strawberries (keep up from slugs!)
    6' run made with hardware cloth and 2X4s and 4X4s.
    Branch for them to play on
    chicken garden [​IMG]

    our lot is only 25' wide. We cannot have the coop any closer than 3' from the property lines, and I don't want them *too* close to the house because they attract rats etc. I will probably not be able to give them more than 50 square feet of run. I am trying to eek out more for them by planting on the roof and wall [​IMG]

    I am trying to get a lot of food from our city lot, it's a difficult line trying to balance lots of space for the hens, for a better life, and not losing too much garden space. I am building their run to include the stump from the tree we just had to fell. I'm thinking it will be something for them to jump on and peck at, and it will not be a useful spot for gardening anyways.​
     

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