Taking the Plunge for Real

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Chicken Cake, Jan 5, 2016.

  1. Chicken Cake

    Chicken Cake Out Of The Brooder

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    Last spring we rented some chickens and I started this thread. https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/962852/ideas-for-an-odd-coop-design

    It wasn’t the right time to keep the hens but one of my daughters and I have really missed them. For Christmas I rented 2 week old chicks and 7 eggs to hatch from the same program. I’m sure you can see where this is going. LOL 3-4 will end up staying and I can return/trade any roosters later. We lost one of the older chicks and 5 hatched over the weekend (1 was never fertilized and the other quit developing at 10 days) so I have one 4 week old confirmed hen that we adore and 5 baby babies. The rental period ends this weekend so I need to make some tough decisions.

    Anyway, the coop is set to be finished on March 1, weather permitting, and we will try to move them out to the playhouse (with a heat lamp) as a transition before then. The problem is I’m still struggling with what to build. My husband can make anything but he wants a solid plan and I keep going back and forth. He also says my “budget” is for a very nice coop OR a Fort Knox outdoor enclosure. I can’t have both right away. They will get some free ranging time but one of my dogs is not trustworthy with chickens and it was a real hassle last year to round them up so she could pee, and there’s always the chance she could slip out the door.

    Option 1 is to have a great 4X8 coop built onto the back of the playhouse with 24 hour access to the underside and add the outdoor enclosure later. I could probably sweet talk him into sooner but it’s not a given.

    Option 2 is to build the actual coop under the playhouse and have a nearly 100 sq. ft outdoor enclosure this spring.

    Option 3 is something in between but I’m not sure what that is. Food, water and the nest boxes can go underneath along the back wall but I would sure like to have some storage and an easy to clean roosting area. I could probably talk him into a 4X4X6 tall, double decker addition plus the outdoor space if I cleaned the house or something, but that seems a little small for a roosting area.

    Help!
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Don't skimp on coop size.....you'll forever regret it.

    What are you keeping these chicks in?
    What is your climate?
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    How accessible is that area under the playhouse? If you housed the birds there, could you get to it for cleaning, feeding/watering, egg collecting, etc?

    My first thought is to go for the larger run, cause I'm all about space and fresh air. Depending on your climate, the birds may be out of the coop the majority of the time anyway. But, you still need to be able to get to the coop, especially the roosting areas, for cleaning.
     
  4. Chicken Cake

    Chicken Cake Out Of The Brooder

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    [​IMG]
    Chicks are in the house now.

    The back left corner has about 2.5 feet clearance and the front left is 4.5. We are not going to use underneath the deck because the posts are irregularly placed and that area is not weatherproof. Here is a quick sketch showing what I could do without an addition. The blue star is an outlet and red lines are access doors.

    West is the back left corner and we live in No. VA, so 3 months of cold and 3 of oppressing humidity. I would like to keep the front open air and use solid wood for the other 3 sides.
     
  5. Chicken Cake

    Chicken Cake Out Of The Brooder

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    [​IMG]


    Here is option #3 with a 4X4 roosting area and a 4 foot wide run. I might be able to talk my way into 8 feet wide, though.

    One thing I should mention is that my husband is reluctant to put holes in the siding but I can have whatever I want below that on either side, which leaves me with a max of 4 feet tall. It doesn’t seem worth the hassle if I could have a bigger run instead. The eventual plan is to turn the entire playhouse into a coop but I have to wait for my kids to give it up. Could be next winter or 5 years from now. I will never have more than 4 hens so it might be overkill to build a large coop on the back, and he will not modify the playhouse any time soon if he builds that now.
     
  6. Hholly

    Hholly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What is your budget?
     
  7. Chicken Cake

    Chicken Cake Out Of The Brooder

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    Reasonably unlimited. :) Just has to be done right the first time or something I can live with for a while. Chicken happiness, easy to manage and safety are the priorities.
     
  8. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Option 2 stinks. You don't want a coop under a playhouse. Trust me, that was what I did and I couldn't even put up with it for a year. As soon as spring came I remodeled and blew the roof off and up.

    You will not like stooping over and cramming yourself through a little door to retrieve an egg that somebody decided to lay in the corner. Your back will hate you on days you clean out the coop. You will have to crawl in with a little kids garden rake because you can't reach through the door and into the corner with a full size one. Of you have a poop board you will have to stoop and reach in to scoop or scrape. Your shyest hen will always run and hide in the farthest corner just out of reach so you'll need to crawl yourself in there after her if you need to check her for any reason. Even if you think you won't mind all that, now think about having to do it in a bulky winter coat and boots, or in the dark, or asking someone else to do it for you while you're on vacation.

    If I had it to do over, I never would have even bothered.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. Hholly

    Hholly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sometimes you can find a used chain link dog kennel (like 10 x 10') on Craigslist for pretty cheap. I put 3 of them together to make my run which is 10 X 30.
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop

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