The "Perfect" Coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by TresChickies, May 18, 2016.

  1. TresChickies

    TresChickies New Egg

    May 18, 2016
    Hi! Been lurking for a week and a half reading and absorbing.

    So I jumped into the chicken owning world and bought 3 chicks from a feed store. ( Which is another worry. Theybare supposed to be Americauna girls. After reading here I'm guessing they are Easter Eggers since they were only a few bucks each and it seems like purebred Americaunas are rare and not cheap. Which isn't really a worry , mutt chickens are fine with me as they are pets but it worries me if the breed was wrong that maybe they won't be girls as promised. I avoided the feed store with straight runs and bought from this place as they were sexed) They are doing great and are currently living in a huge dog crate as their brooder. They are 2 weeks old so I have awhile before they'll go outside. We adore the little peepers.

    However, I figured I'd buy a premade coop at a feed store or TSC but after doing some reading it seems like these are not ideal. Here's my dilemma...1. I'm not handy. 2. I totally live in the burbs so I need an attractive and yet kind of discrete coop. 3. I have a pool so whole backyard is concrete. No free ranging really due to backing up to a golf course loaded with hawks, owls, foxes, Bobcats, coyotes, raccoons, etc. so the coop needs a BIG run 4. I'm totally new to chickens and overwhelmed at all the options.

    So hubby said I could hire our handyman to build the coop of dreams for our three chickies. What are the must haves that you would do if starting with a blank slate? I'm thinking covered run for sure for dryness and because I live in Southern California and it's hot so they'll need ample shade. I like the idea of sand over shavings for cleanliness. Chicken math aside three is all I can have legally so keep in mind my little flock is tiny but I want them to be happy. They will be on concrete if that makes any difference , I'll provide dust and dirt bathing stations. I like the no mess home made feeders to discourage rodents. I want something I can really clean well and easily. I've been looking online and it's overwhelming the sheer number of coop designs.

    So chicken gurus, if you could build the perfect coop for three spoiled pet chickens what are your do's and dont's? Must haves, would like to haves, need to haves? My contractors are pretty skilled and are not concerned with actual building plans if you don't have those but good pics Of the insides and outsides would be a tremendous help!

    Thank you!

    This is Possum. She is 4/5 days old here.

    And one more taken today at 2 weeks ( again guessing they were born May 4th as that was circled by pen but who knows, maybe that was delivery date to store)
    [​IMG]i know too young to guess sex but please cross your fingers they are pullets as I can't have a rooster.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 19, 2016
  2. CookieChicken03

    CookieChicken03 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 15, 2016
    Awww I love my cana's too! Here is a pick of our "Ameraucana" (was told she was actually an EE), Rafaela. (We sometimes call her Hangry Rafe, because she is always hungry and looks so angry in every pic that we take of her. [​IMG])

    (Sorry I didn't have many good pictures)

    But the first thing you need to make sure you have for you coop is security. Foxes, raccoons, and coyote's can rip through chicken wire (my girls were fine, but we are still trying to figure something more secure out).

    You also will need nesting boxes, and sturdy roosting bars.

    There are a few things that chickens would like that you could add in. You could add a little chicken swing to your run, or a small dust bathing area so they can keep the bugs off their feathers.

    Oh and about having a rooster, you probably won't know (I didn't) until he started crowing. Cana's have pretty small combs and they (at least mine do) have pretty elaborate feathers, so it will be hard to tell until they are a few months old. But hopefully their pullets. [​IMG]

    Anyway your cana's look great! Good luck!
  3. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2011
    Sorry to mention the elephant in the room. Given your situation, keeping chicken might not be for you. Try parakeet or finch. They are nice.
    Last edited: May 19, 2016
  4. yyz0yyz0

    yyz0yyz0 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 2, 2012
    Here are some "must haves" for me and my coops:

    Nest boxes accessible from outside the coop, it's nice to be able to stay clean to gather eggs plus the grandkids are not exposed to the chickens when the visit and want to check for eggs.

    If the run is covered it's gotta be tall enough to stand up in, makes cleaning sooooo much easier.

    ventilation, ventilation ventilation. Living where you do you may want a coop that just has an open design, maybe a lean to type of design.

    Other things for you to consider:
    If your whole coop/run will be on concrete you'll need a solid barrier around the perimeter or all your sand will end up scattered outside the run as they scratch through it.

    given your flock size limit, I would suggest a raised coop with run space under it.

    I would suggest some grazing frames. Mine are made out of 2x4 lumber nailed together in a square and covered with HW cloth, you put them in the run add some dirt and throw grass seeds through the hw cloth to grow on the dirt. as the grass grows it will poke through the hw cloth and the girls can snip pieces off but can't get at the base of the plant to destroy it.

    I would also suggest some type of compost container, mine has a "compost corner" partitioned off from the rest of the run with 2x12 boards. I throw all my kitchen scraps into this corner and let them dig through it. If you build it up enough it will start to compost right there in the chicken run. I see the girls in there scratching around all the time. In your instance you could even use a small kiddie pool as your compost station.

    With a concrete floor you will need to provide them with lots of things to do or dig in. You may want to start raising meal worms or have a vermiculture bin as well, you can feed the worms to the girls when ever you feel like harvesting them.

    As was mentioned above, you dont' have an ideal setup for keeping chickens but if you are willing to put in some extra work to provide for them, they should be fine.
  5. Cheep N Peep

    Cheep N Peep Chillin' With My Peeps

    All coops need to be waterproof, but have lots of ventilation near the roof so fresh air can circulate. Windows are not necassary, per say, but are great to have, letting in light to see by and light to promote laying, and if they open, a hardeware cloth screen can protect your girls while they enjoy a breeze in the summer. You can crate ventilation with vents from home depot:
    (this is from when I was building the coop)

    or holes drilled into the walls under the roof overhang, or a gap between the roof and the coop, or a copula, which pulls air up out of the coop:
    I did all of these.

    Linolium (sheet, not panels) on the floor makes it SO much easier to clean the coop. So does painting the inside and outside with exterior grade paint- thank-you Home Depot opps paints! You want to be able to acess the coop from every side, and since I have a poop board on one end, I put in a lot of doors:

    Nesting boxes do not count towards the floor space requiered for chickens, so putting them on the floor to take up space seemed like a bad idea to me. I builtthe frame on the back porch and then atatched it to the coop. There are three of them, each a foot by a foot, with linolium on the bottom. The ability to grab an egg without going inside the coop is also something to consider. I probably should have made a bigger lip to keep in bedding, but, eh, I'm too lazy to do it now. :D Remember that all doors have to have locks a racoon can not open, like ones that require a key, or the spring loaded hook and eye locks. A pop door that slides instead of opens is also very nice.
    (Don't mind the milk jug feeder, it isn't there now. I'm using a homemade PVC elbow feeder like this: )

    The run doesn't have to be predator proof if the girls are locked up every night, but it does ease your mind and free up your options. Hardeware cloth or 2"x4" welded wire fencing work perfectly. Roofing varies- you could use shingles, metal paneling, plastic... The run should have some dirt and sand thrown on the concrete, and then chopped straw to dig in. The dirt will absorb what the straw doesn't, and you can build some protective frames for plants so the girls can get a nibble of grass or dandelion. The straw is mostly for digging in and keeping the dirt clean, so change it out and compost it with your spent coop shavings when it gets gross. Because there is dirt or straw or both in the run, make the bottom of the run solid about a foot high before there is and wire, or you will have dirt and straw kicked out of the run and into your pool.

    I hope that helps!
  6. TresChickies

    TresChickies New Egg

    May 18, 2016
    Thank you!

    Beautiful Rafaela!

    Thank you for the helpful comments and fantastic ideas. I was thinking of kiddie pools with fresh sod so they have some grass to play on or eat. I'm making a list of all they need to give to my contractor You guys have been very helpful.

  7. potato chip

    potato chip lunch-sharer

    I would have openings on both sides so that bedding can also be pushed out instead of just pulled. I would have the dividers between the nest boxes removable and I would elevate the nest boxes to retain the floor space underneath or put the nest box on the outside like Cheep n Peep's. And I would include storage space for the feed bins, scoops, brooms etc.

    I quite like my house, these are the things I would have done differently or added if I was designing it.

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