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To build a coop or not to build? Requesting advice!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by JsChkns, Jan 22, 2016.

  1. JsChkns

    JsChkns In the Brooder

    Jan 12, 2016
    Southeast VA
    Hi everyone![​IMG]

    I am new to this site and all I can say is WOW! I have spent hours and hours just reading and educating myself. This place is full of information! I have come to a point where I need some advice on our chicken coop. We are currently in a home that is a rental. We have about a year and a half left here. Then we will move for the last time and be able to settle in our forever home where we can have as many chickens as we want.

    So here is my dilemma.....we are planning to get 3 chickens in the beginning of March. I am trying to decide between a prefab coop for temporary purposes and then build our forever coop when we get to our forever home. We do plan to expand beyond 3 chickens once we settle in our final home. We WILL have to move this coop with us when we leave. I wouldn't even be considering a prefab if we weren't responsible for moving it in a year and a half. Considering that, would it just be easier to get the prefab now for portability? if so, are there any prefab coops you would recommend? Or does anyone have ideas for a coop that we could build and take with us? We have looked at mypetchicken.com and chickensaloon.com and a few other places. I have read some good reviews on their products and some really terrible reviews.

    Any advice is welcome and I am always thankful to hear others experiences. Have an amazing day!![​IMG]

  2. Tumbling K

    Tumbling K Crowing

    Oct 5, 2015
    build a small coop, that you can take down.

    build it, so that if you add chickens later, you can expand it.

    or keep, it and use it for a separate coop and run if you want to keep breeds apart from each other.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Keeping the future in mind you may decide to hatch and grow out birds or at the least grow out birds. You could of course only purchase point of lay birds in the future and never raise chicks again.

    A 3x3 or 4x4 coop is perfect for 4-6 birds. 4 in 3x3 and 6 in 4x4. When expanding that small coop is not going to waste. It becomes your grow out coop or if purchasing grown birds then it's a quarantine coop and if a bird is injured then it becomes the rest and relaxation recovery coop. What I'm saying is a small light weight coop never goes to waste.

    What I suggest to make it portable is don't use 2x4's. That is massive over design for the sake of having a 4x4 coop two large men struggle to move. Stick with 2x3 stick lumber for posts and outside lateral brace frame. 2x2's can be used for nailers and middle joists or wall and small door frame. This will greatly reduce weight and also cost. For sheathing I use 3/8 inch decorative Plytanium type plywood. Again, this reduces weight but the 4 inch decorative groove ship lap sheathing does cost. The roof does not need a sheet of plywood only the floor- should be 1/2". For roof what I did this last build was cover the entire top with hardware cloth (1/2 inch) so no weasel can get in then covered the top with high hat metal roofing. You can use the acrylic roofing too so light transmits in. That comes in many colors. What this does is less weight and provide excellent ventilation that predator proof. With a one slant roof the air will come up the high hat of roofing on low end, mix with moist amoinia coop air and exit it out the top keeping your coop clean air and dry.

    For an example and maybe give you some ideas below is a link to my take on the Purina Chicken Hutch. Note the hutch nests boxes of Purina are too high and for small coops only need two nests. One could move door to side of front and have nest boxes same height next to door on front side. But purina has a great corner post and floor system. Just use 2x3's for it and 2x2s for nailers the floor attaches too, in small coop and 1/2" ply floor one 2x2 also can work for center floor joist. Chickens don't weigh much so privides enough support and acts for place to screw a hook to hold feeder under coop.

    Last edited: Jan 22, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  4. ECBW

    ECBW Songster

    Apr 12, 2011
    Prefab or build, you might want to keep it.

    My first coop is a 3x4 and 3 ft walls with a removable roof peak at 4. With the roof off, 2 guys can pick each piece up.

    Learned the do's and donts with it. Then built my main coop. The small coop is very useful as the multi purpose coop.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    I almost never say this, but in your case I'd start small. I can't advise on brands, etc, sorry, but for 3 birds look for a 4x4 coop and a run of 4x10. That will be tight-ish on space IMO but it will get you by for your time frame. When it comes time to move, you'll have something easy to take with you, that can house your current flock while you get settled and figure out if/how you want to expand on your flock. Assuming you do want to expand, that small coop and run will come in handy somewhere down the line--brooding new chicks, quarantining new purchases, grow-out pen for a few cockerels, breeding pen, whatever. You can never have too much chicken housing [​IMG]. Dealing with a small coop for a while will also give you ideas about how you want your "real" coop to be when you land at your permanent place.

    And, if your life changes between now and then, a smaller coop like that will be easier to sell if you need to quit keeping chickens.
    2 people like this.
  6. yellowchicks

    yellowchicks Chirping

    Jun 27, 2014
    My Coop
    My 4' x 4' coop and the 4' x 6' run comes apart easily in case we have to move them. The heaviest part of the coop was the asphalt shingle roof with skylight. Worst come to worst, the entire roof panel can be removed and the coop can be stripped down to the frame. Take a look at my coop page for more details on the lightweight framing. You can use a much lighter roofing material to reduce the weight.

    If you don't want to spend that much energy in building such a small permanent coop, then in your case, buy a prefab coop for now and build a larger and more permanent coop later when you move may be the way to go.
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Since you said you want to take it with you when you leave and you will only have three chickens, I assume hens, I suggest you look through the small coops at the “coops” tab at the top of this page and build one of those or modify one of those designs to suit you. I don’t know what you will have to transport it on. Since most standard building materials come in 4’ or 8’ dimensions I normally suggest you use those, so a 4x4 for you, but a 3x5 might not be a bad size for transport. Where you are cold is not a huge enemy, heat is, so you need ventilation. You can do that with windows in the summer but a roof overhang with openings at the top of the walls works really well in winter.

    You could set this coop on the ground if you wish as long as you have some foundation to get it up off the ground so it doesn’t rot or use treated wood, but I like the idea of building a frame out of 2x4’s you can set it on and elevate it. Anchor it so the wind doesn’t blow it over. Use screws so you can take the frame apart.

    For the run, I suggest you make it in panels. If you know what it will be transported on, maybe 8’ x 8’ panels, maybe 4’ x 8’ panels. Screw or bolt those panels together so it’s easy to take apart. I really like to be able to walk into a run so I’d probably make it 8’ high, just to cut down on cutting and waste. A 4’ x 8’ run will probably be plenty for three hens but how much harder is an 8’ x 8’?

    I don’t know if you want to take your run with you. If not, just build something you can demolish and throw out with the trash, but wouldn’t it be nice to have something you could put together pretty quickly to house your three hens while you are building something else?

    I’m not a fan of those prefab coops. People use them, though sometimes they may need to make some modifications to roosts and ventilation especially. If you have just a little fabrication ability and some tools you can usually build something much better for the same cost or less.

    Good luck! And start building soon. Life has a way to mess up your schedules. You may need that coop a lot sooner than you expect.

  8. JsChkns

    JsChkns In the Brooder

    Jan 12, 2016
    Southeast VA
    I really appreciate all of your opinions!! I think we have decided to build a small coop of our own that we can move when that time comes. I just can't get past some of the horrible reviews on the prefab coops. I would hate to spend all that money and then have it fall apart or not work properly. I'm going to look into the acrylic roofing so thanks for that tidbit Egghead_Jr! I like the idea of having light transmit through. I found a pretty simple plan that we may tweak to our liking and comfort for the chickens. I will be sure to post pictures and let everyone know how it turns out. It will definitely be something that can be used down the road when we go to expand our flock. We will be starting in the next week or 2 so we will be done by the time our chicks come home. I can't even stress how excited I am to build this coop!

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