To Build or To Buy

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Pen15, Nov 22, 2014.

  1. Pen15

    Pen15 New Egg

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    Hi, I'm a new member. I don't have my chickens yet, but I was wondering: Should I build my coop of should I buy it? I am planning on having five Rhode Island Red hens. They wouldn't be able to free range all the time. What's a good size for that? Also, does sand make good coop litter?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    IMHO, I would build if you're capable or can get help. Many manufacturers exaggerate how many chickens their products will hold - especially if they're likely to spend much waking time in there. Also, very well constructed manufactured coops (and there are lots of them) are quite pricey.
    A lot depends on your skills and access to inexpensive building materials.

    Large fowl (LF) hens need 4 sq. ft. per bird inside if they have outside access. 8 sq. ft. per bird if they have no outside access.
    They hate being bored and they live to forage, scratch for seeds/bugs and dustbathe.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. pfewless

    pfewless Out Of The Brooder

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    I would say if you are able to do it yourself build it with lots of ventalation and easy clean options. You can then make it to suit the area you are putting it in. With them not being Free Range I would consider putting in a few planting boxes covered in screen that you can continue to reseed. If you get snow in the winter I would think about the area they will have to move around in a covered sheltered run durring that season. Just my random thoughts. Again Welcome to BYC!!!
     
  4. islandgirl82

    islandgirl82 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I started with a prefab coop that was advertised to hold 4-6 Large Fowl chickens and when my chicks had grown, in reality it wasn't built for more than 2 and that was without keeping feed and water inside.

    I don't have a whole lot of faith in my carpentry skills so I searched for small sheds, old play houses, etc. on craigslist that I could repurpose and that could be moved. Those that were in decent shape were also quite pricy and not quite mobile enough for my needs. I ended up finding a 4' x 8' building that was made for ice fishing for $250. It was built on skids so I can move it with a lawn tractor when I want/need to and there's plenty of room for my flock of 7 LF birds. I did put in some larger windows for light and ventilation and used salvaged wood to make the frames for the windows, the chicken door, nesting boxes, ladder and roosts and catch tray.
     
  5. RWD

    RWD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Never, ever, buy a chicken coop from anyone who does not raise chickens. That eliminates all retail stores, and especially on line stores. There are a lot of good coops built by local craftsmen, that will work for you. The trick is finding them. People without the skills should not try and build a coop just because others say you should. How much will one accident with a power saw cost you? Or how much is loosing your first chickens worth, because you overlooked a very basic concept?
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    @RWD , that first sentence says it all.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014
  7. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Oh, I don't know about that. My husband and I have such limited building skills that between us we couldn't stack a straight sandwich. But the commercial coops out there were either horribly undersized and flimsy or way out of our budget. So we built our coop - it sure didn't go up overnight, but we did it - and we are very proud of it. It helps to let the standard building supply sizes determine your coop size. For instance, plywood comes in sheets that are 4x8. So that means minimum cuts and joints if you plan your coop to take advantage of that. We wanted a nice run, but again our skills are limited. So we drove 8 metal steel fence posts into the ground and arched 3 cattle panels for a run.

    Using common sense, reading the manuals for safety information, and taking your time will always be the best way to avoid accidents - even professionals have had accidents with power tools. In all of the time we worked on our coop, using power saws, power drivers, and even hard wiring the electricity out to the coop (now there we had an advantage - although we aren't carpenters my husband is a retired professional electrician) our injuries consisted of a blood blister from a pair of channel locks and a few splinters. As for overlooking a basic concept, again, that even happens when pros do a build. If anything we over engineered our set up and went a little overboard with predator protection.

    So don't be afraid to push your limits and learn some new skills in the process. You can do this - we are in our 60s and both of us have some disabilities. Aside from one day when our son was able to help us with the rafters, Ken and I did every inch of our coop and run by ourselves, in the cold of a snowy March, and we love it, our girls are safe, and it's not an eyesore. You can click on "My Coop" under my avatar and see the process.

    [​IMG]

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    1 person likes this.
  8. tcstoehr

    tcstoehr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I started with chickens early this year and built my own coop. I'm capable... sort of... but not so good at carpentry and such. But I have most of the required tools and can use them almost adequately. In the end the cost was pretty high, like $1500. But I did buy new, high quality materials without any effort toward frugality. I made the coop 6'x10' which is plenty for the 5 hens. It's tall enough to walk around inside with only a bit of stooping. I could have made the coop half that size for less money but probably no less work. I left the interior framing 2x4's exposed which makes it a breeze to attach nesting boxes or new roosts or electric fixtures or whatever. In the end I'm really happy with what I made despite some mistakes I made. The bottom line is that it was built with the hens' needs in mind and they seem to like it just fine. They have a secure, dry, spacious, wind-free but well ventilated place to sleep every night.
    The pre-fab coops I see at farm or hardware stores, I would never consider those. They are built to be cheap and mass produced. There are however people who do them right and I would buy from those folks after being thoroughly convinced that they were solidly built, predator-proof, weather proof and spacious enough.
     
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Very nice coop. You should be proud.

    They say the first egg costs thousands of dollars, after that they're free. [​IMG]
     
  10. RWD

    RWD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Blooie - Anyone who feels that they can do anything on their own should. My statement was to the many people out there who do not have the self confidence, willpower, physical capabilities, knowledge, etc. to do something because everyone says they should. Did you honestly read what I said? Ask your husband if just anyone should tackle the wiring and electrical? Many can but many can't. You can easily erect some sort of structure that will collapse during a heavy snow, without the proper knowledge. Ones own ignorance must be considered. I don't do electrical, plumbing, or computer programming.
     

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