Totally new to chickens...could use some coop advice!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by TubbyChicken, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. TubbyChicken

    TubbyChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 30, 2008
    Kentucky
    My husband and I are placing our first chicken order soon and we're trying to find an ideal coop for our new babies.

    We plan on having about 10 hens (perhaps one or two bantams but the rest will be standards). We have a large backyard and they will be able to have free range but we live in a rural area and there are predators so the coop will need to be secure...How big should the coop be to accomadate that number of hens?

    A few other things to consider...We live in Ky and have 4 seasons, our winters are pretty mild but we do have a month or so of very cold weather. Our summers are hot!

    I would love to build our coop with as much recycled materials as possible. Any suggestions on where to find items? (I just missed out on a storage building on Freecycle)

    We have neighbors on both sides who would appreciate an attractive coop. Any suggestions for making the coop attractive and functional?

    Is electricity in the coop a necessity? Can we use branches in the coop for roosting?

    Thanks in advance! I'm very to new to this.
     
  2. arlee453

    arlee453 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    How big should the coop be to accomadate that number of hens?

    Standard guidelines are a MINIMUM of 10 sq ft per bird, so think at least 100 sq feet, and you may as well figure you won't hold it to just 10 if you are like the rest of us. If there is a secure attached run you can make the coop itself smaller and the run attached to get over the 10 sq ft rule. BUT if you are going to have to keep the birds confined during the winter due to severe weather, then make the coop bigger. Overcrowded birds may lead to excess stress, more disease, canibalism, and generally unhappy birds.

    We have neighbors on both sides who would appreciate an attractive coop. Any suggestions for making the coop attractive and functional

    Check out the coop pages at the very top of the screen for lots of pictures and ideas.

    Is electricity in the coop a necessity? Can we use branches in the coop for roosting?

    You will wish later on that you have some electricity. You may need power for a heat light, timed lights, water bucket heater, etc. If you can swing it, then definately get a powersource in there. Else you'll be stuck with the unsightly extension cord method.

    WELCOME to BYC and have fun with your chickens!! Be sure to post pics of whatever you come up with for your birds.​
     
  3. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    Sep 6, 2007
    spring hill, florida
    I agree with Arlee. A 10 x 10 would be a good size, and big enough so that you could add a few more at some point. Never say no, LOL
    You can use branches. Recycled wood-drive around and find homes being built. The big dumpster outside is for trash, and alot of wood. Some of it is really really nice.
    There are lots of examples of coops on this website.
    I would attach a run for those times where you can't let them free range the back yard.
    Use hardware cloth. Good luck
     
  4. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps AutumnBreezeChickens.com

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    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    Ours is 8x8 and we have 18 hens in there and they are all happy as can be. There is plenty of space in there for them and we have a nice large run attached to that. BUT living in WI we did major insulating and electricity added for a heat lamp for them. We also have a daylight light on the ceiling so they can get 14 hours of daylight in the winter to keep them laying [​IMG] My girls are all very nice to each other [​IMG]
     
  5. pkeeler

    pkeeler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 20, 2008
    Shamong
    We plan on having about 10 hens (perhaps one or two bantams but the rest will be standards). We have a large backyard and they will be able to have free range [snip]...How big should the coop be to accomadate that number of hens?

    With free range of the property, you would need a minimum of 2 sf per bird, or 20 sf. However, those are industrial numbers and your chickens will be happier with about double that amount.

    We live in Ky and have 4 seasons, our winters are pretty mild but we do have a month or so of very cold weather. Our summers are hot!

    Chickens have been living in primitive shelters for thousands of years in places much colder and hotter than KY. Look for hardy breeds and make sure your coop has plenty of ventilation. If the birds are free ranging, make sure you have some large shrubs the chickens can hang out under or other shade.

    Is electricity in the coop a necessity? Can we use branches in the coop for roosting?

    You don't want the coop too close to the house. A good rule of thumb is to keep it within reach of two extension cords. That will always give you the option of running electricity out there. Otherwise, check with your local building department as a structure with electricity is sometimes considered more than a shed and could raise your property tax base and require building permits.

    Branches (1-2" in diameter) are perfect for roosts and a good way to recycle local material. Make a frame out of 2x3 or 2x4 and nail the branches to it. Simple. Plus, horizontal branches of this size are what chickens evolved to roost on.​
     

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