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Trying to design first coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Julieschicks, Jun 17, 2016.

  1. Julieschicks

    Julieschicks New Egg

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    I'm not sure if it's pregnancy brain, or information overload, but I'm trying to design our first coop (no chickens yet) and feel like I'm just hitting a brick wall with which way to go with the design. We already have a building. It's an old greenhouse that's 10'x12'. We moved it to a better location in the yard and want to put up a wall across the middle so that we still have a greenhouse/garden storage on one half and the coop on the other half. Then we'll have an outside run approx. 12'x15' between the coop and the compost pile. Part of me thinks we should make the whole coop half (5'x12') into enclosed coop area, and then part of me thinks we don't need that much coop space and should make a small storage room area in the front and the rest coop area. My plan is to have like 4-5 hens, max. My husband seems to think we'll end up wanting like 20. Any advice for a chicken novice?

    Julie
     
  2. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    1, your husband is probably correct, you will eventually want more.
    The common formula used is you need 4 square foot of coop space per hen and 10 square foot of run space per hen. Those are loose guidlines but will help you decide how big you should go once you decide how many you will want.
     
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    Welcome! your hubby is right, and it's great to have a nice building to start with your new flock. Mary
     
  4. Julieschicks

    Julieschicks New Egg

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    Thanks! Sketched out a preliminary floor plan this evening. Went with full coop area on the coop half. Figured with the greenhouse area on the other half of the building, I can easily keep feed/shavings/whatever in there just as easy. And gives me space for up to 15 chickens should we decide to keep adding. :) Now, to just figure out all the specifics and how to actually build it out. At least I have a little bit of time to finalize things since my husband has to get the pool house rebuilt and gazebo reroofed before we move on to the greenhouse/coop. ;)
     
  5. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    I have to agree with everyone else and your husband. Plan it as big as possible! We started out with 6 chickens about 3 years ago and now have 40. I just finished building our third coop in 3 years. My wife tried to bring home another 20 she was going to "rescue" from a friend yesterday!
    I see from your other posts you are not too far from us here in SWLA. You are doing the right thing by searching the Learning Center articles and looking at designs in the coop section. I would give you a piece of advice however, a lot of these designs are from BYC members living in much cooler climates. I assume your heat index is already near 110 like it is here. Plan on lots of ventilation! While others have to protect against the cold, we have to worry more about the heat.
     
  6. Julieschicks

    Julieschicks New Egg

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    Yes, exactly! We're just south of Houston. My husband talked about insulating the walls, and I was like NO!! You can't do that in our heat! The building is oriented with the door to the south, run to the east, and back wall to the north. The west wall is the dividing wall with the greenhouse. Right now my design has two windows in the east wall and one in the north wall. Not sure what kind of door to use yet. Contemplating just a screen door, or at least top half screen for more breeze through. Then will have open vents (covered in wire mesh) up high along all three sides. Just not sure what size would be best yet. We'll allow the chickens into the compost pile area, which won't be covered, but we'll cover the rest of the 12'x15' run since the trees aren't close enough to provide enough shade.

    Two of my neighbors have chickens and they've invited me to check out their set-ups as well. I might get my own plan together, then go see what they've done and adjust my plan accordingly if need be.
     
  7. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    Consider more of a three sided shed type design; really, all you need is wind and rain protection, and SHADE! Hardware cloth over all openings larger than 1/2" diameter, well secured, and possibly some welded wire too. Trees and shrubs for shade and shelter from hawks. Insulating the roof will help with summer sun, also helpful. Chickens generate huge amounts of dust, so everything in your storage area will be covered unless you make a solid wall between it and the coop area. Habitat for Humanity's Restores have great deals on doors, etc. Rather than buying windows, consider big openings covered in hardware cloth, and maybe an awning to protect from driving rain? Mary
     
  8. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    It sounds like you have a solid plan. Mine is obviously much larger, but oriented pretty much like yours. Since all our storms come from either the east or south, those are walls. My run goes to the east for morning sun and the coop provides afternoon shade in there. I agree with Folly's idea of an open end too. I did that for the extra ventilation. If it doesn't hurt the stability of the structure just take out the wall to the run. Since you are going to completely cover the run, rain won't get in the coop. I only covered part of my run with roofing and left most of it wire. That way they could still sun bathe when they aren't free ranging.
    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Julieschicks

    Julieschicks New Egg

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    Great ideas! I don't think I can make the whole east wall open, but since that whole wall will roofing, I can definitely make what was going to be the two windows into just larger openings with the hardware cloth over them. Then just have the one window in the north wall that I could close in the winter.

    For people doors, what's the best option? We have a few old screen doors we took off the house and replaced. Would something like that work? We have one aluminum storm door we were going to use as the door to the greenhouse. And 3 other just plain wood frame, full screen doors. Could we use that, or would we need something we could close over the screen when it rains?

    What we have are similar to this: http://www.lowes.com/pd/Screen-Tigh...on-32-in-x-80-in-Actual-32-in-x-80-in/4614278

    If we covered the screen in something like this: http://www.lowes.com/pd/Steelworks-24-in-x-3-ft-Aluminum-Sheet-Metal/3049411, would that be sufficient to keep ventialtion, but keep rain out, or would it be better to go with a traditional storm door where we could raise the glass over the screen when it rains?

    Y'all have been so helpful! I need to go take some more measurements to finish my drawings, but I'll post pics of them once they're done!
     
  10. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    If you have a decent overhang on you roof, rain won't get in the upper half of your screen door unless it's blowing sideways. Your idea about the "steelworks" across the bottom will help keep your little ones from poking the screen out and keep some rain out too. The storm door would work but then you need a new one for the greenhouse side. I have always made my own doors with a Kreg jig and stapled wire over it, but my doors are in the run area not the coop end. Either way, try to hang the door so that it opens into the coop. I have learned it is easier to keep the chickens inside if the door opens to the in rather than out.
     

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