TWEAK MY COOP~Tweaks on the Cheap

Beekissed

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Feb 14, 2008
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Hi! :) and.. HELP! LOL I posted the other day regarding ventilation here https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1139998/too-much-ventilation. I have 3 chickens currently in it and have 18 6 week old chicks that need to go into it while we get the other coop built. Currently I take them and put them in the run during the day, inside a small run,so the big ones can get used to them but then at night I bring them back into the house. I don't like doing that because I want their winter fluff to come in so they can stay out and I think the in and out of the house at night may confuse the growth of it. (maybe I'm wrong?) Besides that, they are getting to big for the brooder we have.

My problem is that I need more roosting space, while, I believe, I also need to separate the littles from the bigs for a while, yet keeping them all in the coop together. So I thought about adding a ladder but I'm afraid there isn't enough space. I will add another pic in addition to the post I listed above and any help, thoughts, suggestions, would certainly be helpful.

Thanks.

This branch on the right has been removed because 1) they don't use it. At all. and 2) It is slippery and I wonder if that is the reason, but that has been removed.



This is from the front looking in. The branch on the back left is the one removed, so there is a small area there, maybe 18" from the end of the nest box to the door that something could be put. I thought of putting a ladder there and somehow maybe blocking that off from the rest of the coop for the littles to settle in but that's not much space. The far end of the nesting box, right by the branch in this pic, is where both girls love to lay. 4' of space to nest, without separation, and this is where the lay lol


The big ones sit on the front board, they dont use any other. And that board has been lowered to about halfway between the 2 windows. Almost level with the branch that is in that corner. (which they dont use either lol) The ladder is removable/moveable so it can be a non-issue. Typically the current ones jump up onto the board on the left, bypassing the ladder and then right up to the front roost where they squeeze into the corner



Any tweaks I can use? I feel like there is so much wasted dead space in here that could be put to better use. Oh, and I think its a 4x8x 6' high (down to 4' in the back) space...
You'll want all the space on the floor you can get, so the ladder is not needed and you'll grow tired of moving it around so you can remove or place bedding, work the flock,etc. I've found chickens like to roost together the most, so having roosts in different areas of the coop is usually not effective as few will use one area while all will try to crowd into the other area. Don't know why they do that but they always seem to do it.

Good to have roosts at different levels in the same area so the older gals can mount up to the top and the youngsters can roost at the lower levels without getting their heads pecked. I'd stop taking your young ones in the house at night, but instead place them on the roosts each night until they get the hang of it...if not, they will often sleep in your nest boxes when joining the big flock.

I love your ventilation options and the level of light you have in the coop, it's unusual in the BYC culture to see that in a new coop build and it's quite refreshing to see it here.
 

Deltabwa

Songster
Oct 30, 2016
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Southeast Montana
You'll want all the space on the floor you can get, so the ladder is not needed and you'll grow tired of moving it around so you can remove or place bedding, work the flock,etc. I've found chickens like to roost together the most, so having roosts in different areas of the coop is usually not effective as few will use one area while all will try to crowd into the other area. Don't know why they do that but they always seem to do it.

Good to have roosts at different levels in the same area so the older gals can mount up to the top and the youngsters can roost at the lower levels without getting their heads pecked. I'd stop taking your young ones in the house at night, but instead place them on the roosts each night until they get the hang of it...if not, they will often sleep in your nest boxes when joining the big flock.

I love your ventilation options and the level of light you have in the coop, it's unusual in the BYC culture to see that in a new coop build and it's quite refreshing to see it here.
Thank you! I'm still really concerned I have too much ventilation. It can get really cold here and I am really worried the "breeze" (open prairie land so far from a breeze lol) will cause frostbite. I put a lot of light and ventilation mostly for the summer. As it can get -20 in the winter, it can also get too 110 in the summer.

As for roosts, I was referring to the ladder type roosts back in the area where the current ladder is, only a bit bigger to accommodate 18 chicks. I was thinking of hanging chicken wire from the ceiling to floor attaching to the wall at the nest box and then over to the roost bar at the big window, so the big girls and rooster, will leave the little ones alone. There are at least 3 cockerels, in this new bunch and I know the old rooster wont deal with much. I had my fav girl peck at a little one today thru the wire of the small run and brought a drop of blood. I was right there when she did it. She bit at several while I was there, eye level with them all. So I'm still concerned about them all being together.

Should I put a ladder type roost from 1 wall to the other, horizontally, like a floor, so it almost becomes a 2 story. I just hate wasting all that empty space. And yes, I am trying to block the nest boxes from them this little because I don't want them going in there.

Thanks for your input!
 
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Beekissed

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Thank you! I'm still really concerned I have too much ventilation. It can get really cold here and I am really worried the "breeze" (open prairie land so far from a breeze lol) will cause frostbite. I put a lot of light and ventilation mostly for the summer. As it can get -20 in the winter, it can also get too 110 in the summer.

As for roosts, I was referring to the ladder type roosts back in the area where the current ladder is, only a bit bigger to accommodate 18 chicks. I was thinking of hanging chicken wire from the ceiling to floor attaching to the wall at the nest box and then over to the roost bar at the big window, so the big girls and rooster, will leave the little ones alone. There are at least 3 cockerels, in this new bunch and I know the old rooster wont deal with much. I had my fav girl peck at a little one today thru the wire of the small run and brought a drop of blood. I was right there when she did it. She bit at several while I was there, eye level with them all. So I'm still concerned about them all being together.

Should I put a ladder type roost from 1 wall to the other, horizontally, like a floor, so it almost becomes a 2 story. I just hate wasting all that empty space. And yes, I am trying to block the nest boxes from them this little because I don't want them going in there.

Thanks for your input!
Frostbite is caused by moisture/humidity freezing on the surface of the skin, so the more ventilation you have, the better. If you have windows that you can't control the amount of wind coming through, hanging a flap of something stiff or heavy over them~outside~ will keep out breezes and let a more passive airflow happen...I use a stiff feed sack that still lets in the light but doesn't flip up in the wind much on days when the wind has changed direction and is blowing right into my coop door, which is open air at the top. The worst thing you can do is close it all down for the winter months. Well fed and feathered chickens carry their insulation on their backs, so they are much like sheep in that regard...any place out of the direct wind and they seem to do fine.

We get -17 below here and our winters are likely more humid than yours, so I keep a lot of open areas in my winter coop, especially where they roost or across the coop from where they roost. I leave the pop door open all the time under the roosts and I have 4 in. of space at the roof, right by where their heads are when they roost but these provide passive airflow rather than active, breezy airflow, as both are sheltered a bit from direct winds.
 

Deltabwa

Songster
Oct 30, 2016
261
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141
Southeast Montana
Frostbite is caused by moisture/humidity freezing on the surface of the skin, so the more ventilation you have, the better. If you have windows that you can't control the amount of wind coming through, hanging a flap of something stiff or heavy over them~outside~ will keep out breezes and let a more passive airflow happen...I use a stiff feed sack that still lets in the light but doesn't flip up in the wind much on days when the wind has changed direction and is blowing right into my coop door, which is open air at the top. The worst thing you can do is close it all down for the winter months. Well fed and feathered chickens carry their insulation on their backs, so they are much like sheep in that regard...any place out of the direct wind and they seem to do fine.

We get -17 below here and our winters are likely more humid than yours, so I keep a lot of open areas in my winter coop, especially where they roost or across the coop from where they roost. I leave the pop door open all the time under the roosts and I have 4 in. of space at the roof, right by where their heads are when they roost but these provide passive airflow rather than active, breezy airflow, as both are sheltered a bit from direct winds.
TY. Very helpful. And yes, slightly more humid than me. I am from MD so very familiar with WV's weather. It puts me at ease a bit more regarding the ventilation. We have many cattle and a couple sheep that lose part of an ear every year from frostbite so it's always a worry. Thanks so much.
 

Beekissed

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TY. Very helpful. And yes, slightly more humid than me. I am from MD so very familiar with WV's weather. It puts me at ease a bit more regarding the ventilation. We have many cattle and a couple sheep that lose part of an ear every year from frostbite so it's always a worry. Thanks so much.
Lucky you to have been so well traveled...and to wind up in Montana! That's always been a dream of mine, to visit or even live in Montana. Such a beautiful and sparsely populated state!
 

Deltabwa

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Oct 30, 2016
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Southeast Montana
Lucky you to have been so well traveled...and to wind up in Montana! That's always been a dream of mine, to visit or even live in Montana. Such a beautiful and sparsely populated state!
Mine too, which is how I got here lol I've lived in the heat of Florida and Cold mountains of North Georgia and have family in Southern PA, my 2nd home, but MT has been the best by far.
 

Beekissed

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This week I jacked up the front of the hoop coop and put some scrap 4x4s under it to bring it up 8 in. in the front. Don't know how much room that actually gave me...I think I'm going to have to do some major DL/soil removal if I really want to clear some head room. I'm thinking the next nice day I get I'm going to redo that setup, as it didn't accomplish quite what I had wanted.

When I get it where I want it it will likely be more about a foot taller in the front end, tapering back on the sides to the ground. Will have to build a stoop for it sooner than that, though, as I'm tripping every time I go in the coop now.
 

Beekissed

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I never have to worry about any critters, other than these egg suckin' chicken dogs.....they are my critter insurance and they like eating raw, if ya know what I mean.
Long as I keep the big door closed and they can't get in there and rob my nests, I'm good.




 

yeye5

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Jun 11, 2016
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@countryladyNH
(apparently the post was too large to quote?)

I know I'm late to the party of this thread but as I searched a different topic I found this thread. Your coop and everything about it is a work of art! I suspect your beautiful Buff Orps don't even know how good they have it!
P.S. I'd love to rejuvinate this discussion about remodels, using classic items in coops, period design and natural-as-can-be coop designs with great function--just like you've done masterfully!
 

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