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Undecided on a good coop design

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by BanditTheCat, Nov 6, 2012.

  1. BanditTheCat

    BanditTheCat New Egg

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    I live in southeastern Wisconsin and own a total of 10 chickens (2 columbian wyandottes, 2 silverlaced wyandottes, 2 australorps, 2 partridge pylmouth rocks, and 2 unknown roosters).

    I previously purchased a coop offline, but it does not hold as many chickens as it claims, it doesn’t have enough ventilation, I had to varnish it many times, move the roosts, etc. In other words, it sucks. I bought a wireless thermometer ($15) and placed it inside the coop. The last couple of nights it’s been pretty cold and has read as low as 32 degrees. It’s only the beginning of November! While I would like to think that modifying the coop would help for winter, I’m concerned that it would not be enough.

    While I don’t have the money, I am thinking of having the woods class at the high school where I work build me a new coop. I would only need to purchase the supplies. I’m looking for a design that I can hand the woods teacher. I’ve looked many up, but have not found what I want. I am hoping that someone might have some ideas.

    Here are some of my ideas of things to include:
    4x6’ or 4x8’?
    -nest box on outside of coop (not on down slopped side of roof)
    -laminate floor
    -roosts straight across
    -window above nest boxes
    -insulated walls/ceiling
    -coop door to run openable from outside

    Any help that you can provide is appreciated.
    Thank you.
     
  2. Saffi0418

    Saffi0418 Out Of The Brooder

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    We are just getting our first coop ready. We opted for a pine cubby / shed which is 1.7m square and tall enough for me to stand up in. It came in kit form, but I got the company to put it together. We had a little concrete slab made for it first.
    It has four sliding perspex windows, so good for extra ventilation. There is a gap below the roof so that provides permanent ventilation.
    My husband cut a hole out under one of the side windows and put in two nesting boxes (I believe this enough for our 5 hens) - it is really one box with a divider in the middle. The opening is flush with the wall and the boxes poke outside. There is a lid to access eggs from outside.
    I want to be able to sweep out the nest boxes easily, so my husband is hinging a board at the front which will be held in place with little latches. When it opens I can sweep out to the floor. We might also need a ledge in front for them to get into the boxes, as the front board will only be thin marine ply.
    As there is a window opposite the nest boxes, the boxes are not as dark as they might need to be - I can always rig up some little curtains!
    We have used a store-bought 'dog door' for the hens to come and go from the cubby into their yard. It has a metal sheet that slides in place to shut them in at night.
    I need to figure out how to post a photo - then I can show you what we've done.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. barnaclebob

    barnaclebob Chillin' With My Peeps

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    if you have the space i'd go 4x8 since lumber comes in 8' lengths. You'll probably have to buy about the same amount of material with a smaller size anyway.

    A floor painted with high gloss paint can work as well as laminate, especially if they can sand it smooth
     
  4. Jakoda

    Jakoda Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd definately go 4 x 8 if you can afford it. I have 9 chickens, 2 australorps, 2 silver laced wyandottes, 2 speck sussex, 2 buffs, and a columbian wyandotte.

    My coop area is 4 x 12, (sectioned area of dutch barn)..I'm going to expand it to 12 x 8 since my barn got demolished during the recent storm, but the chicken section is left intact tho probably not stable.

    Anyhow, I'd opt for a "shed" design and then modify it to what you want for a coop..I think it's easier to find nice shed designs than coops..I tend to see alot of them on ebay.

    Here's my barn prior to storm and after storm.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. Saffi0418

    Saffi0418 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 6, 2012
    Melbourne, Australia
    Jakoda, that was bad luck with the storm. I hope it isn't too hard to fix.

    I finally figured out how to put in some photos (no I didn't - my daughter showed me).
    The space under the cubby window was 2' 3", so just right for two nesting boxes.
    My husband made the box from marine ply and then put on pine cladding.
    The roosting perch isn't really that thick - it is actually two pieces of timber. Should we start with one lower until they grow a bit more?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. BanditTheCat

    BanditTheCat New Egg

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    Too bad that the 'shed' was damaged. I agree that a shed version will probably make the best coop. Thanks Jakoda and Saffi0418. The pictures really bring this together.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2012
  7. Phoenixxx

    Phoenixxx Chillin' With My Peeps

    Here are a couple photos of mine. I went 6'x8' and my coop can comfortably house as many as two dozen chickens. If you can, I recommend keeping the floor dirt; it's MUCH easier to clean! Although, concrete can be pressure-washed... I just remember growing up and having to scrape the wood floor with a shovel, and then of course the wood holds smell no matter what. With a dirt floor you just take a rake to all the droppings which becomes even easier if you lay down leaves or whatever your chickens scratch up in the yard (mine dig up all the moss under all the trees so I have no shortage of nesting/floor material). Anyway, back to construction: I used 2x4"s and particle board. I cut one of the boards into a door and then cut a doggy-door in that door. The main entrance I used a regular house door and, above it, screened with chicken wire for ventilation. I built my coop to sit on a hill: The front of it is 8' high, the back is 6' high so there's plenty of air, headroom and roosting space. I didn't consider insulation in my design plans; the coop we had growing up wasn't insulated but my hubby said my RIR's might get cold so I've thrown some in (roof) and on the outside wall of the nesting area as an after-thought. We've already been dipping below zero (celsius) here and when I've gone in to lock them up for the night it's actually still comfortable inside. Originally I designed it to come apart easily for when we move, but I no longer think that will be practical. I still have my schematics; if you like, I can scan them and post them up. You can adjust them easily to account for level ground, just that you will wind up with a more extreme roof-slope unless you raise the overall height of the back wall. I built it by hand (no power tools except my cordless skilsaw for the miters on the sloping wall studs), by myself, in just a few days [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. ellend

    ellend Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I like my exterior nest boxes with lid-hatch. To keep water from leaking in, though the gap between the nest box and the house, I stapled a long, 3 or 4" wide strip of RUBBER heavy-duty pond liner onto the side of the house, which made a flap that covered the crack and rested a couple of inches down the top of the sloped lid. It's flexible, even at 15 F., and since it isn't attached to the lid itself, it flexes out of the way when I open the lid. Locking hinges to keep the nest box lid open while working are nice also.
    Window: nest boxes themselves should be dim. We have a window on our tiny coop (bantams, and little room for a large coop) and I'm hoping to have husband install another in the summer.
    I live in Cleveland, and we can fluctuate from 40F to 0 in one day or less, and windy. I don't want their coop below freezing. Our pen is 6x20 (totally enclosed,) but I wanted the henhouse against our house for weather protection, so was VERY limited because of house windows. Settled on a small henhouse with a Sweeterheater (for 10 standards, you would probably be better off with a securely fastened tin-can with a low wattage bulb mounted on the ceiling) with a plug-in "Thermocube" outlet--they make different temp. range thermocubes, but you will need to go to their site to find them; most places sell only one. The one I have turns on the current at 35, off at 45. I wish there was a 35 to 40 one, but there isn't. We tried a more expensive Allied Precision TC035 Temperature Controlled Outlet, (for a tighter on/off range), but like every review I read, I found it to be totally unreliable. Good concept, poor quality control. Like you, I use a wireless thermostat to keep a constant check on the temp..
    Since it is not only very cold, but very windy and damp here, and my birds are tiny, I don't want them outdoors when the wind is blowing or it's really cold, but the house is too small (and boring) to trap them in all winter. I attached a large iguana cage that I had, laid on it's side, to a side of the henhouse with one of the pop-holes (the other pop-hole opens out into the outdoor big pen.) We refer to the iguana cage as the "play-pen": TRANSLUCENT Choroplast (coroplast?) lid that I made (soooooo easy to cut and work with; a box-cutter and tape!), which is like corrugated box material, but plastic, and two plexiglass sides (much more expensive--my banties are pets) so I can enjoy seeing them, and a piece of insulation board over the floor wire, covered with rubber "floor runner" material and shavings on top--makes for very easy cleaning, and I can remove the floor in the summer. The play-pen provides a dry, windproof winter area (unheated) that is full of light, more than doubling their floor area. I keep their hanging feeder and their heated dog bowl of water (the heated chicken waterer was even WORSE than the awful reviews described!!) inside the play-pen, instead of the henhouse. I sized down the pop-holes to the bantams' actual need, with cardboard, since I keep the play-pen one open at all times. (The henhouse and the play-pen both have ventilation.) The pophole leading to the 6x20 run is open in the winter only when they are outside in the run. The big run encloses the house with playpen. This also gives double predator proofing, which is comforting.
    This is working very well for us. Your situation is different, with more and larger birds, but still I would suggest a wind & rain/snow-proofed area for winter (think "enclosed porch",) since those drifts are way over chicken height. Makes it a lot more pleasant to care for them, also! If you want them to have constant access to outdoors, they could have a higher, sheltered pop-hole out of your winter play-pen area, with a ramp to the ground. Just make sure it's predator proof! Heavy mil plastic, or Choroplast if you "want" to spend more, could enclose your winter playpen--Easily removable in the spring/summer.
    Tweaking my set-up was part of the fun. Works for me--will be interested to see what YOU decide on!
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. ellend

    ellend Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Forgot to say that the small house provides better warmth, and that the house and playpen are raised to keep them out of drifts, and provide extra ground area under the house for when they are in the enclosing 6x20 run (we've had Cooper's Hawk trouble in the yard, outside of the run.) Raising them also deters any rodents that would otherwise burrow, since they (the rodents) don't have the protection of a ground level or low-floored building.
     
  10. BanditTheCat

    BanditTheCat New Egg

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    Thank you! I will try to remember to post some pictures of the coop we ended up building. It's still not what I want, but we needed something before the cold set in.

    There is a chance I will be able to build another one this summer because our neighbor fell a tree on our shed and we now need to build a new shed. I know it's probably not the best idea, but I was thinking of building a big shed and sectioning off part for a coop.

    All these ideas are great.

    Thanks again everyone :)
     

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