Used (loved, working, full...) coop pictures needed

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by liliesllamas, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. liliesllamas

    liliesllamas In the Brooder

    Jan 18, 2011
    I'm trying hard to plead the case for chickens. My husband has a farming background and knows that every animal is work and that every animal creates mess. I would like 3-6 chickens and we have a wooden playhouse we could convert into a coop. Tell me, honestly, what kind of daily work is involved, how long it takes and how difficult (or easy) it is to keep the coop pretty clean. Pictures of coops that have been in use for some time would be helpful as well. I've read every possible thing I can get my hands on, but it's pretty hard to farm out of a book! This forum is incredibly helpful and I'm hoping your answers here help me get a real picture of what life with chickens is like!
    As an aside - we have dogs and llamas so doing chores is not foreign to us.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012

  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    The easy way is to have a relatively large and "airish" coop with a deep layer of litter, preferably on a dirt floor, and just rake it out once or twice a year. In between, when it gets a bit musty or dusty, throw a little extra pine shavings on, or a handful of pelletized lime to control moisture and flies, and sprinkle a bit of Sevin around every month or so. Give them a handful of scratch or BOSS in the coop and they will keep your litter turned for you. This way, daily work is simply changing water and filling feeders. You can even rig up an automatic watering system and use a large or self-filling feeder to minimize this, or to make the chickens safe if left for a few days. If your run is secure, closing the coop at night is not necessary (or you can spend the money on an automatic door, though this has its disadvantages, not leaving someone outside yet closing it early enough for safety, etc.) I spend a whole lot more time every day just sitting and watching them than I do in chores, which probably average 5 minutes at most.
  3. Tweakster

    Tweakster In the Brooder

    Feb 2, 2012
    Garden Ridge, TX
    [​IMG]I like it and second every word!
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging 9 Years

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I find a lot of how hard I have to work depends on how much room they have, in the coop and outside the coop. Most of that work involves poop management. How you set it up makes a difference too. If you provide the minimum space you will find yourself cleaning and scraping poop a lot. If you provide a lot of space inside and outside the coop and use something like the deep litter method, you spend a lot less time managing poop.

    They do poop a lot on the roosts, so setting up something to keep the poop from building up under the roost is usually really beneficial. I recently built my brooder under the roosts. Under the part that is not over the brooder, I got a couple of large plastic containers and put those under there. About once a week I scrape the top of the brooder into the plastic container and empty that on my compost pile.

    For several years, I just added a lot of wood shavings and occasionally raked the poop under the roosts or collected it if it got really deep for my compost heap. I have an 8' x 12' coop and a lot of room outside, sometimes free ranging them but currently in electric netting because of predator problems. At times I have as few as 7 chickens, sometimes around 35. I have not cleaned the bedding out of my coop in three years.

    Unless I have a special situation, such as chicks in the brooder or a broody on a nest, my daily work usually involves feeding and watering them in the morning when I open the pop door to let them out, and gathering the eggs and topping off the water late afternoon. Then I go back down there after they go to bed to lock the pop door for nighttime predator protection. I have two different feeders and two different waterers, one set in the coop and one outside, so I don't worry about then running out during the day.

    There are occasions when you have to do more. They are living animals and as you know from your other animals things happen. But your real issues as to how much work you have to do on a regular basis revolve around poop mangement, and what is required depends on how you set it up and how much space you have.

  5. JackE

    JackE Crowing 8 Years

    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    I think chickens are some of the easiest animals to take care of. 5-10mins a day, just to collect eggs, give fresh water, add some feed to the feeder if necessary. I totally clean out the coop twice a year. That takes roughly a half hour. In between, I add some fresh shavings every now and then. And like Flockwatcher said, I'll throw a handful of scratch in there, and the birds will happily turn over the bedding for me. You can see my coop below, and it looks pretty much the same now as when I took the pictures.
  6. liliesllamas

    liliesllamas In the Brooder

    Jan 18, 2011
    Your coop is lovely! Thanks so much for your two cents. I love learning so new adventures are right up my alley!
  7. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Ah, you got some great answers. The Woods coop is a wonderful example of how open air a coop can be, even in cold climates. Mine is just a big rectangle with a roof slanting to one side, but is open air all the way around the top of the walls, plus some wire instead of walls on two sides. And although I said twice a year for raking out the litter, Ridgerunner is quite right, that's not necessary. We do it to get the litter for the garden or compost.

  8. brndn0515

    brndn0515 In the Brooder

    Apr 11, 2012
    I always find that when i really enjoy something or a certain hobby it doesnt seem like as much work. If you really think that keeping and raising chickens is something that sounds enjoyable to you, I think that you will find the chore side to be much less than the enjoyment.
  9. SacCityChickens

    SacCityChickens In the Brooder

    Mar 31, 2012
    Sacramento Ca
    I get so much enjoyment from our chickens that I don't consider any time I spend with them a chore, but I only have 2 chickens. And they are pets.
    Egg laying pets, but pets just the same.
    It only take me about 10min a week to clean poop & about 5min a day to check for eggs & refill feeder & water.
    There's really not much work involved. I spend more time laughing at them.
    It's fun time to me!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by