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Wanting to hear people's experience with coop size

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by newchickenista, Nov 22, 2015.

  1. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    My Coop
    The more room the better......
    for the chooks as well as your own ease for maintenance and having some flexibility to deal with new chicks, broody hens, injured birds, rogue cockerels, etc.
    Think long term.

    I built my coop with 2 people doors to facilitate splitting the coop with a temporary chicken wire wall, and later added another pop door and separate run.
    Was the best planning decision I made, it has been invaluable.... and I wish I had one or two more partitions.
    Really made new crisis' during first year much easier to deal with, rogue cockerel spent my first winter in there while I figured how to harvest him in the spring.
    Then chicks in there, then a broody hen. I take down temp wall in winter for more room as they spend way more time inside coop during winter where I live.
    Check out My Coop page, link under my avatar, for details and pics.

    Another thing about space that is often not thought about is the height of the coop.
    Being able to walk into coop is a lifesaver for me, bending over or crouching/kneeling down is not tolerated well at all by this old arthritic body.
    I built my nests and roost boards at a height easy for me to work at.....and they work good for the birds too, but needed ramps to balance heights with width of coop.
    I was lucky in that the existing building my coop is inside of is very tall with a clerestory roof line, the high windows and open eaves make ventilation a breeze(haha!).
    There's a 'stack up' involved when planning coop...I should draw up an illustrative sketch for this, maybe today...but....I digress:

    Bottom of poop door above highest bedding planned...so bedding doesn't end up outside coop.
    Bottom of nests, if hanging off wall, high enough so floor space underneath is usable by birds with highest bedding height.
    Roosts 12" above nests so they don't roost(sleep) in nests and poop them up.
    Upper ventilation, especially in severe winters as well as in very hot climates, as far above roosts as possible.
     
    2 people like this.
  2. newchickenista

    newchickenista Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks to everyone for your advice! Sorry I'm just now getting back to you all, Thanksgiving week combined with the torrential rains we have had here in Southern Oklahoma this last week have kept me occupied, to say the least!
     
  3. newchickenista

    newchickenista Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your advice was particularly helpful. This is what we were already thinking about. I understand that more space is better, not just for the chickens but for me too, in terms of ease of care. That being said, cost and other factors hinder my availability of building as big as I'd like. I'd sure love to be able to build the Taj Mahal, but I'm not able to at the moment. I am needing to build as big and as functioning of a coop as I can afford that is 1) SECURE 2) Comfortable (i.e. dry in the rain, warm in the cold, and enough space) 3) and is easy for me to work in. Something more like what you called an Aviary is one of our best options and one we had already been kicking around, just didn't know what to call it yet. Hearing how other people make it work in smaller spaces is so very helpful. Thanks so much!
     
  4. gotro17

    gotro17 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Can we see pics of your coop and broody busters, please?
     
  5. gotro17

    gotro17 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Can we please see pictures of all this? I'm planning to convert a space, behind a shed, and need some ideas, please. The area is 12'x7', which will be attached to a 1600 sq. ft. run/free range space.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015
  6. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    A broody buster is nothing more than a wire cage/kennel that one would house a rabbit in such. The idea is you put it on blocks for air to get under and not allow the bird any nesting material. This will cool down the rear end and force the hen out of the broody condition.

    With 12x7 you've got all sorts of room for putting things in the coop. Metal can for feed storage can be in there, nesting boxes can be inside instead of external mounted like I use. You've just so many possibilities to arrange it to your needs. With 12x7 I'd run the roosts the 7 foot distance. I like roosts to be same height to eliminate top dog competition for the top roost. My roosts are kept low but if you wanted them higher than provide two at desired height and one intermediate level for transition from floor to top bars. I keep first roost 12-14 inches from wall and next roost 14-16 inches from that. Nesting boxes can be down low but if you don't want to bend over a pole in front for them to get on then walk into nest works well. Nests need to be lower than roosts or they will sleep in nests and poop all over it making for dirty eggs. Why my nest opening are few inches above bedding. Though my coops are on stilts and external access so I don't bend over at all. This is all a coop needs other than good ventilation. The rest is space, space to have food and water if you choose to keep it in the coop (I don't) and space for the birds to move about if you lock them up days. The more space the more options you have like keeping a broody buster in there or keeping feed storage in there etc. I bust broodies in the run, keep feed under coop on stilts and always let the birds out every morning.

    With a 12x7 one of the 7 foot walls can be roosts and the opposite could be full hardware cloth 1/2". As long as it's not the prevailing wind side that would provide ventilation and any draft would not reach the far end roosts. Look at Woods style coops, they have excellent ventilation and are used in New England and farther north into Canada. If I ever built a stationary coop that would be the design.
     
  7. gotro17

    gotro17 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]
    Thanks!!! Here is one from the other day before i cleaned the previous owner's junk out. My greatest asset and concern is building against/using the block wall dividing my neighbor's yard and ours... Thought? I will take some pictures here in a few, once the sun comes up (here in Southern Cal). I'm starting to lean toward an aviary style and would appreciate your (Egghead and others) advice. Thank you in advance!
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015
  8. gotro17

    gotro17 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG][/IMG]
     
  9. gotro17

    gotro17 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]Here is the space- the nesting boxes and solid end will be on the west end (protecting them from our offshore breeze we get daily). They will have the length of the wall to the corner, and another 60ft up the other wall for their run.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015
  10. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    What's the area around you like? Is there water near by, river, creek, marsh? Woodland and meadow nearby?

    I ask as I did a Fish and Game search for California and yes they have some small carnivore, mink, short and long tail weasels. The mink and think it's the short tail are pinned near water and the other weasel is going to like woods and especially woods abutting field. If these criteria aren't near you then your probably good to go with 2x2 welded wire. I can only get 2x4 welded readily and inexpensive in my area but would like the 2x2. Not that there is anything that can get through the larger that can't get through the 2x2 I just like it better, looks uniform and will hold chicks in a little better. 14 ga. wire on that fencing is a good thickness. 19 ga some animals could chew through, stick with 14 gauge. Think skunk, raccoon, fisher cat, fox and the infamous stray dog. These are the killers that can chew through thin wire. Other than that your keeping out hawks and owl and keeping your birds in. I doubt you'll be visited by lion and bobcat but it will keep those out too. Bear? Well, if a bear wants in there ain't much stopping it. I don't even think of building to keep them out just move the feed into garage each night. Had one crush a grow out pen this spring, taught me to stop keeping the hanging feeder in the run quick. Always learning.

    Shop about in your area and online (would think shipping would be devastating) to find local suppliers of fencing wire. I get the 2x4 14ga right from home depot or lowes as I only need 50ft lengths at a time. With the area your thinking of to build you'll need a lot so might find cost friendly long rolls and of greater height than 4ft. For cost comparison I get 50ft of 4ft 14 ga wire in 2x4 welded pattern for bit under $40. The height you can find from a fencing source, might even be a big Agway, and length might change your dimensions a little. So finding the material and options available before building will make things easier for you. The fencing dimensions will dictate some your run/aviary dimensions.

    Am thinking of another post is why I looked up California small carnivore, sorry. Probably same in OK. Excepting the many variety of fox and brown bear it's all the same as Vermont. Well, we don't have ringtail or badger either. But contrary to popular belief we do have lion. Catamount we call them, Fish and Game wont officially declare it. Calls the photos implanted/escaped large cats. If it looks like a mountain lion and you have photos of cubs....uh, I'd say there's a population of mountain lion. The last one was not shot in earl 1900's after all. Think they take that stance to not get folks out hunting them.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2015

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