What a coop needs


9 Years
Oct 7, 2010
I'm new at this and I'm trying to design my own coop. What do you think is important to have in one? Do you have any ideas or suggestions?

roosts up high with a way for them to get up there. I have what I call the chicken ladder, just two boards with shorter board nailed every foot or so across. that way they can easily get up to the roost at night. they like to be up high off the ground. maybe a poop board for under the roosts to make cleaning easier, you just scrape off the board instead of cleaning the floor

nest boxes with some sort of pine litter or straw. (don't use cedar litter)

ventilation. even during the cold months chickens need adequate ventilation or condensation can biuld up on their combs and wattles and cause frostbite.
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I'm new at this and I'm trying to design my own coop. What do you think is important to have in one? Do you have any ideas or suggestions?
I think it really depends on how many chickens you have and where you plan to put it. My set up is very simple, 4X4 box style coop with a 6X12' hoop pen attached. I only have 6 chickens so it's easy for me to bring out water and food daily. Next boxes can be nice but are not necessary. I repurposed an old shelf to use as a duet nest/extra roosts.

http://providence.craigslist.org/grd/2764046879.html This is the coop I bought (the one on the left with the low nest boxes). The next boxes were too small for a full sized chicken so I knocked them off and covered the hole. I think a smaller coop is better in the winter, they can utilize more of their body heat.
You can be simple, you can be more than simple
, depends what you want. Roosts, nest boxes, places for food and water away from roosts. Proper ventilation. Windows. If it's a large coop electricity is nice, atleast 1 light and 1 outlet. Storage areas are nice too. I have pictures of my coops on my page if you need ideas.
You can look up in the Learning Center for some visuals. There are some stickies at the start of this section, Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance, that are full of ideas and tweeks. You have to sort through those to come up with what works for you. Not all ideas will apply.

As has already been said, what you NEED is not much. Some add things to make them cute. Some add things to make them convenient. But the chickens don't care what it looks like or what else is in there once you get past shelter, roosts, nests, a window of some kind for light, a door, and maybe food and water. Anything else is for our convenience or just personal choice.

One thing I will recommend. Make it bigger than you think you need it. I find with more room I have more flexibility to deal with things, the chickens are less likely to have behavioral problems, and I work less hard in taking care of them. Also, when you are building it, most construction items come in 4' or 8' dimensions, so think in those dimensions when you design it. You can probalby build a 8' x 12' for about the same price and with less cutting than a 7' x 11' for example.
My coop is fairly simple or will be once it's done at the moment my flock live in my hubby's shop. My coop when it's done will have 3 windows and one full size door I'm not sure if i will put in a chicken door or not and hopefully a small porch a high perch that spans the coop, the ladder they already use and corner roosts, I'm going to have several enclosed nesting boxes along one wall since the girls seem to prefer covered boxes they love the litter box and rubber matting for the floor and at least one outlet
You might also consider the location of the coop. Having it near your house will give you easier access to electricity and less tromping back and forth with water. Another thought would be storage. Having it right there can be very handy.
Looking at the coops pages here is also very very helpful in planning what you want. You might see some ideas that you had not even thought of. I spent countless hours looking through them for ideas and I must say, I am a smarter builder for having done so.
The one thing very very important is security. You can find some very helpful info if you follow the threads for predators and pests.
I have a page now if you care to look at it.
And most important of all?

I agree the most important thing is ventilation for healthy birds!!! Easy access to collect eggs and to clean, make sure its predator proof, close to electricity if you'll need to have a heated waterer or to run a light, a pop door that opens and closes from the outside of the coop, windows that open for the warm months and cover the opening with hardware cloth are some of the things I like. Just remember you'll be out there every day, make things as convenient as possible. Good luck and have fun!!!

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