What are the 1 or 2 most important things you would tell me for my new coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by DreamsInPink, Mar 7, 2016.

  1. DreamsInPink

    DreamsInPink Songster

    Ok, we are a chicken coop build GO! [​IMG] We laid out the outline of the coop today. 10 x 20.

    1. What are some of the most important things you've learned by trial and error?

    2. What tips and tricks have you learned along the way?

    3. What would you do differently if you were just starting out and know what you know now?

    I look forward to hearing what ya'll have to say! I'm SO excited! [​IMG]
  2. chicklover 1998

    chicklover 1998 Songster

    Sep 30, 2015
    Give yourself as much floor space as possible, you can put the nest boxes on a short wall and then do a poop board over them with the roost above that. Make sure that your birds have as much space as possible have a min of 4 sq. ft of space per bird, and if you do a run a good thing to think of is a 10 ft min for there. Have 1 nesting box per 2-3 birds(They may all use one but the option is good) you can go more or less but for that size of coop you can have 50 birds so that would be about 20 nest boxes, you could do a 10 over 10set up if you do them 1X1X1 sq. ft then the poop board would be 1 ft under you lowest roost so your lowest roost would be 3 ft and if you went with staggered roosts you could have about 3 and the highest could be 5 ft and that would give you about 30 ft of roosting space. if you do deep bedding and a poop board, with cleaning the poop board off at least once a week, your bedding could last up to two years, if they free ranged most of the time.
  3. DreamsInPink

    DreamsInPink Songster

    I'm actually not sure I'm going to do a poop board now. I was thinking about it, but I've read a lot of information stating chickens much prefer varied heights of roosts, instead of all one height. But you mention a poop board with staggering roost heights.... so, that might actually work. Except the poop boar would be pretty low to clean. How much room is needed between roosts, height and depth? Is 12" enough?

    Is 1X1X1 sufficient room for nesting boxes? I think 1:3 is more than necessary. From the reading I've done, it's more like 1:5 or less. And we aren't going to have 50 laying hens. There will be more meat chickens than anything, and from what I understand, they don't need nesting boxes.

    I'm going to be doing a non chicken area, for storage of feed, extra bedding and where the electricity will be run into the coop. Not very big, probably about 3.5 x 8... maybe. I haven't figured out the particulars yet. But I'm planning on having it on the long side. Human door centered, storage area to the right.... and I'd like to put the nesting boxes on that inside wall.. so we can collect the eggs from the storage area. That way we don't have to worry about making it water tight etc on the outside... but we also don't have to enter the chicken area to gather eggs.

    Our run is going to be huge... I'm not sure of the measurements. It's part of our old garden area from last year. :) So that should make the chickens very happy!

  4. DreamsInPink

    DreamsInPink Songster

    What the heck!!! My post is blank.... Omg. [​IMG] I just spent the last 10 minutes replying.... Ugh. How frustrating.

    But thank you for replying @chicklover 1998 !!!
  5. mechanic57

    mechanic57 Songster

    Aug 23, 2014
    My advice would be to make sure there are no flat surfaces besides the floor and poop boards. Chickens will get on top of anything and everything. Once on top of it, they will poop on it.

    Next I'd say to make sure you have proper ventilation for your coop. Their feathers will keep them warm when its cold out (just like all wild birds that live outside all winter) but you need to vent the coop without creating a draft that lets the air blow on them. You want the opens to be up above the roosts, not right at the same level as the roost. This way, in the winter, when the nights are longer and colder, and the birds spend more time inside the coop pooping (mine don't go outside when it snows), the coop can have good air exchange without cold air blowing in right on the birds causing frost bite. Chickens produce a LOT of moisture. In a poorly ventilated coop, their combs and wattles are easily susceptible to frost bite in colder temps if there is a lot of humidity building up in the coop.
  6. DreamsInPink

    DreamsInPink Songster

    Thank you for that.... I'm wondering how I can keep the top of my nesting boxes from being flat...? Other than there, I can't think of any other flat surfaces, besides the floor... I'm not even totally sure I'm doing a poop board. I may just have a hatch door that opens up under the roosts, so I can reach in with a rake and scrape out whatever waste there is there.

    As for ventilation, I have asked and there doesn't seem to be a hard, set rule for how much is needed. I do appreciate your input, telling me that it needs to be above the roosts. I'm going to have windows that open from the outside. Mostly just cut outs in the wall, secured with hardware cloth with shutter type closures on the outside. I'll open these daily as long as weather permits... Is it ok to leave these open overnight during the summer? What about outside humidity and nighttime dew levels? Is that something I need to worry about?
  7. ccrow

    ccrow Songster

    May 6, 2010
    Southern Maine
    In my coop, DH put the board over the nest boxes at an angle so they can't sit on it(although they occasionally try, lol). I don't have a poop board, I just pick up the night's droppings in the morning when I let them out of the coop. (I use a large dustpan and a kid's rake:)) I use pine shavings on the floor. There are two windows; in the winter I have one of them open just a little; if it's really cold, like below zero, I close it overnight. During the summer I have the windows open all the way 24/7, unless maybe during torrential rain. If you have your shutters open upward, I should think they would keep rain out pretty well.
  8. DreamsInPink

    DreamsInPink Songster

    Ok, yeah, that would work... thank you!!

    I'm really torn about whether or not I want a poop board. I think a hatch door under the roosts would work just as well. Scrape it out onto a tarp laying on the ground and drag it over to the garden compost pile... Right? [​IMG] I'm also planning on using pine shavings.. but man, that's going to be a LOT of bedding. Eesh.

    Thanks for the info on the ventilation. Some of the windows are going to open up... but the one on the front is going to have traditional looking shutters... one on each side...
  9. HennyPenny2

    HennyPenny2 Songster

    We just recently did a coop and run makeover. With the addition of some new hens and now ducks I knew there were things that I wanted to change with our existing coop and run. My coop is a custom built long shed that we had made but took 12' of it at the end partitioned it off for the coop part. It is 8x12. Things I would have done differently and did when we redid it was as follows:
    1. Add a 1x6 guard around the door to keep bedding in and out of the run and allow easier access when opening and shutting the people door (the door in in the run in my set up) This works wonders especially if using pine shavings. Can also use even a 2x4 at the chickens door too.
    2. Bedding- well this one isn't exactly what I would do different just what I have used pros and cons. I first had a small little coop with attached run, that's was before I understood chicken math. I had shavings in it which made a mess in the sand run area and found I had a harder time cleaning it in the original set up. Built the larger shed/coop and this time used sand both in and outside the coop. I put down heavy plastic liner and a thick amount of sand. Had that for years and loved it. For the most part all I had to do was sift it out, stayed cool (I live in the south) and kept things dry, just added barn lime and DE now and then mostly in summer to keep down odor and any possible bugs. After awhile (a year or two) it needs to be all replaced and new sand added and this is what I didn't care for. I'm now back to shavings with the door guard to keep it away from the door, I may go back to sand we shall see.
    3. Do yourself a huge favor if you can and make a "litter box" under the roosts and use PDZ if you can or a combo of it and sand or even just sand. It makes a world of difference. I just built one waste high and filled with 2 bags of PDZ (used to keep ammonia down in horse stalls) and I love it! Use a cat scoop to clean and it's not only a snap keeps it dry and no odor. Having it waste high makes no bending and with a bad back this is great for me. The area underneath can either be used to hang there food and water creating more space or you can add chicken wire and a small door to house injured birds or broody hens or whatever. Great use of space!
    4. I white washed the inside this year and what a difference it made in terms of light which is good for your hens. It doesn't have to be white wash although it's cheap and easy to make and apply, it can be paint but the white inside really brightens the space up and for me in a shaded area that was important. Which I did that years ago.
    5. Not really part of the coop per say but get your girls started on nipple waterers, oh how I love it, keeps there water so clean!
    Good luck!! Show pictures when you are done! [​IMG][​IMG]
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
  10. ccrow

    ccrow Songster

    May 6, 2010
    Southern Maine
    My coop is app. half that size, maybe a tad bit smaller? I forget, and I'm not going to go measure it, lol. I probably use 1/2-2/3 of a bale when I clean the whole thing out. So you'd need maybe 1 1/2 or so? I used to 'recycle' by putting the shavings from the nest boxes onto the floor, since they're usually fairly poop-free, but now that I'm battling mites, I just throw it all out on the pile in back of the coop. I find if I pick up the overnight droppings, it stays fairly clean in there, unless the weather is bad and they don't want to be outside.

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