What are your suggestions for a good first coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by allisonandbrian, Mar 2, 2009.

  1. allisonandbrian

    allisonandbrian Hatching

    Mar 1, 2009

    My fiance and I are newbies....

    We are thinking of building our own coop and so far (I've looked through all of your great pictures) the playhouse coop seems like it might "have it all".

    Have any of you built this one and had bad luck with it? Good luck? Feel strongly that your coop design is the way to go?

    Because it is our first time, we liked the fact that we could obtain the plans for this one... we need specifics.

    Thanks for your input!

    Allison and Brian

  2. briteday

    briteday Songster

    Dec 16, 2008
    Northern NV
    My tidbit, after throwing something together at the last minute last Fall...

    Put the roosts away from the nest and food / water. Otherwise you get poop in places you would rather not have it. Also arrange the furnishings so that the hens do not walk through the poop under the roosts to get to the nest box, usually placed lower than the roosts. The pathway from the pop door to the nest box should not have roosts over it.

    I like the food, water, oyster shell feeders to be easy to reach for re-filling and cleaning. Also place the nest where you can easily check for eggs. Lastly, try to have some sort of sill where you open the coop so the bedding doesn't come flying out. The pop door should be a bit up off the floor as well so the bedding doesn't go out of the coop and get stuck in the pop door opening, making things difficult to close at night.
  3. Renee

    Renee Songster

    May 7, 2008

    Hi Allison and Brian!
    I love my playhouse-style coop. It is the perfect size for my three hens, but it could hold three more in our climate in Southern California.

    I think it is a pretty coop, and it can be made with whatever materials you can afford, from mahogany siding to OSB. You can roof it with anything from slate shingles to corrugated fiberglass, you can build a storage unit under the henhouse or leave it open, you can build the run as long as you like, and you can add pop-holes, windows, vents, doors, egg boxes to your heart's content.

    It's easy to clean since you do not have to climb in or bend over.

    Take a look at my page to see how we adapted it to our purposes, and welcome to the fun!
  4. HappyHatch'en

    HappyHatch'en Songster

    Jan 31, 2009
    I think some of the challenge is how cheap can you build a coop? Not just the planning stage, Good Luck
  5. flopshot

    flopshot Songster

    Feb 17, 2009
    try to have a plan before you start.
    don't skimp on the important things like the foundation and roof design. check with a local lumber yard ( not big box stores ) for "gray" lumber and warp or twisted lumber. the gray works fine for anything and the warped and twisted can be cut for bracing or form work at a good savings. check for local building material recylclers for windows, doors, etc. we have a Habitat for Humanity store that's great. decide on how large a flock you want and overbuild by at least 20 %. if you can, pick a spot that will allow for expansion later on.
  6. ShadyGlade

    ShadyGlade Songster


    I concur with the over build but I fear 20% is too low an estimate. I knew that we only needed half a dozen hens seven years ago. . .
  7. Oceanseve

    Oceanseve Songster

    May 23, 2008
    Guthrie, OK
    Yep just as the last two said, build bigger, much bigger. We built ours mostly out of a neighbor's old fence panels, 2x4s we happened to have around, and a dog house. We scavanged chicken wire from family members. Ours is big enough for 4 in theory, this year we ordered 18..... [​IMG] Sooooo we are having to build another...... I don't know why we ordered 18, I think we are hoping to end up with 9...... but I still don't know where we will put them all.... [​IMG]

    And whats really sad is had the feed stores gotten their chics in february like they were supposed to I probably would have bought some of those, knowing we had already ordered too many.... chicken fever is evil and strong.....
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2009

  8. kitchwitch

    kitchwitch Songster

    Feb 3, 2009
    Greensburg, Pa
    do you need to have a pretty coop?

    If you're looking to cut costs and have the opportunity and are creative enough you can scavenge a lot of materials to make a coop.

    However, if you need to have something nice to look at it may be worth spending the money on a playhouse and converting it.

    DBF and I were going to build our own but we went out today and bought one so we can build it quickly and it will look nice (his concern, not mine...lol).

    Sam's had one for $300 , it's cedar, which apparently is a big no-no but DBF is going to retreat it inside and out in an effort to cut down on harmful fumes. we're putting nesting boxes in the back where there is a large opening, and we're going to put plexiglass in the 'windows'.

    If you have time I'd scour craigslist for playhouses and see if you can find something.
  9. Start out with a good plan. I know that is not very specific, buy do as much research as you can. When you make your plan, try to think about how you will grow over time. A couple of specific things to think about: make it convient for you to clean out. My coop is off of the ground high enough where I can get a big rubbermaid tub under the doors. It is very simple to scrape out the litter and haul it off. If you can, get a permenant power supply to your coop. You can have an outlet and a light. This will help with egg production in the winter. The outlet will make it easy to run power tools when you are expanding your coop. Have fun!

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