What kind of coop should we have?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by smileysjs1, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. smileysjs1

    smileysjs1 In the Brooder

    Jun 12, 2008
    We live on 1/2 acre in a semi rural town. My backyard is fenced in and my 3 dogs have access to it. I would like the chicks to be free range. The yard has lots of slopes and doesn't have many level areas. I was thinking that a chick chalet looked nice. We'll have three chicks but I want it to big enough in case I want a few more. I like the idea of a walk in coop though. Should I have a run? A shed would be too big, right? Or what about those a-frame tractor coops? I thought you had to have flooring to prevent predators? My husband works weigh too much and I homeschool so if we're building something it would need to be pretty easy. My husband has a carpenter friend though who could probably build something really nice for us but where can I find coop plans?
  2. orionburn

    orionburn Songster

    Jul 24, 2008
    South Bend, IN
    I'm guessing you already looked through here? - https://www.backyardchickens.com/coopdesigns.html

    I had no clue what I was doing when I built our coop. Started off with 4 4x4s as corner posts and kind of figured it out as I went. I'm sure if you showed some of the pictures on the coop page he'd have a general idea of what to build.

    IMO I'd make it larger than you need at the moment in case you do decide to get more. That's the boat I'm in now - having to add onto our existing coop to make room for the new girls coming in soon.
  3. scooter147

    scooter147 Songster

    Jul 30, 2008
    You don't say if you already have a shed on the property, if you do you could easily section off a area inside the shed with chicken wire and cut in a pop door for the chickens. With only three chickens a 15 square foot area would work. If you want to add more chickens you can easlier expand inside the shed or use the entire shed for the chickens. If you do have a shed you will also need proper venilation and at least one window.

    As far as dogs, this is a case by case basis. I have always had dogs and chickens and have never had a problem with my dogs killing my chickens. They simply learn the chickens are part of the "pack" and not play toys.
    Free ranging, as you probably know by reading post here there are dangers to free ranging. I would definately consider a run for times that the chickens need to be in a enclosed area.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2008
  4. simba49450

    simba49450 Songster

    May 23, 2008
    hi there

    what i have done is i got a dog kennel and i use it for thier run, and thier housing in the summer and it works great. plus i put chicken wire around that and i have a top on it and never had a prob with preds. i live in the country and preds are everywhere. if you have a building or build a box or retangular box with a window etc. it doesnt have to be fancy just practical and you could always landscape around it later. the chickens dont care of what it looks like. i have 3 right now and thier coop is 7x4 with a window and screen with the top hinged so i can clean easily. i dont have a lot of time either so it works great. and if you like you can paint and put a sealant on the outside. its just a thought.
  5. pdpatch

    pdpatch Songster

    Apr 5, 2008
    Hastings, Nebraska
    The first item in selecting a coop design is how many Poultry will reside in it.

    Next would be if you want it portable, you have already kind of hinted that you would like one portable.

    Next it the tearain if will be on, Since you said it kind of uneven in the are you would have to it.

    Most likely some sort of a smaller two story design may be best. That has wheels under it so it can be moved around.

    Next step agonize over the many design you see here on BYC, trying to decide which one works best for you.

    There are not to many chicken coops plans, for small coops around for free. There is several sites that do sale plans for small coops. Most likely someone who is a carpenter can take the photo's and build something, since all good coops use the same basic tequinics to build any wooden structure.

  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:I would say definitely Yes. Even if you think you're going to let them 'free-range' your fenced backyard, there are quite likely to be times when it is unsafe or unwise to have them loose. A run will prevent you from having to lock them into the henhouse for long periods at those times.

    A shed would be too big, right?

    Nah, there is no such thing as 'too big' for chickens, except in a zoning or budgetary sense [​IMG] Really, the more room you can provide, the better; plus it provides leeway for future expansion if you decide you really like chickens [​IMG]

    There is an awful lot to be said for having a walk-in coop. Especially if you are not legally restricted to just 3-4 chickens and therefore mght get more in the future; and also if you live in an area that gets significant snow (or even just lotsa rain). It makes your life a LOT easier than with a short, reach-in-only coop.

    Either you can build a coop per se or if there is anything else you've been yearning for a shed for you could build a larger structure (zoning permitting) and section off part of it for the chickens.

    Or what about those a-frame tractor coops

    A-frames are not ideal - you really do not get very much usable space for your buck. Their main advantage is they look kinda cool [​IMG] It takes little or no extra material to build a box-style tractor that the chickens will have more space in. Although frankly I think a fixed coop and run is more practical for a small suburban backyard, and almost essential if you live somewhere with really cold winters.

    I thought you had to have flooring to prevent predators?

    If you mean for the run part of the tractor, no... instead you have a skirt of wire mesh that extends out 1-2' on the ground all around the base of the tractor. Predators generally try to dig in from the closest point, and they cna't dig thru 1" welded wire mesh or whatever you're using [​IMG]

    If you mean for the house part of the tractor, yes, the house part of the tractor generally has a solid floor. Some people in very very hot climates use wire floors, which has ventilation advantages and the poo can just be hosed right thru, although the wire can be hard on a chicken's feet.

    My husband works weigh too much and I homeschool so if we're building something it would need to be pretty easy. My husband has a carpenter friend though who could probably build something really nice for us but where can I find coop plans?

    If the carpenter is going to build it for you, you really don't need plans, just a reasonable set of photos and some general dimensions.

    If you're going to build it yourself, there are plans available for a *few* small coops online, or you can look at a set of photos and work the plans out yourself, or you can get commercial plans for a small playhouse or shed (available at hardware stores, in library books, etc) and just make the very minor adaptations necessary for it to house chickens.

    For simple DIY, I recommend you choose something simple, boxlike, with a shed roof (just single slope, no point at top), and based as much as possible on the natural dimensions of plywood or easy cuts thereof, e.g. 4x8x4 or 8x8x6.

    If you browse around here more, esp. looking at peoples coop design personal pages on this site, I betcha you will form a more definite idea of what you do/don't want, and how to achieve it [​IMG]

    Have fun,

  7. smileysjs1

    smileysjs1 In the Brooder

    Jun 12, 2008
    Thanks for all the replies! Dh is getting off early today so I'll have him look with me at the coop pictures. What's some really great dimensions to have? I know we can chickens but i don't know if there is a limit. How can I find that out?
  8. scooter147

    scooter147 Songster

    Jul 30, 2008
    To find out how many chickens I could have in my town I checked the towns website. I went to the search bar and typed in poultry.

    When I checked I did find out other restrictions I had to adbid by. For example, any point of the coop/enclosure had to be 175 feet from any point of my neighbors house and 75 feet from their property line.
    Fortunetly, I our lots are 3 acres so meeting these restrictions was not hard.
  9. smileysjs1

    smileysjs1 In the Brooder

    Jun 12, 2008
    I found one of those playhouses at Lowe's for $74.75 so I went ahead and bought that. I was thinking of putting one of the walls that has a window area upside down and use it as door the chicks to get in and out. The other window I might cover with plexiglass or hardware cloth. Would a run with these dimensions be ok: 4hx6L? It doesn't have floor but we're going to put down some wood with either lineoleum or vinyl and then cover that with pine shavings. I want to make the nest box come out of the back for easy pick up. Then I can use either 2x2 or 2x4 for the roost and put that above the nest box right? Its kinda small inside so I'm not sure where I'm going to hang up the hanging feeder. For the run I plan to have it covered in hardware cloth. Oh and maybe I can put like a shelf close the the roof for storage.

    Does this sound okay? What else am I missing?
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2008

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