What Kind of Coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by emilyc03, Mar 7, 2016.

  1. emilyc03

    emilyc03 New Egg

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    Mar 7, 2016
    Monterey CA
    Hello there! As I've said before, I'm going to begin raising chicks in April or May. They'll probably be Buff Orphingtons. I plan to adopt 3-4 of them. Maybe 5. I'll likely use Rubbermaid tubs for a starting brooder, but what about the coop? I'd prefer that it have a run due to the fact that I have a dog who loves playing outside and has never seen a chicken in her life. I will let the chickens outside to forage when my dog isn't there as well. I have pretty much NO carpentry skills, so I'll probably end up buying. Here's my overall questions.

    1. How big should it be?

    2. How much will it cost?

    3. Are there any specific models you recommend for the amount of chickens I'll have?

    4. When do I move the chicks from the brooder?

    Sorry, I'm a complete newbie! I've done research, but I'd love to hear personal opinions from you guys. Thanks!
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Africa - near the equator
    Hi again,

    From what i have seen and read, most shop bought coops are:
    1. too small to accommodate the number of chickens claimed
    2. made from poor quality materials
    3. very expensive (relative to the above two points).

    Like you, I am no DIY person. It may be worth checking out prefab garden sheds (preferably wood) and even looking for second-hand ones. I use an existing garden shed and it works fine for me. If you get a shed (or whatever you choose) cheaply, then you could possibly consider putting more money into the run area. If you choose a shed, it will give you space to increase your flock (inevitable), store their food and other sundry items, let you walk in - makes cleaning easier etc.

    I'd suggest looking at the coop section maybe that might give you some idea of what other people have done.

    Remember, the structure doesn't have to be pretty - just has to be comfortable for your chickens! Whatever you choose, please read up on ventilation.

    Good luck
    CT
     
  3. Jensownzoo

    Jensownzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Saint Louis, MO
    Yeah, I looked at a LOT of pre-fab coops...they looked pretty, but it was all style no substance. You'll end up replacing the coop in a year, easy.

    For the same money, you could probably hire a handyperson to built you a custom one.
     
  4. emilyc03

    emilyc03 New Egg

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    Mar 7, 2016
    Monterey CA
    That's what I was noticing about a lot of the coops for sale, is that they look either overpriced or unsuitable for the chickens. =(
    I'll look into hiring someone, or like CT said, attempting to construct a coop and run from a shed. Thank you guys so much for the help!
     
  5. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Africa - near the equator
    You are most welcome and good luck!
    Ct
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Some good questions. Some are hard to answer definitively.

    1. How big should it be?
    This is a huge question. There are so many variables in flock make-up, management techniques, climate, and so many other things there is no easy answer. You might follow the link in my signature to get an idea on some of those variables, but I can’t give you a quick and easy answer.

    Your climate is going to be really nice for you and the chickens. If you limit yourself to five chickens and all of them hens, never let a hen hatch or raise chicks with the flock, and never integrate new chickens, you will probably be OK with a 4’ x 6’ elevated coop with an attached run, maybe 6’ x 8’ minimum. The area under the coop will be extra. You might have some poop management issues in something that small but you should be able to manage. If you look in the “coops” section at the top of this page you might find something with plans you like. If you can go bigger it won’t hurt.

    2. How much will it cost?
    But if you go bigger it costs more. How much will it cost you? I have no idea. But you can almost always build a better coop for less money than one you buy pre-made. There are a few decent ones out there, but very few.

    3. Are there any specific models you recommend for the amount of chickens I'll have?
    My personal preference is for a walk-in coop, but my goals and flock make-up are quite different from yours. You’ll probably be happiest with a small elevated coop.

    4. When do I move the chicks from the brooder?
    You don’t like to ask any easy questions do you? Good for you! It depends on your climate and time of year. If you have reliable electricity in the coop they can go there straight from the incubator, feed store, or post office. The coop can be your incubator. My brooder is in the coop.

    Most chicks are fully feathered at 4 to 5 weeks and can go outside at that time. I’ve seen a broody hen wean her chicks at three weeks in the summer. They were totally on their own and were fine. In a really hot summer I turned the heat off totally in the outside brooder, day and night, by 5 days. It does vary a lot but where you are, five weeks for sure, four weeks probably.
     

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