Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by dehowery, Oct 17, 2019.

  1. dehowery

    dehowery Chirping

    Feb 13, 2017
    This is our 3rd year of "Chicken farming". I cannot tell you all the things we did wrong over this period of time but I would like to tell you about some of them especially if you are considering raising chickens. When you think about the coop think about "how easy will this be to clean". We did not ! We thought we'll just convert our garden shed to a coop. What a mess ! We thought...lets put down linoleum flooring... and we can just come in and use a hose to clean it out OH NO! Once you put down that flooring you are opening up yourself for a life time of worry. Once there is any kind of a tear or even just a bubble under the floor the chickens find it. Not only will they tear up the flooring but they will also eat said flooring (which I am sure can't be good for them). And that idea of using the hose... I did that once and the mess was unbelieveable . So we laid down straw (the straw system) and that helped a bit untill they figured it was still there under the straw. The straw mounted up TO ABOUT 1.5 FT in a month and hauling it out was an all day back breaking job. We tried the sand system which didn't work because they kept finding the flooring. So now we have gone to a system of extra smaller boards under the roosts w/a small coating of sand. I empty these twice a week. It takes about and hour and is stinky work. Speaking of roosts we just made ours without "thinking" about how they sat on them. Our first set of roosts is up too high. the maximum height should have been about 3 ft. ours is closer to 5ft. plus we didn't leave any room for them to fly down. We thought they would jump down to the next lower roost and so on until they hit the bottom roost and then the floor. So every morning I grab them and place them down on the floor. On top of that we didn't leave enough space between the tiers. So the girls at the top poop on the next row of roosts under them. So we always have hens with poop on them. Not good. And you would think that when we had the second set of roosts built for us we would have kept this in mind... We didn't . They do however have more space to jump down onto the floor. But still we didn't offset the roost part far enough apart to eliminate the pooping problem. We did however make the hens a ladder which a few of them use but not all. the reason for the top roost not being over 3 ft is it stops the hens from problems like bumblefoot, sprained ankles/toes, Broken legs etc. Also if the offset is far enough apart you don't really need that height. We have (29 hens 16 of which are just 5 mos old) They have begun to lay. We have 2 girls we know for sure that are not laying BUT DO WE get rid of them? NO! That's Big Red & Lacey how can we get rid of the head of the flock and one of the Prettiest hens we ever had. That's another thing once you name them they are part of the family and it's really hard to kill them or even give them away. I am relating this story for the new people who are thinking about starting the wonderful world of eggs. It is very rewarding because the eggs are GREAT! The hens are like your second family ( they all have their little personalities) and they need almost as much care. Just remember when 7:00 am rolls around every morning it's your job to go out and let them out of the coop and feed them. That's everyday , every week, every month, every year... They are a commitment be sure your ready to make it. For those of us who did we couldn't think about not
    raising hens.

    big red- buffy.jpg
  2. FortCluck

    FortCluck Crowing

    Sep 9, 2019
    Central Virginia
    Thank you for sharing this. We have learned a lot of what not to do along the way as well. One thing we learned is to start small so you're not overwhelmed with too many chickens. We started small and worked out way up, I have seen others do the opposite and have learned from them.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
  3. chickenlittle21

    chickenlittle21 Chirping

    Aug 22, 2019
    Palm City, Florida
  4. Xerocles

    Xerocles Songster

    May 22, 2019
    Clinton (piedmont) S.C.
    [QUOTE="FortCluck, post: 21857472, member: 549867] One thing we learned is to start small so you're not overwhelmed with too many chickens.[/QUOTE]
    Right you are. Absolutely! About the number of chickens you start with. But if I may add...just the opposite for your coop/run. Whatever you have in mind...it's too small. 4 sq ft/bird in the coop? Nope! Chicken math will get you every time. Got a size in mind that you think is generous? Double it! I have yet to read where ANYBODY has said "I just built my coop too big." But this site is replete with cries of "I need a bigger coop/run".
  5. Skippersnh

    Skippersnh Songster

    Oct 14, 2019
    I have 3 chickens
  6. HopeSprings

    HopeSprings Songster

    Feb 3, 2019
    Weaverville, NC
    I got my first ever chicks in May. I found this site in February and poured over it, taking notes and altering my shed-coop (shoop) plan. I had poop boards (actually sand filled trays) built -- easily sifted in minutes every morning. I love the vinyl flooring that I covered the floors and walls with -- so clean. And the report on roosts is the reason my girls are happily perched on 2x4s set sideways. And I credit my Fort Knox-like, hardware cloth enclosed run to this site!
    I must say that the hinged ramp and floor-level window for clean out were my ideas! 84C907E4-C44A-4679-A678-117E7B29E9AF.jpeg
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    HopeSprings likes this.
  8. sorce

    sorce Songster

    Aug 26, 2019
    Recently went on a camping trip with the Scouts. My 2 kids and I in a 3person tent had the entire inside wet from our breathing, it was about 34degreesF outside.

    Even with a good steady 18mph wind blowing past the raingaurd, soaked.

    Made me think about the chicks.

    The bigger the better far as coop goes.

    rosemarythyme likes this.
  9. chickenlittle21

    chickenlittle21 Chirping

    Aug 22, 2019
    Palm City, Florida
    I have 13
  10. harmonyp

    harmonyp Songster

    May 25, 2013
    N. California
    I started out with a 6' x 6' x 16' enclosed run area, with 6' x 4' coop inside.Then I built out a 20' x 30' pen enclosing it all. Perfect for 6 chickens. For a little over 6 years I didn't get sucked in by chicken math.

    Then at 6/7 years, I lost my remaining 3 lovelies to coyotes and was devastated. After going back and forth on whether to get more chickens (for the first 2 days after the incident - it was a "duh" after that), I - overcompensated. I was going to get 8-10 - wanted enough "in case" anything happened. But I also wanted to try out so many new breeds. That 8-10 turned into 17. So much for my having enough room.

    For the past 6 months I've been building everything out. I'm at least glad the predator-proof coop/run enclosure was large enough to transform completely into a coop, so I pat myself a little bit for, hmmm, having good luck. But - all this remodeling is a LOT of work.

    Learn from all of us - if you can - go MUCH bigger than you think you need - you'll be happier in the long run!

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