What size coop would you suggest? (update)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by KDOGG331, Dec 29, 2014.

  1. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    Edit: plan on the 5th page


    I'm hoping somebody could help me decide on a coop size and possibly even design.

    I'm hoping to get chickens this upcoming spring, if I can convince my parents. I know I had said I was getting them this past spring but for various reasons that didn't happen. This year, however, I'm hoping to have a job by then (might be working for my brother's friend at a dog daycare place. She has one but it's at her house, starting in February she's going to be renting a place) and my license or at least my permit so it should be a little more feasible.

    It's also my 21st birthday in March so I'm HOPING I can swing that card, since it's a pretty big birthday and I don't drink anyways, but we'll see.

    So ANYWAYS...

    If I DO get the chicks, I'll obviously need a coop and that's where I'm hoping you guys will be able to help.

    I want about 10-15 chickens, just because I want about 5 breeds and about 2 of each (early chicken math xD LOL), but my parents only want like 5 I think. Buuuuttt.. most hatchery minimums are 15 so hoping they'll be okay. (that's another question I have, where to get them, I'll make another post)

    Soo..

    I would need the coop to be able to hold at least 15 chickens, preferably more, but at the same time, I don't think my parents want some huge unsightly thing.

    Thinking about it, 15 is kind of a lot, especially at first, but I still want them to have plenty of room, even if we get less birds.

    We have almost 3 acres but most of that is woods but we could easily make room for a coop right off the yard, if not actually IN the yard, and I have a few places in mind for the coop.

    I think we would also need a run but I'm also not sure we'd have the room for a large run without it being in the way and I plan to free range them anyways, if possible.

    I keep seeing ads for coops, on Craigslist and the like, like this one: http://southcoast.craigslist.org/grd/4765112152.html, that are fairly tiny (3x6 or wahtever) yet supposedly hold 11-15 chickens, or are honest and hold less but are $1500, or made of cedar or what have you, so I believe we want to build our own rather than buy it.

    I assume it would be cheaper.

    Another thing is that, after thinking about it a lot today and last night, I've realized I think I would possibly prefer one where I could walk in. It seems to me it would be easier to clean and do chores, easier for me to spend time with the birds, and, from what I've gathered, easier to have ventilation above their heads, but I understand if having a walk-in coop is not feasible or not recommended.

    Preferably it would be under $200-$300 but I understand that with all the amenities I want, such as a walk-in (aka bigger) coop, gable vents, etc., it might end up being quite about more. Therefore, I am prepared to save up or ask my parents to spend more, but preferably it would still be under $500 or $1000.

    Thank you in advance for any help you may be able to provide.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2015
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

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    With 15 birds, your minimum coop size would be 60 square feet, which allows 4 square feet per bird, which is minimum recommended. With a run, the minimum recommended is 10 square feet per bird, so that would be a 150 square foot run. With a coop that size, that you want to be able to walk into, and also keep under $300, I would think you would want to look into something like a hoop coop. My coop is a hoop coop, and if you click on "My Coop" under my avatar, you can see mine and how it was built. Mine uses three cattle panels, but for your amount of birds, two panels would work. They are also fairly portable and easy to move and take down, which might score points with your parents if they are worried about having a huge coop around forever after you build it.

    I also want to add that if you want chickens, you are definitely going to need a job. On top of the expense of the coop itself, and then the birds, you're going to need a lot more stuff to get going. You'll need feed, which is usually at least $15 for a 50 pound bag depending on the brand and where you get it. If you're raising them from chicks, you'll also need a heat lamp, a brooder, and special chick feed which costs more than layer feed. You'll also need to buy bedding to change the coop when necessary. So unless your parents are willing to spend probably around 30 or 40 dollars a month each month after you get them, depending on how much feed and bedding your flock go through, you will definitely need a job to support them. You may be planning on egg sales to help with the cost but remember, it takes about six months for the birds to start laying. But it can be done. I'm a 21 year old college student working part time and I can manage all my birds, so don't give up hope!
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2014
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  3. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    FACT: Most coop builders grossly over claim capacity... More room is generally always better, so if they say it can house 10 chickens assume it can realistically house 3-4 comfortably... Also consider that coop size is only one factor, with a big run or free range the coop does not necessary have to be as large to comfortably house them...

    There are are lot of DIY cheaper options, either built from scratch or re-purposing a shed or what not...

    Also, unless you get a lot of free stuff or dirt cheap 2nd hand stuff, $200-$300 isn't going to go far in building a coop and run... Sorry to be blunt about that but I now how fast you can drop $100s on just the basic building supplies like hardware wire for a run... That isn't to say if you are resourceful you can't do it on the cheap, lots of people do wonders with free stuff like skids and stuff they found laying around...

    I would personally suggest you keep an eye out for used sheds in your area if you want to save a buck initially, they provide a cheap and easy way to get a basic structure to build upon...
     
  4. Kikiriki

    Kikiriki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So what are your weather extremes? Cold? Snow? Heat over 95? Humid or arid?
    Is the property fenced? These all play into your coop design.

    If your folks like to keep the yard nice close by the house, you do not want the coop there. I had 3 chickens (2 now) that destroy any plant they like, move dirt and mulch like bulldozers, and leave holes everywhere they go. I 'used to' have a nice yard! They will do okay at the edge of the wooded area.

    Do you have a plan for what to do with all those extra eggs?

    Personally, I think 15 is a lot to start out with. If you have fewer, you will get to know them better. If you have a problem, you probably won't lose as many in one fell swoop.

    Pick your two favorite breeds, go the breed threads here, and get recommendations for where to get high quality birds with good personalities.

    Your enthusiasm is wonderful, but if you get a job, your parents will be left with responsibility for birds they did not want in such a large quantity, no? You can always expand later.
     
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  5. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pyxis gave you good advice on the size of a needed coop.
    Here are some thoughts I had. Start with the biggest coop you can. You're always going to want more chickens. Chicken math, you know.
    But on the number of chickens, you can start with a smaller number and add more as you feel the need. And decide which breeds are your favorite. You mentioned 15 being the minimum number for shipping.
    Some suggestions. Depending on where you live My Pet Chicken will ship as few as three chicks. Where I live four is needed, but I never got that few.
    Perhaps you could combine your order with another person or two to make the minimum shipment. Sometimes local feed stores and hatcheries will sell less if you pick up.
    Did you want birds for meat or eggs? Unless you want extra eggs to sell, six laying hens should provide enough eggs for a family. When I first started in chickens four hens provided enough eggs for our family. (But that didn't stop me from getting more.)
     
  6. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    That's pretty big but luckily not as big as I had though, I was thinking I'd need this massive thing xD That's a good idea about the hoop coop though, I'll have to look into that. Do you think it would be ventilated enough and/or warm enough for winter?

    Yeah, I think maybe I should probably get the job first. I'm sure they wouldn't mind at first, as long as I was looking for one or working on something else, like my license, but I should have a plan. You're right though, I do plan on starting as chicks and selling the eggs but I had forgotten how long it took. But really? Wow that's awesome! thanks :)
     
  7. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

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    I have a hoop coop up here in Vermont, and it works very well during the winter. It's really strong too and can hold a ton of snow. In the last big storm, we had three huge tree branches come down on it along with all the snow, and there was no damage whatsoever. It didn't even bow in a tiny bit. So yes, they do hold up well to winter :)
     
  8. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    Yeah, I'm starting to notice a trend with that :/ that's true though

    Yeah, I don't think it would last very long xD I'm hoping though to look for free or cheap things but I'd imagine some things like hardware clothe and whatnot would get expensive fast.

    The shed ideas a good idea though, I'll tryto find some
     
  9. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    I live in Massachusetts so relatively mild but we do get a decent amount of snow and it's usually in the 80s and 90s here, sometimes higher, in the summer, so pretty hot too. It's not fenced but we plan on fencing it I think.

    THat's true about the yard and holes, i hadn't really thought about that before.

    We're planning on selling them or giving them away.

    I think you're right, I should probably start with fewer then add more later but I was worried about introducing them too.
     
  10. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    Thanks for the info :)

    I think I'll search around, maybe I could get them from a local feedstore. We know a guy that works at one of them so I'll ask.

    We're planning on just having them for eggs and possibly selling or giving away some.
     

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