You would have done what different with your coup?

igorsMistress

In the middle
Premium member
6 Years
Apr 9, 2013
13,509
63,865
1,322
My Coop
My Coop
I ended up getting rid of poop boards and sticking with deep litter in the coop. No scooping every day and no dust. The roost is now low enough the birds don't need a ramp and it's easier to pick them up than it used to be.

Cleaning takes about 2 minutes, stir the litter and done.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
72,288
75,261
1,557
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I ended up getting rid of poop boards and sticking with deep litter in the coop. No scooping every day and no dust. The roost is now low enough the birds don't need a ramp and it's easier to pick them up than it used to be.

Cleaning takes about 2 minutes, stir the litter and done.
@igorsMistress You should add your location so folks know you are in an arid climate,
much different techniques there.
 

Henry&Friends

Songster
May 6, 2018
554
1,234
196
West Virginia (mountain momma)
I would’ve saved up an extra two or three hundred bucks and bought a bigger shed... and got a proper floor. Also I wouldn‘t have it on the bottom end of my yards slope, but as soon as the mudlake out there is gone I'm gonna try and move it. It’s been raining for 3 days straight and its like a slip & slide out there
 

JurassicBawk

Songster
Jun 23, 2016
280
528
151
Hixson, TN
I would have discovered pee pads way before now. My dad made me a custom 4x4 raised coop house and did tons of research, making it pretty awesome with exactly what my 4 EEs needed. Then I rescued 3 bantams, but they still fit fine in the 16 sq ft house and 100 sq ft total coop since everyone can go under/in/on top of the coop. Mostly they sleep outside, but I did put shavings inside the house and nest box for them. Then a hawk found the coop and freaked them out a little (it never got inside, just was traumatic for them being that close) and stayed in the house for a week solid. I got tired of cleaning shavings and it's not really made for deep litter, so I put in some doggy pee pads that I had to absorb moisture and make it easy to clean. And then I discovered that they make 2'x4' pee pads, and that I could put 2 in there and clean it once a week now, and life is so much easier. On our garbage pick-up day, I just take a garbage bag out to the coop, throw the 2 dirty pads in the bag, add 2 fresh pads, and I'm done. Easy peasy.
 

crazyhen75

In the Brooder
Feb 3, 2020
16
41
30
Btw how many chickens are you starting with and how many do you think you’d like to add over time?
Your title asks what we’d do differently. Here’s what I DID differently.
First of all I started with the Tractor Supply coop I described earlier. Big mistake. Huge mistake. It doesn’t hold 8 birds. It holds 1.5 birds. Yup, one and a half. I am thankful for this site guiding me. Here’s what they taught me.
Prefabs are not built with good dynamics for healthy chickens. The measurements they quote are deceitful lies. That coop for 8 only works if the entire perimeter is indoor coop. Starting from the bottom up, I learned a coop needs 4sqft walking around space per bird. This excludes nest area. A good solution for the nests is either have them hanging externally (works well for raised coops) or hang them about 18 inches off the floor indoors (excellent choice for a walk in type coop). One nest per 4-5 chickens. Roosts, one foot long per bird and 1 foot away from the wall and anything else, should always be higher than the nests because chickens will roost at the highest point. If the nests are higher than roosts they will sleep, and consequently poop, in the nests making very nasty eggs. If you make a walk in coop make the roosts a bit higher than your waist height. Hardware cloth covered vents, 1 sqft per bird, should be under the soffits well above the heads of the birds as they stand on the roost.
That tiny coop was a mess. I decided to do better. I built a coop with the specs I mention here. I opted for a walk in because I’ll be using it for years and I ain’t gonna get younger along the way. Much easier to access the birds for inspection or treatments. No bending for me as I age or for anyone I may ask to chicken-sit if I am out of town or ill. Instead of a drawer outside (brrrrrrrr, winter snow storms are no fun!), inside I have poop boards 8 inches below the roost. The board is 2 feet wide with PDZ spread on it. THIS is the best improvement I made hands down. It is so easy to clean poop, I’m not standing outside in rain/snow/ice/wind, and my coop doesn’t stink. Besides, that drawer acts like a squeegee as you pull it out scraping the poop off and dropping it all over the floor below. Ask me how I know. Speaking of snow my roof Is slanted to let snow slide off. Flat roofs hold snow and ice and can collapse. Mine overhang so water doesn’t drip down the walls and my entrance is covered over. Oh, and I put hardware cloth covered windows in two walls to maximize their natural light for egg production. One thing I recently changed was I added black curtains for nighttime because my grandson uses spotlights at night when walking his dog. This is only a winter problem because it gets dark early. Summertime they go to bed late and the dog will be in bed already too. I don’t use artificial light in winter so they get a break.
I finished my coop 5 months ago. I’ll be doing some exterior decoration painting this spring. I want to incorporate a dust bath in winter indoors. I’m sure I’ll find something I want/need to change, but seriously, I’m one very happy camper. Look closely at any coop you are thinking about. If it doesn’t meet the requirements Run away fast, do not fall for it. If you can’t build consider buying a wood shed from Home Depot and fitting it with roosts, nest, ventilation, and a pop door.
Don’t neglect your run even if you free range. There are times you will want to keep them secure. You may have a predator threat, you may need to leave town, you get the idea. This should be 10 sqft per bird and covered in hardware cloth including either two feet of hardware cloth either buried vertically around the perimeter or as an apron on the ground horizontally. Don’t forget protection from hawks and such from above. Put fun stuff in the run. Roosts, swings, ladders, bricks and cement blocks ( helpful when they clean their beaks.) I want to put a xylophone in the run! I plan to make a better cover over a section of my 300 sqft run. Tarps aren’t working well. Water and feed stays in the run under the cover. Never indoors.
There are lots n lots of excellent examples on this site. Explore and pick and choose bits from your favorites to make your personalized coop.
And post pictures as you go!
Very Good info. By the way , I do have a building and it is a walk in. Love that. The biggest problem I have is my hb. put the nest under part of the drop board much to low for me to clean out easily. I can reach them on the porch area from outside but they still are awfully low down to clean easily. I will be moving a board that is in my way this spring. Then I can rake them out more easily. I have the hardware cloth wire and love it. The other wires quickly rusted and had to be removed. What a job that was. The larger heavy wires let the squirrels in. Not a good thing with baby chicks about. I can tell your info. is for real. Good to meet you. Also we made a secure fenced in area behind the building with a tin roof. A ll was well until a groundhog decided to tunnel from 10 feet away under part of it. Now there is hardware cloth under that area too. Wow building fort knox.
 

crazyhen75

In the Brooder
Feb 3, 2020
16
41
30
What should I have done differently with my coup?

I should have elevated it, so they can be safer from predators.. too late for that... I already lost 3 chickens... So sad.

What should I have done differently with my coup?

I should have elevated it, so they can be safer from predators.. too late for that... I already lost 3 chickens... So sad.
So very sorry. I have lost two flocks, one to Meriks and one to prediters. I had to get a new coop and run area due to the disease. The other has come hard from experiences.
 
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