Chicken Coop - I need your thoughts and ideas.

Canyon Lake, TX(Zone 8b)

So far I have a very well built 5' X 8' storage container to be modified into a chicken coop. I have waterproofed it inside and out, roofed it, covered the plywood edges, and built steps.

See photo......The current thinking is to modify the two center sections on both sides of the house to have hinged panels that lift up for air flow. There will be aluminum screen wire attached on the inside covering the openings. There will also be a 1' X 4' hinged door opening near the top on the back side, also covered with screen wire.

On the side shown in the photo their will be a solar powered automatic door installed near the bottom of one of the center panels that opens in the morning and closes at night.

As far as the pen it will be covered with 2" mesh chicken wire supported by cedar cross members or strong wire such as cloths line wire or heavy electric fencing wire attached to cedar post placed throughout the pen.

See my chicks over here: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1166601/



This message was edited Mar 25, 2011 1:24 PM

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Canyon Lake, TX(Zone 8b)

Inside there will need to be roosts, nest boxes, solar lights, and maybe a storage cabinet for feed & junk . :)

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Canyon Lake, TX(Zone 8b)

another pic - The post are about 2' in the ground and 8' above ground and were taken off my place. They will be set about 6' apart throughout the pen to support a wire cover.

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Richmond, TX

Sounds very hi-tech! My experience has been that the more open and ventilated my coops are the better. I'm not sure I followed all of your description about doors and such, but you might want to replace one or more walls with 1/2" hardware cloth.

(Nadine) Devers, TX(Zone 9b)

As porkpal says, you would want to have your coop more open air. I know it gets hot and humid here in Texas. My henhouse that I am building will be 3 sided pole shed type with the front open with wire in the front to allow the heat to go somewhere. I will have a dirt floor as well. I will tell you this, screen and chicken wire can be pulled apart by predators since those are weak wire. You need to use a heavier gauge type wire - hardware cloth will do the job to keep out any type of predators.

Canyon Lake, TX(Zone 8b)

I can do 1/2" hardware cloth or 1" X 2" rabbit cage wire on the sides since the two center sections on both sides will be cut from top to bottom and hinged at the top making the bottom when open accessible to coons. It will be very difficult for coons to access the opening near the top of the back of the shed so I think screen there should be fine. I can if necessary cut an opening in the entrance door to allow for more air circulation. Also, the opening in back can be larger and covered with the heavier wire.

Thanks All...Keep the ideas coming.

The Dalles, OR

I have had the absolute horror of seeing my cages absolutely ripped apart by DOGS claws. A dog
that is intent on getting to the inside will not stop at just barking and digging. My own dog clawed down the front of the cages and killed the chickens inside. The dogs will use teeth to pull down the wire or even the plywood if given a chance and claws to rip down anything that can come loose.
That attack was prompted by a loose neighborhood dog that came here and really upset all of the dogs I have. Then when my own dog got loose all He** broke loose.
The only chickens that survived that attack were the ones housed in 1/2" x 1/2 " aviary wire and clamped with jclips.
I am planning on building a NICE chicken house. Lot's of windows, plywood floor, absolutely coon and other predator's proof floor and walls. I will do this by scrounging up all of the heavier wire I can find here. I don't care of it's looks "pretty" or not--the wire will be where no can see it anyway so that won't matter.
I forgot to mention MICE. Doggone little things anyway. If there is a tiny hole anywhere they can get in.
The one thing I must do though, is to put my chicken house on skids. This is so that the tax people will see that this building is not permanent and won't tax my landlady.
Haven't quite figured this one out yet, but I am studying and listening to everyone's ideas.
cs

Canyon Lake, TX(Zone 8b)

I don't know why I hadn't thought about big dogs. From time to time dogs will attach and destroy my rabbit hutches trying to get at the rabbits. I finally had to build a structure so that the bottoms of my cages are chest high and the frame is stable enough so the dogs can't tip it over.

I hadn't thought about the tax thing either. My shed is built with skids under it but I have it on blocks. I was planning to anchor the steps to cement footings but I think will just let them float.

The Dalles, OR

oooooo Texasgarden, I think I would have me a loaded pellet gun to start with and shoot the blasted dogs. If that didn't work, I would then go to a heavier firearm such as a .22.
I am now to the point I will no longer tolerate ANY strange dog here. I don't care who it belongs either.
The people in the trailer park where I live right next to, don't give a you know what about their dogs. They just let the poor animals run loose to be attacked by other dogs, hit by cars, and to eat garbage. They just don't give a darn.
You might consider getting yourself a large catch-em-live trap if you are adverse to harming the dogs. I know I have caught several different type animals with the coon trap I have. I have made it clear to the owners of the loose dogs to keep them home or they are going to loose the dogs. I hate having to call the dog control on them, but it seems to be the only way the idiots get it.
You might want to find out about what your tax laws are in your state. I understand here in Oregon, a "temporary" shelter only has to be on blocks and it's classified as a non permanent building. However, I am still using the skids just to be sure. Also, when you wire the coop, use a large, heavy rated plug in and that will take care of that issue. They can't say that the building is hooked up permanently. Make absolutely sure though that the extention cord is use, is a very heavy rated cord, or use number 8 or even 6 gauge wire and that will cover any volts, watts, amps, etc.
cs

The Dalles, OR

Also, I just thought of this: if you live in Hurricane country, I would bolt that building down until it couldn't move an inch. Just hide the bolts inside where no one can see them. I feel there is absolutely no point in taking a risk just because the "powers that be" want to make some extra money.
Also, you might consider making your shed just a bit bigger than you plan as it seems there is never enough room. You might want to add some other types of poultry and you will need the room.
Besides, I hate working in small places. Seems that a person trips over things, knocks things over, and ends up wet, cussing and wishing I,we, had made it bigger. :()
cs

Canyon Lake, TX(Zone 8b)

The bitties are due Mach 22. The chicken coop is coming right along. The chicken yard is fenced in. Still need to run two foot 1" mesh chicken wire along the base of the fence with one foot laying flat on the ground the other foot attached to the bottom of the fence. Large rocks will be placed on the wire laying on the ground. This should help keep predators from digging under.

There will also be 2" hex mesh chicken wire covering the entire pen.

Still need roosts and nest boxes, but that can come in a few months.

Need to get back to gardening for a spell.

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Canyon Lake, TX(Zone 8b)

another

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Canyon Lake, TX(Zone 8b)

We have windows!

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Canyon Lake, TX(Zone 8b)

Looking out!

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(Zone 5b)

It's looking good! Bet you can hardly wait for the new babies to arrive. Of course we'll need pictures, and lots of them!

(Zone 6b)

That is looking great. I love the sliding door. You need to tell me how you built that! Great windows too. I noticed in the background there is a high wooden fence, that should help too.

I want a better place for my roosters. Right now they are safe in large wire dog pens inside a shed, but it would be nice if they had more room. I want a large place for them, so badly. First I have to clean the lot up. When I bought it it was full of junk, and still has much that needs to be removed. I have a couple of men that are willing to look at it and give an estimate on cleaning that mess up.



Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

I really like those large windows!

Lodi, CA(Zone 9b)

External nest boxes will give you more room for roosts.. I have a 2 sided coop, and the side that has the external boxes holds twice as many chickens than the other side.

Vancleave, MS(Zone 8b)

wow that looks great!!

Canyon Lake, TX(Zone 8b)

Quote from ZZsBabiez :
External nest boxes will give you more room for roosts.. I have a 2 sided coop, and the side that has the external boxes holds twice as many chickens than the other side.


I was wondering if roosts could be attached to the same wall as nest boxes. I hadn't thought about hanging nest boxes outside and cutting holes in the wall. This should be OK under the roosts. I guess I could put tin under the roosts to catch the poop.

"the side that has the external boxes holds twice as many chickens than the other side." Dos this mean there are roosts on the side that has the external boxes?

(Zone 5b)

I'm so glad this was brought up! and will be watching the answers I was wondering if it could be done to my existing coop - and then wide poop boards and roosts above it. It would sure save some space... for more chickens.

Lodi, CA(Zone 9b)

The side of my coop that has the external nest boxes has a huge tree branch that goes all the way across lengthwise.. (there is soooo much more room on this side) One above the height of the boxes (the boxes are double decker so there are 3 bottom and on top) And one roost about the same height as the nest boxes.. (this is for Silkies if needed)

On the other side of my coop, I had to put the roosts above the nest boxes, and I took up so much room with the nest boxes inside, (and a slanted piece of plywood to keep them from roosting on them) I had to run a short roost.. (also that side has a window)

Hard to describe in text.. but it is really surprising how much room Nest Boxes can take up on the inside of the coop. Hanging them outside and just having doors to open, is SOOOO much easier and saves valuable inside space!

I was trying to find a picture of my double decker external boxes.. I can't find one.. but here is a pic of one of my coops..

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Kahaluʻu, HI(Zone 11)

How far from the roof will you make your roosts? Iʻm building a chicken coop now and am struggling with knowing just how tall a chicken is! LOL
Any ideas?

Canyon Lake, TX(Zone 8b)

Still pondering the roosts thing. Got short windows completed on the side of the coop opposite the long windows.

You guys got me thinking about outside nest boxes so I drug this 12 holer from the barn. Will try to figure how to mount it outside and box it in and install a hinged door to retrieve eggs from outside. It is 1" longer than he coop is wide. May end up cutting it down to a 6 or 8 holer and will definitely remove the perches.

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(Zone 5b)

That's neat and really creative of you to figure that out. I like the idea of the outside nest boxes for the extra floor space in the coop. You're coop is looking good!

Hutto, TX(Zone 8b)

TRG,

Why not turn the boxes the other way? Trim the roosts enough to fit through the shed wall, with a hole the size of the box unit. Rather than cut the nest box, just put plywood in the front each of the nest boxes you don't want used. A hinged plywood panel on the side away from the shed (or one for each level) would let you get eggs and clean nest boxes.

David

Lodi, CA(Zone 9b)

The roosts just need to be a little bit higher than the nest boxes.

edited to add..

Remember, the chickens have to fly up to the roosts... you will need room for that. If you put them high, remember to stagger them so they can get up there.. if you clip wings to keep your birds from flying outside a fence, they can't fly up to the roosts..

Also, Silkies can't fly.. if you have Silkies, be sure to provide lower roosts for them.

This message was edited Mar 3, 2011 5:02 PM

Richmond, TX

My coops are narrow; I was afraid the hens couldn't fly to the roosts so I provided them with ramps - probably unnecessary but they do use them.

Lodi, CA(Zone 9b)

That's a good idea PorkPal.. my layers are kinda fat and I keep their wings trimmed short.. so I've heard some flopping around in there..even with the "staggered" roosts..
I might use your idea!

Canyon Lake, TX(Zone 8b)

Decided to modify the 12 holer to an 8 holer and hang the nest boxes inside. This decision turned out to be much less work than hanging the unit outside and cutting holes in the building then trying to water proof all the possible water entry points.

Hare a couple pics of the nest boxes and the roosts.

All done with the coop except for the sliding doors. Next comes setting the posts inside the yard and attaching the upper cross members between the posts to support the overhead 2" hex netting.

OH, will probably paint the coop RED. LOL

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Canyon Lake, TX(Zone 8b)

Roosts

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Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

I'm partial to a red chicken coop myself!

(Zone 6b)

That looks great. I like the way the top slants so they can't get up there.

Canyon Lake, TX(Zone 8b)

I'm here to tell you this nest box thing has been a real conundrum for me but I think I have finally done the deed. Since the chicks are here I need to wrap up all the noisy work before they feather out and are ready for their new digs.

Got the holes cut yesterday and finished the outside door. The holes are 5 1/4". I can easily get my open fist through this size opening. At least I thought about this aspect of this project before I cut too small a hole since you only get one shot at cutting a hole with the type hole cutter I used.

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Canyon Lake, TX(Zone 8b)

A view from the outside.

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Canyon Lake, TX(Zone 8b)

The door closed.

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Canyon Lake, TX(Zone 8b)

The door open.

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Canyon Lake, TX(Zone 8b)

A view of the nest box door open and a side window open.

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Lodi, CA(Zone 9b)

Looks great to me!! Good idea!

Canyon Lake, TX(Zone 8b)

Actually the idea was not mine but from the suggestions I got from you all on this post and from reading other similar post on this forum.

The thought of having to walk through chicken dust, feathers, and poop everyday to gather eggs was more than I could take so it had to be an outside access thing.

Thanks all!

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