Coop Build from design to completion - With photos!!

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Diggit

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Coop Build from design to completion - With photos!!
« on: January 15, 2011, 01:11 »
Hi,

It's almost time to buy the wood and make my chicken coop. After asking lots of questions on here and reading through 100's of old threads I have taken everything into account. I cannot justify the price of a new coop so I will be making my own. I have the tools and the woodworking ability as long as I keep things relatively simple.

I have sketched the idea on the computer and would like any thoughts on general space, layout and practicality........

It will house 3 hens
Floor space =  120cm x 80cm
Roof height = 70cm (at it's lowest. it slopes towards the back)
Nest box = 30cm x 30cm
Perch length = 80cm (and is easily removable)
Pop hole = 30cm x 36cm

The open space at the back will have 2 doors hinged on each side for egg collecting and cleaning. The doors will be hinged and overlap in the centre to avoid draughts.



Please feel free to highlight any errors or make suggestions as to how it can improved.

Thanks in advance
Paul
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 17:37 by Diggit »
Paul

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retribution

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Re: Thoughts please on coop design......
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2011, 07:39 »
 mine has no floor but a metal tray that pulls out for easy cleaning, not sure if you could make it but really easy to clean

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Bogof

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Re: Thoughts please on coop design......
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2011, 07:41 »
This looks and sounds a lot like nmh coop. Don't forget gutering along the back or you will get very wet when you clean and collect egge in the rain.
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beth123

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Re: Thoughts please on coop design......
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2011, 08:33 »
Hi Paul

Its brilliant that you can make your own.  Is this the first time you've kept chickens?

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min200

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Re: Thoughts please on coop design......
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2011, 08:51 »
It looks bang on to me!!

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izzy

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Re: Thoughts please on coop design......
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2011, 08:57 »
I found that we needed to nest boxes.. I know they say you only need one for three birds but they lay eggs at different times.And a removeable floor makes life so much easier to clean them every dayi

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8doubles

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Re: Thoughts please on coop design......
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2011, 09:16 »
Mine is similar but with a larger nestbox (two hens can lay at once if they are in the mood) with lift off roof outside the coop not inside, easier egg collecting.
It may be better to put brackets on the wall to hang the perch from rather than stood on the coop floor, it will get less mucky.


Ps corner posts/legs should go up to the roof on the outside of the coop for a stronger job
« Last Edit: January 15, 2011, 09:23 by 8doubles »

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Fisherman

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Re: Thoughts please on coop design......
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2011, 09:27 »
I would recommend lifting both the perch and nest box off the floor by fixing them to the wall using brackets. Make them removable if you can as this will help when cleaning. A tray below the perch will also help.

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Diggit

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Re: Thoughts please on coop design......
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2011, 11:41 »
Thanks everyone.

All comments have been taken on board.

Trays to aid cleaning,
Fix nest box and perch to the walls but have them raised and removable,
Larger/another nest box,
Alter legs to aid strength,
Guttering.

I shall get drawing again! Thanks for the input ;)

Hi Paul

Its brilliant that you can make your own.  Is this the first time you've kept chickens?

Thankyou, yes it is the first time that I have kept chickens. I came very close a couple of years ago but circumstances changed and made it impossible. I am now in a psotion where I have the space and the time (and support from you guys of course!  ;) ) Looking back it was probably a good thing as I feel I know so much more now that I have speant so long reading and researching.

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Diggit

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Re: Thoughts please on coop design......
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2011, 12:36 »
This looks a little more stable.

The nest box is wall mounted with the legs towards the front to give it more support.
The perch is bracketed to the front wall with a leg on the back end.
As I want the whole of the back to open with 2 doors to aid cleaning, I have no wall to fix the back of the perch to.
I will try adding or enlarging the nest box once I have the main coop built. On the drawing it looks like it takes up too much space but I'll see how it looks for real before deciding.
I will fit trays once I have things in place to work out the best way to do it.

Thanks again
Paul


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Bogof

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Re: Thoughts please on coop design......
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2011, 13:05 »
By keeping the frame work on the out side there are less places for those pesky red things to hide. I would also consider auto pop door as it will save you time and peace of mind, more in the winter than summer.

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8doubles

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Re: Thoughts please on coop design......
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2011, 13:14 »
I think you still have to many legs going down to the coop floor they will get in the way of any poop trays fitted later, the nestbox does not need them as hanging it by liftoff keyhole and screws (or hooks) will be strong enough.
If you put a stout piece of timber across the top at the front you can put a batten down to hang the front edge of the perch from.

Ps the centre noggin between the legs would be better on the inside of the end wall to support the floor, this way it will  not trap rainwater .

« Last Edit: January 15, 2011, 15:47 by 8doubles »

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beth123

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Re: Thoughts please on coop design......
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2011, 15:10 »
Paul, from my experience, I'd make it big enough for a few extra hens.  We decided to get 3 but within a few weeks we wanted more.  Luckily for us we have a big coop.  Chicken keeping is addictive!  Good Luck and remember to post pictures of your coop and hens.     

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hillfooter

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Re: Thoughts please on coop design......
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2011, 19:33 »
Hi Diggit,

I have very particular ideas about housing so my comments might well be quite different from many others but I will say it comes with many years of experience and I never come across easier to maintain houses than those I use.

You don't mention material and this is very important just as important as the layout and general design.  I think it's a good idea to use sheet material, rather than  narrow board.  Sheets such as plywood and as good a quality as possible, 15mm thick is good.  This will help keep down red mite and make cleaning easy.  If you do use  narrow board make it tongue and groove.  Put the structural batons on the outside if possible to ensure your floor is completely flat so you can just sweep out the spent litter with NO dirt traps.

I don't like the single perch.  Houses are for roosting in and if you put nestboxes in, for laying.  Perches are very important and their profile should be rounded on the edges.  A single bar is inadequate.  Your entire floor area should be a grill of roosting bars raised 100mm or so above the floor so that the birds walk on the bars which actually simulate tree branches.  The droppings fall through the bars onto the flat floor which is covered with litter.  The bars should be 50 - 70mm wide with similar gaps so that your birds never walk on a fouled floor.  This is the single biggest mistake I see constantly in house design that the birds are allowed to walk and pick in the dirty litter.  This is the reason many hobbyist keepers poo pick daily.  With proper design this isn't necessary and I generally don't clean out my houses more often than once every 4 to 8 weeks and no poo picking is needed.  I sprinkle new litter on the soiled surface and build it up and only renew it when it fills the space below.  With 3 birds and the size you are planning you can easily only need to clean every 6 weeks if you wish.  A light topping of fresh litter when needed and a sprinkling of a dry disinfecting powder every week is optional.

Personally I wouldn't bother with a dropping tray they become heavy when laden with litter & droppings, especially the size you are planning, and are usually flimsy or heavy and have a tendancy to spill or give you a face full of soiled litter if it's windy.  When you have such a nice open access flat floor and you do as I suggest with the perches, sweeping out a fixed floor is easy.  Use a heavy polythene sheet (damproof membrane is ideal) to cover the floor and you can easily gather up the litter like a bag and the floor will stay dry & clean.  A complete clean and replacing the litter should take no more than 15 mins once every 4 to 6 weeks.  That's the target, low maintenance and sanitary conditions too.  I certainly wouldn't use a metal sheet as this will be very cold and attract condensation in winter.  This would be a definite no no for me.

The roof is probably one of the most important constructional features.  It must be watertight and I'd strongly recommend Onduline corrigated bitumen board.  Light, long lasting and most importantly maintenance free.  Use absolutely no felt which will be red mite heaven.  Slope the roof away from the pophole so water is shed away from the entrance.  Don't use hinged acess doors.  Hinges aren't low maintenance they rust and sag with time and soon your beautiful draft free doors will have sizable gaps.  The simple answer is a detachable wooden side panel.  Two batons on the inside over laping the bottom to form pegs which fit into two square holes in the edge of the floor and a couple of turn buckle toggles available at any good hardware shop on the top will secure it in place.  The roof should overlap the walls by at least 75mm.  Make it double pitched, if your skills allow, so it can be steeper than a pent roof with a roosting bar on the apex.  Otherwise with a shallow pent roof, they will poop all over it and it doesn't shed rain and snow as well.  You won't need extra ventillation with a corrigated roof.

The pophole should be a vertical rise and fall type don't, whatever you do, have a hinged door or worse a side sliding door.  There's no need for the opening to be bigger than absolutely necessary and an opening of 250mm wide by 300mm high is fine for most hybrid layers.  A vertically sliding door is easy to automate won't get clogged with droppings and won't stick if you make the slide properly.  Why fit it centrally?  Why not to one side away from the nest boxes to cut down drafts.

I'd also have two or three nestboxes the size of house would easily house 8 hens eventually so why not plan in a bit of expansion.  330 mm square is ample size but don't have it so they can roost on top of them.

Having all the internals lift out is a good idea.  The key thing to bare in mind is low maintenance, flat floors, lift off sides, no dirt traps, removable fittings and keep the hens away from their droppings and no food or water in the house.  Use a covered entrance run to house the food & water with a duck board slatted floor mat on woodchip in front of the pophole to keep the entrance dry and clean so no mud gets trailed in and the eggs stay clean as they don't walk in their droppings either and you will have one excellent house.

Best of luck
HF
« Last Edit: January 15, 2011, 21:12 by hillfooter »
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Diggit

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Re: Thoughts please on coop design......
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2011, 19:58 »
Thats a great detailed reply as always HF. Thank you. I will consider everything once it comes to making sawdust! I particularly like the idea of the floor covered with perch space rather than have them being able to rest in their own muck. My plan was always to use WBP sheet ply for the walls with the legs/frame on the outside to leave internal edges smooth and easily cleanable. For the roof I was planning on using feather edge board but I will have a look for corrugated material as you suggest.

Thanks to everyone for the input. I will most certainly take lots of pictures when I build the coop and keep you all posted.

Thanks again
Paul  ;)



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