Opinions on chicken coop layout?

LisaNH(z4 NH)February 27, 2007

We are building a chicken coop that is 12 feet long by 6 feet wide, with a window in each end, and a door and two windows along one side.

It's going to house 5 grown chickens immediately, and we are getting 24 eggs to hatch ourselves.

We got the waferboard roof on yesterday, in the snow, and still need to get the windows that we scrounged attached. The metal roofing will have to wait until we can dig it out of the snow. We have one more day to get this done, and are going in circles about where to place what. No time to build a pit for droppings, this time.

Can I have some opinions please? Where would you put the nesting boxes? Where would you put perches? Feeder, waterer?

I was thinking nest boxes directly in front of the door, and then perches to the left, feed/water to the right. My husband thinks we should put perches on both ends.


Here is a link that might be useful: Photo of the coop (so far)

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nhsuzanne(z5 SW-NH)

Lisanh, try the link below which will give you alot of info on design, how much square feet per bird you need, etc. I would not put the roosting bars and opposite ends as they like to be together. This site has lots of neat pictures on things like feeders, watereres, roosting bars, etc.

Where in NH are you? I am in the Monadnock Region. What breed (s) of chicks are you hatching?

Here is a link that might be useful: Back yard chickens - Coop design and construction

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 8:50AM
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sullicorbitt(z5 MA)

Hi Lisa, I love your pictures, here's our first year setup sounds similar to yours but we built our nest boxes out so we can access them from outside.

There are some more pictures on the farm forum Gallery page if your interested. We have since doubled our coop size to accomodate for our increasing flock. We built platforms covered w/vinyl flooring over the food so the birds droppings don't get in the feed, it works great.

Also it's a good idea to make the roosts removable to make it easier on you when you clean out the coop.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 12:07PM
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LisaNH(z4 NH)

I'm in Marlow, just north of Keene, and technically I think that's the Monadnock region too. (not that we can actually see Mt. Monadnock, sadly!)

Thanks for the links and help, y'all. It's done! We head out for our epic road trip bright and early tomorrow morning. I'll try to post pictures of what we ended up with.

We are getting Icelandic chickens, believe it or not. Really, we are only doing it because we have Icelandic sheep, and the chickens are really colorful and very rare. We are driving 1100 miles with the chickens! I think we are crazy.

We pick up our Icelandic sheepdog puppy next week too, so it's going to be a busy week.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 3:59PM
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LisaNH(z4 NH)

We all made it back safe and sound.

Pictures up! My new girls and rooster are fabulous. I hadn't thought about it, but they laid eggs all along our route home.

I need a name for my Viking Rooster!

Here is a link that might be useful: Road Trip Pictures

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 5:12PM
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sullicorbitt(z5 MA)

Wow what fun! and beautiful birds :)


    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 5:32PM
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sumac(SE MI)

I need a name for my Viking Rooster!

THOR comes immediately to mind

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 7:21AM
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I pretty pertubed you didn't show a picture of the mighty Mac bridge linking lower Michigan to the U.P. 8>))

That was a huge trip to pick up so few chickens.
They are pretty though.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 1:21PM
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Congratulations Lisa on becoming a new chicken owner. Beware...they're VERY addictive. I started off with 6, and now have 850!

Like you, I also started as a shepherdess, and still maintain my mixed flock who do great with the chickens.

Anyway, stuff I wish I'd known when I first started.....

Make sure your nest boxes are on your DARKEST wall, and put some kind of screening/curtains in front of the nest boxes (make sure they can still get in and have air). I just went through my drawer of old dark t-shirts, and cut those up, and stapled them to the front of my home-made nest boxes - worked a treat!

Make sure your roosts are HIGHER than your nest boxes, and try and construct your nest boxes so that they can be closed up at night AND so that the chickens cannot roost on top of them at night.

I did NOT do this, and my chickens roost on top of my first "efforts", AND inside them, leading to constant cleaning of nest boxes, to avoid filthy conditions.

In another area, the nest boxes ARE slanted, but there is a ledge of 2 x 4's behind the nest boxes which they roost on, and somehow, poop lands in the nest boxes from the back - NASTY!

Don't buy the expensive "Little Giant" water fountains - the "o" ring goes out rather quickly, so they leak out, leaving the chickens without water, until you figure it out! I've had better success with the one you flip over to fill, and screw on. Easy to fill, and no "O" rings to break. Put your waterers on blocks to keep them above the litter.

Hang your feeders but make sure you buy ones that the chicks won't outgrow.

Plus, make sure that your chickens have GOOD ventilation/air-flow to prevent ammonia build-up, disease, etc.

Free-range when safe - but be sure to lock them up at night. It's so much fun watching them catch their first bug, etc.

Good luck

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 9:07PM
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well what you said ewesfullchicks is exactly why I wanted to put a new nest box in my coop. I have my nest box in their roosting box and they poop in there like crazy I have to clean it every couple of days. Now when the weather was nice that was okay but in the freezing cold cleaning nest boxes every other day is the PITTS

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 12:03AM
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Beautiful chickens! One thing I would do differently in my own coop is place the roosts closer to the wall so I'm not reaching under them to get things all the time. I might move them over some later in the summer. Mine are nailed to the wall, so it won't be that easy.

Maybe you should round off the corners of the wood pieces used for perches? They will get a better grip if it is sort of round. They can develop deformed feet roosting on a wide, square off board. I would love to trade what I have for natural brances with bark to simulate their natural habitat, like Sullicorbitt has in the first picture, but that would be way too much work for me right now. maybe in the summer...

My roosts are turned so that the narrower side is up for them to hold onto and I have taken a jigsaw to the edges to round them off a bit. It has helped them grip better.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2009 at 8:58AM
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Cleaning out my nesting boxes is a continual exercise. Someone is always pooping in one of them. If I find a poopy egg or a little poop in a nest, I scoop out the bedding to the floor and replace it when I collect the eggs, daily. I store a big bag of bedding on top of the nesting boxes so it is always within reach. I tried storing a bag of feed in the chicken house too but uh... that didn't work out so well. lol!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 9:09AM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

I'll bet you could get away with a $5 rubber made tote full of feed.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 9:56AM
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I have several special needs groups of birds requiring various nutritional blends of ration. Using small plastic containers with covers that snap close keeps it fresher and dry. All unwanted dinners (especially rodents) are kept out.

We have many different $1 stores around the area that have a cheap, large selection of storage containers that work very well. A big plus being plastic they are easy to wash in between filling preventing molds to sneak up on you.

If you have cats those plastic kitty liter buckets are great for this---and free!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 9:57AM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

It also occurs to me that a desiccant kept in the bottom of the tote inside of an old sock or piece of hosiery would probably do wonders for keeping moisture at bay, and there for avoiding the mold problems that Seramas is talking about, it certainly wouldn't be a replacement for good sanitation but a reusable desiccant like this would probably be a big help, especially for larger batches of feed that will be sitting in a tote for a long time, you could even pull out the desiccant a few times during the life of the feed to refresh it in your oven or microwave. You would need a tote or bucket with a good seal (which blows my $5 rubber made tote right out of the water) but that's probably a good idea anyways.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 10:20AM
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That Rubbermaid tote is a great idea! I'll look into that this weekend.I might even have one kicking around that I can empty and use.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 4:08PM
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I keep my feed in metal garbage cans with lids.I just read in Backyard Poultry that the roost needs to be at least 2" wide so the chickens can cover their feet with their breasts in the winter and their feet don't freeze(new to me!)My hens all seem to like the darkest nest that faces east.My husband built the nest boxes with a slanted roof so they can't get on top.I use the rubber stock bowls for water.If they freeze you can get the ice out easy and they don't break.I have a very big plastic storage bin under my roosts to catch droppings,covered with some sawdust or shredded leaves,it takes a while to get full.We put a heat vent up high that is adjustable for ventilation.My chicken house was big enough before I raised more large size chickens!!!I started with 5 partridge wyandotte banties and now have a lot of Ameracaunas.Your Icelandics are beautiful.Posy Pet

    Bookmark   January 20, 2009 at 8:36PM
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