need chicken advice quick!!

msjay2u(7)June 14, 2008

As you may have read on another of my postings I brought a wire cage for my chickens. I measured it today and now the real measurements are 10' wide 2' deep and 30" high. I built an enclosure on the side of my barn to go around it and it is 6' high in the front 6.25' in the rear, 12' wide and 4'deep. Basically I was trying to make and enclosure around the cages that would make it a bit more predator proof. I made the back higher than the front so the roof will slant. I plan to use tin but the problem is because it is so wide I am not sure it it will last through storms. How did I get roped into thinking I could build a coop? It is you giys fault!! LOL

The internal cages use metal bin feeders similar to this:

for water it has bottles like this on it:

now my question:

will chickens appreciate and use the water bottles? I thought it was such a good idea in the beginning but now I am wondering if they will actually use it.

next question:

should I let the chickens live with the wire on the bottom of the cage or should I put some bedding on it? of course if I put something on the bottom then I will have to put something over the bottom so it will not fall through to the ground. thoughts??

next question:

Has anyone made a door? Do you think 4'wide is too wide for a door?

Next question:

How high off the ground should I place the internal cage? I was thinking about 3 feet but once I place it I will not be able to change it.thoughts??

Lastly should I let the chickens live in the cages for a while before I let them out in the enclosure?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

How many chickens will be living in this, what age are they and what breed(s)? If I understand correctly, they will be in the wire cage, which will be opened some or all of the time so they can roam the larger enclosure?

The water bottle shouldn't be a problem, egg farms use them. Just make sure your birds know how to drink from them and that you SEE them using them.

If they are living in the cage all the time, the wire may cause foot problems. If they free range during the day and only spend nights on the wire, it should be OK.

As for the door--again, what size & breed birds are they? Don't forget to make a door that YOU can get through, in case a bird falls ill, gets a foot caught, etc. and you have to get in there.

Three feet off the ground should be OK, that way you can clean under it. They will have a ladder, right?

I don't see why you should make the chickens live only in the cage at first...they will likely prefer to roost on TOP of the cage if they can get to it, though. Make the inside the cool place to be with nice roosts, nests, food & water, etc.

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 2:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Search the internet for chicken coop designs. Go to Amazon for books. Learn about chickens before you buy them. There are many many ways to build an efficient, predator-proof pen inexpensively. Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 9:54AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

thanks velvet. one chicken per cage. there will be a ladder for them to get out in the day. I thought by leaving them in the smaller cage for a few days before letting them out will ensure they know to go back in there at night without me having to chase them in.

the breeds are silver laced and golden laced Weyondettes and one Cochin. they are just a couple of weeks old right now. the access door for me is 4x6, i think I can get through that LOL. If not I am in big trouble.

I am also stuck on the roof, not quite sure how to proceed on it to make sure it is sturdy. I am going to get my neighbor to advise me on that since he has all kinds of buildings in his back yard that he built. I will post photos later on today. I am hoping the chickies will be out in it by the end of the day. fingers crossed.

Should I leave their water and food exclusively in the inside cages and they should have to climb the ladder to get to the food or should I place some in the outside enclosure as well?

critter keeper the cage is already 90% built so it is too late for books now. LOL. I had my action all researched and I had planned on converting a shed for them but I changed my mind. See what happened was....

I put an ad on crags list to see if anyone had any wire they could sell me for cheap. This guy emailed me and said his father passed away and he had some chicken coops he would sell for cheap. I did not really want to buy any but I went to look anyway. When I saw them I was like yeah this will work. It only cost me $35. I did not realize how long the whole thing was and it would not fit in the shed so that meant I had to build a whole new structure. This thing has cost me $150+ so far, way more than I planned on spending. But he explained to me by having the cages inside a coop they never lost any birds. Sounded good to me. Thats what I get for trying to be cheap and using Craig's list...LOL

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 11:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

here is what I have so far. I just finished painting it. The color was supposd to be black currant which is a dark greyish purple but as you see it came out purple.

I am thinking I am going to have to put the roof on plywood on the ground and then lift it on top of the coop and nail it down.

Still have not figured out how to do the door yet

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 5:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am still working on this plan. The outer box is what is pictured above. I plan to make two inner boxes with nest boxes enclosed, one on each end. Each box will hold 2 chickens (I have 3 Weyondettes and 1 Cochin)

considering that the total box is only going to be 3' wide I was wondering if you think this plan will work for the inner boxes. see link. it was hard as heck to draw this but since I do not have my scanner attached to my laptop so I can scan my document I had no choice. all the details are on the drawing in the link. Even though you can not tell the rear of the outer coop is a little higher than the front. not much of a pitch but the difference is about 8". I have to put one support beam down the front and then I am going to put a piece of plywood on it. I was not planning on using any tar paper or anything because I am sure I can not find a piece small enough and I will not buy a whole roll just for this little roof.

the tin I brought is in 12'x2' pieces but I am going to have to cut it. will tin snips work or how in the heck am I going to cut it? I was going to make the coop long ways out but a friend told me to make the long way against the barn so now I am not sure how I can cut the tin. hhhhhhhh problems!!

also the access door for me to get the eggs, what is the minimum size for that?

last question I know the chickens like to lay in the dark so should I make a hole that they can climb in instead of just the 4" lip on the bottom since the front is going to be wire or should I make most of the front wire and put a solid piece of plywood on the door on the side of the nest box?

To secure the wire I was thinking of putting the wire on the wood and screw a trim piece on top to hold the wire in place (like a sandwich). That way it will be that much harder for something to tear the wire apart if it chooses to do so.

Thanks for all your help! I see this is going to take a while!! How long can I keep these chicks in the brooder??

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 10:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just looked at the photo. that thing on the bottom in the middle is a ladder. It has wood on the sides and net in the center. so they can climb in and out once I open it in the mornings.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 10:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
chapelhillgardener(7a NC OrangeCo)

Converting your shed would have been so much easier! Why did you decide against using it?

Sorry, but I have more questions than answers for you. I'm having a hard time visualizing what the end result will be when you're done with this lean-to version.

Are the exterior walls going to be wire or plywood? Chickens need protection from the elements.

What is the purpose of the metal cages? All they need inside their house is a roosting pole (where they sleep at night) with a ladder to it, and nesting/laying box, bench, or shelf.

What do you propose doing for the floor to make it critter & moisture-proof? Also, you need to seal the gaps between the existing barn siding and the lean-to, and properly flash the tin roof into the existing barn siding as well.

A perfect ladder is a simple 1x6 board positioned at a low angle. My husband always carved some grooves in the board for traction, but I'm not sure it's necessary. Go with a solid surface, as opposed to the netting scenario.

I do have one answer - tin snips will cut the tin.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 12:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

LOL you are kind of right. I found the shed needs a new floor and support. It is in the middle of the pasture. I am going to take a photo when I get home. I would have to remove the tin siding and replace with wood too
exterior walls of the coop=wire. wouldn't that work with heavy breeds like cochins and weyondettes if they have a smaller wood box to live in?
metal cages are out. I decided to sell them. they were just too large and when I purchased them I did not realize how big they were.
floor... wire covered with dirt and ancored to the sides of the pen??
Glad the tin snips will work. LOL
I am confoosed too! This project is turning out to be more than I anticipated. I thought this weekend I would begin and be finished!!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 3:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

okay here is what the shed looks like now. as you see that tin on the side has to go. the roof is rotted but the inside frame is good. I figured if I tried to take it out the pasture I would break it. it is a nice shady spot though. here is the shed as close as I could get it at the moment. of course I do not have my glasses on so it is a little bit fizzy!!

here is a distance shot. There are so many trees the critters out there would have plenty of time to plan and execute their attack!!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 7:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

well a week later and no progress. From other conversations I have going on I finally figured out how I was going to finish the coop and door and figured out it will take 3 hours max to finish it. Unfortunately I got in a car accident yesterday where I totalled 2 cars! Well at least it was not my fault and it was the company car not mines. I did not break anything but if you ever got snapped into a seatbelt and had your arm bang into the steering wheel, then you know my pain.

I decided to supervise the job today but I had to get the rest of my measurements so I could supervise the shopping for the rest of the supplies too but when I went out there to do the neasurements it hurt too much to stretch! To make it worse I went in the basement today to change the chicks water/ food and put in some fresh bedding and they were all out the bucket! I had to chase them to get them back in because one had been out all day long and did not have any water. There was one I could not get to because I could not bend down far enough to grab her out of her hiding spot. I left a trail of food so she can find her way back in. I hope she has enough sence to go back. I did gather the other 3 and they are back in the bucket.

Also on a side note I switched from hay in the bucket to the pine bedding I got from Walmart and I am not so sure I liked it. Within 5 minutes it was in their food and water. It is so fine. I think I prefer the straw over the bedding.

Well I will be heading over to Velvet Sparrows chickcam to watch some happy times....

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 12:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I can't believe I started this a month ago!! Well to my defense I did get in a car accident so it was not just a case of procrastranation.

I worked on the coop today and now I am really starting to see some progress. I went to Lowes and had them cut all my wood to size and that worked out great until I used the wrong pieces for the sides. It was supposed to be 30" tall and I used the left over wood for the sides by accident. It is now going to be 24" tall. oh well. I also almost put the roof on sloping down on the inside instead of outside. I was borrowing a pair of tin snips from my neighbor (the ones from the dollar store did not work) and while I was waiting for him to come back I noticed the backwards slant. Thank God I caught that in time!!

Chapelhillgardner I wish I could have used that shed. Like you said it would have been a lot easier and MUCH cheaper. SO far my total is about $200 spent. It was spread over time though so it did not hurt too bad.

My chickens will be so glad to get out of the basement. They are getting quite large down there. They sleep in the brooder, eat in the brooder then haul butt playing around in the cellar. Thank goodness I have a cement floor down there.

I am really pleased with the progress and can not wait to post photos so I can show you guys how it came out. I guess looking at all those inspiration photos really helped.

Oh I really got on here to ask a question. Inside my pen I am building a box for the chickens to sleep in. I made the whole thing out of wood. Is that going to be okay on the bottom? Should I just plan on using a lot of shavings to help with the mess?

Also should I be planning on putting a water and food contraption in the box? or is having them just outside in the pen okay for when they are out. sounds dumb I know butI am not sure what to use in that small space. the box they will be sleeping in is 24" high, 30" deep and 4' wide. (I hope that is enough room for 3 chicks). can you guys give me some idea of what to use inside for food and water. Pictures help me a lot

    Bookmark   July 12, 2008 at 9:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh I really got on here to ask a question. Inside my pen I am building a box for the chickens to sleep in. I made the whole thing out of wood. Is that going to be okay on the bottom? Should I just plan on using a lot of shavings to help with the mess?

Also should I be planning on putting a water and food contraption in the box? or is having them just outside in the pen okay for when they are out. sounds dumb I know butI am not sure what to use in that small space. the box they will be sleeping in is 24" high, 30" deep and 4' wide. (I hope that is enough room for 3 chicks). can you guys give me some idea of what to use inside for food and water. Pictures help me a lot

    Bookmark   July 12, 2008 at 9:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenmulberry(5-Iowa City)

Your chickens would want to sleep on a roost, not a box. They like a nice box with bedding to lay eggs in, but you will want to put a pole or 2 x 4 up for them to hop up and roost on at night. If you don't, they will just do whatever they can to get up to the highest they can at night.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 2:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

In case it wasn't clear from GM's post the pole or 2X needs to be horizontal.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 3:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

thanks. I am really worried about their security.
I had a plastic tupperware type bucket with a snap closure on both ends holding the chicken feed. This morning when I went to feed the girls I noticed teeth marks in the plastic and they actually made a little hole!! What the heck? So now I have to assume if something is going after the food at night they surely will go after the chickens. I have to think it is a coon or something because squirels do not night hunt do they?

The box I am placing in the coop is for the chickens to be locked up INSIDE at night (not on top). My neighbor had a tree get stuck down from lightening last weekend and I took an intersting branch to place in my chicken pen. It will only sit about 3' high so I guess I need to get something else for them to roost a little higher? They are still in the basement and yesterday when I went to go down there they were sitting on the top of the steps. LOL.

As for the netting being buried horozontally in the pen that is going to be hard to dig out. the soil is mostly clay (uggggh) and hard to dig in. My alternative plan was to put a layer of hardwire on the floor, seal with edges with about 4" of cement all around the inside perimeter and place dirt on the top of the rest of the netting on the ground so it will not be visible but then I still have the problem of manual labor, mixing the cement. seech.

well thanks for your input. I have a couple more days of work before I have to do that part. the roof is not finished yet, the wire is not all in place and I did not make the door yet.

Dang this is hard work!!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 5:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
flowersnhens(Maine 4)

Msjay2u: how are things coming along with the coop???
Sounds like you have had your work cut out for you with this one. I hope all is going well.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 9:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I been slaving on that thing and still not far enough to get the chickens in it. Right now I am stuck on the door of the box that they will be sleeping in. I put the door up in one piece. it is 30" high and 40"wide. I put the hinges on it and they were not really big enough so they barely made the edge. then I have the problem of mounting the feeder, and the door to the pen. I also have part of the roof up. I ran out of tin went to Lowes to buy more, it was too long to fit in my car, cut it too short and now have to piece it. LOL
I am getting very frustrated. I was going to start from sun up to sun down this weekend and OF COURSE it is slated to rain.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 6:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sumac(SE MI)

It's never to late for a good book to have on hand as a reference. Most of them contain a wealth of info from brooding to varmits and everything in between. I used to reference mine A LOT when I first got my girls. Most of us have a wire pen (run) attached to our coop (house) with a roost (perch) and nest boxes inside the coop as well as food and water inside the coop. The coop (hen house) needs to be draft free and predator proof. They will put themselves to bed (on the roost inside the coop) at sunset. Who said chickens were dumb!?! All you have to do is latch the door to the coop securely at night and open it in the morning to let them have access to the run. Google chicken coops and you will find many pictures and drawings that can be fun to look at and will give you some good ideas to work with.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2008 at 2:16PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Water Well Question
I have an old water well on my property. It was originally...
raising baby ducks to release in private pond
We have a 2 acre pond next to a small cabin on 130...
Trumpet vine + chickens = ???
Yes, its a horror. Neighbor has one planted on our...
Tethering steers
Hi all, just wanted to know if anyone has done this...
Dorking rooster with frostbite
Hello, Our rooster suffered frost bite in the dip in...
Sponsored Products
Shaker Slope Chair in Pop Yellow
$134.99 | Dot & Bo
National Public Seating 48 Inch Wide 4-Level Stage Pie w/ Carpeted Surface
Beyond Stores
Maria Theresa Chrome Twenty-Four Light 36-Inch Chandelier with Royal Cut Golden
Elena Vesper Fog Outdoor Sofa
$2,885.00 | Horchow
Floor Lamps: 2-Light Floor Lamp Dark Walnut Finish CLI-LS442912
Home Depot
Under-bed Storage Box
Blue Ultimate Wondershade
$36.99 | zulily
Desk Lamps: 2.75 in. Polished Steel LED Desk Lamp CLI-LS447498
Home Depot
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™