Help me plan a chicken coop!

bethw(z7 VA)August 19, 2006

I've finally gotten DH to agree to keeping a few chickens, and now we're trying to decide the best way to house them...

We have a large barn, and my current plan is to use a 12'x12' stall for the coop, and leaving the outside stall door open to a fenced in yard, using hardware cloth buried a foot deep.

I'm not sure what to do to cover the top of the outside yard (do I even need to?) and securing the stall/coop from predators. Would it be enough to cover the top of the stall with hardware cloth? The inside stall door is a standard dutch door setup, and I'm not sure how to completely enclose the stall and still be able to get in myself!

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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Enjoy your chickens! And that business about keeping 'just a few'...Ha! :) I started out with three and very quickly succumbed to Chicken Addiction. *G*

As for covering the coop/run, I'd provide a solid roof over part of it to protect the birds from wind, weather & sun. You can cover the outdoor part with hardware cloth (please never use chicken wire, it is way too flimsy and won't stop a predator, plus the large holes freely allow vermin to come and go), but with the current climate of Bird Flu hysteria you might want to seriously think about covering the entire run with a solid roof. We are building a new run right now and it's going to have a corrugated steel roof. It will also help to keep out diseases & problems that are carried in wild birds' poop, such as parasites. Where we are, we see the writing on the wall that is going to demand that chicken owners show that their birds are housed in such a way as to protect them from wild bird-borne disease, or risk the government coming in and killing your flock. :(

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   August 19, 2006 at 5:31PM
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I've kept chickens for quite awhile as well. I also see the handwriting on the wall as far as the way chickens are housed. I think it's overkill, but may as well do the compliance when the chicken facilities are built as have to go back after the fact and do it. Yes, you want overhead coverage for predators as well. Coons are excellent climbers and they'll lay waste to your flock faster than anything I can think of. I don't know how you'll protect them in your barn. My chicken shed is dedicated to chickens and coon proof.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 1:29PM
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Here is a tip if you only have a few chickens. Look for a backyard trampoline. New on sale is only a couple of hundred, but many can be found cheap in good condition after the kids tire or hurt themselves.

The trampoline cover makes ideal hawk/owl/large predator protection. The sides are 3 foot high and easily fenced. It can be made moveable.

Ours is ten years old and still going strong. We use it on one side of the coop for use during bad weather.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 5:18PM
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I got some ideas from looking through some of the smaller chicken coops available for purchase through the internet. Many are like small sheds with a hinged roof. My shortie shed optimized a 4'x8' piece of plywood. Turned sideways, the two top corners are sliced off. This creates the front exterior sheathing. The ends of the ridge beam are screwed into the 3/4" plywood, and a pair of 'rafters' slapped onto the front and back side. Used a plywood floor with a thick sheet of plastic sign board over it, and roll on roofing over the sheathing. About a 2 day project including framing, doors etc. Some basic construction details overlapping the plywood will help to waterproofing. A concern when it sat unused last winter was lack of ventilation as I saw some mildew forming underneath the hinged roof when I opened it. I scavenged the ply wood, so cost of lumber and roll on roofing was under $100.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 4:30PM
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