What do you think of these pre-fab chicken coops?

RodneyJSSeptember 26, 2011
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brendasue(6)

The one or two pre-made items (not chick coups) I've bought were garbage. Didn't hold up to everyday wear and tear. I wouldn't buy them. Cheap, cheap, cheap.

You could make one easy enough out of a dog kennel, use a goat panel for the floor, a goat panel for the roof (4" openings). Surround it with heavy chicken wire. For shelter concoct something like an A-frame, or re-design a dog house or depending on your climate use another cattle panel shaped in an upside down U, cover it with plastic or tarp, and put some branches/dowels across for roosts.

Or construct it out of all goat panels, upside down U, panels on sides & bottom & cover with heavy chicken wire and it could be movable. Make some sort of shelter as described above.

These will last a LOT longer and be much stronger than that pre-made stuff.

Think about it beforehand and it will look decent.

HF

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 8:50PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

These actually look well thought-out and fairly strong, with an eye towards good, sensible construction when it comes to chickens. Depending on how many birds you want to get, they look fine.

Some things to keep in mind--they MUST be predator proof. This means everything from rats & mice (carry disease, attracted to chicken feed and can squeeze into any space they can fit their heads into) to raccoons, skunks & possums (smart and can reach through chicken wire with their little hands and tear the backs out of birds) to the neighbor's dogs, coyotes and, depending on where you live, larger predators.

NEVER buy anything with chicken wire (poultry netting)--it's designed to keep chickens out of a garden, NOT protect from predators. Both the coops you listed use hardware cloth, which is perfect--it's strong, doesn't rust and get brittle and the small holes don't allow vermin or raccoon hands to pass through. I've heard nothing but horrific stories of mass slaughter from people who wanted to save money and used chicken wire. Their regret was massive. :(

For roosts we use 2x2's that we slightly sand on each edge to avoid injury and make it comfortable for the chickens' feet to grip. It works for standard breeds and bantams equally well. Branches of varying size can work too.

You should be able to get to your birds no matter where they are in the run/coop (in case of illness/injury), and for cleaning the thing. They WILL poop on everything, and if it's possible for them to hurt themselves on it (wire sticking out, etc.) they'll freakin' find a way. Make plans for where they'll go when you are cleaning the coop or moving it.

If it is to be their full-time home, the run should either have a hardware cloth bottom or should be anchored to the ground and hardware cloth buried at least 6 inches down and bent outwards to thwart digging predators--predators LOVE a chicken dinner and will work all night to get one.

We constructed our own coop/run/nests, it was cheaper in the long run and we could design it to fit our yard & needs.

Enjoy your chickens! :)

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 4:31PM
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RodneyJS

Velvet Sparrow, I sent an email to the email address on your website.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 7:52PM
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LnrO

We used an old Wendy house. We had to make a new door because the other one was a half door. But other than that it was easy to just make the roosts and boxes.

We have also found it good against predators and the cold (we live in Ireland where its cold!) plus there's windows that the hens love looking out of! It's very cute, if you want more info just email me, it should be on my page :)

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 3:38PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

What is a Wendy house...?

Do you have any pics of your coop? It sounds fun, I love homemade chicken coops, I've seen pics of some that are awesome. :)

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   October 5, 2011 at 11:00AM
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RodneyJS

I googled Wendy house and it's a child's playhouse. They look good, although I'd imagine they'd be very expensive

    Bookmark   October 5, 2011 at 11:21AM
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bruglover(Gulf States)

I'm also not handy. At all.

I built rectangular coops out of hardware cloth and j-clips, doubled it where reinforcement was needed. Put a slanted roof on of welded wire fencing with 2 x 4 holes, and "shingled" it with illegally-placed plastic election signs, lol. Worked quite well. A piece of heavy-duty tarp would also work. These coops were mostly shaded by a large tree.

For nest boxes, I used big plastic lidded storage bins. Kept the lid on, the bin upright, cut a nice hole in the side for the hens. Put a brick on top to make sure the lid stayed on if it got windy. Sometimes had to dump water off after a heavy rain.

If one were worried about raccoons reaching through, either use small-holed wire or make a sort of double pen, with 2 layers a couple inches apart. For extra security, you could also put a hotwire or two around the outside, which I would highly recommend if there are loose dogs around. Those rascals can get through anything, and it's a bit hair-raising to try to shoo away a large, unfriendly dog from their meal. They can pull the welds out of hardware cloth and welded-wire fence. Speaking from experience here.

I thought if I got chickens again, I'd use one of those cyclone-fence dog kennels for their run. Might not double-fence it, but if not I would DEFINITELY put hotwires around the outside, and fence the top. In my area, it isn't rare to see these kennels for sale used. Depending on the size, the kennels can be somewhat portable, or at least fairly easy to take apart a bit and set up on another piece of ground. If you roof the top with another cyclone panel, a heavy duty tarp over that and partway down the sides would make a nice sheltered area for the birds. I'm in a warm climate where chickens don't freeze to death, though. YMMV. Put some perches under it - 2 x 4s. Of course, this won't work for tiny chicks unless you add hardware cloth; they can walk through cyclone.

If you decide that keeping chickens isn't for you later on, you'll get a couple dollars out of the kennel, too.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 2:50PM
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