Chicken house and chicken yard building

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Weedygarden

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My grandmothers had well built chicken coops. I believe that they were built specifically for housing their poultry, because poultry was a basic and essential item for people. One grandmother, who lived on the edge of town, had a big fenced in area. The other grandmother free ranged her poultry. She also raised turkeys and they were sold in the fall for added income.

I am now considering building or purchasing a chicken coop. What I know is that there are possibilities for what kind of building can be used. I have seen that Doug and Stacy use what looks to be purchased storage sheds for their poultry.

I also know that a simple fence does not keep predators out. I have no memory of our chickens ever being taken by predators, but because I was a child at the time, this might have been something I didn't know about. I know that predators can dig under, climb over, or fly over fences. I want to make an area that is a predator proof as possible.

I am aware of chicken tractors.

Anyone have any ideas or suggestions? Thank you.
 
I basically built a car port out of wood and shingled the roof. I then used mobile dog fencing to go around it and went chicken wire around that. I put in wire netting on the floor and covered it with sand. Placed a fake owl on one side and a fake hawk on the other. I bought two smaller coups from a farm store to put inside it. I've seen tracks walking up to the coop, but the only thing that's made it inside was a mouse. The ladies loved eating Mickey that day!
 
We've always used a building, like a small shed thing, and then I do a run off of that. I put chicken wire on the top of the run. So they have inside and outside area. We've always lived in areas with predators, so this works best for us. Turkeys and geese are kept the same way. The more space you can give them, the better. Don't waste your money on the Tractor Supply "specials". They are small and flimsy built. Come to Kansas, Weedy, and I'll give you a bunch of chicks to start you off.
 
Mine live in a 6x8 greenhouse, and have the run of what used to be fenced off for the cats. Pay no attention to the debris, the high winds have blown everything around
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We've always used a building, like a small shed thing, and then I do a run off of that. I put chicken wire on the top of the run. So they have inside and outside area. We've always lived in areas with predators, so this works best for us. Turkeys and geese are kept the same way. The more space you can give them, the better. Don't waste your money on the Tractor Supply "specials". They are small and flimsy built. Come to Kansas, Weedy, and I'll give you a bunch of chicks to start you off.
Thank you! I'll work on a coop and enclosed area for the chickens and then go to see you when I think it is secure and ready for chickens.
 
Decide how many chickens you plan to maintain. There's a big difference in what I would build for 5-8 hens and 40 hens. I've had both in the same 10x10ft coop. It was a little crowded with 40.

Weather is the next consideration... best advice, look at what people build for your area.

Here in the south I don't get weeks of zero temps. Heat can be an issue though. My coop sides are chainlink fence with hardware cloth around the bottom edge, chicken wire over the top. And a 16x20ft tarp. The first tarp with wear out in a year, it'll start to rip, leak. But I don't remove and replace the old one. I simply lay a 2nd new tarp over the old one. The 2nd one will last 2yrs. Over a decade I average a new tarp every 3years.

My structure is also built to be light and moveable (without a lot of trouble). Most importantly... all components are common and available anywhere. If I need to make repairs everything I might need is at a big box store, hardware or farm supply. No special or hard to find materials.

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Oops... here you can see how I made a peaked roof for my coop. I used standard chain link fence pipe and 4 T-connectors. Simple... My whole coop can be built and maintained with channel locks, wire cutters, and a role of steel electric fence wire. Didn't even use a hammer.

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A little long just thinking out loud… some things I’d think about before taking the plunge.

Curious, how many sqft is your backyard? I’m under the impression it’s small. Just trying to get an idea of how much space… and what may be possible. How much sun does your byard get? Actual hours, winter and summer? Direction n/s e/w? How is it in relation to other structures?

I have a piece of tin, shiny on one side. I painted the other side black. My coop faces south so in summer I hang the tin on the front... shiny side out, reflects heat away from the coop and adds shade inside. I flip it in winter, black side out so it absorbs heat.

Chickens… they tend to ‘snuggle up’ when they roost, especially the first year or 2, also in winter. A 4X6 roost should be plenty for sleeping and laying. If starting with 8 chicks, probably lose a couple the first year. It's common to lose them, especially when young, they die for no apparent reason sometimes.

They are also going to try to lay in the same nest box, tend to squabble over it in fact. Probably only going to need two nest boxes. That gives you a spare for a broody hen if trying to hatch some eggs. You’ve seen the soda flats I use as nests? I keep flats for the hens to lay while others are out in the rain. I let nature clean them. I just swap them as needed.

Since they are in a backyard… do you compost? I’d build the roost off the ground above my regular compost pile, have fertilized compost with extra nitrogen. Makes cleaning simpler to!

I built this (first pic) for 50 hens, and 8 nest layer. But they still layed in the same two nests! I kid you not! They tried to lay in one but with so many hens they’d spill into the next nest. I built it in 2 halves, upper and lower. The upper wasn’t attached, gravity held it in place.

Second pic is my current set up for a few hens. It’s the upper section of the big layer (15yrs later). I made it from 6ft pieces of wood 1/2" x 2". It really light, easy to move or repair, still doing it's job. I keep 2 or 3 flats in it.

Can make a nest out of just about anything. Probably already have something.

Tip… chickens are going to crap any place they can stand or roost. Above my nests I put a deflector. This is the tail gate part of a bed liner from a pickup truck. It prevents the chickens from standing or roosting above the nests. Which means they can't crap all over their nests from above.

Funny, if a hen is walking across a nest to lay they won’t randomly poop on the straw, laying can get messy but… I would rather clean a little laying poop from a nest than clean one that was bombarded all night from above by a squadron pooping machines.

Last pic… see how clean the unused flats are? They aren't covered in poop. Been there for a while, dusty but no poop. I recommend making it impossible for chickens to roost above a nest.

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Our chicken house was on a slab.. Essentially an insulated barn with 1" boards on the inside walls.. Divided into 2 sides with a small vestibule.. There were inside and outside rolling barn doors entry.. All this to make it as bear resistant as possible.. There were claw scratches all around the building over 6' off the ground..

Most of the chickens and geese we lost were to a dozen or more ermine weasels I eventually live trapped in the vestibule.. But not before suffering many lost birds..

But then we lived in an area responsible for my grandpas favorite saying..
The farther north you go, the more things that can eat you and your horse.. Grandpa Gilbert...
 
One thing to remember with chicken coops, OSB and some other man-made sidings and such OFF GAS in sun/heat. The chickens body weights to absorb and get rid of the airborne carcinogens are much less than ours. And unless you have a large outdoor area available for winter (assues they are cooped up -pun intended- or hot summer, they are exposed to a lot of toxins daily.
https://www.thewoodworkplace.com/is-osb-safe-for-chickens/
Just an fyi. We have a chemically sensitive child (now 30 and doing well) who was sick for years with no explanation as she slept in the same bedroom as her 1 year older sister who had only normal short lived illnesses. Took us 3 homes/moving to figure it out -- built a standing dead white cedar log home with NO toxins, nothing but water based finishes, no caulking, no glues (easier to do in log building) and everything was certified as compliant. Caost a lot more but SHE got better immediately. No air vents, in floor heating on top of tile, and on.
 
We made one out of pallets and sided it with used outdoor carpet. any coop you build must be at least 2 feet off the ground in case of a heavy downpour.

You might consider putting a bit of electricity through your fence for possums and coons.
 
Oops... here you can see how I made a peaked roof for my coop. I used standard chain link fence pipe and 4 T-connectors. Simple... My whole coop can be built and maintained with channel locks, wire cutters, and a role of steel electric fence wire. Didn't even use a hammer.

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This is our set up.
We have a 40 foot X 60 foot area surrounded by 6 foot high chain link fence.
Inside that we have 6 foot high chain link dog kennels with peaked tarp tops, just like the picture.
We have five - one for each little flock.
We had igloo dog houses left over from when we had a lot of dogs, each kennel has one with hay in it as a nesting box.

We ran 2X2 PT sticks from one side to the other for the hens and roosters to roost on at night.

We’ve been keeping layers for almost 30 years now.
 
Our coop is 10'×12' with a covered porch on the front. The floor is 1" plywood and the siding is 1×12" board and batt. The inside walls and ceiling are 3/8" plywood.
We have 3 runs, one is 24×36, one run covers a quarter acre and the third area is our orchard, also about a quarter acre. On the small run I put up wire criss-crossing the top. This keeps out hawks and owls. Haven't lost a bird since I put it up.
Last week I ordered a 110 watt solar panel and a 300 watt inverter. I'm going to add a couple lights in the coop and the feed room.
We currently have 31 chickens and 10 ducks using this area. The ducks usually don't go inside the coop.
I have another coop where we raise 25 - 50 meat chickens in the summer. I built it on skids so I can move it with the tractor when it's not in use.
 
So many life changes have been occurring over the past few months and I will likely be moving to new property before the end of the year. That said I will probably leave my current coop for my grandparents to use and start from scratch on the new one. I already have 15 hens and 1 rooster and a few weeks ago added 21 more pullets and 4 straight runs for a total of 25 chicks. All together that'll be about 40 in the flock with plans to keep expanding in years to come.

I'm working out how I want to improve on things in this coop other than being much larger than the last. The goal is to have a large coop and large covered run to keep them in at night and when nobody is home. Eventually I plan to free range them for at least part of the day. I'm also thinking about how to maximize usage for other types of poultry.

The new place does have quite a few predators but we are working on thinning them out. Hopefully building it up near the house will discourage most from coming in as well.
 
So many life changes have been occurring over the past few months and I will likely be moving to new property before the end of the year. That said I will probably leave my current coop for my grandparents to use and start from scratch on the new one. I already have 15 hens and 1 rooster and a few weeks ago added 21 more pullets and 4 straight runs for a total of 25 chicks. All together that'll be about 40 in the flock with plans to keep expanding in years to come.

I'm working out how I want to improve on things in this coop other than being much larger than the last. The goal is to have a large coop and large covered run to keep them in at night and when nobody is home. Eventually I plan to free range them for at least part of the day. I'm also thinking about how to maximize usage for other types of poultry.

The new place does have quite a few predators but we are working on thinning them out. Hopefully building it up near the house will discourage most from coming in as well.
Good to see you!! Keep us updated on the move and the new coop!!
 
At one point I had 2 hens. I built this and let them roam during the day. I have always preferred hardware cloth to chicken wire. If you are not familiar with hw cloth, it’s essentially a half inch wire grid available at HD or Feed stores.
ETA to add pix 🙄
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At one point I had 2 hens. I built this and let them roam during the day. I have always preferred hardware cloth to chicken wire. If you are not familiar with hw cloth, it’s essentially a half inch wire grid available at HD or Feed stores.
ETA to add pix 🙄
View attachment 127403
Can't raccoons get in that??
 
Raccoons are climbers!!! I once lost a half dozen hens to a sneaky climbing coon. My fault, made it easy for him.

For roosting poles i cut a few large saplings in the woods then slid them thru my chain link coop. (below) I'd go down after dark to shut the coop. Always a few hens on the outside of the coop, i'd move them inside but... Darned raccoon would climb up the chainlink, sit on a pole and reach thru grabbing the closest hen. I'd find a dead hen in a closed coop! what the...? The kills were clearly done by rocky!

I made my roosting poles shorter and fit them thru cinder blocks making sure they couldn't be reached from outside the coop. I also put hardware cloth around the bottom 3ft of the coop.



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I like the idea of the solar panel for extra light.. Extra light is one thing that seems really important to keep hens producing in winter..

I like the flying saucer coop.. :great:
 

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