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Author Topic: Need Help with Chicken Coop Plans.  (Read 11677 times)
winenutguy
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« on: October 12, 2008, 12:45:43 PM »

Hello all.  In addition to bees my wife and I are going to start raising chickens next spring.  We have an area already fenced off but we need some chicken coop plans.  We are planning on having 8-10 Black Australorps.   We have seen pictures of several nice coops but no real building plans.  Does anyone have any or know of a book or website that we could go to?  We are looking to do something on the nicer side to complement our yard.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Best wishes, Winenutguy
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mtman1849
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« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2008, 12:48:32 PM »

I don't know if you have a tractor supply store out there but they sell a really nice book with a lot of chicken coop plans in it I don't remember the price
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« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2008, 03:31:51 PM »

I believe there is a forum at backyardchickens.com  . not sure of the link but it is something like that.
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« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2008, 08:59:53 PM »

Hello All;
I've been to the site. Lot's of pictures and comments but I can't seem to find real plans.  I'm the kind of guy that needs it broken down in detail or I'm lost.  Not much of a handy man type of guy.  Any suggestions on where I can find real plans would be greatly appreciated.  Best wishes, Winenutguy
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« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2008, 09:29:09 PM »

You might try the library, they would have different books so you can choose.  Some people also use those wooden garden sheds you can get at Home Depot & FMyer, just add perches, nestboxes & a little door.  Kinda spendy but look cute! J
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winenutguy
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« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2008, 09:37:40 PM »

Hi Poka Bee;
I tried our local library.  No luck.  I ty them again though.  The pre-build sheds are two much dough for us to justify.  We'll keep looking around.  Best wishes, Winenutguy
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« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2008, 08:42:26 AM »

The stories guide to raising chicken is a really good book.  Heres a link
http://www.newfarm.org/books/reviews/2005/feb05/chicken.shtml
As for a coop they really aren't fussy.  Mine is 12 X 12 and 6.5ft high.  It has one window, 36 ft of roost that can be removed for cleaning and 10 nest boxes.  I have about 75 birds.  Hanging feeder and waterer on chains that can be raised so they have to reach abit stops them from spooning food all over the place.  The low ceiling holds heat down.   
« Last Edit: October 14, 2008, 07:38:38 AM by danno » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2008, 05:20:48 PM »

This is the $4 chapter from that book recommended above. It is helpful, but it is best to get the full book with the chicken raising info you'll need. I have a copy of this. Pretty helpful.
http://www.amazon.com/Building-Chicken-Coops-Bulletin-224/dp/1580172733/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1223932581&sr=8-1

I also use this book by the same author which has quite a bit of info copy and pasted from her other books, but more info on other animals as well.
http://www.amazon.com/Building-Chicken-Coops-Bulletin-224/dp/1580172733/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1223932581&sr=8-1

Finally, I don't have this book but have heard people like it. Might want to give it a look.
http://www.amazon.com/How-Build-Animal-Housing-Stanchions/dp/1580175279/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1223932730&sr=1-2
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« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2008, 05:59:43 PM »

Thank you all for the help and suggestions.  I will look into these resources ASAP.  Thanks again!  Winenutguy
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« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2008, 09:50:38 PM »

Hi Poka Bee;
I tried our local library.  No luck.  I ty them again though.  The pre-build sheds are two much dough for us to justify.  We'll keep looking around.  Best wishes, Winenutguy

I guess I shoulda shown you what I was planning on doing building my new hen house when you were down.  Maybe next time around.


for nest boxes plan on 14-16 inch cube for chickens the size of an Australorp to Jersey Giants.  The nest boxes on sale from most hatchery catalogs are 12 inch cubes and a bit small for the larger chickens.  Believe when I say if the nest box is too small the chicikens will lay on the ground instead of the box.
You need a small feed room or lean to, at least 12 inches of linear space per chicken on the roosts(more is better), and 4 sq feet per bird in the hen house besides the chicken yard.  The nests should have slanted bottoms sloping towards the direction you'll be collecting the eggs from.  The ceiling shouldn't be more than 6 inches above your head.  Too much head room and the chickens will start roosting in the rafters, which means they'll start flying over the fence.  An 8X8 shed should work for your needs (that's 64 sq feet).
The chicken entrance can be placed under the nest boxes if layout is a problem.  Also put in a double row of nest boxes with perch in front.  6 nest boxes will do up to 30 chickens.  They like to lay in the same nests as the other chickens but you need enough so several can lay at once.  It's not unusual for me to go out and find 6 or more eggs in the same nest box.
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« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2008, 10:16:52 PM »

Thank you Brian!  Best wishes, Marcus
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« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2008, 12:29:46 PM »

Brain,

Working on a coop here too. We're planning on getting Rhode Island Reds, would you recommend that larger size next box for them as well? I saw others that were the 12 x 12 size, so was planning on building mine based of of those measurements.

Thanks!
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« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2008, 12:56:39 PM »

When I started years ago i got Buff Orpingtons.  They are on the large size so I built my nest boxes on the large size about 11 X 12 deep and about 13 high.  The hens never used all the boxes. They picked there favorites and sometimes I would go in and have 2 hens stuffed in one box both laying. Now I raise Isa browns a medium size bird and at times find 3 birds in a box.  They have a doz to choose from but the whole flock of 50+ birds just use 1/2 doz or so.  The rest are clean and empty
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« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2008, 01:41:15 PM »

I watched a show on TV that was showing how to make the best chicken coop. The hen house and yard was all sectioned off so you could keep the roosters from the hens, if so desired, and the different species seperate. The house was designed so you could walk into a little alleyway and then go into what ever section you wanted. We too, well my sister in law, are looking into getting some chickens going. I have told them this idea so this way she can keep some hens seperate just for eggs and the others in a different pen for raising new ones and then a different area for the fatting up chickens for eating.
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winenutguy
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« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2008, 05:07:06 PM »

Thank you all for your replys.  We hope to start construction in a couple of weeks.  By the way, does anyone know of any special needs or have any tips for Black Australorps.  This is the breed we have decided on.  I thought I would ask just in case.  Thanks to everyone again for the replys and suggestions.  Winenutguy
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« Reply #15 on: October 15, 2008, 05:13:04 PM »

Right now until I get my coop built I am using some deep bee boxes. Mediums would probably work. These are Rhode Island Reds and sometimes I see two hens at a time in the box  rolleyes
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« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2008, 08:25:42 PM »

We are looking to do something on the nicer side to complement our yard.


The easiest way (in my opinion) would be to modify a pre-built shed.  2nd would be to build your own and use T111 siding, viola! a snappy looking hen haus.  If you are in a bind 1/2bu peach crates, milk crates, even cardboard tomato boxes can work as nesting boxes.  here are a few plans/guidelines from VPI&SU:

http://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/poultry/factsheets/designs.html
http://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/poultry/factsheets/10.html

It's been many years since I had anything to do with chickens but spring '09 I'm re-stocking the coop.
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« Reply #17 on: October 15, 2008, 08:35:43 PM »

Retrofitting an existing shed is a good way, but I have to say, building the 10x10' coop we built cost much less than buying a shed and then modifying it.  Hubby does know how to frame things, so that was easy for him, we just installed the nest boxes the other day, so it's finally getting finished.  It is hard to find specific plans to follow, most of the coops on backyardchickens.com are for smaller flocks of people who live in more urban areas.  Really all you need is a square building with a solid roof, a chicken door, and roosts - eventually (when they're big enough to start laying) you need nest boxes.  Plus make sure you plan for ventilation.  Chicken poo gives off quite a bit of ammonia, and believe me, if you don't have good airflow it stinks!.  We have four windows in the coop I can open as needed.  Just make sure nothing is going to blow on the birds when it's cold out.  They need ventilation, but not drafts on them!

Here is a link to our thread on BYC.  I'm going to be updating it soon with run and nest box pictures soon.
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« Reply #18 on: October 16, 2008, 09:34:57 PM »

Brain,

Working on a coop here too. We're planning on getting Rhode Island Reds, would you recommend that larger size next box for them as well? I saw others that were the 12 x 12 size, so was planning on building mine based of of those measurements.

Thanks!


14-16 inch square boxes should be used for all the Large Breeds: Jersey Giants, Brahmas, Orpingtons, Large Cochin's, Turkens, Australorps, Langshan, and the like.  Medium and small breeds will make good use of 12X12 boxes. Most of the Mediterranean breeds are mediums size.
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« Reply #19 on: October 17, 2008, 10:55:34 AM »

We just built our nest boxes, they're 15x15x12" deep.  We were told that was plenty large enough for the heavy breeds we have.  I hope they're right!
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« Reply #20 on: October 17, 2008, 12:49:20 PM »

We just built our nest boxes, they're 15x15x12" deep.  We were told that was plenty large enough for the heavy breeds we have.  I hope they're right!

A cube is always best for chickens but you'll probably be okay, as long as the chickens set in the nest with their heads out.  Other way around on a 12 inch wide nest means broken eggs on the floor or perch.
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« Reply #21 on: October 19, 2008, 08:56:47 AM »

try www.freechickencoopplans.com.I found it helpful when I was raising Dutch Bantam's for show.One note of caution-the chicken fever will get you,plan on making the coop bigger than you think you'll need.
As for Austrolorp's having special needs,not really.Just remember LF don't need to roost high,keep the roost low. Also,you can get good info on www.eggbid.com
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winenutguy
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« Reply #22 on: October 19, 2008, 12:54:43 PM »

Thank you Brian and Brian for your thoughts and tips.  It is very much appreciated.  Thank you all! Best, Winenutguy
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« Reply #23 on: October 20, 2008, 09:44:25 AM »

Winenutguy.  I meant to put a comment here, take it for what you will.  You may have already seen these pictures as I put them in another post, but in case you haven't, here goes.

Recently my Husband helped me do some revamping in my chickencoop.  We have ducks and chickens in this house and the structure that he built (and I did an addition to it myself, yeah!!!  took me hours, but I did it!!!!), has made my life so much easier, I cannot say how much.  It is so simple to now clean up the chicken mess, I can't believe it!!!  I don't know what kind of plans you are looking at for your coop.  My coops are already made.  They were boxstalls that we used to use for our horses, so I didn't have a choice as to how the size of the structure would be.  Look at this picture, if it is something that is similar to what you are thinking to building, I would highly recommend it.

I just take a garden hoe and scrap the chicken poop into my wheelbarrow, it works for me.  Just thought I would show you something that has made my life simple.  Have that most wonderful and awesomely great day, great health wishes for us all. Cindi



This is the part that I built, I needed more room (or should I say, they)

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« Reply #24 on: October 20, 2008, 08:05:19 PM »

Thank you Cindi! I was going to send you a P.M. so this is great timing.  I was going to ask you if you did anything unusual with your coop given our weather up here in the great N.W.  Since we are starting from scratch we are looking for any ideas that will make this a fun experience for us and a great place to live for the chickens.  Two quick questions if I may.  Will we need insulation in the walls?  Would a clear or semi-clear slanted roof made from fiberglass or polycarbonate help with winter laying?  Any help would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you so much for the pictures and the suggestion.  I'll show my wife.  I'm sure we will incorporate them into our design.  Best wishes, Marcus
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« Reply #25 on: October 20, 2008, 08:20:56 PM »

Marcus, the light can only help!  Make sure it is strong enough for the branches & crud that flies around during our wind spells. Slanted is a must for all the rain! Just make sure the slant isn't  where you need to walk!I'm putting in a small fluorescent light on a timer, set for 530 or 6am to help for later in the winter.  I have the"poop shelf" also, makes it much easier to clean, just scrape away as Cindi said.  I'm thinking of putting some under-bed bins on the shelf with shavings & stall dry.  That Stall dry stuff is AMAZING, really helps w/the ammonia smell! It gets sprinkled on the shelf & in the shavings on the floor. (also great in the catbox..)  I don't think it gets so cold here as to need insulation, just cover from the wind & rain.  I had some that lived in the trees in the pasture for years. You will love having chix, they are so comical to watch & each has a personality.  You will also never have any left over food scraps..they eat everything but raw potato skins & avocado which aren't good for them. J
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« Reply #26 on: October 21, 2008, 08:30:59 AM »

Marcus, Jody has said some good stuff.  I now have that timed light on.  The chickens have reduced laying drastically, and I need them to get going again.  (My Daughter told me to stop saying, hee, hee, when I e-mailed her, so I am trying to rid a habit,  Smiley Smiley, oops, almost typed hee, hee).  Anyways, my light in the chickenyard comes on at 4:00 A.M. and turns off at 7:00 P.M.  I get an impression that chickens like 15 hours a day of good light for optimum laying, could be wrong, but I think that is what I read.  It is just a light bulb, 40 watt, so it does not draw too much power.  I wonder if a florescent one would work better though....hmmmm....Jody, comment here please...

Marcus you will get tips all winter on how to keep chickens, you are almost there.  It is such a blast though, I do agree, I love to be in the chickenyards and watch the critters, never a second where something interesting does not occur.  Have a wonderfully great day, Cindi
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« Reply #27 on: October 21, 2008, 10:30:45 AM »

Thank you Cindi and Jody!  We are re-thinking runnning power out to the coop.  It's about 150 ft. from the house so we would need to dig quite a trench but it might be worth it.  Thank you both for your wonderful advice and encouragement.  It is greatly appreciated. We can't wait to get started!  Best wishes, Marcus
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« Reply #28 on: October 21, 2008, 01:43:58 PM »

Hi,

If your planning to build ur coop then ur obviously OK with working with timber, as I am "no master at it though" but will work with timber. I set about lookin for pic of coops on the net then made up my own from the ones I liked. I came up with a 10' X 4' coop and quite a nice sized run not that they spend much time in it but we do lock the gate at night but they are free to use the run. Loads of fox's around and fingers crossed they have given us no trouble so far. Hopefully the dog helps with this.

Heres my coop and run





Then we dicided to rear some chicks for the kids and got some eggs from local farmers selling free range eggs. Borrowed a wee incubator and brought out this little lot.



Now the wife wanted a small coop for the chicks  Cry Cry Cry

So I built this for her.





My point is if ur goona tackle a coop take ur time and there no fast rules so do plans really matter and if ur coop has a few quirky thing wrong with it, so what its ur coop and you built it. And built it the way you wanted not out of some book or plan.

Enjoy making it.  cool cool

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« Reply #29 on: October 21, 2008, 04:52:38 PM »

This is noting to do with coops but we are looking at getting chickens and I found this "poster." Thought it was pretty cool.

http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html
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« Reply #30 on: October 21, 2008, 06:56:29 PM »

Greywullf,
That is one sweet setup. Looks great..
I would love to see a few more pics of your bigger coop. It looks great.
F
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« Reply #31 on: October 22, 2008, 04:13:42 AM »

Haven't got anymore at the mo but will take some if the weather picks up. Looks the same as the smaller one inside but is has 6 nest box's instead of 4 and a bigger ladder/perch for them.

It was born of multiple googled images in my head and didn't draw it out just let it take shape.

Oh and the fencing is 4 foot green plastic coated wire but the timber rail "Top One" is only 3 foot high the other foot is bent out the way and u nailed to the bottom rail. This leaves a foot of fencing wire pressed hard to the ground under its own tension. Which you dont' have to burry to fox proof it, as the fox will try and dig at the bottom of the rail and won't have the e=mc2 to move back a foot to start digging, I'll take a pic. It work great.

Work smart not hard  grin grin grin

Thanks
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« Reply #32 on: October 22, 2008, 09:21:44 AM »

Greywulff.  Now you got some beautiful chickenyard setting going on there, that is amazing and simply beautiful.  I loved the pens, the houses, EVERYTHING.  You have done a beautiful job, and it looks pretty foolproof.

I should go out and take a picture of my chickenyards.  They are not really triangle or square yards or anything.  They are all over the map and they all have 6 foot high fences around them, also buried under the ground is the remaining 6 inches or so of the wire, nothing can get over nor under, I feel pretty safe for my chickenyard critters.  My place is kind of wild and untamed.  There is bush everywhere, a hill that is awesome for the chickens to go up on and look around.  My place is rather messy, but it is so big it is hard to keep it looking good.  Today the sun is gonna shine, so I will go and take some pictures of my chickenyards, you will probably be shocked at how mucky and kind of messy everything looks, but then, this Pacific Northwest is a mucky and wet climate, eeks!!  Have the most wonderful and awesome day.  Cindi
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« Reply #33 on: October 22, 2008, 10:50:08 AM »

Thanks Cindi,

It took a long time to get it the way I wanted it.  grin grin Rome wasn't built in a day and all......

Would love to see more peoples set-ups. Please post.
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« Reply #34 on: October 22, 2008, 02:49:23 PM »

This is noting to do with coops but we are looking at getting chickens and I found this "poster." Thought it was pretty cool.

http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html
Ah, the Henderson's Chicken Breed Chart is great, isn't it?  I used it when I was researching what breeds I wanted to raise.
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« Reply #35 on: October 23, 2008, 12:02:22 AM »

the best chicken "yard" I would have to say, for someone considering a small number of chickens in an urban or semi-urban area is a chicken wire enclosure (cube including bottom) that you can move around to different parts of your own yard.  they love to peck at anything and this will reduce the need for feed.

If you only have, say 2 3 or 4 chickens, the coop can be attached to this (ie plywood box with roof that lifts off.  this way two people can move them around periodically for access to new forage
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« Reply #36 on: October 23, 2008, 01:23:28 AM »

the best chicken "yard" I would have to say, for someone considering a small number of chickens in an urban or semi-urban area is a chicken wire enclosure (cube including bottom) that you can move around to different parts of your own yard.  they love to peck at anything and this will reduce the need for feed.

If you only have, say 2 3 or 4 chickens, the coop can be attached to this (ie plywood box with roof that lifts off.  this way two people can move them around periodically for access to new forage

Make a ware pen with a hutch attached.  A movable chicken pen is called a chicken tractor.  You can make one out of PVC pipe and poultry netting and a couple of old lawnmower wheels.
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« Reply #37 on: October 23, 2008, 09:39:00 AM »

A movable chicken pen is called a chicken tractor.  You can make one out of PVC pipe and poultry netting and a couple of old lawnmower wheels.

Now why didn't I think of that? I have been wracking my brain on how to make one of those things cheaply.

Thanks
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« Reply #38 on: October 23, 2008, 10:29:26 AM »

JM,
Here you go,,, I have built this one a few times. It works great. Just put a few tires on it and you have a great mobile chicken tractor.
F
http://www.pvcplans.com/PoultryPen.pdf
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« Reply #39 on: October 23, 2008, 12:39:26 PM »

Can you buy the "SNAP CLAMPS" or do you have to make them?

If you buy them, what section of the store? Plumbing?
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« Reply #40 on: October 23, 2008, 01:09:34 PM »

I had found a website that showed portable chicken coops, they even had wheels on them. Cant find the site now. Here is a site that offered a free design.
 
http://www.freechickencoopplans.com/
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« Reply #41 on: October 23, 2008, 04:30:52 PM »

I just make my own. Take the next size up and cut about 1/4 of the diameter out of it. It works great.
F
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« Reply #42 on: November 06, 2008, 04:44:54 PM »

I've build several coops now and have 1 suggestion. Make your bins at waist level so you don't have to bend over all the time to get eggs. My new one for 35 hens has 10 bins of which they lay in 4. Figures. I made a ramp for them to walk up, had to staple chicken wire to it for traction. If you would like pictures I can go take some. It's alittle over the top...we joke about our 3 coops...Becky's first one is " The Ghetto"...very primative..4 feet high and 5 wide 4 bins. The newer one was 8x 4 x8'with bins at one end 4 bins on 2 levels ( The Condo)...Then I got tired of bending over and Built " THE EMBASSY SUITES", made it as an addition to the condo but 8' by 8' with an 8' ceiling for storage. They love it. The bins wrap around 2 sides with a walkway and roosts on top.
The door is tied to the old coop which I will make into straw storage when I have time.
PM me if you want pic's
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« Reply #43 on: November 06, 2008, 06:05:18 PM »

Hello, 
We use those plastic chemical containers for nest boxes, with the front cut off and a bit of a lip left. We also use plastic milk containers for water or feed, hung up with a wire hook and cut off at the front.  My chooks are in a yard with breeding coops around it.  The frames are started with star pickets. The front is a couple of feet of iron with mesh above this, and an iron roof.  You may need a window at the back for ventilation.  I prefer the less wood the better as wood collects ticks and stickfast fleas.  We do have wooden perches though, a fair sized straight branch.  Shelter but also ventilation is important.  Depending on what chook killers you have there, you might need to cover the whole run so it is dog/hawk proof, and use strong mesh.   We have pet dogs here which keep a lot of wild animals away.  It is nice you are having australorps.  They used to breed show australorps here.  

Lone
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #44 on: November 06, 2008, 08:39:40 PM »

I've build several coops now and have 1 suggestion. Make your bins at waist level so you don't have to bend over all the time to get eggs. My new one for 35 hens has 10 bins of which they lay in 4. Figures. I made a ramp for them to walk up, had to staple chicken wire to it for traction. If you would like pictures I can go take some. It's alittle over the top...we joke about our 3 coops...Becky's first one is " The Ghetto"...very primative..4 feet high and 5 wide 4 bins. The newer one was 8x 4 x8'with bins at one end 4 bins on 2 levels ( The Condo)...Then I got tired of bending over and Built " THE EMBASSY SUITES", made it as an addition to the condo but 8' by 8' with an 8' ceiling for storage. They love it. The bins wrap around 2 sides with a walkway and roosts on top.
The door is tied to the old coop which I will make into straw storage when I have time.
PM me if you want pic's

Chickens prefer to lay in each other's nests but with 35 chickens they should be laying in more than 4.  I've found that if the size of the nest box is a little restrictive for the size of birds the less nest boxes they use.  Small (bantam) and medium (ie Mediterraian) breeds should have a nest box of either 14 or 15 inch cubes.  Larger Breeds (Multi-purpose and meat) need a nest box at least 16 inch cube and small turkeys should start at 18 inch cube.
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Life is a school.  What have you learned?   Brian      The greatest danger to our society is apathy, vote in every election!
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« Reply #45 on: July 12, 2009, 06:28:45 AM »

It is important to start off with a good foundation when building your chicken coop else it will take alot of re-work to do when you find that the designs didn't cater for the protection of the chickens or some other inconveniences. There having the proper Chicken Coop Plans is very important when starting out. Otherwise, it can be an enjoyable experience of building your own chicken coop  Smiley
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