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Coop Designs

 
                    
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I am in the process of designing a chicken coop and I would love to see some other peoples designs. Post pictures of your coops, nesting boxes, runs, tractors, brooders etc. I would love to see them.
 
                                      
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  Here's one I built last year.  Made out of a 4x8 flatbed trailer with palettes up the sides.  The roof is bent pvc with a cut tarp over it.  Inside are some roosts and plenty of sawdust.  The ramp comes up as a door.  worked with nearly 100 birds, though a lot of them slept under it, which was fine with an electric fence.
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I'm loving it. What kind of climate do you live in? Can you give an idea of the cost? What does the interior have to offer, or is it just for meat birds?
 
                                      
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   I'm living in zone 3.  It's going to be used for summer birds, and then bunker any egg-layers down for the winter.  It was cheap.  I don't know how much a trailer costs but I found mine under a tree in rough shape for free.  Palettes are free, and pvc pipes are cheap.  The interior is just a big bed of sawdust with poles going across for support and roosts.  I never used it for egg-layers.  I'd like to fit in a side roosting apartment that you could lift the roof off of.
    I should add that you can move it by hand and it's easiest to close them all up and drag it to a new spot and set the fence up again.  (takes like 7 minutes with 1 person).  But when they get older it gets nearly too heavy to drag by yourself.
    One advantage is that you can take them down the highway in it and set them up at a new location should the need arise.  Which it did for me.
 
Leah Sattler
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this was built entirely from scrap wood, except for the roof which was the leftover from our shed. I built it to house 3-5 laying hens. the run attached (and there is a small door on the other side of the house) is supposed to be just a secure area and a way to make sure they lay and sleep where they are supposed to at first and if they begin to stray. it has a plastic pallet in the bottom to keep them from getting out when i dont want them to and allows any night time droppings to fall through so I can rake them up and use them. there are 2 approx. 4' long 1x2" roosts inside and now as well a flourescent light with a timer (that dh recently removed 'cause he thought it was malfunctioning when it came on at 1:30 ). In the nesting area that has hinged access, are some old foam mats in two layers. the top mats have circles cut out of them and hold a fake egg. this gets the hens laying where I want and keeps the eggs from rolling around for the most part. I don't feel the need to put bedding in there with the foam mats, they are easy to clean and the lack of normal bedding discourages sleeping or scratching in the nest boxes. I have it positioned under a tree as heat can be a real problem around here.
 
                    
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I love the set-up. Thank you. Do you find that 3-5 laying hens meets your egg needs?
 
Leah Sattler
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5 hens is good for us most of the time. there are three in our family and I make it a point to utilize eggs. when I had more (I have had up to 10 laying + some random eggs from free range bantams) it seemed silly to have sooo many eggs most of the time and alot were just given away, and I know few people who appreciate them so it was sort of disheartening, people were afraid of my eggs . they were afraid they weren't "safe" like the store bought ones

however there is some benefit to having more then you really need...for instance...I had 4. one died inexplicably......so I am now left with three, which really isn't enough. so there is some value I can see in having too many in that when something unexpected happens you have a backup. ( I have learned this lesson with my dairy goats now too :cry I gave away or sold cheap quite a few hens before we moved because I knew we wouldn't have the facilities at the new house for all of them. now I am wishing I would have finagled things to keep a few more around because I am having to buy eggs to keep up with our demand.

I am going to be buying more layers in the spring for sure and will make it a point to buy extra and find a way to house them safely. if i can get some more good broody breeds also then maybe I can allow them to hatch out extra or just use the incubator and get some chicken for the freezer instead of having a gazillion extra eggs!
 
Gwen Lynn
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We miss your chicken eggs terribly...waahhh! 
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
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Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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Leah Sattler wrote:
(I have had up to 10 laying + some random eggs from free range bantams) it seemed silly to have sooo many eggs most of the time and alot were just given away,


It is a funny balance... then they go down to one every other day in winter and suddenly your buying flabby pasty eggs again.

I think around 8 is nice, because I have around 3 paying customers at work who will pay $3-4/dozen for organic pasture raised eggs of unsurpassed quality and flavor.  It starts covering feed costs, and your never stuck without eggs. 
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
Posts: 855
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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I ended up buying polycarbonate for roof and part of the sides, some of the frame was salvage 2x4 ripped down.  Mesh on floor for easy cleaning, egg hatch accessible from outside, a piece of gavlanized cable lets the door in the run up and down from the back side.  Whole lid opens for maintenance and access, and latches down for wind.  I like long, low and narrow for low weight to square footage ratio.. perches on one side nest box on others, food in middle.  One person can move the whole thing easily in the morning before they are out in the yard.  Pasture gets cut and thrown in the yard for deep litter or just keep'em moving.  Nest boxes come out for cleaning.... use softwood planner shavings when we can get them for bedding.  Piece of cardboard goes under the roost so we can easily harvest teh poop for the garden compost.  The yard is deer fencing over PVC hoops.  This is the third generation flagship and is kind of heavy on plastic and fixtures but I'm pretty happy with it.
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Great thread!  Thanks for all the pictures and advice. 

Nice scythe, Paul!  .....Is there a scythe thread, me wonders?
 
Irene Kightley
pollinator
Posts: 382
Location: South West France
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Yes, it's lovely seeing other people's tools and sheds ! 

Our chicken shed houses about 70 birds and has an "inner sanctum" for sitting hens and chicks or for keeping cocks in for a few days until they're killed.





We use empty gunpowder barrels for laying hens and when we have a sitting hen we move her to the inner sanctum until the chicks are about 10 days old and learn to run under her fast when they hear the magpies and buzzards.



Straw on the floor - I clean it out once a year and put the bedding straight on to the blackcurrants and other soft fruit growing behind the shed





More water storage on the south side



The west side is covered with star Jasmine and smells wonderful when it's in flower



Our chickens are completely free-range - I protect vulnerable plants with cages or sticks.

 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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Irene, I love your place!  Where are you?

And what kind of chickens do you have?  Looks like maybe a mix?  Sounds like pretty much a self-reproducing flock, which is what I hope mine will be eventually.

Kathleen
 
Leah Sattler
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what a beautiful place Irene!!!
 
                    
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It is quite amazing.
 
Irene Kightley
pollinator
Posts: 382
Location: South West France
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Thank you so much Leah and Stully !

I'm in South West France Kathleen and you're right, the chickens reproduce well. They are a real mix but we tend to choose big birds because we sell some for meat and kill a few dozen a year for ourselves. We barter for a new cockerel every year and keep eight or nine bantams who sit well on anybody's eggs. 

I'm really pleased with this shed which is my "dream" after planning exactly what I wanted for us and the chickens for a very long time. It's worth trying to get as big a shed as you possibly can for it to be multifunctional. Write down all you can and do drawings, think about slope, water, compost, plantings, wind protection, predators, ease of cleaning...

In this one, we can keep all the feed, the battery for the pig park which is recharged with a solar panel on the roof. The park surrounds the back of the shed so the electric fence helps to keep out predators too. We can also run lights off the battery. We collect a lot of water from the roof - easily enough for the chickens and cleaning their food containers and for the newly planted fruit trees, nuts and soft fruit area which slopes downwards from the shed and it gets more than its fair share of the chicken manure.

We've room to move about in here and so have have the chickens - on the rare occasion when we go away and they have to stay in because we can't shut them up for the night. The shed cost very little to build. We just cleared a space in the wood, (Sweet Chestnut mostly, which unfortunately is dying due to canker and which I'm slowly replacing with other edible species.) dug a trench and used the larger pieces of wood to build a frame and wrapped the whole thing in chicken wire buried to 40cms into the trench to keep out rats, badgers, hedgehogs and foxes. We disguised the chicken wire with the smaller chestnut branches. The tree roots stayed inside the shed. The roof and one door is second-hand and the other door is a wood frame covered with chicken wire.



If you like photos, I've lots more here :

http://www.flickr.com/photos/hardworkinghippy/sets/72057594059621254/

This is a slideshow showing the screen to hide the waterbutts at the back of the shed through the seasons.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/hardworkinghippy/sets/72157603766880489/show/
 
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