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Looking to build a small (5-6 chickens) coop that is easy to manage.

Anyone have any experience doing this or have plans to suggest?

Thanks for any help and/or tips.
 

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Peppy,

I built one out of plywood and made the run out of scrap deck lumber. I made it 4' x 8' to eliminate some cutting and waste. Basically just built a box with a roof and nest boxes. I put it 3' off the ground on 4 x 4'rs. With a front door and back door for easy cleaning.

We started with four hens and are up to 10 now. I built a brooding cage and small coop using pallets and scrap wood next to the big coop with a door that connects the two. When the young birds are big enough I can open the door and they have alot more room in the run.

Here is the only pic I have of the coop at the very back of the garden.





 

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Just search Google for plans:


Thousands of Free Chicken Coop Plans
Learn How to Build a Chicken Coop for Free

http://freebies.about.com/od/free-plans/tp/free-chicken-coop-plans.htm



Just as easy is looking at pictures on line and using the basic description given and use your imagination. Not that hard.. and the end customer isn't that picky. And for those with free will thought and opposable thumbs - paint covers a multitude of mistakes.....
 

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Yeah, do it, you will never regret it. I was a newbie and still learning...started with 13, killed the rooster after it went after my kids..and lost a few free ranging them to hawk and now have 6 which is plenty of eggs for family of 5 and I sell 2 dozen a week to pay for feed.

Tons of pics and plans and information www.backyardchickens.com

The one option I put in my design was a roost that was on door hinges..and a little poop hatch under roost. You just open hatch, pull up the roost and push poop out. Also, deep litter method of cleaning coop works great. Run electric so you dont have to change frozen water daily in winter, and put light on timer to give them 12 hours of light during winter and they will continue to lay all winter. Have fun.
Willy
 

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Built 2...1 was 5x5x3h..in a 8x10 fenced area 3 feet off the ground..the built a 4x8x6 h 8 egg boxes had 17 buff orp and 6 black n red sexlinks...loved the buffs...until someone turned me in and had to get rid of the birds......kept light on timer had heated water trays...had them trained to come running when i would holler hear girls...had a rooster that would sit on my shoulder like a parrot...lol...miss them birds
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the info, replies and pics.

I will read over all the info when I have a bit more time.
 

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buckinnuts said:
had them trained to come running when i would holler hear girls...had a rooster that would sit on my shoulder like a parrot...lol...miss them birds
Mine come running when we yell "here chickens" Our chickens will fly right up and sit on my shoulders.....They even try to roost on my head....It's Hilarious.

To get them really tame you should hold them as much as possible when they are chicks.
 

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I agree hold them often...rub their neck...mine loved it and would fall asleep...i had a barred rock rooster once he was a fiesty bird...wanted to be the only male in the hen house...when he attacked the boy he became chicken corn soup...like to try and get 2 buffs in the future as long as my neighbors do tell...the ones that turned me in moved...all the others ask where my birds went...ordinances suck....they say no domestic animals but i have cattle right up the road...goats across the street and right besides the township building...so...i figured i would get wild turkeys or pheasants...not domestic...lol ..but the wife didnt like the idea...but still might
 

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I built one this spring. I did a lot of plan searching and finally found one I really liked. Do a search for Barn Geek and look up his free chicken coop plans. Easy to build and looks really good. Holds 10-12 chickens. You collect the eggs from outside the coop. Mine are laying well now and couldn't be happier.
 

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My advaice would be to build bigger than you think you need. They have a way of accumulating. Got rid of the excess pullets, now have a batch of broilers coming along. Mine has wheels, so I can move it once a year to cleaN. Use leaves for litter, when the new ones fall in the fall, I take out the old litter and dig it into the garden. Wheels are on carriage bolts with wing nuts so they go on and off easy.
 

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I'm building my 2nd coop now. Do not use chicken wire. Spend the extra coin and buy the 1/2inch welded wire grid. My dog has broken in twice and killed chickens. Today she tried again and I was fortified enough to stop her but she still did some damage. Agree with building bigger than you think you will need. I started out with 8 chickens. I'm up to 13 and will probably continue. Backyardchickens.com has a ton of useful information
 

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if your going small, or a city farmer, put a poop board under the roost. it catches almost all the poop and easy to clean. I use deep litter method with pine shavings and clean once a year. go bigger, you will want more. here is my city coop for 3. i since installed a 6 foot run to the side.
 

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We used to have a coop right in the middle of the city. My biggest advice long term if you don't have a lot of space is to make sure you have it set up to let them poop where you can let it sit awhile. Then you can harvest it as compost.
 

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I built mine 8x11, looks like a shed. I built it from rough cut lumber, it has plenty of nesting boxes, a window for ventilation and roost poles. I also built a solar powered door which opens and closes on a timer at sunrise and sunset. I refer to it as the chicken man door. We have anywhere from 20 to 30 chickens and butcher to bring the numbers down for winter. Our chickens free range and the eggs are incredible. One thing I recommend is if you have open eaves is cover the bottom of your roof trusses and any open windows with wire for protection.
 

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benelliman,
could you post more details about your automatic door? Maybe a pic? I'd like to do something like that for my birds. I hate when no ones home at dark to close the door, always worried a predator will walk right in.
 

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I purchased my opener from smarthome.com it runs on an electric outle or solar powered. So far it works great. It has been over a year in use.
 

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built one this spring.
I would recommend adding "roosts" inside the pen. We used 3" dia. tree branches run from the support poles. This gives the birds a place to get off the ground when theyre outside and adds to the space in the pen.

Also, you can make a cheap "run" with bird netting and some cut tree branches pounded in the ground.

We have a small door on the outside of the pen cage that leads to two runs about 6' wide and 45' long. We have an "A" and a "B" run. Gives em a place to scratch the grass and run outside the pen, but still be contained and it picks up easy in the winter.

Sorry no pics at the moment.
 
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