Coop for 10 hens - recommendations

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Gogmagog
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Coop for 10 hens - recommendations

Post by Gogmagog »

Good morning

We're looking to replace our coop and am looking for recommendations! I admit, our current one was cheap and I'm not wanting to make that mistake again! It has lasted 3.5 years but that has included us replacing the roof and so on.

We have 8 ex batts and two hybrids of the same size. They're all good natured and have never had any squabbles. The current coop is supposed to fit 15 so I think they like having plenty of space. Most use the roosting bars but 3 (ex batts) prefer the nesting boxes. We poo pick every morning so that's never bothered me.

We currently have a secure covered run attached to the coop but the whole thing is in a large fenced/netted section of the garden they have free access to (shut in at night of course).

I've looked at the eglus but they don't seem big enough. The Flyte so Fancy ones look good quality? I would hope so for the price!

Haven't got the time really to build one although we did consider buying a shed and modifying it, we had this previously and did work well - any cons with this we should consider?

Thoughts on your favourite large hen coop? I'm struggling to find one that fits 10 fat hens!
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chrismahon
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Re: Coop for 10 hens - recommendations

Post by chrismahon »

My advice would be to halve the number the manufacturer claims will fit in, so you will be looking for a 20 bird coop. We have two coops on stilts made from old sheds, which means an awful lot of modification. Both suit 10 maximum and are 6' x4' floor area. Ventilation and access for cleaning are important points often overlooked. Another often seen failure is external nest boxes that have a lid that lets water in. I suggest you need at least separate 3 boxes for 10 hens.
Icemaiden
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Re: Coop for 10 hens - recommendations

Post by Icemaiden »

I'd recommend getting one with rollaway nest boxes. It helps to prevent issues with egg eating, which can be a problem with hybrids as they keep laying for pretty much their whole lives, including after their eggshells start to get thin.

A number of people on here have recommended Solway coops over the years. If they're back in production (they had a "little " fire last year), I'd suggest having a look. I've got a Green Frog coop myself, but I was underwhelmed by the build quality to be honest.
Chickens are a girl's best friend (though diamonds would be nice too!)
Gogmagog
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Re: Coop for 10 hens - recommendations

Post by Gogmagog »

Great advice thank you :D Our old converted shed had already been done when we got it - and I thought it probably had been lot of work to do so that's useful to know!

That's also interesting about the Green frog, thank you. I've seen them recommended, I think it was on the omlet forum but again, I didn't really like the look of them.

It looks like Solway are back in business, does anyone know how you actually access to clean them etc?! Or have any pics of the inside? Was planning to replace last year and have a look at some at the Country shows but of course, that plan got scuppered! Its so hard to buy online :-)07
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chrismahon
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Re: Coop for 10 hens - recommendations

Post by chrismahon »

We bought our Solway from Margaid for emergencies and have had it in use for 3 years now. Originally it had one internal nest tray but an external box had been fitted. Ventilation is poor and we added mesh to keep creatures out. It leaks a lot and needs a lot of sealing. Access is poor as the back door is too small for me although to be fair it would be improved if it was raised off the ground. Of course it won't rot, but that wouldn't be enough of a feature to make me buy another. Ultimately it will be left at the far end of the garden and filled with leaves for 'creatures' to over-Winter (probably snakes) as we have plenty of far better coops available (all homemade).

Forgot to say I wouldn't have more than 4 in the Solway we have. We actually had two in there and it seemed cramped.
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Marigold
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Re: Coop for 10 hens - recommendations

Post by Marigold »

If I had 10 hens, and wanted to keep all of them in one coop, I’d consider getting a shed, 6ft by 8ft. with the door on one of the 8ft sides. The hens need about 9-12 ins of perch space each, so you could fit one perch along each of the opposite 6ft sides, both perches the same height. You’d need to make 3 nest boxes on the remaining 8ft side opposite the door. If you had room then an 8ft square shed would be much better. You can buy ready made plastic nest boxes which just sit on the ground if there’s room inside the shed, or simply use disposable cardboard boxes.

Actually if I had that many hens I would want to separate them into two groups and provide 2 coops, each to accommodate up to 6 hens. I don’t think the kind of moveable ready-made coops you’re looking at are very suitable for more birds than that. If you go bigger, the coops would become less moveable and harder to get inside for cleaning etc, also proportionately more expensive. It’s often necessary to separate hens for various reasons such as quarantining newcomers, providing growers feed rather than layers pellets for young birds, or just keeping older birds or different breeds apart.
Ideally, of course, for ten birds you’d have a barn or outbuilding, but if not, then a walk-in shed could be a workable alternative.
Oh, and get a shed roofed with corrugated Onduline or similar, not roofing felt. Corrugated plastic roofing would provide better ventilation and you won’t get redmite nesting between the roofing felt and the supporting wood panels underneath, which is an ineradicable problem in normal sheds.
Margaid
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Re: Coop for 10 hens - recommendations

Post by Margaid »

To be fair to the Solway house Chris bought from me, I bought it secondhand on eBay when it was 3 or 4 years old and Chris bought it from me probably in 2014. I had it as a "starter" house and raised it of the ground. It was in fact strapped on to a substantial wooden frame which happened to be lying around as it was exposed to high winds which could have blown it over. I took the internal nest box out and OH fitted an Osprey Roll-away box from the outside. I think I also removed one of the perches as I only ever had two birds in there.

Being made of one 8'x4' sheet of recycled plastic board bent into a hoop then attached to a base the coop eventually warped so there were gaps between the inverted "U" shape and the front and back panels. It was quite tall for its' width and I did have problems with ice on the inside of the roof a couple of times. It wasn't used much because morehens disease struck very rapidly and it then became an isolation coop.

So I had a custom made large shed-like hen house made by a local timber yard as this meant I could specify the timber thickness, a pophole at both ends, cutouts for three Osprey Roll-away nest boxes, ventilation and an Onduline roof. It was tall enough for me to stand up in, but only me and was raised so the floor was a convenient height for me to sweep bedding into a dustpan. OH was perfectly capable of altering a shed but it would have been done "eventually" as he didn't really want to do it and was happy for me to buy one. It cost £465.00 inc VAT in 2013. Unfortunately I don't have the design spec but I had eight LF hens and a cockerel. The interior photo shows the long perch above the droppings board - this made cleaning the coop a doddle. One of the popholes was under the droppings board.

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Gogmagog
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Re: Coop for 10 hens - recommendations

Post by Gogmagog »

That looks amazing Margaid. I've had a look around with local guys but no one seems interested 😕 so been back on the Google...

Any experience with Arkus? I've read one scathing review on a forum but otherwise most have quite positive. The one thing I wasnt so keen on was the lower walls in the nest boxes but seeing as some of ours like to buddy up anyway (despite having a choice of 6 nest boxes 🙄) I wonder if they would be bothered.

Have also been looking at some good quality wooden ones but they're about £1000 - I was thinking would have to invest 700 odd but don't really want to go as high as a grand. The Arkus would mean can get an auto door and still be well below that 😂

With the point about having two, I've got two friends who have two houses and both said all the hens just use one house. One is in a garden with 2 eglus and the other is 1/5 acre pen with 2 converted sheds. Both have mainly ex battery chooks (same as us) and wondered if this makes a difference? I wouldn't want to buy two smaller houses and then find they all cram into one!
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Marigold
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Re: Coop for 10 hens - recommendations

Post by Marigold »

Hi Gogmagog, when I suggested the possibility of two coops I was really thinking of two separate setups, perhaps with the birds divided along age lines, which would make integration of new birds easier. I agree they might all pile into one coop if both coops were side by side in the same run.
Although if the run was divided for a while and the birds settled into two ‘friendships groups’ or sub-flocks, and then subsequently the dividing mesh came down so they were all together, they would possibly go into their respective coops at night?
It would be an interesting experiment. What do others think?

You might like to look at Jim Vyse Arks if thinking of wooden ones. I know Jim, his business is near to where I live, and he makes proper wooden arks and chicken houses out of real timber, not imported Chinese rubbish. A genuine small business with a good reputation. See
https://www.jimvysearks.co.uk/
Margaid
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Re: Coop for 10 hens - recommendations

Post by Margaid »

I see he uses the Hensafe automatic door opener which is the one I had. You can use a combination of time and light sensor so that if, for example, the day is very overcast the door won't shut too early as it will use the time setting. I think the reverse is also true, if it's still light then the door won't shut until it's dark if that's later than the time setting so there's no danger of the hens being shut outside.

When I sold my equipment the Hensafe still had about 9 months warranty left and they happily transferred that to the new owner
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