Five months ago, when I decided to get chickens for my kids, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
Thanks to backyardchickens.com, I was able to figure things out. We now have 6 new family members and love
everything about them- well almost everything- they poop a little more than we had anticipated. I thought
that we could just let the chickens roam around in our backyard and that we could put up a little dog house
like structure for them to sleep in. I didn’t consider the raccoons that roam our neighborhood or the rain we get in the winters. (We live in Tacoma, WA)
After learning what chickens really should have, I decided to build them a coop that would be more appropriate.
Space to live if they needed to be locked up 24/7-
We provided a covered run that provided each hen approx. 10sq feet, a large feeder and water. Above
the run is the hen house. The hen house has 108 cubic sq. feet of space. 2 large roosting branches that are
elevated at 18" and 40" off of the floor. The roosting branches provide more than 20" of space per
bird. The upper roosting branch is surrounded by windows and is where all of the chickens prefer to
Also included in the hen house are 2 nest boxes that are also elevated off the floor 18". Each
nest box is secluded in a corner of the hen house. Each has a small door to access the nest for gathering
eggs. The large windows that surround the top can all be opened to aid in ventilation.
Each panel of screen in the front of the run can be removed to make cleaning a little easier. The roof of
the run lifts on hinges for easy access to food and water. The floor of the hen house is laminate covered
with fresh straw every too weeks. Very easy to clean!
The entire coop is protected with heavy-duty wire- the small square pattern. The foundation of the coop has
a wire barrier that is buried two feet into the ground to prohibit tunneling.
I was working on a limited budget and actually constructed the whole thing for under $200. The most
expensive part was the windows- I found them at a salvage yard and built the entire coop around them.
Most of the wood for construction was stuff I had left over from other projects, various construction sites,
and from people getting rid of old fences. The siding is old roofing shingles from a friends firewood pile.
I now just need to do a little more painting and finish sculpting the rooster weathervane for the top!