Paige's Cluckingham Palace
My husband had lived on an ancient dairy farm for several years before we got married. Shortly after we moved into our new home together, we got word they were tearing down the entire farm to make room for a new subdivision. We were told we could go in and take whatever we wanted, so, what does he take? All the tin from the dairy roof, the barn wood from the old chicken coop, and the floor boards from the HUGE barn on the property. I also grabbed all of the doors from inside the house (built in 1914), finials from the doorways, and some of the original beadboards from the kitchen. We decided to use these items in our coop.
My husband started out by constructing a 12x10 structure. We went this big because we still had the original roof of the old coop in tact and had moved it the 8 mile stretch via a large trailer to our new home. When we got it here we realized we would have to take it apart and put all new wood on it if we did use it, so my husband just constructed as usual and pieced together the roof using pieces of tin from the old dairy.
We then decided we had plenty (the dairy had been about 2500 sf or more), so rather than using all of our barn wood on the chickens, we lined three sides with tin and faced the corners of the front with it as well. I requested 5 windows and a door in the coop as we have a very strong sound wind coming off a pond down the hill, and thus far these windows have provided the perfect amount of ventilation. The windows are framed in with barn wood and typical aluminum home window screening purchased from Lowe's. The door is one of the old closet doors out of the house cut down to 6 feet tall. My husband has to duck to get in the coop, but once inside it's about 8 feet tall so there's plenty of room for his 6'4 frame.
We decided to construct 7 nesting boxes for the ladies knowing they wouldn't use them all, however I may add to our flock in the next year, and I wanted to have plenty of room for them if we did.
Lastly, you don't see an attached run because we constructed this in the corner of a huge dog run on our property that was already fenced in. We decided to use the run because our pups had no interest in it before we started construction (of course, though, since we built the structure, this is the only place in the yard they want to do their business!). We figured we would just keep their wings clipped to ensure they don't hop the fence over to my garden, but I'm sure we will still have to watch them here and there. Also, we do have red tail hawks in the area, but they don't seem to bother with the neighborhood ladies. The next door neighbor has donkeys and an electric fence, so I don't see the coyotes getting in to get them, and we don't have raccoons where we live. We also have a fantastic barn cat to take care of the rattlesnakes. I took all of these things into account when i decided not to fence in the girls further or raise the hen house up off the ground. We live on blackland prairie clay, which means we have enough issues with foundations as it is, I really didn't want to have to deal with a secondary floor of the coop when it comes time to level all the buildings on the land!
I plan to eventually put together an alternator-based windmill on the south face of the building to power a light, fan, and - on the few nights it would be needed in our "winter" - a small heater. Construction of that will begin as soon as I make my next trip to the pick/pull yard :)
Lastly, I did as many of you have on here, and went to my local grocery store to the bakery and asked for icing buckets. It took a couple of tries to find a day when they had some, but I ended up with a 5 gallon bucket for their water (will attach the nipples I bought on eBay when they come in) and two 3 gallon buckets for their food. These were just drilled into in four locations and attached to a plastic planter bottom with construction adhesive to feed the ladies.
If you have any questions on the construction of our coop please let me know! I will do my best to answer and what I can't I will ask my husband about :)