Last Thanksgiving if you asked me if I would ever own a back yard flock I probably would have said it's cool, but it will never happen....well.....one year later:
This all started last August while my boyfriend and I were house sitting on my friends farm. There were a few horses and a chicken coop with 8 hens. After spending a week at this farm both my boyfriend and I became very fond of her hens. I jokingly kept saying that I wanted chickens and one day my boyfriend actually mentioned interest in building a coop. Over the winter we started researching what type of coop we would build if we were actually to do this (that's how we found backyardchickens.com). After a few months of research we had an idea of what we wanted (at this time we thought we would only have about 3 - 4 hens).
Then, in early March construction began:
At first we estimated that this DIY project would only cost around $350-$400....Maybe if your an expert carpenter that would be true. However, since we both had no experience in this field it probably cost closer to $1000 to build this coop (we did not keep perfect records ...better not to know).
Below are some pictures of the building process. Since this was basically a weekend process, this coop did take us a few months to build. We bought supplies as needed.
The Frame: 2X4's, 3/4 inch Ply Wood, 4X4's, and Cement blocks (To keep the base level - So happy we did this!)
The Coop is 3x4 FT
The Nesting Box 1x2 FT
The Legs are 2ft
The Pen is 8x5x5 FT
The Roof and The Nesting Box:
(we raised the water up as the girls were growing to keep the water clean). Eventually we also made a mesh wire cone to put on top of the waterer so the girls couldn't perch on it). Later on we bought a feeder and waterer that fits right into the cut outs of the walls so the girls have more room in their coop.
The hardwire cloth around the pen goes completely under neath to keep predators such as rats out of the pen. So far it has been working! We then added sand on top of the wire so the girls aren't walking straight on it. We also have clear plastic roofing over the top of the pen. It is pitched to help with water run off.
So far our coop is holding up strong. To winterize it, we put plexiglass in the windows. For ventilation we have a tiny gap where the coop walls meet the roof. It is about an inch wide. We also put a hard wire cloth to prevent rats and mice from entering the coop.
Our roosting bars both in the pen and in the coop are 2x4's so the girls to don't have to keep their feet curled in the winter. At first we had wood rods but we ended up switching them out for the 2x4's.
Our goals with this coop was to make it safe against predators, easy to keep up, sturdiness, comfortable, and long lasting.
What we would do differently:
1) Make the pen larger and taller.
*Currently our pen is 8x5x5 feet. Although we do let our girls out to free range in the back yard, we do keep them locked in their pen at times. While they do have enough room, we would like to extend the size of the pen one day. But for now it is fine.
2) Extend the roof over the pen.
*So the rain is less likely to come into the pen.
3) Larger Coop (one day).
4) Make the back door to the pen nicer.
** I tried my best to describe the building process. However, since I basically was just the helper (passing nails and tools) I probably left some important details out. If you have any questions about anything PM us!
Currently we have 8 hens.
Our chickens are currently 6 - 9 months old and just about all laying eggs. These are older pictures from this summer.