The main goals for building this new coop were 1) to increase capacity for egg layers and 2) to make a multipurpose area for meat birds (50+ per year), as a breeding pen, or as a nursery for raising replacements. It was important that we could get in and clean easily without bending over, that the runs were easy to clean, and that the coop would close up at night to prevent potential predator problems.
We started with a 10'x10' shed we built ourselves on a concrete slab. Windows were installed for ventilation and will be covered with hardware cloth in the spring for predator protection. There are also upper vents for air circulation. The runs are built with dog kennel panels; each side has individual access but there is also a door between the runs. There are hanging feeders outside and metal water cans.
The interior modifications started with a chicken wire barrier to make two distinct areas. There are framed panels of chicken wire separating the two sides all the way up to the midline of the roof. We have vertical lift doors on pulleys for run access on both sides. On the egg later side there was the addition of bucket style nesting boxes, removable linoleum, a triple nesting bar and hanging feeders and waterers. We did not put roosting bars or nesting boxes on the meat bird side because they would develop breast sores if they tried to roost too much. There is a concrete step for the meat birds to get in and out.
We did add a solar panel kit and it provides enough power to supplement light in the winter or for late afternoon visits to the coop. There is a solar motion sensor light near the front door. In the deep of winter we've noticed that the hanging waterers are not much help so we rotate waterers outside and keep one inside each side. They do freeze sometimes but the coop stays fairly warm. Deep straw bedding has worked well for the dozen egg layers and we use wood shavings for the broilers. One benefit of the duplex is that it seems to be working well for the integration of the replacement pullets into the flock.
In the future, it would be nice to have wired electric--the solar panel can't handle heat lamps or anything that uses too much wattage. We also need shade (hence the blue tarps) and a wind barrier, but that isn't anything new to us out here on the plains. Finally, a nipple watering and automatic feeding system would be handy.
Here is our building diagram and photos:
Edited by rockin5t - 1/15/16 at 2:26pm