I've been a longtime stalker fan of BYC, and I've come here so much over the last couple years looking for tips to design the most amazing chicken coop ever! This group, and so many users, has been a huge help. Shoutout to BillT for his brooder box design, Opa for the roll away nest box design, and Rob Bob for his chicken feeder YouTube videos. Now that we've finally started construction, and are getting our first chicks/keats in a month, I wanted to officially join and share our progress!
We live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (aka - The Great White North, aka - Practically Canada) and my husband and I bought a house on 36 acres last August. I knew chickens would be the first thing we got to get our farm started, and so we ordered Lavender Orpington chicks and Coral Blue Guinea keats (I hate ticks and wasps) in September. Now that the snow is (mostly) gone, we started construction.
The place we bought came with the original 1911 hand-hewn log cabin, that the previous owner had been using as a sort of second garage. In the photos, you'll see that the previous owners covered the cabin with tar paper, to protect the logs since a few are starting to rot. We decided to build the coop as an addition to the north side of the cabin, and then we'll cover both coop and cabin with cedar shingles.
The whole structure will be 22x36 - the cabin is 22' wide, so that's what determined the coop width. The enclosed space will only be 22x24 and the end 12' will be a covered run. I know that's small for a run, especially given the coop size, but we are letting our chickens free range. If we realize in a year that 22x12 is too small for the run, we can add on. The structure will be post frame construction, floor will be concrete. Here's my floor plan:
The top is north and the bottom is south. Solid black lines are doors, black outlines are windows (if they are on an outside wall), and the other black outlined rectangles are nesting boxes.
On the south side is a small porch/storage area, with the entrance door to the east (lower right corner) and the door to the cabin on the south. Right when you walk into this area from the east, the roll away nest box collection area will be immediately to the right. Across from the cabin door is a door into the actual coop area. On the far west side of this storage space is a quarantine/broody area with flat nest boxes, since we DO want our chickens to hatch (some of) their eggs. These will also open from the backside in the storage area, just in case. This way we do not have to go into the coop to collect eggs. There will be a door from the outside directly into the run, for cleaning and quick access, and then the roosts will run along the north side, and we'll have two automatic pop doors opening into the covered run.
The dimensions of the coop itself gives us just shy of 400 sq ft - enough for 100 birds. In the spring and summer, we'll have meat chickens as well as our laying hens, so we may eventually get close to that number. In the winter, we will have about half that (eventually - we are starting out with 24 straight-run chicks and 30 keats, and will butcher all but the two nicest roosters this fall; I'm hoping we end up with at least 12 hens. We'll probably butcher a few guineas this fall, but keep most of them).
The biggest design challenge I had was coming up with enough roost space for 100 birds! The trusses will be open to them as well, and I figured the guineas will most likely sleep up there (if we can get them to come in at night ... crossing my fingers). So after playing around with a few layouts, this is what I came up with. They will all be one level (less fighting?) with 15" between them. If anyone has suggestions or ideas that may work out better, I'd love to hear it! It's still early enough in construction that we can change things around a bit.... though the posts are in so we are locked into these overall dimensions :)
We'll have a cupola, and gable vents on the north end, as well as windows and sliding vents on the east and west sides (exactly like brounii has done here). I was worried about drafts from windows if they were placed too close to the roosts, so we are placing windows slightly away from them, especially on the west side (our prevailing wind comes from the northwest).
I'll post some progress photos this afternoon, as soon as I get them off my camera!
I'd love to hear what everyone thinks so far :)
Oh, I think we'll name this the Kanala Kartano - it's Finnish for The Chicken Manor. My whole family is Finnish-American, as are most people in this area. It's maybe a bit too big to just be called a "coop!"
Edited by Englishable - 4/24/16 at 2:44pm