My name is Sophie. I live in Jupiter Florida. I inherited a very large Rhode Island Red rooster named Rollo, who was rescued from the chopping block. Initially I kept him in a large dog cage with a run attached to the door. Searching for coops, I found the prices outrageous for the size, so I came up with my own. Being a recent survivor of breast cancer and bilateral mastectomy I had limitations in what I could build. So I came up with the following, which was supplied and built one week at a time as funds became available.
I initially purchased a strong and large 10' x 20' carport tent from Home Depot. The tent flap comes down over the sides a bit, which prevents rain from dripping inside. My husband attached three foot metal poles to the bottom of six of the legs and put them deep in the ground for stability during the windy & stormy season. Cost: +/- $150.
2. I prepared the earth by raking it over several times. Then dug three trenches and filled it with sewer rock. Then a layer of rock throughout, purchased at the Bushel Stop. This will allow for good drainage during the rainy season. Cost: 1 yard +/- $50.
3. Then I added a thick layer of a sand/crushed shells (coquina) mix over the rocks. I also purchased that at the Bushel Stop. Cost: 1 yard +/- $40.
4. I purchased five 50' x 4' rolls of 1/2" chicken/fencing wire which is more expensive and less flexible than traditional chicken wire, but out here in the Farms there are snakes, raccoons, fox, and I have dogs and cats. With help from my gardener, we unrolled one pack of wire at a time, folded 12" of wire upward all along the length, then began by first wrapping it around the lower half of the poles of the tent, folding outward 12' of wire that lay flat on the ground, to prevent digging predators. Initially we fastened it with wire until it was in the right position. Later I used heavy duty zip ties to keep it in place, leaving a 3' wide gap in one corner where the door would go. Cost per roll +/- $50. Two 100 piece bags of long zip ties about $14.
5. Door: purchased 4 pieces of 2" x 1/2" wide, 8' long, untreated pine wood trim. I measured from the top cross bar of the tent to the ground for height and decided on a 3' width, to easily bring things in and out of the coop. Thanks to YouTubeI made a simple door with two cross bars for support. The corners are held together with "L" shaped corner brackets. Them using a staple gun and 1/2" staples, I attached chicken wire to the door. Then added simple door pull handles on the front and back of the door and 3 sets of door hinges on the other side of the frame. Cost: $20 for lumber and $10 for 3 packs of L shaped corner brackets.
6. Making the door frame. I attached a 2" x 2" thick, the same height as the corner pole, piece of lumber to the corner pole and secured it with zip ties. This is where I attached the hinged side of the door. For the other side of the frame I found an old galvanized 1 3/4" pole about 6' long. Got a 95 cents looped post cap, which I ran through the cross bar and placed at the edge of the door. I dug a hole inserting the pole into the ground and raising it until it fit into the cap. The pole should stand close an parallel to the door. Refilled the hole and voilà, a door frame. Now I could wrap the end of the chicken fencing around that pole.
7. A second row of wire was first placed and hung from the top cross rail, all around the tent, and later secured with ties. There is about an 8" overlap between the lower and upper layer of the wire. Secured it with ties. The hardest part was hanging and cutting two triangle pieces of wire to fit above the crossbar and up to the tent top. Now the entire tent is enclosed and secure.
8. Purchased six 10' untreated pieces of lumber about 1" thick and sat it on the ground, against the outer part of the fencing. This keeps in all the stuff they kick up when digging. Then I layered the entire tent with 12" x 12" pavers, laying it over the folded out wire, and against the wood. Again, it keeps digging predators out, doesn't let the soil erode from rain runoff and helps secure the entire structure to the ground. Cost: pavers about $1.05 a piece. Don't remember the cost of the lumber.
9. I layered the coop with a thick layer of natural, untreated, pine mulch. Added a few construction cinder blocks inside to elevate the food and water, and voilà...almost done. Put two "O" rings, 1/3rd down and 1/3rd up on the door mesh and a 6" chain attached to the pole by the door rim. I use a rappelling clip to secure the chain to the ring, securely locking the door.
10. Later on I will purchase plastic versions of tin roofing and place it over the tarp, which will eventually weaken with the Florida sun and rain.
11. Time to let Rollo into his new palace. The same day I purchased 4 chickens of various ages, making sure one was a full adult to serve Rollo as a mate, until the others are older.