As mentioned in our recent story thread (http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/696201/chickens-an-austin-tx-chicken-chronicle) my wife and have finally embarked on our chicken adventure. This is the coop part of the equation and the clock is ticking!
My goals for the coop are:
• Be large enough to house 8-10 hens
• Be relatively easy to clean
• Have some automation to ease up the responsibility a little
• Look good because its more or less in our front yard
• Be constructed in a way thats borderline overkill and not needing constant repair
Luckily I have quite a bit of construction experience so hopefully I can end up with a nice project! Keep in mind, I won't be sticking to 100% by the book house building practices because hey, its a chicken coop after all. We settled on a 6x6 coop with a 6x12 covered run. We may even decide to allow the chickens access to under the coop which will extend their run a bit more.
Here are the pads after I spent 3.5 hours with a jackhammer digging them out. I used 16x16 forms to create the tops and they are on average between 12" and 16" deep to give everything a very solid footing.
Trying to give a bit of location reference of the coop. The metal poles are from trellises that I'm growing some fruit trees along (think like grape vines) and the green shade cloth in the back is screening one of our bee hives.
And after the first day of carpentry this is where we are! I decided to use PT lumber on the parts that the chickens will not be directly exposed to. We are planning to cover the floor with sticky vinyl tile which should make cleanup easier. The joists are a bit overkill with 2x6s and joist hangers but we wanted to make sure everything was as stable as possible! The posts are isolated from the concrete to prevent rot and also may allow the ability to "pick up" and move the coop a little easier if we want to.
More next weekend!