Originally Posted by Beekissed
I never really posted back to this thread about the changes made to my coop, all on the cheap. I used scrap lumber from various things...old fences, many scraps from broken down wooden crates from back in the 50s-60s, other lumber from that era~read TOUGH...too tough to get a nail into and many holes for screws had to be predrilled. The only new lumber was some 2x4 for framing and such. Now don't all you fellas laugh at my crude construction....I'm just a woman with old tools, old materials and very little know-how, so I do the best I can to build it strong but don't often worry about the finer details.
I added another hoop to the back of the coop and enclosed the ends with wood. I also built a dog house on the back of the coop, big enough for two dogs, of pallets stuffed with hay for insulation. I'll post pics of the transition from green and basic coop to red and bigger coop/dog home.
Tore the front off, removed the 2x2 bracing and replaced with 2x4, also placed bracing all along the roof line.
The difficulty with a hoop coop is getting all the wood to fit the curvature of the hoop and finding a good place to fasten one to the other. This pic shows the nest box construction on that side...
My scrapped together nest boxes, with cedar log pieces as a leg up into the nests. You can tell how much of this wood is pure scrap...I think it adds some whimsy to the whole thing, but one would have to burn down the entire coop to ever get all the screws out of this wood.
Part of my lumber supply....all FREE wood!
And some of my other wood used on the coop....
Outside access to the right side nest boxes...later on I put a magnet cabinet door fixture to keep the door closed, so the little bungee wasn't a permanent fix.
The hens didn't mind the cobbled up nature of their nesting...they really seem to love these better than those plastic totes from before. This is from the outside access.
The left side nest box is a single unit, hopefully for broody hens and such who are hogging a nest. It has outside access as well.
Got the front of the coop enclosed with wood...finally! The large cracks here and there were intentional, for added ventilation at all levels and were easy to do with the nature of my building materials...it was like fitting a puzzle together to cover all surfaces and still be able to fasten to a brace.
A lot of the hardware for the hinges and such we already had, stored here and taken from this or that house/cabinets over many year's time. I loved getting to reuse them at last, here on this coop. The doorknob is an antique, glass doorknob set I found at a yardsale about 15 yrs ago and had been dragging it around ever since, knowing I'd find a use for it. Found some reproduction glass knobs for the nest box doors to match, so it all worked out.
The windows above the nest boxes drop down for added ventilation. I used 550 cord as a control for these that doesn't allow them to drop down all the way onto the next box doors. Used the same cord for the same function on the doors of the nest boxes.
Then I built in the back of the coop and got to play with different ways of including adjustable ventilation back there. This pic also shows the new roosts...I can reach each and every chicken on these roosts, which I LOVE. That's important to me. The side windows can be opened to allow huge cross breezes and the back window opened to allow air in from the other direction if need be. In the summer they have air from all sides...makes it nice.
A pic of the back of the coop before I added the attached dog house...another puzzle pieced together. attaching the boards to the side of the hoop proved challenging, but was solved by drilling holes in the boards and zip tying them onto the fencing like lap siding. Worked like a charm!
One of my favorite changes to this coop was the addition of a clear tarp for winter wear....it kept the coop a sunny and warm place to be, as opposed to the darker tarp I had on there leaving it a dark, gloomy affair all winter. Best investment I had made in a long time, didn't cost any more than any other tarp but is made from much, much stronger construction.
Large window in the back can be raised for warmer months..that thing is HEAVY. These knock down boards from wooden crates are heavy, thick boards.
The flock LOVED the new coop, roosts and nests....you could almost see their interest and comfort in it all. Having different levels to the roosts was a good change for them and also the nest boxes being located on the opposite side of the coop than the roosts really helped also.
The dog house...mid construction, showing the hay insulation. Even the floor is made from a pallet stuffed with hay, lined with plastic on the bottom and sides, then topped with heavy plywood. Dry and warm, you might say.
The back of the dog house is a full pallet, stuffed with hay and on hinges so it can be opened up for easy cleaning of the house.
The interior, with a heavy two layer towel over the entrance. This dog house gets closed in the warm months, as Jake doesn't use it then and I don't want chickens laying in there. That's the reason for the heavy door on the front.
A feed sack retainer wall, stapled into this back entrance doorway to keep the bedding inside when I open it. I put down a layer of cedar chips, then straw and, on top of the straw goes his memory foam bed.
In the winter, the front pop door on the coop is closed and the one at the back of the coop is opened, into a little porch the dog and chickens both share...it has a wall there to keep the wind from blowing into either door and keeps their "porch" dry and cozy.
Back door of the dog house....
Then the whole thing got a coat of paint to bring all the scraps together into a more unified look...
The yellow squares you see are a feed sack cut down and attacked to the roof to provide rain guards for my outside access doors...the rain was blowing right into those doors before I put these up. Feed sacks are so very versatile.....those little curtain rods you see on the front door are perfectly spaced to hold a feed sack with the end cut out. This little feed sack curtain acts as a wind block on days when the wind is capricious and blowing snow right into the coop...doesn't happen often but it does happen. See the feed sack curtain below on a subzero and windy day....
This little coop/dog house combo tweak on my hoop coop has been very much a success. I love sitting up in the coop now in the winter and watching the flock enjoying the added space, light and amenities now available to them in this larger, better coop.
Some of my favorite things about this big coop tweak was the opportunities that arose to repurpose many items...the wood, firewood, feed sacks, a door knob and even a cord from an old heat lamp....it was used to wire my coop light. The pull on the light chain came from an old ceiling fan that had been removed from the home in the far, far distant past. All these little touches of reused items gives the coop a story...many stories.
Here recently I did a few more tweaks to the tarps and it really improved the coop once again and I got to remove the feed sack rain flaps...I'll miss their sunny colors.
Last winter I used an old kitchen step stool to hold my water bowl up and out of the DL and it worked very well....though it didn't necessarily blend into the rustic coop decor.
....so this year I was going to tweak again to build a drop down platform with a roost step to provide the same function. But then I thought....that step stool isn't doing anything else all year, why not put it to work again this winter? It's currently out on a stump with its first coat of red paint....when it's fully painted its new, farmy color, it will be used once again as my watering stool.