We finally finished the new chicken coop. Here are some things we considered when designing it. If you are considering building a chicken coop here are ten things you might want to consider.
Wide Doors on Both Sides of the Coop
In both the front and the back of the coop we installed wide doors so that both can be opened and the coop can be swept out.
Dirt floor allows for everything to be swept on the floor and makes cleaning a lot easier. I do compost most of the straw, but anything else can be swept on the floor.
Covered Run with Removable Tops
The tops come off the run for easy access to clean the run. I will shovel out the run occasionally and add to the compost pile. The covered roof also allows for extra shade and shelter from the rain.
PVC Pipe Feeders and Waterers
We cut holes in the roof and installed PVC pipe for both the feeders and the waterer. For the feeder we added an elbow and then another section of PVC pipe and cut a trough in it. For the waterer I ordered a pack of water cups and drilled holes in the the PVC pipe and screwed them on. We added end caps to both sides and sealed with putty.
We used 1/4 inch hardware cloth for the run. Weasels can fit through chicken wire so hardware cloth seems to work best.
Rock Barrier Around Coop
I dug the coop into the ground and then laid down plastic and rocks. I hope that this keeps predators from digging underneath.
Our chickens are egg layers so we included a nesting box off the back with a door to easily access the eggs.
In Minnesota winters get cold so we insulated the coop. I'm hoping this keeps the hens laying through winter.
We designed it for at least 4 square feet per chicken on the inside and then extra space in the run and under the coop.
The coop has windows with hardware cloth and insulated covers for winter.
The chickens have been in their home for a week and are loving it. I'm sure I will think of things that could have been designed differently, but so far it is working very efficiently.