My DH refers to our coop as my dollhouse! As my human chicks are growing up and leaving our nest, my DH suggested I get a new hobby. Although we live in town, I am a country girl at heart, having grown up on a ranch. Through the years, in our garage and large fenced-in backyard, we have fostered baby chicks and ducks, mama cat and kittens, mama dog and puppies, and even had a couple bottle lambs until they were off the bottle. So fun!!
A few years ago, our city started allowing up to 6 hens in a backyard flock. This spring, after much research on BYC and help from members here, I sketched out a plan and my DH went to work. Little did DH know, my hobby would become his new hobby! It took longer than I had hoped, but DH is not a carpenter, just a DH willing to make my dreams of a backyard flock come to reality. I didn't want to spend a bunch of money on this project, incase raising chickens wasn't all it was "cracked up to be".
So...I found wood, tin roof, and windows here and there from friends, family, and Craigslist. The siding and interior wall panelling came from the damaged section at Menards for $5 a sheet (4X6) and high quality mistint paint for $12. My DD stenciled the walls, my son made the window box for Mother's Day, and a $20 chandelier from Craigslist completed the dream! The biggest expense was the hardware wire, ordered online for $60. All told, the coop probably cost about $200 to build and lots of future eggs for our helpers!
My 4 "girls" love their dollhouse! Red, my RSL, started laying at 14 1/2 wks and hasn't missed a day since!! Poppy, my PRB, just stared laying this week at 17 wks. I expect my two EE to start any day. I look forward to gathering the eggs daily and everyone loves watching them free range and play in the yard.
What I've learned: SWEET PDZ is the greatest. thing. EVER!!! I couldn't stand the thought of a stinky coop and using Sweet PDZ eradicates any odor. I use it everywhere! Using a 3 gal opaque (no sunlight=no algae) bucket with a horizontal nipple keeps the area dry and their water clean. Another bucket filled with crumbles (and ground egg shells mixed in) lasts longer with less waste using a 90 degree angled pvc pipe (that idea came from a youtube video). I dug a wide, shallow bathing hole in their large run and filled with sand, DE, and wood ash. They love it!
What would I do differently? We would probably do the roof differently. We did not allow enough overhang on the front, so I have to open the windows from the top down incase of rain. I think we would do a traditional style roof with plenty of overhang all around. The coop is in 3 parts (roof, coop, under-run), so we could probably change that eventually.
I love our "farm" in town, and so do my "girls"!!