When we expanded our flock this Summer, we knew a larger coop would be necessary. As an artistic couple, I knew it couldn't be just any coop..... and as UFO nerds, we had the perfect plan!
Brainstorming the UFO spaceship design was a very quick process as there were so few "up-cycle" options that would get us a classic UFO shape. We quickly determined that the satellite dish would be a stellar foundation. We located two 10 foot dishes on our local Craigslist page and jumped straight into this project. We knew it would need to be completed in time for a harsh Idaho winter.
When we got them home and stacked, the shape was very inspiring.... planning began immediately!
We had the perfect skeleton in these aluminum frames, complete with a 1" reset to house insulation. We quickly drew up plans for waterproofing, windows and ventilation, flooring, cleaning and egg-access. We cut window holes for windows and screwed in 6" acrylic surveillance camera covers we found on ebay. They work perfectly!
With the 10 foot diameter of the satellite dishes, we settled on dropping the floor down and cut an 8 foot circular floor. We covered this floor with counter-top laminate fo easy cleaning. This floor has handles to lift out easily.
The next focus had to be insulation. We purchased 1"Styrofoam insulation and cut each piece for a snug fit. It had just enough "give" to bend to the shape of the satellite dish.
We made a huge mess in the yard..... but once the insulation was complete, the UFO really started feeling like a coop. The door was framed out and a hatch was built in the back. The hatch provides easy access to hen boxes, food and also cleaning as well as generating a nice draft for air flow.
Next step was covering the insulation with a waterproof barrier. We chose a roofing material similar to tar paper called roofing felt at the local box store. We cut pie shaped pieces and covered the craft.... hitting the seams with a hardy roofing tape. We then covered the craft with an Aluminum paint to provide waterproofing and a classic UFO color. This paint is designed for roofing and would also help keep the coop cool in the Summer by reflecting light away. We had to air the coop out for several days to eliminate any harmful fumes that may be lingering.
After the paint was dry, we had to get this craft put together and off the ground! We knew that an elevated coop would help keep our ladies safer from predators. We purchased an 8 foot trampoline base form our local trampoline manufacturer for only $160.... it worked perfectly!
Next came the finishing touches! Hen boxes, a hatch in the back for easy access, some handles on the top half so we could lift it off for cleaning, a few perches on the inside and some lights! (of course). We left the mesh from the satellite dish open as you can see in the inside pictures- this allowed for some great air-flow during these warm Idaho Summer months. We have insulation cut and ready when it is time to close it up for the winter.
Lights were the final touch to truly make it look like a spaceship! (and definitely the best part) We used 2" clear tubing to house the LED lights and put the power source on the back hatch door. The lights are individually addressable LEDs with a 5v 4a power supply controlled by an Arduino mega.
UPDATE December 2017 - Idaho winters, tiny serama's, and a coop that is off the ground necessitates some added heat. We have installed two 250w ceramic heat emitters controlled by a RaspberryPi running the PrivateEyePi project. This allows us to monitor and control the temperature of our coop from the web. We mounted the heat emitter housings using angle aluminum so we wouldn't be relying on the weak clamps. To keep the birds off or in case a fixture falls, we put a chicken wire cage over them sort of like a blanket.