aart's coop page

Have a really nifty Big Shed....put a chicken coop in it. Documented many details of that endeavor here.
By aart, Aug 23, 2013 | Updated: May 24, 2016 | | |
Rating:
4.4/5,
  1. aart
    I've wanted chickens since I was 15 and stayed with my brother in upstate NY in the summers.
    Decades later, it looks like it will finally happen. I have been chicken sitter for 10 years for several friends and have spent the last year reading voraciously here and on other chicken forums.

    There's a great building on my property that I've used for many different things over the last 15 years, now part of it will house a chicken coop. A few years ago I had to replace the roof and added some deep eaves, an eyebrow and a curvy edge(mistake - curved edge looks great but doesn't shed water properly).
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    How it looks today:
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    First order of business was to move ALOT of junk out of there...and 2 other sheds and the garage. Tossed a bunch of old useless stuff, repurposed some, sold some, rearranged it ALL ......and finally had enough room to build a coop.

    My design consisted of what I call 'The Envelope', a 6 sided box, 6' x 16' x 85" of 1/2 hardware cloth inside a framework of 2x2's to provide a predator proof safe house for the chooks. I will build a covered run as there are tons of predators here on my mostly wooded 15 acres. I hope to have electronetted rotating pastures off the run eventually.

    Then get the windows operational, the shed has nice vinyl clad, double glazed windows cleated in for light but no ventilation, it can get hotter than heck in there in the summer. Decided to just do the upper windows at this point, as they kept it pretty cool, and may do the south windows next summer.

    Bought some hinges, made some latches and a pole to operate them with, rigged some ropes hold the windows open.
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    Meanwhile the eaves that were left open during the re-roof needed to be covered from predators, birds and bats.
    We cut and bent up the 1/2 hardware cloth in the garage and my daughter drove 200+ screws and washers in to hold it tight.
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    Flies were buggin her... to this day we still get big laughs looking at this photo.
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    Now that the windows and eaves are done, and Jen had to go back home to NC, I can start framing the coop.
    I am a design drafter by trade and have drawn and designed this coop for months before cutting wood.
    It went up pretty easily tho it was tricky putting it up single handedly...but I persevered and got 'er done.
    The trickiest part was getting the ceiling mesh up by myself, I used some wire hangers and some 8' 2x2's to get it close to where it needed to be. Then started driving washered screws. Screws are the best way to fasten HC and if you screw up (hahaha) you can easily change it.
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    Before I went much further with the mesh, and I need a break from kneeling on the concrete floor cutting said mesh, I needed to get the pop door built and installed, after using a cadd model to work out just how this thing would fit and function it went together pretty smoothly. Did some tricky router work to get the groove cut into the 10 degree sill, but that was fun figuring out the router table set up.

    Put a couple of eyes on the sides to hang it in the coop to check for proper location and function. Checked the up and down positions and got it as high off the floor as possible to leave room for deep bedding if I want it.
    Ended up trimming that sill farther when installing and filling the gaps between the top rails with some scrap.
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    Pop door lock in place after meshing
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    I also decided before covering the walls and windows with mesh that I would go ahead and make all the windows operational. Hinges and prop sticks on the outside, they will stay open most the summer and be cleated shut in winter.


    Then during another break between cutting and installing mesh I started on the nest boxes. I have always just loved the galvanized nest boxes with the round holes...can't afford to buy them, and they'd be too big for my coop anyway, so I designed a close facsimile out of 2x2 framing and a mix of scrap 1/8, 3/8 and 1/2 plywood. I used some 1/8 plywood held in grooved blocks for partitions that can easily be removed whilst I experiment with individual and community nesting situations. The nest box will be mounted in the coop wall for outside of coop access of eggs.
    ETA 1-22-14 Nest boxes approximate dimensions are 16" tall x 14" wide x 14" deep, entrance hole is 10" diameter.
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    Meshing finally 7/8ths done. By this time I was getting pretty good at cutting the mesh quickly, having developed techniques that were much easier on my knees and hands. I never really got cut much, a few scratches, working on a huge flat surface helped. I also used a tinner tool to bend and crimp the sharp ends sticking out after each cut off the roll. The last day of meshing tho I ran the screw driver into the end of my finger..hard..it bled like hell but was rather minor after a day or so....and sliced another finger on the edge of the vinyl flooring, that bled bad too.
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    Had a hard time deciding what to use for flooring. After reading for hours and hours over months and months a
    on BYC and other forums I decided I wanted a monolithic waterproof flooring to cover the mesh on the floor for easy cleanup and to protect the original plywood floor of the shed. (Except for a row of staples on the seam of the floor meshing, this whole coop can be unscrewed and removed from the shed.) I was going to go with the cheapest vinyl I could find...but decided that a thicker material would be best because of the wire mesh under it, especially because the mesh is not dead flat but has areas of buckles that would have been near impossible to remove....one hole would defeat the whole purpose and if moisture gets under the vinyl it could turn into a nasty, stinky, rusting, rotting mess.

    I finally settled on fairly heavy duty vinyl that has a kind of flexible foamy back rather than the solid commercial grade vinyl (would have been too stiff to curve up the walls...and EXPENSIVE) or the cheap paper backed vinyl that cracked off at bending. It was a bear to move into place, but I got 'er done! It curves up about 1 1/2" on 2 sides and about 9-10" on the ends and is not attached to the coop except for a few staples on the 9-10" ends to keep it from flopping over, thus it can be removed if damaged.

    Once the floor was in, I was able to install the nest boxes and I quickly built the 8' roost assembly (there will be 2 more 4' roost assemblies added later) . This was a huge milestone. There are still lots of little things to do to the coop, like wiring together the mesh seams where needed, but I am almost ready for birds!!

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    There are 2 doors as the coop is designed to be partitioned inside with a wall of chicken wire for isolation / integration of birds if needed. The partition wall is made from 2 - 2"x2" pieces of wood with chicken wire stapled to it, the wood is attached to the wall studs with a couple of 3" screws each, easily removed/installed. Storing some lighter weight items on top of the 'Envelope' saves some space in the rest of the shed.

    The coop is 6' x 16' x 85", with 4' partitioned off for storage, isolation, brooding or other needs.

    East End - Ready for Chickens!
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    West End - Ready for Chickens!
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    Roost and Tray (with 2/3 sand and 1/3 zeolite) - Ready for Chickens!
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    Nest boxes with straw and feed and water containers - Ready for Chickens!
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    'Dutch' doors are connected with barrel latches.
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    Top and Bottom of 'Dutch' doors are both locked with carabiners and eye screws that come thru the 1/8" plywood door stops.
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    'Dutch' doors allow only the top of the door to be opened and feeder and waterer can be reached without entering the coop itself...or can feed treats from there.
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    A simple screen door spring is installed on both doors to ensure it closes upon entering.
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    Ready for chickens! Hope to have them moved in by end of September.

    Well, I was very lucky to get a whole flock in one shot. I knew deep down that if I built it, they would come.
    One wonderful Rooster, 5 laying hens approx. 18 months old, and four - 4 month old pullets. Mix geneology of Brahma, Cochin, Australop and who knows what else, got 3 eggs less than 24 hours after bringing them home
    Had to add a ramp as the roost is too high and the coop to narrow for those big ole Brahmas to land lightly on shaving covered vinyl.

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    Why the rooster was in the nest talkin up a storm, I have no clue!
    Edited to add: Learned that this is what good roosters do, show his girls where to lay.
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    Updated 10-17-13 Run is 75% completed
    Decided to only build half the proposed run this year, am running out of time to do fall chores.

    Here's my concept for clamping the 3/4" EMT conduit to the Tposts to support the mesh top of the run.
    That's 2" PVC with 1/4-20 machine screws and Tnuts. Not sure the PVC will hold up, especially under pressure like that.
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    Added 11-15-13: Drawing of rafter angles as requested.
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    I bent to about 78 degrees 7 inches from both ends of a 10 foot piece of conduit
    then to about 25-30 degrees about 3 inches from the center.

    Post/Rafter spacing and mesh size details added 9-20-17:
    Run mesh is 14ga 2x4" x 6' welded wire fencing.
    Post/rafter spacing is 68", allowing for 2" overlap of mesh sections.
    I used a DIY water hose level to keep post tops even, and a post level to keep them (pretty)plumb.
    Mesh sections extended out ~18" on ground (both sides of run) for anti-dig protection.


    Proof of concept, looks like it's gonna work!
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    Got the rafters that attach to the shed figured out and meshed, and the mesh between the 1st and second sections worked pretty well too.
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    Built the 'Under Run', about 4' x 8', so the chooks have shelter and nice place to dust bathe as the rest of the run is open.
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    Got an awning up to cover the pop door, that faces west and the prevailing wind here.
    Glass 'Foyer' (heehee) installed......Hey, a little levity mixed with a tad of folly is good for the soul! But really, I needed a wind block as the pop door faces west with wicked winds and I had the windows laying around and they were the perfect size....so yes, Glass 'Foyer'. Awning enhanced with an extension to cover gap facing west...and the door 'stoop' excavated.
    The glass has chicken wire attached to the inside as a visual barrier.
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    Updated 10-22-13
    Run is DONE!!
    Will post more detailed pics when I get the chance to take them.
    8' x 30' and another leg the same size will be added perpendicular to this one in the spring.

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    It took him awhile to decide, but eventually he led them all down the ramp.
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    They immediately scratched up and snuggled down into some real dirt for a proper dust bath.
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    Updated 11-13-13 with Heated waterer that was here failed.
    Updated 5-24-16 with successful heated waterer and power center that can be seen here
    .



    4-26-14
    Coop Partition - Self Locking Pop Door

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    ..and finally, 2 years later on 5-24-16, pics of pop door with HC replaced

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    Chickassan, 007Sean, Bek and 3 others like this.

Comments

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  1. RUNuts
    Very nice write up! I work with a lot of drafters and they do like detailed directions. I'm too impatient. Back of the envelope and play with an idea for a week or 10 and build it.

    The plastic jar attached to the frame. Is that for oyster shell or grit? I'm gonna use that design because I've been trying to solve that issue and don't have any PVC laying around. Done and did!

    Thanks again for your time and knowledge. Are we having fun or what?
    1. aart
      Ha! A drafters job *is* to record details, for many different purposes. Second nature to me to use cadd to do that 1-10 week doodling before building. ;)

      Yes, plastic jar (32oz salsa) is for OS. Reusable zipties to attach to HC. Works great, I have a few of them.
  2. Gammond
  3. Bek
    What a job! And how wonderful it all looks! Definitely a visual learner, so very much appreciate all the detailed pictures! These are some serious chicken goals for me!!!
      oldhenlikesdogs likes this.
  4. Then I Will
    Lovely! We re-purposed an old shed also! I like the care and work you put into the chicken door and nest box! As well as predator proofing it!
  5. sassysarah123
  6. biophiliac
    The glass foyer is the perfect touch, for the cold west wind. Just excellent!!
  7. PatrickRoo
    Lovely design! I absolutely love those 'Dutch' doors, aha! ;)
      aart likes this.
    1. aart
      Me Too!!
      They really were worth the extra effort and cost.
  8. Wickedchicken6
    Wow. Just wow! :bow
  9. elaineinspain
    what a fantastic coop! You are really talented, and lucky to have a daughter so handy with a drill :)
  10. birdwrangler057
    Nice coop, old sheds make great hen houses.
  11. oldhenlikesdogs
    I absolutely love that style of shed. Great build. You are amazing, and your coop is too.
  12. Rock Home Isle
    I really enjoy stopping in here and looking at what you've done. Very nice, aart.
  13. aart
    Actually @perrypogue ... I'm a woman, an old woman :D
    Built it to be easy to maintain the birds as I don't move too well.
    Spent about $700 on coop and run, tho sold a bunch of stuff so outlay was only less than half that, but I already had the building so.....<shrugs>...that sure helped.

    I never get notifications for posts here, sorry I missed so many.....
    .....if anyone had a burning question feel free to PM me.
      elaineinspain likes this.
  14. perrypogue
    Aart's a good man who gave me a lot of his time and advice. This coop looks very good ... not much resemblance to my country coop but reflects his talent. I see a lot of people on this site much like Aart who just aren't as concerned with the cost of their coops as they are with the finished product. I spent $1200 on my first coop 12x12x8 with a 12x24x8 pen. Then I added another 12x12x8 coop to the other side of the pen but as I had over built the 1st one I was able to build the 2nd for about $400. Mine have dirt floors and when I clean the coop I add this material to my compost pile and then to my garden.
  15. Athaid
    That's a top notch chicken hut mi amigo.
  16. Rock Home Isle
    This is simply amazing...enginerring genious
  17. perrypogue
    I've looked at your coop again ... it's really nice. My nesting boxes are just a little larger than yours but I've never had more than one pullet in a box at a time. Right now I've got 3 on the nest ... they use all 4 boxes however which is good. As this has become their daily routine I just wonder how it will work as the chicks get older? I'll build a couple more nesting boxes ... making them higher ...lol. The existing boxes are good ... just much MUCH too heavy. I think I can use a fulcrum and work it higher ... just way over built.
  18. sunflour
    Exceptional.
  19. ladyearth
    nice design our big new utiity shed is built similar. wish Hubby would have did overhang on the window . as they leak...
    ( he put several small awning windows on the ends of the building and sides) so he bought new ones Fixed windows....that hopefully will fit better as the repurposed ones were too big for the openings and the guy who put on the metal trim and roof bent th metal instead of extending it....Hubby was prob on the ground doing other parts of the shed.. Shed was quite a big and expensive undertaking...even though he did lts himself and supervised most of the rest...
    do you still use straw.?... I did for the first few weeks then read sraw is hollow inside and can carry mites and lice, read on this forum...
    also do you let them out to just run , at least an hour before bed while you watch???
    just wondering...
    thanks all
  20. sueiris
    very nice! a lot of great ideas. thanks for sharing! :)
  21. punk00
    Thank you for posting, Aart. I agree with others that the set up is brilliant and the design is fantastic. I am curious also about why you put HC under the vinyl. Also, did you decide on a deep litter method for the bottom of the coop? I've read that it doesn't work well unless you have a dirt floor, which many of us don't have because of security problems. How is your roosting litter shelf working? How heavy big and heavy is it? I have a concrete floor, and above that the coop built up off the ground with vinyl flooring. I am considering a mobile roost poop catcher (a poop hammock that another chicken lover invented). What are your thoughts on the litter issue?
    Thanks!
  22. ChicKat
    This is a brilliant set up. Your design is amazing!! Thanks for the posts.
  23. Cluckies
    Very nice! Many good Ideas!
  24. COChix
    Wow, just sat down and read this amazing page. You are very talented in design and the ability to get the concept built. Totally amazed at the thoughtfulness of your design on every little detail, and love the "envelope" concept. Thanks so much for providing all the details and thoughts behind the design. This helps people like myself who have no design background apply some of the same principles to our own amateur designs. Thanks for sharing.
  25. KatD
    That's a nice coop. Why did you install metal wire under the vinyl?
  26. Alabama Jack
    Great coop!
  27. MyPetNugget
    Wow I really like this! You did a great job and I like how it looks so clean.
  28. aritchey
    Nice coop! Lots of room.
  29. ourltlflock
    Very nice!
  30. Jewelwing
    I really like your idea of building The Envelope inside an already standing shed. You obviously spent a lot of time on the design before starting to build, and it shows. Your chickens look very happy!!

    I liked that you used screws for most everything - I like screws better than nails, even though they're more expensive. They're easier for me physically, and like you said, if you "screw up" it's not so hard to fix! Also, very clever to use the metal hangers to help in putting up the hardware cloth.

    I'm curious why you attached the hardware cloth underneath the 2x2's instead of on top of them?

    I love your nest boxes, especially the round holes! It looks very cool hanging in midair. Did you keep the dividers in, or are they communal inside? Mine aren't too different from yours, but looking at yours and hearing my chickens try to squawk each other out of nest boxes, I'm wondering if it wouldn't be better to make them communal. A couple of them seem to really like making nests underneath the nest boxes (which would be fine, but then I can't get the eggs from outside).

    I'm glad you finally got your chickens after all this time! :)
  31. chickencoop789
    I LOVE those nest boxes. Such a cool design
  32. aart
    Thanks sonsoralinda...I have added the dimensions:
    Nest boxes approximate dimensions are 16" tall x 14" wide x 14" deep, entrance hole is 10" diameter.
  33. sonoralinda
    I like your coop. What a great way to use an old shed. Great design on how to open/close your windows. I want to make my laying boxes like yours with the front cut on a circle. What size are your boxes and would you change it? sonoralinda
  34. aart
    Thanks Vince....I have just added above that this heater is not standing up to anything below about 15 degrees F. Not sure if it's the design or a faulty unit, hard to test it in this weather.
  35. VincentVanCrow
    Nice! Very well thought out and executed. Love the heated waterer design. I'm in Nova Scotia and frozen water is a big concern. That looks like a solution that will work for our winters. Thanks for sharing!
  36. aart
    Thanks chickwhispers!
  37. chickwhispers
    Awesome designing the extras! Love the way you have the upper windows rigged for easy opening!
  38. aart
    Thanks featherwieghtmn. I didn't really repurpose anything but the windows for the 'foyer' wind block.....and was just really lucky to have the building already.
  39. featherweightmn
    Great job! Love the before/after pics! Repurpose is really done well here!
  40. aart
    Updated angle drawing to show outside dimension of rafter.
  41. Leahs Mom
    Thanks for adding the angles. Very helpful!
  42. aart
    I did engineering design and drafting professionally for 20 years, so I've had some practice ;-)
  43. striperon
    Thank you for your explanation of the rafters. I must add admiration for your ability to design and communicate that design to my list. It is a pretty long list. :)
  44. aart
    Thanks striperon, I have added a drawing above that shows the angles I used for the 3/4EMT conduit run rafters.
  45. striperon
    Need to add your creativity for your waterer as one of the features I especially admire.
  46. striperon
    Creative and well thought out, congrats. Your ideas for installing the HC alone are very good. The stuff has a mind of its own. Also like the linoleum installation and pop door design.

    What diameter pipe is used for the rafters? What were the angles used for the bends, in degrees, if you remember?

    Thank you.
  47. Ms Jellybean
    Very nice! I am going to be starting my own coop soon but I am not handy with tools so I will be begging for help from friends.
  48. aart
    Thanks all!
    Gallo, I used a standard conduit bender and a magnetic angle finder as my bends were not standard.
  49. Gallo del Cielo
    The use of the conduit for the covered run is so cleaver! Did you use any special apparatus to bend them?
  50. Leahs Mom
    Just keeps getting better! We were just trying to figure out a good way to support a top on our dog kennel run so I'm showing your conduit to my husband tonight :D

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