Alaskan's Smaller Coops

By Alaskan, Feb 10, 2014 | Updated: Apr 4, 2015 | | |
  1. Alaskan
    My big Chicken Coop Complex is on this page:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-coop-journey

    My Free Bantam Coop is on this page:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/alaskans-no-cost-bantam-coop


    This page is for my two small coops, the about $8 Muscovy Coop in my orchard, and the Pond Coop that came with my house (also known as my extra coop to be used for poultry overflow).


    My Muscovy Coop

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    A lady with gorgeously colored Muscovy put them up for sale, I bought them, and so had to build them a coop too! And quick! The new, slapped together duck coop is about 10x5 with an extra 2.5 box on the side. It also has a second story of about 2x8.

    I had already spent money on raptor proof chicken runs, actual brand new from the store lumber, and plywood and insulation in order to upgrade my Chicken Coop Complex. There was no way I was going to spend any more money. So, what to do?

    I had bought some ripple board, the thin pieces of wood that is used to help secure ripple plastic sheets. They were just over a dollar for an 8 foot long piece. I had bought them to help screw the plastic on the sides of the chicken runs to keep out wind and snow. But, I decided the 8 or so dollars I had spent on that ripple board was now going to the ducks.
    I looked through my junk piles and found ripple plastic panels that used to wall my vegetable garden fence (the ones I was going to recycle for the chickens). They had been torn up and blown off of their original location which was the vegetable garden fence. I also found some old metal roofing, definitely used and a bit rusty and bent, but still usable. In town I picked up used pallets for free, and I found a still sturdy but very old large frame, almost table like, that I think had been used to hold a small fuel oil tank. From my junk pile I found some wood.

    My biggest size restraint was that I wanted the entire front wall to be clear plastic to block wind and snow and help increase the warmth of the structure. I found the largest pieces of still solid wood, and made a frame. Then I took my plastic panels and worked at overlapping the many pieces until I got almost complete coverage. (I did buy screws)

    There truly was NO real plan, I simply had to use what I had in my scrap pile. The frame for the plastic wall was just this:
    [​IMG]
    I didn't measure anything, I just found the longest solid and strong boards in my pile, then put them together in the above shape, and screwed them in place. After the frame was done, I took my torn up plastic panels and played with them a bit until I found the best arrangement to cover the entire frame with plastic, but not overlap too much which would be a waste of plastic.​


    I made a second frame to use as the roof. At this point I was running out of long wood that was still sound. For some of the frame I decided to take two slightly rotted pieces of wood and use them as one piece. I just put one 1x4 on top of another 1x4 (or 1x6, or whatever it was that I had found). For the roof frame, I looked at the metal roof that I was planning to use, and figured out how much could hang off of the edge of the frame with zero support, and where on the metal panel I wanted to screw, and put a support in the required spot. Luckily I had a large lawn to work with, since I set up roof panels, and then set up the roof frame directly below them, so I saw where supports needed to go. Again, no measuring.
    [​IMG]

    I couldn't put the metal roof on after screwing together the frame, the metal sheets plus frame would have been too heavy for me to lift.
    I first set the sturdy table on the ground where I wanted the back wall of the coop to be, I then had a kid hold the sturdy plastic wall upright, where I wanted it. I then had another kid help me carry the roof frame over, and prop one end of the roof frame on the plastic front wall, and the other end of the roof frame on the table.

    The roof frame did NOT feel strong, there was flex in it. I decided to keep the roof at a steep angle so that it wouldn't need to hold any snow load. That did greatly reduce my interior square footage, but that is better than having it all collapse mid winter.

    I kept shifting the front wall, until it felt like it was at a solid angle (I have no idea if that was straight up and down, I didn't use a level, I was going for "didn't feel like it wanted to pop out from under the roof and fall onto the ground"). I also had to shift the table a bit, so that it didn't want to pop up on its back legs and then tip over. When all three parts were happy and sturdy in relation to each other, I screwed the three of them together at a few points so that they would stay that way.

    Only then did I climb up on a ladder and start screwing the metal panels onto the roof frame. I NEVER climbed on the roof, I leaned over and finished screwing on one panel before putting up the next panel and working on that. So yes, some of the roof panels only have a very few screws holding them in place.

    I used the shipping pallets to make the walls of the coop, mostly just the small short North wall, and then the East side.

    I did find a very sturdy box, about 2.5 in all dimensions, that I put in one corner as a cozy nesting area and also to add more space.


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    The above is the duck coop in the middle of my orchard. The green and red building in the background is my giant Chicken Coop Complex. That upside down garden cart in the right of the picture was their summer home, until I finished the duck coop. They did like sleeping under the garden cart. In the middle front of the picture is the homemade feeder. That is a cut open bike inner-tube over the top roof seam to make sure the feed stays dry and still let the top swing open to fill with feed.


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    Here is a close-up of that same side after I screwed on two more pieces of wood, to help keep out blowing snow. I was going to put on a Dutch door, but I ran out of steam. I figure I am happy ducking until springtime. The table looking end of the second story does come out of the coop. I was thinking it would act like an elevated sun deck. The Muscovy love sitting someplace elevated. Also, after the snow gets deep, this elevated deck will probably be "ground" level and so give the ducks easier access to the coop.


    [​IMG]

    This is that same side, but with a screened area added. The ducks did have access to the entire orchard, but then a raptor found them. So......for the rest of the winter, I just added this little screened area that is roofed with the heavy wire that is used to reinforce concrete. It was the only wire piece left over from my chicken runs. I do not know why I thought that the ducks would be safe from raptors when the raptors are always after my chickens. [​IMG]


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    Here is a little further back, so you can see it better.


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    And here, a great winter picture. This picture is taken with me standing on the north side of the orchard, looking at the added screened area, and the roof.




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    Inside of the coop. You can easily see the two stories. Those Muscovy are one drake, one duck, and one maybe 8 month old duck. I do not think that the drake can hop up to the second level, but the ducks can, and do like sitting up there.

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    A better picture of my cute Muscovy. I have one more duck, but she is with her current brood of 11 in my greenhouse.



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    One last fall shot, so you can see how the box is really just added on to the side for some more space. That sad little twig is a still alive apple tree. Barely alive, I think it is 10 years old. And yes, there is a small hole in the bottom of the South plastic wall. I used most of my antique busted up plastic panels to make this wall. I overlapped them as best I could to make as solid of a wall as possible, and that small hole was left uncovered.






    My Extra Coop to use for Poultry Overflow
    the Pond Coop


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    This building was on the property when we bought the place. It was used as a duck coop. However, the man kept trying to have them free range on the pond, and they kept getting eaten. This summer I used it for a flock of free ranging geese. I didn't loose any (but I kept thinking I would). Earlier in the summer, when I had baby turkey in it, a bear came and opened the door and walked right in. [​IMG] We caught him in the act, so were able to chase him off before he was "rewarded" for breaking and entering. The door sticks, so I wasn't even latching it. After the bear, I reinforced the door just a tiny bit more, and put on a latch.

    The building is 8x8 with a dirt floor.

    Notice that the only solid wall is the one facing the pond. Even that solid wall isn't completely solid, since the door is there, and the door is almost all screen. The other three sides are only half walls, with the top half of the walls chicken wire, the eaves are completely open.


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    The pond (completely iced over and now covered in snow) is to the left. That green something is a canoe.

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    The two lighter horizontal pieces are the ones I added after the bear visit.



    [​IMG]
    This is the close up of my "latch" for the door. I had made two pieces of wood, both that swivel stiffly to the side or back over the extra long horizontal. The top piece broke off shortly after I put it up, but the bottom piece works fine by itself, and the bear hasn't come back.

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  1. Biddiquack
    I like the sun wall, and especially like the second floor in your muscovy coop. Great ideas!
      Alaskan likes this.
  2. andreacroyle
    I would die if i lived there. I am having a hard time in central Fl this year because it has rained non stop and I am someone that does better in very hot humid weather. Give me bright sun and sweat any day over snow. =) thanks for posting these! i am getting ready to build something cheap for the birds to stay warm in. I wish you lived closer. I really like your scovies.
  3. pollitos2013
  4. holm25
  5. Alaskan
    Some parts of Alaska get hot in the summer, but where I am, it is rare to hit 60.
  6. momofthehouse
    Nevermind saw you live in alaska! ha! Would be curious though if anyone else uses ripple board and if it gets hot
  7. momofthehouse
    Does the ripple board get hot??
  8. 3goodeggs
    I had an excellent math funny, but it won't post.
    I think doing all of that in snow is so amazing. Even if you do the work in the summer, you have to make your frozen finger push the little button on the camera.
    Bears. humph. They look fine from afar, but up close would not be in my job discription.
  9. chickwhispers
    Yep! Advance chicken math! Good Plan!
  10. 3goodeggs
    Overflow poultry coop? isn't that just the same as signing up for advance chicken math?
  11. chickwhispers
    Cool! They look so happy in their new home Alaskan!

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