Bantam Coop Build - Sorry for the bad formatting, the tool on this site is pretty annoying!
May 18, 2010
We're at it again! It's springtime, and after a very successful year with our chickens we are comfortable with the maintenance required but more importantly all of the benefits we've reaped from our chickens. They fertilize our garden and yard, they practically feed themselves in the spring/summer/fall, they give us health & organic eggs, they weed for us, and they are just beautiful & friendly. We've enjoyed our large-fowl birds and also the eggs from our single bantam, and now we're expanding our banties to include blue & green egg laying Easter Eggers, white egg-laying Porcelain and Mille Fleur Belgian D'Uccles, and brown/tinted egg-laying Cochins & hopefully our single Partridge Rock bantam. We've also purchased a few large fowl chicks including brown egglaying Blue Laced Red Wyandottes, Silver Laced Wyandottes, chocolate-colored egg-laying Black Copper Marans, and white egg-laying Sultans. We're hoping for at least 1 hen of each kind!

Anyways, so we have the fire at our tails to get this new coop done, and I am proud to say we have learned a LOT from our first coop build and have been able to simplify the process. We used a wonderful free program from Google called Google Sketchup to get the design fine-tuned. I recommend this tool to anyone building/designing/creating anything requiring construction. It's just fantastic for getting dimensions, layout, materials... everything figured out so you can get to building quickly and with a clear plan. Here are some screenshots of my design with descriptions.

(I turned the dimensions off so the coop could be seen clearly, but you just use a simple tool to connect 2 points of any edge, and pull, and there are the clear & accurate #'s wherever you need them!)
IMAG0144-1.jpg Comparing to the almost finished product you can see we decided on a bit smaller doors, although with trim on the main coop door will be close to the same size as in the rendering.
Rendering comments:
The fence in the back is a weee bit too tall, haha, but the rest is all to scale. My main design goals & priorities for this coop were simplicity,inexpensive, efficient, and easy of use. That was an invaluable tip I got from my wonderful husband as I was lost in the design process not sure of what direction to go: make a list prioritizing what you need your coop to be. That really does make things easier because you have your priorities in front of you and can narrow down all of the possibilities and fit the puzzle pieces together one by one.

Since simplicity was my #1 priority since this is mostly my build responsibility, I looked all over the web for simple and efficient designs that would work in my yard for my new flock.I found this wonderful little coop and it was my inspiration. That design is incredibly efficient utilizing the standard size of a 4'x8' piece of plywood for the frame, and all of the openings are cut out of the plywood leaving perfectly sized doors & doorways, as well as scrap perfect for floors, ramps, etc.

As you can see we are building this one smaller than the main coop, but tall/narrow utilizing height by using a 2nd floor. There will be an external nest box, 2 opening windows with screens and extra predator-proofing hardware cloth identical to the main coop. The run will be accessible 24/7, but we will close the pop-door on cold winter nights. We will also probably install a 'curtain' on both coops' pop doors to keep heat inside but also allow the gals to come and go as they please.The cut-out shows the two floor system we are using so that the height of the coop is not wasted squarefootage. The 2nd floor is 2'x3', is hinged to the side of the coop facing the nest box, and swings down for easy removal of old shavings. There will be roosting poles positioned to allow the girls to easily move between levels, as well as to well, let them roost! The food & water will be elevated on a small shelf, not on the floor as the rendering shows.
Pictures of the build:

It has been going very smoothly and very quickly so far. The foundation is made out of 3 layers of recycled pavers we removed from all over our back yard & stacked up for later projects. I love my hubby for seeing potential in things like that!
(Take note of the rose bush in the main coop's run- that thing is like a little umbrella for the girls. They love to sprawl under it on hot days or when it's raining.)

Here you can see the foundation for the coop, and the predator proofing around the perimeter of the run- pavers standing on-end in the ground to prevent digging into the run.

It's not very clear in this photo (was using my phone which has no flash), but the pavers are stacked 3 thick.

Here we had cut and assembled all of the sides of the coop and had the back leaning on the fence. You can see the 2x3s we are using to screw the faces into one another to create the rigid box of the coop. The final top pavers around the perimeter of the run have been leveled & tamped into place to create a dry base for the frame of the run & for more dig prevention.

June 30, 2010
SO...! No updates for a while, sorry about that! I've finally gotten pictures up of the rest of the build and the now mostly finished coop:

Here is the frame for the coop being assembled and screwed together. Supports for perches, the 2nd floor, and for interior walls to be installed we screwed on to the inner face of the plywood.


This is a close-up of the run's dirt floor where you can see the paver border. The pressure-treated 2x4's (not pictured) raise the coop up enough to give a nice deep sand run. This also allowed us to raise the floor enough to insulate to help keep the little gals toasty in our cold winters. This was especially important since we have much narrower walls than our big girls have insulating their coop.
Some pictures of the coop in various stages of priming, painting, and having holes cut out for doors and windows.
The basic frame for the roof is being fitted in these pictures, leaving ample space on the front & back of the coop for ventilation.
Close-up of the roof overhang for ventilation.


Completed roof with matching shingles to the main coop. Drip edge is installed, and here you can also see the run has framing installed for the hardware cloth.

This shot and the one below show the supports we used to attach the wire and the view of the run from the inside, with pressure-treated boards underneath the coop (but not yet secured, thus the messy gaps there). Our Dark Cornish is modeling nicely for us here! =)
Our most recent installment, the screen door to the run. We used an old screen door that was used in our mudroom for no real reason other to get in the way. Instead of tossing it we cut it down and recycled most of it (hinges included) for our run door. It still needs a paint job but the wood is protected with stain for now.
The almost completed project above. You can see we used drip-edge for the threshold in the main coop doorway, and it has held up well for now. Also note the pressure treated boards elevating the coop on the very bottom. Our large fowl chicks still think the bantam coop is their home! =)
Just a couple pictures of our pop door. Insulated, trimmed in cedar, and secured with a simple latch (the run is predator proof so no need for a lock on their pop door!).
An interior picture of the closed off nesting box area. We will build new nestboxes for our grown girls later this year and at the same time will make some for our bantams.
The ladies getting snacks. The heat lamp was needed for some rather cold (sub-40F) weather late spring.


Last but not least, our favorite feature of the coop- the doors latch onto one another and hold open to allow the bantams to jump in and out of the coop and run as they please!

More to come! We still have some trim to finish, have to put sand in their run, dig a gravel pit for drainage in front of the coop, and built the nesting boxes. Come back soon!