Barn Style Coop w/Storage

The mostly finished project. Is it ever really done??​
I would like to include the original plans I drew up for the coop, but my husband left them outside and they got rained on, tromped on, and then finally thrown away. *sigh* But considering he's worked his tail off getting this thing built I can't complain too much. I redrew my plans so I could post them here. Please note I am not an architect, so the interior plans don't take into account the 4 inches lost on each side of the coop for 2 X 4's, nor blocking nor bracing for doors and windows.
I used graph paper for my plans, so 1 square = 6". I don't think the squares come through too well in the photos below, but they translate a little better in the PDF Coop Plans.
Now that the plans are out of the way, next we'll review the construction process with Tim and Al, errr, I mean, Charlie and me. :)
Before construction of the coop and run could begin we had to decide on a location for our birds. I had considered having them in a spot in our yard that had nice grass and a gentle slope so rainwater would drain off. (Actually, most of our yard is on a gentle - and sometimes not so gentle- slope.) My dad recommended that we not put them in the grassy spot, because they'd have that spot picked clean in no time. So we opted instead to put them in a shadier part of our yard to help protect them from the East Texas heat, and that had no nice grass to speak of. But we had to remove a few trees first, so hubby got to play lumberjack. We needed some firewood for this winter anyway, and we both dislike sweetgum trees. It's very painful to be walking barefoot through the yard and step on one of those things or to be minding one's own business and have one fired at you by the lawnmower.
July 5, 2010
We thinned out three trees to make room for the coop. We got two of the trees cut up into wood and moved to the wood stack, but hubby used his tractor to push the big sweetgum out of the way. We didn't want to cut it up and put it away because we were both tired and ready to get inside and out of the heat!
That stack of lumber is for the coop. The yellow marks the outline of the coop. You can see the big sweetgum in the background.​
July 8, 2010
After we thinned a few trees hubby had to level the area where the chicken coop would sit. It gave him an excuse to play on his tractor, and that always makes him happy. Unfortunately, I had to work, so I couldn't take any snapshots of him doing what he so loves to do.
July 9, 2010
The chickies arrived! I spent the majority o the morning getting them settled in their coop. They were sooo adorable. I really wanted to take off work and spend the day with them, but duty called...
July 10, 2010
Hubby and one of his employees get the foundation of the coop put down.
Even though it doesn't look like it in this picture (because I can't take a straight photo) hubby put the coop a little out of level sloping toward the back so when we clean out the coop water would drain out the back door.​
July 11, 2010
Hubby starts laying out the gambrel roof joists. Once he got his angles layed out it was time to cut them and nail them together. And I helped!
Getting the roof layed out so he knows what angles to cut the 2X4's on.
Cutting the pieces that hold the rafter joints together
Our rafters - all cut up, assembled, and ready to be put on the roof​
Once the rafters were assembled we called it a day. It was hot, and I was ready to go play with my chicks!
July 26, 2010
After weeks of sitting around waiting for some work to turn up, hubby (who is a contractor and residential framer) gets a call about a job, so the coop sits idle for a couple of weeks while he's off earning a living. (Darn it!) But once he finishes he and the crew get back on the coop. Despite some rain in the morning which caused a late start, the guys get all the studs up.
July 27, 2010
Hubby got a call about another job, so he left two of his guys to work on the coop while he went and looked at the job. Kelly and Sam got the rafters and metal roof put on in by lunchtime!
It's starting to take shape!​

July 29, 2010
Another day of coop working for hubs and crew. They got lots done today!
Half the siding up when I went home at lunch.
The other 1/2 up when I got home.
Plus the vent and windows got installed!
And the OSB for the lot storage area got put in too.
Interior view of the vent fan. It is temperature sensitive, so I can set it to come on when the temps get above X degrees. Pretty stoked about that, and the fact that it cost me ZERO dineros! Hubby saved it from a remodel he did for his mom's B&B. She converted her attic into a 4th bedroom, and the fan was in the attic when it was an attic.
Coop rear
July 30, 2010
Hubby and crew had another productive day today.
They got the trim put up and the door hung.
They also got the spot where my nest boxes will be hung framed.
And built a back door.​
I must say I am pretty impressed with my junk barn treasures. I got the door and my nest boxes there. Both cost me $30 a piece. Not too shabby for a solid wood door that's in decent condition and just needs to be stripped and repainted. The nest boxes look pretty dingy, but they're structurally sound.
My $30 nest boxes after hubby cut me some new roosts to go on them.​
August 5, 2010
Another break in the work process because of paying gigs. But we got back on the project and primed the coop. We taped up the windows because we had originally thought about just spraying the coop (we even bought the sprayer). But after reading some advice over on the forum we decided to roll on the paint. Per the wise sages on the boards, spraying the coop would merely form a layer of paint on the top of the OSB and wouldn't get the paint into all the nooks and crannies. That would result in us probably having to repaint in a few years. No thanks!! So roll the coop we did!
August 6, 2010
Hubby and the guys got our fence put up! We bought 7 6' X 10' chain link panels out of The Peddler, which is like the East Texas version of Craigslist - but with a print edition.
Good thing this project was getting close to done. The chicks were quickly outgrowing their pens! And I was tired of carrying them out to their temporary play yard every day, then toting them back in at night!


Hardware cloth on the bottom of the fence to keep snakes out. It needs to be turned on a 90 degree to protrude and impale snakes.​
August 7, 2010
After we went to Sherwin Williams and spent a small fortune on paint, I read on the message boards about oops paint. Oops paint from the big box stores is miscolored paint that customers have returned. The stores sell it really cheap. Wish I'd known that before I went to SW. I can't return colored paint. :( But they sell good quality paint that should last a long time. And on the plus side we were able to use exterior paint that we already had on hand. We bought it a couple of years ago when we repainted our A-frame guest house. Rustic red - it's perfect for the coop!!

Looks awesome after one coat of Sherwin Williams 25 year super paint.

We sanded our recycled door and started repainting it with an oil based paint. Even though this oil based paint is supposed to be longer lasting I wish I'd just used latex. It's so much easier to work with, and it is so much more forgiving to bad painters like me!

Hubby and crew got the netting put up on the run area.

And my newly painted recycled nest boxes got installed in the coop. In hindsight, I should have used a flat spray paint rather than a glossy one, but they look a million times better than before so I'm not going to nitpick!

Back of nest boxes. See the paint on the interior of the coop. I think it looks bueno!​
August 8, 2010
We were on a roll with the coop! Getting lots done, but still plenty to be done.

Window screens hubby built to critter proof windows - to be installed soon.

Screen door to separate chicken and storage area. Hubby built it using his pocket screw jig. Behind the screen door is the rear access panel for the nest boxes. Also built with pocket screws.

Screen door is hung!

Screen door hardware on!

Window screens on and fastened

Window screen open.​
We decided to put the window screens on the inside o the coop because our weather here in East Texas is very humid. I was concerned if I hung them on the outside on the trim moisture trapped between the trim and screen would cause the wood to rot. We didn't screw hardware cloth directly to the exterior of the coop because the windows came with screens which I want to leave on to keep bugs out and yet still have easy access to. Having to unscrew hardware cloth to clean out the screens didn't sound like much fun.

Hanging the hardware cloth.

Brother-in-law and sister-in-law helping hubby while I snap pictures.​
I realize it would have been cheaper to use chicken wire to separate the storage and chicken area, but chicken wire is a pain in the butt to work with, and hubby's patience was running thin, so we used hardware cloth. Expensive, yes, but cheaper than a divorce or my husband's nervous breakdown. I'm pretty sure we would have experienced one had I insisted on chicken wire. :)

The back of the nest boxes is put on.

Showing my niece how to access the nest boxes. Gotta get her broken in before the girls start laying.

She's got the hang of it!​
After we got the hardware cloth installed and my niece thoroughly schooled on egg collecting, we put the first coat of porch paint on the floor. I wish I'd read the boards a little more closely. I think we would have opted for a vinyl floor rather than painting. I think vinyl would have been a lot quicker, but not necessarily cheaper.

One coat down. One more to go.
August 9, 2010
A busy day for my hubs. He got the pop door put in. I'm so proud of him (and he's proud of himself). He's not 'crafty', but I explained to him how I wanted the pop door to work, and he figured it all out on his own. And the pop door works marvelously!!
He also got the exterior ramp built, and we put the 2nd (and last) coat of porch paint on the coop floor. We probably should have done 3 coats, but I'm impatient, and those chicks really needed the extra space!

Pop door installed

External pulley for pop door

Clip to hold the pop door open

The back exterior of the coop

Got the 2nd coat of porch paint put on the floor​
August 10, 2010
We still had some things to do in the coop, but the chicken side was ready for business, so the peeps got to move into their coop!!! I know I was more excited about it than they were. Here's what the coop looked like right before I added the chickens:

I put a baby roost in the coop for them, because at 4 weeks they wouldn't use a real roost.

Here are my 4 week old chicks enjoying their 1st moments in the new coop. Let the pooping commence!!​
I ended up moving the food and water under the nest boxes, because I didn't like where it was. The chicks all huddled up in the far right hand corner of the coop for the night. And as of 8 weeks old they're still sleeping there.
August 12, 2010
My yard looked like a puzzle piece today because my hubby rented a trencher to dig the lines for my water and electricity hookups. The water lines all got run, but I'm still waiting for my master electrician brother to come and pull the wire for the chicken house. No water in the coop yet, but having an outdoor spigot on the backside of the coop is awesome!!
August 18, 2010
My little brother got the lights hooked up in the chicken house. Now I can see after dusk without having to lug a flashlight out to the coop with me!! Still waiting on him to get the electrical outlets hooked up.
August 28, 2010
My brother finished hooking up the electrical outlets and the exhaust fan. Now I have enough plugs to run an air conditioner, a couple of heat lamps, and just about anything else I'll need to plug in out in the coop!

Woo hoo! Working plugs!

Plug behind the storage cans will be used in the summer to run a small a/c unit when necessary

The plug on the back wall will be used to power heat lamps for a brooder.​
September 1, 2010
Hubby got the exhaust fan cover put on the front of the coop!
Looks great!!​
September 2, 2010
Hubby got the water hooked up in the coop AND got my countertop and shelves installed!! He used leftover materials from old jobs. The U joint under the sink is leaking a tad (he's a carpenter, not a plumber), but with a small trash can placed strategically under the U joint we are good to go. I am ecstatic beyond belief!

View from outside the coop

Yep, folks, that's running water. Check out the light switch and electrical outlet too!

My shelves - already starting to get filled

View from the back wall of the coop storage area​
September 13, 2010
Hubby got the roosts built today! They look great, and a few of the peeps were checking them out the first night.


A few of the peepers slept on them the first night.​
September 14, 2010
I was a little worried that some of the chickens (especially the Silkies) weren't big enough to fly up to sit on the roosts, so my wonderful husband built a little ladder for them to climb up.

We left the baby roost in for a few days until the peeps figured out where they were supposed to sleep. Now it's out in the chicken yard.​
September 16, 2010
Today I finally got into the coop and put sand in the roosting pans. I had originally bought some cat litter to put in the pans, but when I got it home I realized that the litter I picked up was full of chemicals, and I didn't want my chicks to eat that. So I went to Lowe's and bought some contractor's sand. I put about 1/2 an inch of sand in the pans, then I sprinkled a liberal amount of diatomaceous earth in them to help prevent odors. I also poured a good bit of Sweet PDZ in the pans. Trying to keep the stink down!

Sure didn't take them long to get the roosts all poopy.​
September 29, 2010
My awesome hubby built me a great feeder based on the design of a fellow BYCer. Many thanks to turbokev for sharing his design! We built our feeder 8" deep rather than kev's 6" deep. I wish now I'd kept the depth at 6" and made it wider to fit across the whole interior of the coop clean out door. It would have taken up less room in the coop, and more chicks could feed at one time. I was worried that because of the narrowness of the feeder and the number of birds we have (23 at this posting) some of our peeps wouldn't be able to get in to eat, but they seem to be sharing pretty well.
We initially put the feeder in the coop without putting a lip on the front of it. Boy was that a mistake! My chicks billed through 50 pounds of feed in just a little over a week! Typically it takes us 2-3 weeks for us to go through that much food, so hubby put a small piece of 1X4 across the front of the feeder to keep them from wasting much food. It's working great now! And it's so nice not to have to go out every morning and refill the feeders. Additionally, my peeps were starting to get too big to fit their beaks through the chick feeder holes. :)
The chicks are roosting on top of the feeder, so we had to put a little piece of lumber at an angle to keep them from pooping in their food.

Close up of poop shield and trough of feeder.​
October 13, 2010
Well, we (and this time by we I actually mean we, not just my hubby) got the broody hen pen and the brooder finished up this weekend. We bought a roll of 100' roll of 24" X 1" X 2" rabbit wire and built two cages out of that wire. The brooder is 20" deep X 55" long by 24" tall. It is suspended from the ceiling so I can raise and lower it. (There is a window to the right of the brooder, and I want to be able to open and close that window, so I'll need a way to get the brooder out of the way when I need to do so.) There is a 4" tall wooden tray in the bottom of the cage, so when the peeps move on to bigger and better digs, I can easily remove the pan and haul its contents out to the compost pile. The broody hen pen is 24" deep X 55" long X 24" tall. It also has a removable tray in the bottom. Eventually, we'll (and this we means hubby) put access to the outside of the coop from the pen, but since none of our girls are laying, we don't have to worry about that just yet.
To reinforce the strength of the wire hubby stapled a 1" X 4" inside the cages across the front directly above the tray pull out, and he stapled a piece of plywood to the bottom of the cage. We have 8 chicks due to arrive on the 15th, so I'm anxious to see how this setup works out.

Broody hen pen on bottom. Brooder on top.

Close up of brooder. I ended up cutting a hole in the top right side of the cage so I could easily lower the light closer to the chicks.​
The peeps have only been in the coop about two months, and so far things are working out pretty well. I think eventually though I'll wish for a little more room. (Don't we all!) Good thing I'm married to a carpenter who has the skills required to make coop additions. The question is now, will I be able to talk him into making those additions... :)