Beginner's Coop Behind My Garage

By midwifebeth · Mar 8, 2013 · Updated Mar 18, 2013 · ·
  1. midwifebeth
    This is the story of my first coop... The newest entries are at the top.

    Workdays 8-9 Finished Stage ONE of the coop! Ready for Chickens!
    Well, here it is... I really enjoyed adding all the special touches. I still need to add a small amount of trim but it's done except for that. Well, stage one is done. Stage two will open up the area under the coop and possibly add a run to it.

    I hope you enjoy the pictures. Almost 100% of the lumber was salvage and free. The siding, floor and roof was old ship lap we salvaged from our home after a fire. The framing lumber was mostly packing materials that were thrown away at Lowe's and Home Depot. The paint was "Oops Paint" from Lowe's. I spent $7 on a gallon of dark green and $2 for a quart of pink. I like the colors and was very pleased with how they worked well together. Both were very good quality outdoor paint, too. I already had tons of craft paint for the doors.

    I probably spent about $150 on wire, and misc. supplies, more than I expected but still a good deal because so much of it cost me nothing.

    Picture 14 shows the windows in the open position for the summer. (I need to finish painting the back wall behind the coop!)

    Picture 15 shows the windows closed for winter. We live in South Texas. So we need lots of ventilation more than heat here.

    Picture 16 shows a close up of the "People doors". I used old cabinet doors. I secured them with plenty of locks to keep out possums and whatever else might be after my chickens at night.

    Picture 16 shows the inside on the enclosed side by the windows. This is the main roosting side where I imagine they will want to roost at night. I put the ladder in while they are still little. Later when I build in the lower part of the coop, I will move the ladder to use it as their entrance into the coop from the underside.

    In the mean time, I've closed off their outside door in the floor. I weighted it down so possums couldn't easily get into the coop. See picture 18. I also closed off the nesting box until they get older. I don't want them "roosting" in there. See picture 19.


    I also found a really cool gadget that I can feed them fresh greens or vegetables in . I made a place to hand it on the inside. See picture 20.


    Workday 7 - 03-15-2013 - trim and siding

    Started work on the siding and trim today. Getting close to finishing. See picture 13.


    Workday 6 - 03-13-2013 - Added Hardware Cloth
    Only worked a couple of hours today but go the hardware cloth added. Next workday, I will put up the walls and hopefully add the doors and window covers too. :) See picture 12.


    Workday 5 - 03-11-2013 - Painted the frame and added the roof - Chickens arrived!

    Here are the pictures for today. I painted the frame and added the decking for the roof. (Picture 11) I need shingles but I probably won't do that until after I finished the walls. The babies arrived today. They are 11 days old! (Picture 12) I've named them Ethel, Maude and Nora. There is a story behind that but I'll save that for later.


    Workday 4 - 03-10-2013 - completed framing and built a nest box

    I worked a few hours this afternoon and finished the framing and added some perches. I also got the opening on the bottom cut out. So I should be ready to paint tomorrow. (See picture 10)

    The other thing I did today was built a nest box. (See picture 11) That was a challenge for me because I was determined to make the free materials that I had work. And... I did. Somehow, one side ended up wider than the other. But it should work. I will paint it when I paint everything else, hopefully tomorrow.

    Workday 3 - 03-09-2013 - more framing

    My plans are definitely evolving as I go along. I had planned on what I thought was a "lot" of ventilation but after talking to my sister-in-law who also lives in South Texas, I decided I needed to plan for even more. We have mild winters here but lots of hot humid weather.

    So when you look at the coop in the picture, the side on your left faces mostly east, slightly north. The corner on the right faces North West.
    We are only 3 blocks from the bay and except in the winter, the winds blow off the bay from the left of the cage. So I'm going to close in that end with just hardware cloth. On the front, I will do the left half in hardware cloth and the right half will be walled in.


    The wall on the right side faces the afternoon sun but is also where I need a cross breeze from the opposite side. So, I'm putting in two windows on that end that will have doors that open upwards so it will create shade and help keep out rain if it blows from that side (rarely does though). Usually the rains come from the bay side. (I'm sure this is probably more information than any of you care to know. [​IMG])

    Well, here are the pictures from today's work. I only had the afternoon to work. I found a lot more FREE lumber from Lowe's yesterday. So, I've had to buy very little so far. I temporarily placed the doors in place, just so you could see where they go. You can see this in picture 9. In picture 10, you can see the west end is framed in for one window. I'll put a second window directly above that. The window size was determined by the size of my salvage doors. Oh and I scrapped the idea of using a nesting box on the outside. I'm putting a simple one on the inside directly in front of the doors against the back wall.

    Workday 2 - Painting and Framing!

    Well, day 2 was painting and beginning to frame in the walls.

    I found some "oops" paint at Home Depot and I even liked the colors. I also had left over house paint and needed to paint the back of the apartment anyway. So I painted the part that is going to be behind the coop. I'll get to the rest of it later.

    In picture 4, you will see how I put the peel and stick tiles on the floor. I did that on Day 1 but didn't get a picture because it got too dark.

    I did get some paint on the tiles but I think the chickens will make it even messier. [​IMG] So I didn't worry about it too much.

    After painting and lunch, I decided to paint some cabinet doors I had salvaged from our house fire. They will be used as the doors for both chicken and people as well as coverings for windows. It's hot in south Texas and we can get really rainy seasons too. So I figure I need lots of ventilation as well as a way to keep rain out.

    Picture 5 shows the doors after I put the first coat of paint on one side.

    I never have understood how some people can paint and not get a thing on them! This is me...


    Well, after a lunch break, I decided to start framing. I got a lot of FREE 2x3 boards from Home Depot and Lowe's because they throw away the packing materials that the lumber comes bundled in. It's easy to find pressure treated wood and other good woods. They are approximately 2x3 with a grove cut in them and about 44" long. I plan to make use of these as much as I can because they are free.
    I got some of the walls framed. I'm not a carpenter and it probably shows but I did my best to keep everything as square and level and plumb as it could be. The apartment was was not plumb though and that gave me a little trouble. I also miscalculated how to join a few things but I can still make it work. (picture 8)

    Next workday, I'll try to at least finish the framing. I need to go look for more free lumber though. Maybe I'll get them painted too. I've got an interview at work in a couple of hours and need to clean up. I'm not sure I'd make a very good impression looking like I do now. But I'm hoping to do a little work tomorrow, too.

    Workday 1 - Monday, 03-06-2013
    First I used some concrete blocks I already had for the foundation so the wood would not touch the ground. To my surprise the ground was actually pretty level, at least it was level enough for a chicken coop! (Picture 1)


    Next I framed in the base attaching it to the back of the apartment. I decided to put the floor about 30" off the ground so I wouldn't have to bend too far to clean out the bottom of the coop because I am 6' tall. The size is about 8' x 34". The 34" was chosen because I'm going to re-use some cabinet doors to build a nesting box on one end and the size of the doors determined the depth of the coop.

    I used a 4x4 pressure treated post that I got for 70% off at Home Depot because one end was damaged. I made 3 of the legs out of that. The 4th leg was made from a salvaged doubled 2x6 that was salvaged from my old deck after the fire.

    The other side is supported by the back of the apartment.

    I want an opening in the floor so the chickens can enter the coop from underneath. So I framed in for the door on one end.

    (Picture 2)

    I used the salvage ship lap for the floor.
    (Picture 3)

    I put peel and stick tiles on the floor and that was the end of Day 1. (picture coming later) I spent most of the day working on the coop and I didn't get as far in the project as I had hoped but still pretty happy with the project, so far. I also decided that I'm not as young as I used to be! I'm pretty sore. But not bad for a 58 year old grandmother of 14!

    I'm planning another workday on Wednesday 03/08/2013 and will post more pictures after I finish the day.

    How it all Began...

    My husband and I live in a city in South Texas and our city allows a limited number of backyard hens. So, I'm building a chicken coop to house my very first chickens. I've been a city girl most of my life but I've always wanted to be a little bit more of a country girl. So this year, I planted a garden and am getting chickens, too. I also have a limited knowledge of building things from growing up following my Dad around while he would build things. Hopefully, I don't know just enough to get me in trouble. [​IMG] My husband is pretty clueless when it comes to these things but he admires my willingness to jump in feet first and learn new things and will help as he can.

    After looking at many coop designs and combining the ideas that I like, I'm eager to begin. We will get 3 baby hens after the coop is done. I decided to tell my story as I build. So if I make a fool of myself, I guess I'll just have to laugh about it but it's fun to blog about such adventures.

    So I'll add to this page as the coop evolves. For the most part, I'm using left over and found building materials which includes 100 year old pine ship lap siding that was salvaged from our home after a fire. I'm using a basic design but I expect to be flexible as I work on it. My goal is first for it to function well but hopefully I will be able to make it somewhat cute as well.

    I began by finding the best spot for keeping chickens in my yard which happens to be behind a garage apartment in our back yard. We have a large alley with lots of weeds that are hard to keep down. So, I'm also counting on the chickens to eventually take care of the weeds. :)

    I got the idea to build the coop first and add the run later from another member's post. So my plan is to build in stages. Stage one is to build just the coop without a run.

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Recent User Reviews

  1. Nardo
    "South Texas coop"
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Sep 24, 2018
    Good job building this with "stickers" from hardware stores. I know your hens are happy.


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  1. Cheep N Peep
    How is that linoleum held up? I want to use something like that for the bottom of my coop. By the way, I just wanted to say, I saw your you tube videos several times (along with others) before I finally joined BYC. Awesome coop! :)
  2. judyki2004
    Looking good so far!
  3. midwifebeth
    A Facebook friend is a photographer and she bought the chicks for photos and then offered them to me. :)
  4. AccidentalFarm
    Wow! Looking good!! I'm really impressed with what you've done. Cute babies ya got there, too. Where'd you end up finding chicks?
  5. onebigglo1
    I have plans to build a 4x12 coop for two different flocks of chickens. I only have one small flock now and am using a wooden shipping container. I put a hinged piece of plywood with tin on top of the box and cut a door in the front. I filled it with hay and a box for them to lay their eggs in. The hinged top makes it perfect for collecting the eggs and cleaning it out. My BF has been collecting large pallets for me to break down for free wood to make the larger coop. My dad was a carpenter and I picked up a few things from him but I sure wish he was still around to help me build it.
  6. Chook Chick
    Wow, that is awesome. I have a neighbor up the street from me who said he's build a coop for me...haven't heard from him in over 2 weeks. Then my ex and youngest son said they would do it, but my ex lives over 100 miles away and my son knows less about building a coop than I do. If I knew how to frame, and had the proper tools (circular saw, jig saw, saw horses) I would just do it myself! My pullets are 5 weeks old and almost feathered out; the brooder box is getting small for them too....I want my coop to be 4' x 6', and up off the ground like yours. I actually want wheels on mine :) But it's frustrating me to no end that I can't get anyone started on this project, and I even said I'd PAY THEM!! Sheesh! Definitely want to see more, GREAT JOB! Want to visit Colorado? ;)
  7. 16 paws
    That is a great start on your coop, I cant wait to see more!
  8. judyki2004
    I'm willing to follow your project it seems to be a great adventure! Blessings :)
  9. pemphredo
    YAY! Looking good!

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