Big Coop

By Schroeder · Jan 11, 2012 · Updated Dec 12, 2012 · ·
  1. Schroeder
    The Big Coop (a/k/a Chicken Math Coop)

    I knew the first coop ( wasn't going to be big enough to suit me, but at the time, I just couldn't justify (esp. to my DW) a larger one. Well, just 2 years later, I built my ultimate coop:
    My initial inspiration came when I purchased 7 used double paned vinyl windows off of Craig's list for $165. (I used 6 of the 7.) I designed the coop and runs around these windows. The first coop I built 100% single handedly. I cheated a bit with this one. At 12 x 20 with a 9 ft high inside peak I knew I couldn't handle it alone so I contracted out the construction of the basic building. I did all the interior work, the painting and the construction of the runs.
    The Specifics
    I preferred the look of the saltbox style and it allowed me to create a wall of windows facing south. There are two windows on the north side, with the roosts placed between the two. There is one smaller window on the east side to catch early morning sunlight. The west side has no openings as this is the direction from which the prevailing winds blow. The south side is 8 ft tall, and the north side is 6 ft. There are two vents at the peaks of the east and west ends, soffit vents, and a ridge vent along the length of the s
    I debated at length of whether to elevate the coop or to build it on a concrete slab. My first coop is elevated and my chickens love to get underneath out of the weather, or sun in the summer. The cost for the two options was identical i.e. the cost of pouring the slab was equal to the cost of the elevated flooring. I knew I wouldn't be happy unless I insulated under an elevated floor, and then I'd have to cover the insulation to keep the chickens from pecking at the insulation. I decided I didn't want to take the time to do this, or spend the additional money, so I went with concrete.

    I went with pre-primed car siding, and alsphalt shingles to match my first coop. On the north side, I included a clean out door 3 ft wide by 8 inches high, under the roosts. I used fiberglass insulation in the walls, covered by shower board. The ceiling is insulated with 1 in foil backed rigid foam. I covered all of the windows from the outside with framed 1/2 inch hardware cloth panels. Since these photos were taken I have poured a 4 ft. x 4 ft. concrete slab in front of the door.

    The Runs

    The north run is 8ft x 19 ft. and the south run is 12x19. This is the widest I could make them in order to match the pitch of the roof line. I used 4 ft wide sheets of 1/2 inch hardware cloth so the runs needed to be less than 20 f


    t long to allow for overlapping. The hardware cloth extends 2 ft beyond the structure (horizontally on the ground.) When construction was finished, I got a couple of loads of top soil to cover the aprons. I decided to go with small people doors into the runs because they were easier to make than 6 ft tall ones, they were cheaper, and I just think they look better. This may have not been the best decision. I can bend way down to get inside now, but when I'm older, this might not be so easy. I used treated lumber, including 2x10's around the base. I then filled them with about 6 inches of sand.

    I used corrugated Ondura roof panels where the roof meets the runs. This provides shade on the south side from the hottest summer sun, and directs rain water away from the windows on either side. If you look closely, you'll see the panels don't lay flat. This is because I didn't plan for enough overhang of the shingles. I had to keep the panels as tight as possible against the facia at the expense of a clean line. It works as planned, however, so I can live with the appearance.

    The Inside

    There are three sections inside. At the west end is a 5ft x 12ft section with a pop door to the smaller run. I will use this as an area to house breeding groups, followed by an area for 2 or 3 broody hens and their chicks. The chicks will grow up for several weeks separated from the main flock by just the door and chicken wire. I should be able to integrate the 2 groups after 6 or 8 weeks. (The roos are kept separate in a bachelor pad, my first, smaller coop.) For now I have taken out the door between the 2 sections to allow maximum space for my main flock, and access to both runs.
    The middle section is 10 ft. x 12 ft. for the main flock. It has a pop door to the larger run. The roosts are of a ladder type and swing upwards when I do a major cleaning. I use the deep litter method - pine shavings. Where the floor meets the wall under the roosts I have a clean-out door through which I can sweep out the litter for periodic replacement of the deep litter. I have a 6 hole rollout nest box which deposits eggs into the storage area. Since these photos were taken, I have attached perches to the front of the nest box for ease of entry.

    IMGP3647.jpg IMGP3681.jpg IMGP3353.jpg
    The section along the east wall is 5 ft. x 12 ft. It is used for storage of food, feeders, etc., and allows collection of eggs without entering the pen. I used many of the tools, cabinets, crocks, etc. I had saved from my gandparents and parents garages and basements. On the wall, I have an 1877 picture of my ancestors
    who were 77 and 81 in the photo.
    I made the feeder out of 6 in PVC, and oyster shell and grit dispensers out of 3 in PVC. I'm using nipple waters. Two 5 gallon buckets with 3 nipples in each. This winter I'll place a bird bath-type heater in one if they freeze up. They converted to the nipple waterers without any problems, and they stay sooo much cleaner. With 25 hens inside now, I don't have to change food or water for several days in a row.
    IMGP3607.jpg IMGP3630.jpg
    Pop Doors
    I am often gone from sunrise to sunset, so I couldn't live without my automatic pop doors. I have the Foy's model in my first coop and love it, so I wanted to use the same in this coop. IMGP3679.jpg
    I did so for entry to the small run, but for entry to the south run I needed to put the pop door under the windows, requiring a door that swings open. So on this side, I went with the Pullet-Shut door. It was somewhat easier to to install, but I have a slight preferance for the Foy's model because it is battery operated, and the batteries last for at least a year. Pullet Shut requires a 12 volt battery with a trickle charger, or a solar powered battery. Adjusting the times is easier on the Foy's if you don't have the photocell option. Since I added the photocell option to the Pullet Shut door (as I already had on the Foy's) I never have to adjust the times.

    Tribute to Dad
    I lived in the city for 50 years. Growing up, my Dad always talked about the chickens he raised as a youngster, and how he longed to move to the country. He never made it but he was able to see and enjoy my setup before he died in 2011. We loved talking about my chickens. When cleaning out his things, I found this newspaper clipping from 1943 when he (Melvin Schroeder) was 14 years old, in the hospital after hernia surgery. My love for chickens is in my genes!
    I am fortunate to have in-laws whom I think the world of. Unfortunately they live 6 hours away. My father-in-law, Allen, keeps chickens for eggs. Here is a photo of him at age 6 with his chickens..

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Recent User Reviews

  1. CCUK
    "Looks great"
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Jul 31, 2018
  2. Hope Hughes
    "Nice job!"
    3/5, 3 out of 5, reviewed Jul 11, 2018
    I like how you sectioned it off inside. And I love the entry/exit way for the chickens. Nice and roomy coop! I would have love to see how you made the coop! Would love to get ideas from your build.
  3. SavKel&RynKel
    3/5, 3 out of 5, reviewed Jul 4, 2018
    Would love a description on material or plans and an update!
    1. Schroeder
      Big Coop


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  1. sagehound
    I am not able to see the pictures. :( Am I doing something wrong? I'm logged in.... Sounds like a great coop.
    1. FarmerGirl101
      I am unable too
      sagehound likes this.
  2. shearches
    Great coop and great story:) Thanks for sharing!
  3. Hogs and Horns
    This coop is wonderful; it's my future dream coop. I like how you built for all your chickens: chicks, hens, and roos in the your first one. Great planning! Thank you for sharing the photos, information, and a bit of your family's chicken history.
  4. gillisjordan
    This is the best coop I have seen yet. I will be using this for some ideas to build our new one, absolutely awesome! Great story!
  5. TurnerEGGZ
    Wow, this is a huge coop! I love the idea of a bachelor pad!
  6. nyseman
    Shroeder Your coop is exactly what Ive been asking my DH to build for me! Now I can show him my idea! Same thing even down to where the nest placement and the hutch in the storage area!
  7. Schroeder
    Thank you all for the kind words. I have a website now if you want to see anymore details
  8. snowflake
    very nice write up and coop you did an awesome job, love all the windows and the covered entrance way
  9. lwiese58
    I just ran across your coop page and as others have said, your coop is not only magnificent, but your story and personal photos make this page all the more wonderful.
  10. ChicKat
  11. SoftBoiled
    Schroeder - fabulous coop! Do you think you could add a floor plan layout drawing? I especially liked the hinged roosts to swing them out of the way for cleaning - that idea is now on my 'must do' list.
  12. jdeoliveira74
    that is one awesome coop I hope to have a coop that big one day.. first land then coop!
  13. birdisthe word
    wow, awesome chicken coop!!!!!!!!
  14. Schroeder
    Bruce: The 6 nipples seem to be plenty for 25 birds, probably more. I notice that those lowest in the pecking order stick around inside after the others are let out to free range, so that they can drink as much as they want without being bothered. With temperatures over 100 F, however, I have been taking out traditional waterers, in late afternoon, filled with water and a block of ice, to get as much water in them as possible. Given the choice, they will drink from a pool first. With no other choice, they drink plenty from the nipples, and the water is on average much cleaner than any other method.
    Thanks everyone for the very nice comments. I love this forum!
  15. bargain
    Wonderful story and sharing and beautiful coop.... Thank you for posting!!
  16. show day
    much money to buy of you
  17. show day
    looking for ideas is that an old shed or work shop!
  18. jchny2000
    Wonderful coop!! i am building the seconnd one now.. just awesome design. thanks for sharig this!
  19. bchomestead
    Your coop is so very nice! Thank you for sharing your hard work and making me smile!
  20. valschicksrus
    Thank you for sharing, story & photos of beautiful coop. Well Done!
    Your Dad is proud!!
  21. Our Roost
    Awsome setup! I am adding a wing onto the front of my coop much like your framed outside area. I have some predators. Once erected, I will invest in some automatic door openers. Its a must have feature for easier maintenance. Great post!
  22. Tropical Chickies
    What a wonderful job!!! I love that coop :)
  23. teach1rusl
    I'm so glad your dad got to see your coop while he was still alive!! And I'm glad you finally got your dream coop! Both of your coops are just lovely :)
  24. bruceha2000
    Great coop, the kind I was thinking of in my "horse stall conversion" mantra:
    The chickens won't know other chickens live at the Ritz. :)
    How are the 25 birds doing with 6 nipples? The "suggestion" is 3 birds per nipple. I have 4 saddle nipples in a 3/4" pipe for my 12 birds. Of course, like the roosts, they seem to think togetherness is good. I've seen 3 concurrently hitting the same nipple while the other 3 are not being used. Must be like food, if another chicken thinks something is good, it MUST be and they don't want to miss out.
  25. ADozenGirlz
    What a wonderful story and an amazing coop!! Well done, your dad would be proud.
  26. ButtersMama
    Oh! Just re-read. This was your Dad! How precious! God rest his loving soul.
  27. ButtersMama
    Beautiful! Great job!
    Will you marry me? I want a chicken coop like that...haha.
    That article is cute about your son in the hospital. So was it a 3 yolker?
  28. srd5757
    I would frame that article and hang it somewhere special! Nice coop!
  29. snowflake
    this is an awsome coop, love how big it is and the separate runs.Thanks for sharing the story of your dad too
  30. lolita117
    WESOME AWESOME AWESOME COOP!!!!!! I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  31. DawnS
    Just beautiful!! The coop and your story!
  32. Daloorashens
    wow, awesome coop, love it!!
  33. Chooks Go Mad
    most be pretty big :)
  34. Avedderflock
    The coop, the story and the history was fantastic. Thanks for sharing!
  35. awesomechicken
    wow thats one big coop
  36. 3 Golden Girls
    Nice roomy coop...You should have happy chickens. Nice story, especially you finding the news article on your dad's extra lg egg.
  37. Twisted-Rooster
    Cool Coop!!!! I too need to enlarge my coop for future use...This is really nice!!!
  38. foulplay
    extremely nice coop well done
  39. Janine718
    Beautiful coop and lovely story thank you for sharing :)
  40. pachickie
    I am loving your coop!!! I too find that I need a bigger coop for my girls (and some future additions :) )
  41. NanaArizona
    OMGosh I WANT one of these!!!!!!
  42. furbabymum
  43. BYC Project Manager
    Congratulations, we've chosen one of your pics for the CC-POW. Thanks for posting your coop design & pictures to our "Chicken Coops" pages! You can find more info about the CC-POW here: CC-POW Process
  44. camosnake
    Love the coop, love the story, thanks!
  45. TX4ME
    Way to Go...Thanks for sharing your story too..
  46. Ranchchicks0811
    What a Great Coop!
  47. PandoraChick
    How much did this cost to build? Looks very nice!
  48. Stumpy
    This is one of the nicest coops I've ever seen. Thanks for sharing all of the photos and your stories, etc.
  49. Tarheel RN
    Super nice set up. Thanks for the heart felt stories as well.
  50. mkrassin

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