Wichita Cabin Coop - Boise Adaptation
Many thanks to the Baldessari Clan for posting the photos of their Wichita Cabin Coop.
We took their idea and ran it with a very few minor changes to account for my lower level of DIY expertise.
You can find their original coop design here.
UPDATE 30 MARCH 2012: I've had several people ask me for plans and estimates on cost. The cost ran about $1,400 (I'm guessing) but I paid for some mistakes I made. I don't, sadly, have plans. However, if you want to view more of the images from the building so you can get more ideas, you can find those here.
Basic footprint: 5' x 10'
Roof dimensions: 8' x 12' (roof plywood was 3 sheets of 4' x 8')
Front height: 7'
Rear height: 6'
Each section of the coop (inside coop, front door, left side) is roughly 1/3 of the overall 10' length.
This is so that the 3' wide sections of hardware cloth (tough screen) will fit over the studs with room
to fasten it it down with screws and washers. If the openings between the studs are more than about 34"
apart, you'll have trouble fasting the hardware cloth.
The only changes I made from the Baldessari design were as follows:
All the other features were copied from the original design so let's give credit where it's due. Here are a few pictures from the process.
- Used concrete blocks for the foundation rather than flagstones set on edge.
- Used pressure treated lumber for the pieces in contact with the foundation.
- Put a double layer of chicken wire and landscaping cloth down over the floor of the coop to keep out burrowing predators.
- Created each of the frame walls and roof separately, and then stood them in place.
- Made the nest box removable (in theory, but it's a tight fit).
- Slightly different roof design.
- Included a washable linoleum floor for easy clean up.
The foundation, it turned out, had to be arranged to accomodate the existing sprinkler lines.
What a pain. The large concrete blocks that are buried and topped with flag stones
make it more difficult for predators to easily dig their way in.
Chicken wire placed across the floor of the coop. This is to keep predators from digging
their way in from underneath.
I used bungie cords to hold the framed walls together until I could fasten them more permanently. The
diagonal braces were temporary and were used to keep the true during the process.
Frame walls built separately and then connected. I wasn't able to manage the
original approach so building on the ground worked better for me. Lumber from
my daughter's old pressure treated play set came in handy for this part. The wall on the
right side will house the nest box and window and so is framed differently from the left side.
Used hurricane braces for connecting the roof to the frame. We made the roof frame
on the ground, like the walls, and then raised it into place when it was ready. That's
definitely a two or three person job. Getting the measurements right is critical to
getting the braces in the right places to connect the roof to the rest of the coop and
required lots of patience and measuring things three or four times before screwing things
Built the roof frame with the the ends and only two rafters to get it into place (much lighter) and then once
It was up, I added the remaining rafters pretty easily.
Take time to paint the frame before you start adding walls and wire. Otherwise you'll have
a more difficult time of it.
Built the floor of the inside coop, slanting it slightly toward the front to allow water to drain
out when cleaning the inside. Attached the 1/2 inch hardware cloth (screen) with screws
and fender washers.
Leading (front) edge of the roof to cut down on water running under the metal roofing material.
Need an extra support so that both sides of the door between the coop and the run are supported
equally. Note that I had to add an additional rafter to which to fasten these vertical pieces in place since
the existing rafter didn't line up with where the wall was supposed to go.
Bottom hole is for the nest box, the top hole is for the window. Used old 2x6's on the back wall, and
new 1x6s on the sides. I cut circular plugs out of the cross pieces between the rafters over the
interior part of the coop. I then kept the plugs, put long carriage bolts/screws into the plugs and use
them to adjust the ventilation in the coop during the summer and winter (again, this is borrowed from
the original design).
Framed the outside of the guillotine door both to make it sturdier and for looks.
Measure carefully to allow slide rails on either side of the inside opening. And, remember those rails
will need to be parallel and vertical. They need to be tall enough to accommodate the door when it is fully raised.
This shelf will help keep birds on the roosts from pooping into the nest boxes, as well as keeping out a
tad more light... or at least that's the intent.
Wing nuts attached to carriage bolts allow the nest box to be removed. But it's a pain to do and I doubt
I'll ever use this functionality.
The piece of old gray pressure treated 2x4 is to keep the litter in the nest boxes.
Protected the floor of the nest box with left over linoleum, and painted the inside black to keep it dark.
Framed the outside of the windows and nest box openings.
Rails for the guillotine door. I'm a novice so making this vertical and parallel wasn't a trivial task. If they're not,
the door won't slide easily.
Guillotine door design (again, borrowed from the Wichita Cabin design). However,
I placed the lifting eye screw on the cross piece instead of into the edge of the plywood
Slam strips (vertical unpainted furing strip) keep the door from closing too far when shut, thus keeping the hinges from
tearing out. You can see the shims (small 1/4" spacers) in place to hold the door away from the
frame while I'm making it.
Building inspectors at work. Clamps hold the vertical lumber in place while I'm fitting it.
The 1x6s fit into a groove routed on the back side of the 2x4 edges. Then they were glued and screwed
I was particularly puzzled about how to build the doors, never having done it before. A
contractor friend of my suggested using shims to build it in place. I routed a groove into the
outside 2x4s to set the 1x6 face panels in and glued/screwed them into place.
I'm not particularly confident in my measurements so doing it this way made sure when
the door was finished it would fit the opening.
This door was built with the same shim/build-it-in-place approach.
There's a shelf under the highest (rear) roost that can be removed. It's intended (we'll see if it works) to catch a lot of the
poop before it falls onto the floor. Not yet convinced it will work that well but I guess we'll see. UPDATE: It works so well that I only have to clean the coop out every six months or so if I clean the board off every week.
Bent a support strap into a slot shape to hold the ramp fittings which were themselves created out of corner braces.
Corner braces on the bottom of the ramp fit into the slot below the ramp door.
Used non-skid flooring strip on the ramp and spaced the rungs about 4.5 inches apart.
Now that the hens are installed, they seem to be having no problems with the
ramp given the non-skid surface and the spacing of the cross pieces.
Used single plexiglass pieces for the windows.
Installed an easy to clean linoleum floor. Yeah, I know. Overkill. But I hate cleaning activities.
Installed a removable kick board in a slot that is flush with the front door to
keep litter from falling out when the door is opened. Again, thanks to the
original design for this idea.
Finished! Installed decorative cross pieces on the windows but used single sheets
of plexiglass so the cross pieces serve no functional purpose.
Finished view from the other side. The lumber resting on the foundation will
have to be painted later, in about six months, after it has had time
to cure and dry out.
My wife created a ceramic rooster art piece to place on the side of the coop.
This is, sadly, the closest these hens will ever get to a rooster. It
measures about 1.5 feet square.
Again, an intense heartfelt thank you to all the designs which led to the
successful completion of this project. And a particular thank you to the
Baldessari Clan in Wichita, Kansas for the primary design features.