I still stand back sometimes wondering how the heck we ended up with chickens but we have fallen in love with our 3 hens. They are the friendliest, happiest chickens we know. They were handled at the tender age of 2 days old by our 3 year old son and they get so excited to see him coming. I hardly doubt it has anything to do with the fact that he always brings them treats
My husband (who can't eat any dairy, including eggs) has taken this project like a champ. We started looking for coops and when we discovered they cost about $400-600 for what we wanted, we decided we would build one ourselves. HAHA! By the time we were done, the project cost just over $1000 but we have a beautiful coop that we are very proud of. The girls seem happy, and so are we.
Our little chicken, checking out the coop!
We started the project in the garage because it was still so cold outside. We thought we would just put the cedar boards on the outside but wanted to make something warmer and well insulated so took them off shortly after.
We decided we only wanted 3-4 birds (well, I wanted 4, my husband wanted 2 so we settled on 3). So we designed a coop to be 3'x4' not including the laying box. My husband framed the coop with 2x4's and used 4x4 cedar posts for the legs. We bought these basement windows from Home Depot for ventilation. They were about $25 each and were easy to install.
We liked the idea of a full size door at the front of the coop for easy access to the food pail and water. We also wanted clean up in the coop to be as easy and quick as possible. Having a door at the back would allow the girls to move in and out of the coop whenever they wanted. We also wanted to be able to close the coop up on those blistery cold nights in January.
To make clean up easier, we laid down plastic sheathing on the bottom and up the sides of the coop. We live in New England so we knew we wanted to add a light for warmth and to extend the light cycle. We added a lamp and an outlet.
We made the hen box so we could check for eggs externally. It has 2 laying boxes but the girls insist on putting all their eggs in one basket
Here are the chicks as the project was getting close to completion. They were growing faster then my husband was able to build. Talk about a deadline that needed to be met.
The walls of the coop were made with particle board and were insulated. We then sided with cedar boards that we painted to match the house. The roof was done in shingles. We added a 3x12' run to give the girls plenty of room to exercise. We used hardware cloth to enclose the run and buried the cloth down about 12" to protect the hens from predators.
This spring we plan to landscape around the coop with crushed rock
We brought the chickens home in April 2012 and on December 24th, we got our very first egg. It was a Christmas miracle!