The Criteria- Had to be better than the neighbors box chicken coop and easy to clean. Could hold 15 chickens. Easy too clean without bending over. Gather the eggs from the outside. Predator proof from Racoon's, Coyotes, Hawks, and Dogs.
This is the model my wife Carrie wanted. Carrie
From the model
1. Off the ground for predator control.
2. Outside access to nest boxes.
3. Cleaning without bending over.
4. Slopped roof for snow load.
5. Sliding windows for ventilation.
Changes from the model
1. Rain gutters.
2. Flower boxes.
4. Side octagon windows.
5. Lid for the nest boxes stay open unless closed.
6. Fenced underneath. Chicken access in bad weather.
7. Chicken access front and back.
What I would do different
1. Larger windows that would open upward. So the rain wouldn't go in and more ventilation.
2. Would make the nesting boxes 13 x 13 x 13. The chickens seem a little squished with 12 x 12 x 12.
History of the coop
I (husband) wouldn't make a chicken coop unless I knew we could handle some poultry. Wanted to start with 4 Turkeys but I couldn't find any so I settled on 4 Pekin Ducks. We have a water garden with a 7000 gallon pond. We have 3 acres. We also had a pitbull named Jax. How was this going to work? Jax loves the ducks and 3 of the 4 ducks are still with us (1) disappeared. The coop took the summer and winter of 2013 and spring of 2014 to complete. It is a work in progress, always looking to improve.
Building of the coop
Used scrap materials laying around. 4x4’s and 2x6’s for the frame. 2x4’s and threaded rod for the trusses. Floor is 5x8 and walls 4’tall. Cost so far $0.00 . The 4x4's were placed 18" in the ground and placed on concrete blocks.
My two helpers, well only one, the other wanted to play all the time. He did help dig. The cost $30.00 for the side plywood and wall 2x2’s. The floor and roof plywood, roofing paper and screws/nails were laying around.
The octagon window was a pain but it gives it a better look and surprising a lot of light. 22 ½ degrees gives you the octagon. Used plexi-glass for the strength. Wouldn’t do it again. Spent way too much time on it. The window and front door was cut out in the front. The side cut out is for the nesting boxes. Cost $10.00. Underneath was dug out and prepped for the fencing. Made the windows myself. Another thing I didn’t like. They slide on one side for ventilation. The fence 2”x4” was put up and attached (stainless screws and washers) to the legs and bottom of floor supports. It extended 12 inches down into the ground. It was surrounded by the rocks. Later chicken wire will be added on top. Cost $40.00 Fence, primer and window glass.
Big door level with the floor. The end has a stainless plate for ease of sweeping out the coop. The chicken door will be the main one to the run. Cost $60.00 for the plywood and screws.
Concrete imbedded siding. Neighbor down the street was redoing his siding. They gave me all I could take. Saved them money for garbage removal and saved me money on siding. Was difficult to cut but It looks good and is solid. Cost $3.00 for nails.
Made door and window. Big window for light and opens upward for ventilation. This took sometime to make. The door is insulated. Cost $20.00 for the glass.
Made the nesting box in the garage. It is 4 foot long so each box is 12x12x12. 8 nesting boxes total 4 on each side. The top door has a long one piece brass hinge. The door is insulated and stays open by itself. Cost for both sides $45.00 includes hinges, wood, glue and nails. Above the octagon window on both side is a screen used for the vent.
Trim and shingles were installed on roof and nest boxes. An electrical box for the fan and light switches were installed. Cost $60.00 for shingles.
3” PVC cut in half lengthwise with a jig saw. Made the brackets at work with scrap plastic. Glue on end pieces and attached tubing for drainage. Cost $12.00.
Run Door is made from heavy duty hinges and a latching system that will not allow anyone to get trapped. Door is difficult pulling open from the outside.
The top has 2” chicken wire fence for the hawks and electric fence on the wall for climbers. The inside ground was leveled and top soil removed. The run is 24’ x 18’, 6’ tall. Cost $180.00 so far for the fence and screws.
The run was painted and some roosts installed. I planted grass but the chicks eat it all within 2 days. Sun Screen fabric from Lowes to give the chickens some protection while in the run. Used stainless stables to install fabric to frame.
Made the picket fence from old 2x4’s ripped down. 16’ across the front and 8’ both sides. A gate centered with the front door. Time consuming but didn’t cost anything.
The inside. The walls are hard wood laminate panels from shipping containers. They do suck up the paint. The floor is linoleum from hobo which was glued down. The roost bars are 2x4’s ripped and the edges cut. They are about 1 ¼” round. The two top roost bars had to be put at the same height. At night time all they did was fight for the top roost. As soon as they were set everyone got along. All 18 chickens fit on the 2 roost bars that are 8 feet long. The doors are stainless with holes drilled in them for ventilation and guided by plastic. The ceiling has 2 fans that will blow out the heat and humidity. It has outlets and a place for a heat lamps and normal light if needed. On of the outlets had a night light on a timer. Cost $20.00 floor and glue.
Automatic Door Opener. Opens automatic in the morning with the timer. Opens to the limit switch and stops. In the evening, uses a switch to close the door (after counting chickens). In the orange box is the 12Vdc marine battery, timer and circuit breaker. The motor is from a black and decker clamp that I took apart. There is also a spring assembly used to help open the door.
Outside the coop. Our chickens free range. They have 2 lialiac bushes, a poplar tree and raspberries to hide in. Also the dogs are around to protect them. However the dogs eat the chicken food so I had to put some electric fence around the food. Problem solved.
We presently have 18 Chickens, Gold Stars, Isa Browns, Americanas, Barring Rocks and Black Sex Links. Plus 3 Pekin Ducks.
Winter is upon us.
Painted plywood was added under the coop for wind block.
Outside lighting added.
Heated waterer added.
Run will be expanded due to hawks and chickens eating the gardens and neighbor garden.