Cedar Acres Coop!

By CedarAcres · Jun 18, 2013 · Updated Dec 5, 2013 · ·
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  1. CedarAcres

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    Our coops are actually quite old.. built by my family in the late 1960's. They were all built using plans from a correspondence course on poultry through a university. We have three identical coops. All of my pictures are of the one we just painted (a fresh coat of paint looks so nice!), and the other two are still waiting their turn for the paint.

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    Here are some photos of the coops through the years:


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    And here it is today:

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    As you can see, we have changed the run. We have actually had about four different run systems over the years. Due to the large population of hawks in our yard, we had to fully enclose it. We added on the new run this spring.

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    The run is fully enclosed on all sides using chicken wire. The wire also goes under the ground on all sides to prevent any predators who attempt to dig in. Half of the run is covered with a tarp covering to give them plenty of shade and keep their food dry.

    Some other changes that we made was to make the inside of the coop more functional. My absolute biggest tip to anyone building a coop is to think about where you will be walking or moving around in the coop. Are the nest boxes easily accessible? Do you have to twist & shuffle around feeders? We changed the configuration of our interior based on previous years of tripping or straining to reach things.

    Here are the roosts when they first moved into the coop. Three different levels which made it easier for them to get to the top when they were small.

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    We changed the roosts to having two on the top level and one lower once they were a bit larger, which means less squabbling over the top roost. And there is still one lower level one to help them get up there.

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    As you can see in the interior of the coop, the roosts are along the back wall (they were always there), but the nest boxes used to be along the wall to the right of the door. It made the inside feel very crowded. The feeder and waterer used to be right in the center of the coop, which you had to shimmy around to get to the nest boxes. Now, it is very easy to walk straight inside.

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    Here is an example of our nest boxes (although they are not finished in this photo, but you can get the idea):

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    We painted our nestboxes with spare paint for easier cleaning. The lip on the front is also larger than in the photo to prevent eggs from rolling out. The top is slanted as well.

    We also added nest box curtains from some old fabric we had to give them some more privacy & shade. After cutting down a few trees the sun shines right into the nest boxes.

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    They certainly seem to find the nest boxes to their satisfaction:

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    Plans:

    One of the great things about these coops is that they are square. So you can copy this coop in whatever dimensions you need. 6x6, 8x8. 10x10, etc, to fit your flock size. The roof is slanted for better drainage.

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    Exterior photos/details:

    The coop is raised about 1.5 feet off the ground, resting on cinder blocks. We re-leveled it this spring because a few of them had sunk a bit over the years. We did this by jacking the coop off the ground using a high lift jack, using a level to see when it was level & adjusting the cinder blocks accordingly.

    For siding, we have cedar shakes that have been painted. The shakes that were painted have held up amazingly well over the last 45 years. The back of the coop was never painted, and we had to replace those. So I would recommend that you paint your shakes if you want them to last a long time. There is plywood for the walls, then tar paper, then the shakes.

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    Here is an example of the replacement shakes we used on the rear of the coop. They were about $7 for a bundle at home depot.

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    If you don't want to go through the trouble of cedar shakes, you can also use the roll out roof shingles. Just line the back with tar paper, and cut them to size, and nail into place. You can paint them and they look great! We have this siding on another coop:

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    The windows are frames we have made ourselves (just square) with hardwire attached.

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    If you look closely in the photo above on the bottom part of the frame, you can actually see where animals have clawed or chewed to attempt to get into the coop.


    Here is our door to the coop.


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    We have lots of extra wood chips so we put those around the coop to keep weeds down & to have a neat walking area.


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    Our tarp covering is slightly raised in the center (where the center board down the middle is) and the water actually runs off very nicely. We were actually planning a different cover for the run and put this up to be temporary, but it is working so well (and tarps are so cheap!) that we are thinking of just keeping it permanently. It's easy to adjust and move a tarp rather than a permanent structure.

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    There is an overhang on each side of the roof. The shingles on the roof are the roll out kind.. much easier in my opinion! The roof had it's original roof until about 5 years ago, and then it was replaced. Then we had a tree fall on the coop which damaged one spot, so that area has been patched (you can see the black vs grey shingles).

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    The run is fully enclosed with chicken wire, as well as under the ground surrounding the run. We used wood posts with the post spikes on the bottom, similar to these at home depot. We already had the posts & spikes, which we took from the runs that used to be used for raising baby cows & goats. To run the chicken wire, it is much easier with two people. One to hold the wire & unroll it as you go, and one person to use the staple gun. First we attached all the wire using just a staple gun, then went back after & used poultry nails to make it stronger.

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    We added this thermometer that someone bought us as a gift. It transmits the temperature to the house. It's nice to know the temperature before you head outside!

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    As lastly, for my birthday my husband bought me a game cam! So we can keep an eye on anything sneaking around the coop at night,

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    I have to mention that these coops are extremely sturdy. It was able to withstand this tree falling on it back during the October snowstorm.. and it only caused damage to the roof shingles (which you can see in our photos where they were replaced).

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    We also added about 6 or so wood logs for them to stand on. It's been especially helpful because we've gotten quite a lot of rain lately.. and no one likes a wet run!

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    And don't forget to decorate!

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    Updates:
    - September 24 2013: We finally painted all the coops the same color! It was driving me crazy to have one grey and the others red! We also added more sand to the run. We had some naturally sandy soil in one area of the run already and they loved it for dust bathing, so we just added more in the rest of the run. They love it!
    - October 2013: We noticed that we were catching trespassers on our game cam, so we put up fence a long a large area of the property surrounding the chicken coop and barn area. We have plans to fence in about half of the property in the spring.


    Things We Are Planning to Change:
    - Building similar runs on the other two coops & doing all the same changes on the other two.
    - We are adding wall mounted, home made feeders. I don't care too much for the hanging ones inside the coop. We have the materials, just need to get around to installing them.
    - We used to have a run system where each coop had it's own run, then a larger run surrounding all the coops. You could open the door to each run & let them out into the larger area. I'd like to do something similar again, but the larger part wouldn't be fully covered on top.
    - A step outside the door. Our coop is elevated on cinderblocks, so it is a pretty good step up into the coop. If you're not paying attention it's easy to trip.


    Summary of my tips to anyone building a coop:
    - Build it bigger than you think you need. If you think you'll only get 5 chickens, build it to fit 10.
    - Think of how you will clean the coop or access nest boxes. Make enough room to move comfortably through the coop.
    - If you know you have a predator problem in you area, plan that into your coop. It's devastating to loose chickens to predators.
    - Plan ahead where you will place waterers & feeders.. don't make them an after thought.
    - Make sure to have enough roost space per bird.
    - Ventilation!
    - Make sure your chickens have an area of shade.

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  1. Freisian
    Brilliant pot, thank you for sharing!
  2. Marylani
    wow! thank you SO much for sharing!
  3. CedarAcres
    @gailmaison I think it really depends on the rooster. Ours now is a Sultan and he is amazing with the girls. Although we've always had bad luck with rhode island red roosters. They were the worst we've ever had. I'd just try some of the more docile breeds and raise him from a chick if you can. If you want one for free raging, avoid any of the crested birds. Our rooster is great.. but he can't always see that well and I worry about him getting lost. He walks and flies into things even if we trim his crest. We've never had guineas, although I want some. They are very loud, so just be prepared for that. And it seems like they like to try to roost in the trees a lot. Most people that I know ended up losing a lot of their guineas because they would try to roost in trees at night and get taken by predators.
  4. larry529
    Great batch of pictures!!
  5. roostersandhens
    I love your coop! It's big and awesome!!! My coops are small, it's a problem. Luckily they are free range :)
  6. gailmaison
    I have had roosters in the past and they were such jerks...always 'attacking' the girls...not a gentlemen at all. Because we have lost free rangers to overhead attacks, I am considering getting a rooster next spring. Any suggestions on a breed that is 'nicer' would be appreciated...Also. I can get guinea hens for nothing...what do you think about them ?? Do you have you any experience with them?? I hear they are good watch dogs....but how do they get along with chickens...and do they go in at night or stay out ?? In your opinion....if I want to free range my girls again after the snow is gone...what would be there best protection...
  7. CedarAcres
    @Joshua G She is a golden laced wyandotte! I have a silver laced one as well. Our rooster is actually a sultan.. he's great with the ladies and a real sweetheart!
  8. Shabana
    Great coops. Loved the history. Bet generations of chickens have grown up with your family.
    My favourite is your white rooster. He is stunning !
  9. applegal
    Nice coop and I love your run. I really enjoyed seeing the early pictures of the coops.
  10. Joshua G
    Very neat coop design!

    What breed is the chicken with the the pea comb and orange/black feathers above the silkie rooster picture?
  11. Zeevon101
    Looks great! Your chickens look healthy, the coop seems strong and well built. Good job!
  12. TheReadyBoys
    Nice! I like your chickens, too!
  13. Deannster
    This is one of the best coop posts I've seen. Thanks so much for the great ideas and the detail you have put into describing your coop. This was just what I needed to get started on one of my own!
  14. CedarAcres
    Wow, thanks for the comments everyone! I saw a few questions so I'll answer them. @gailmaison I don't have any insulation at all in ours. The deep litter we use keeps it warmer inside the coop. I have the one side window covered with plastic because that is the direction the wind blows from. As long as it's dry & draft free they are good! Their feathers are amazing insulation, so they should never need added insulation, even in very cold climates. We're in New England, and I think our winters are probably a bit warmer than yours. I would just make sure there are no drafts inside the coop and they should do fine! @Cheryl1948 Thank you! I think the one you're asking about is our golden laced wyandotte. We have another one with blue and orange (an easter egger) but there aren't really any good shots on this page of her. As far as I know, we've never had any issues with raccoons. We only see them here at night, and all our windows are hardware cloth. Ours do free range, so if the raccoons really wanted the chickens they could take them while they are out. Good thing you have such good watch dogs!
  15. Cheryl1948
    Love the gray color on the coop and run. And, your chickens are so pretty. What breed is the one that looks blue and orange? That one is gorgeous. I read that a raccoon and some other predators can tear right thru chicken wire. Hope you don't have a problem with that. We used hardware cloth all around our run and on the windows. And, we not only stapled it, but we put in screws and washers. Just seemed stronger. I know we have raccoons in our woods. One of my dogs pinned three up a tree last year. He laid in the yard all day daring them to come down. ha ha
  16. gailmaison
    Love your coop...simple yet effective. I want to be able to walk inside and so many plans aren't big enough to do this.
    Question...I notice you do not have any type of insulation in your coop...I see it gets cold where you live...snow on the ground...I have the same problem. Am I to assume that your chickens have no problems getting through the winter in an un insulated building ??..Where do you live and how cold does it actually get...I live in Northern Michigan.....winter temps average in teens and twenties with a dozen or so below zero days and nights. The bigger coop I plan to build will be out in the wide open .....or I may be able to put it alongside a shipping container that does not move...well, unless the man storing it here decides to remove it.
  17. Bocrates
    The tips at the end of this post are spot on for importance. After going through the process myself, I could have written the advice any better. Nice simple coop design.
  18. Joan71
    Your coops and runs are great. My girls would love it. Thanks for reminding us to make the coop larger than the number of birds we plan to have. I have 4, and I find myself thinking of some more. I have tarps over the top of my coop and run. You are correct, it is less expensive to replace a tarp than build a roof. I wasn't sure if we would keep the girls for long. Now I know we will so we have to build a more permanent home. Thanks for your ideas. I like the layout.
  19. debbai
    amazing birds and an amazing coop; i am not a builder so am stuck with prefabed coop kits; your very lucky to have such an awsome coop
  20. ChickensAreSweet
    I love your coops!
  21. DufferChick
    Nice coop and run! I am inspired. I am in the process of designing a covered run. Want to show my husband your pictures. Our small coop is located inside of a larger fenced garden area (100'x100' square). I am getting a late start to have a covered run for Winter. I will likely use your tarp idea for providing shelter and shade. Thanks for sharing!
  22. BYC Project Manager
    Congratulations, we've chosen one of your pics for the Chicken Coop Picture of the Week. 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
  23. Zig Man
    Nice job on coop and chickens look awesome
  24. CedarAcres
    Haha, It's alright! We actually do put little tubs (like size of foot baths) full of cool water in with the chickens on hot days. Some of them love to wade through the water. It really cools them down!
  25. winny
    ooppps I think it is a duck , tired this morning,
  26. winny
    So nice to see your coop and hens, noticed that one was in a little water pool.
    We never thought of it ,so do all hens like to go in water pool on hot days?
    Thinking of doing the same.
  27. fishnet1971
    love the coop over the years and how you have changed it. Such cute babies.
  28. joan1708
  29. chicksbunsdog
    Love the old pictures of the coops and your updates are fantastic!
  30. ChemicalchiCkns
    An historicall Coop. Expertly advized??

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