Yes! This is where you can learn to make a bomb shelter for chickens! Because they need one, right? Yeah! O.K, but seriously, this coop is at least racoon proof. And the bear has shown no interest, so...
The coop is 4'x7'.
Our backyard is a hill. A hill that happens to be covered in a dense forest of pine and scrub oak and choke cherry that is nearly impenetrable. We do have paths that the dog created:
..... but still. Our front yard, also a hill, while not forested, was also not fenced in. I made the decision to put the coop on the only grassy/flat patch in the backyard, which has the forest behind it, an apple tree in front, more grass in front of the apple tree, and a water meter in the 'more grass'. The coop is close to the house, and our neighbors (who love the chickens) can see them from their front yard. We began with cinder blocks and a level stick:
There are 2x4 'ribs' between the cinder blocks and lengthwise 2x4s. We added a base and plopped a free playhouse from Craigslist on top. I also played with the idea of a ramp:
I left a 1' x 4' section on one side for a shelf. I could store things here later on.
We rolled a sheet of laminate out on the floor, and tore off one of the walls:
I cut a pop door in the back wall. The two doors that open inward didn't work- I later changed them:
Cleo, my EE roo, checked out the progress.
"Yeah, yeah, good..."
"...m-hm! yes, I think this will do. Keep working."
I built the nesting box bones and hung them on the coop:
There are three of them for seven hens.
We also got most of the framework done one night:
Here you can see how the poop board is going to be built in:
Then we got crackin on the roof. We figured out the angle we wanted by using the old roof, and basically repeated that same cut over and over. I have no idea what the angle actually is, and I'm not going to go find out. So, there.
It's starting to look like something! Here's the inside:
You can see the ridge pole, the roof joists, and some ventilation above the nesting boxes.
There is a gap between the roof board and the 2x6 that offers a little more ventilation, but not much.
Here is the other side of the coop, with a window (that eventually broke- I replaced the glass with wood.) and some wall.
The window opens:
I replaced the flimsy door and finished the nesting boxes.
At this point it was kind of a rush to get the coop liveable, because we were going away for the weekend. All the walls were on.
Locks? On. Painted? Check. Well, partly.
Note: The way I built the access door on the nesting boxes lets a lot of the nesting materiel fall out, and you have to crouch down to find the eggs. If I did it over again, I would move the door up to the middle panel instead of the bottom one. I still might do that. We'll see.
I added a warning sign- one that was needed. The door is a bit small.
I changed the pop door so that it works, and made it very pretty, to:
Here you can see their 'temporary' milk jug feeder. It worked very well and didn't waste any feed, but now they have a better one.
I also built them a baby gate run until the real one was built.
Aspen gives me a stern look. "I don't see any treats! Bring on the greens!"
"What are you looking at?"
I even got a start on shingling the roof.
The chicken guard dog.
The roof, finished:
The tin copula:
...and from the inside:
"We need to spray paint it orange, add a rooster cave and make a sign that names it 'Cleo's Castle'."
"No, Cleo, we don't."
Everyone free-ranging while I work. Notice, three of the RIR's are boys. We gave them away shortly after this picture.
Building the poop board:
Cleo: "I like this, Human. Good job. Now go away; what do you want, a medal?"
Aspen: "Cleo, shut up."
I built a step-up for Luna, the bantam. She ignored it.
I added extra support for the poop board, after looking at the underside of my bed:
And the roosts were up!
Cleo: "Look at how they fawn over me. Who's the rooster?!"
Luna: "Oh, go jump in a river."
Poop board in! Roosts painted!
The poop board lip:
I filled the poop board up with leaf litter until I could buy some Sweet PDZ and sand. Leaf litter doesn't last very long. I started to put the old bedding on the poop board after I cleaned the coop. It works very well, but I changed the bedding, so we'll see... We found a home fore Cleo, bought five new FEMALE chicks, uncovered the nesting boxes, ... and then...
Luna laid her first egg! In the nesting boxes! Not on the floor!
Orange is a 2x2, blue is a 2x4, and greenish is a 2x6:
(The plans are, of course, approximate. )
The LG's (little girls) in their brooder.
Aggie: Whew! What's in that stuff?
The coop is 90% done! Just some touch up paint, a run, and a little insulation!
^ see the new window? The little girls love it!
The broken window:
Coop, painting done:
The hen I painted on the front door: (I'm very proud of this)
Back door draft cover:
Here's how the poop board turned out:
I love it! The sand/ PDZ ratio is 70% sweet PDZ, 30% sand. No smell, easy to scoop, and keeps the bedding cleaner because the girls love spending time looking out the window from up there!
This is the little girl cardboard tunnel to get into the main coop:
Here is the water set up:
We ended up not keeping Cleo. The girls are all fully integrated, look!
Luna, Aspen, Willow, Opal, Agatha (Aggie), Iris, June
The coop is done, and so is the run. For the run, I took a round trampoline frame, stretched chicken wire around the bottom (GASP! NOT CHICKEN WIRE! (the run isn't predator proof)), and put up the net.
I found some of that plastic/wood decking and made dry places to stand while I collect eggs or clean the poop board. I also used a pallet as a front porch- very useful for eating lunch.
In this picture, the window still has some glass. It is this way no more.
The dust bath needs some sand- right now it is dirt and DE.
I get in and out through this zipper door.
The bucket elbow feeder- I love this thing.
A shelf. You can see the ventilation up near the top is not blocked.
So there's the coop!
Extra Update- Eggs!
Everybody is laying now, and I love it! Willow lays pink polka-dot eggs- I also get white ones, tinted, and huge shiny brown ones.
"What are you doing?"
"Nothin'. What are you doing?"
Thank you for taking the time to look at my coop page. I now have seven happy hens in a 4x7 coop with a poop board, three nesting boxes, lots of ventilation, two windows, and six functional doors, not counting the one in the back which opens to a chicken wire screen.
The coop has been serving me well. There have been no ventilation problems, and none of the girls have over heated or gotten frostbite. I moved the waterer outside because it started leaking- bleh. In the summer I open the back doors and attach a wire screen for extra air- the screen overlap also props the doors open:
The screen is attached by hooks.
Here is the repaired window as well: