Hello everyone! My name is Terry. My wife of 32 years, Cheryl is an incredible cook and has always wanted chickens of her own so she can get those beautiful brown fresh eggs. In the spring of 2016 we brought that into reality. We'll start this story with some photos of the finished coop and run. The coop is 9x8. The run is 9x26.
My goals for the project were to build something that would be very functional and ascetically pleasing. I wanted to make sure that Cheryl would be able to tend the chickens as easily as possible and that the chickens would be healthy and happy. I wanted us to do as much ourselves as possible. I love to research so I've scoured the net for everything I could find that looked applicable to the project.
The project begins with choosing the site. We've lived on this property for 23 years and have a 1200 sq.ft. raised bed garden behind the house right next to my shop. Immediately behind the garden was chosen as the best spot for the coop and run. The coop is a extension of the compressor room that is attached to the back of the shop. The coop and run extend to the west along the back edge of the garden where the chain link fence once was. The ground in this area is sloping slightly away from the coop towards the west and then to the south which will carry the water away from the coop and out the back of the run. Good drainage is definite plus to this area. Another plus to this area is accessibility. This location is close to the house but not too close. We already have water available in the garden and electricity available in the shop and compressor room. All good things. Here's the site before we started construction.
Here is the basic layout for the coop, run and chicken yard where the girls can enjoy some extra room outside the run.
I like to build furniture and do a lot of general woodworking but framing is not really something that I've done much of so this project was a challenge. I very much enjoyed every aspect of the project. Here is the basic coop floor structure framing.
The walls are standard 2x4 construction with headers for the door and windows. Here are some photos of the framing in progress...
We attached the siding to the wall framing while the walls were laying down. It's so much easier to do it that way instead of trying to get the sheets on the walls after they are vertical. The walls were a bit too heavy for Cheryl and I to stand up so I had my neighbor come and help me do that. Here are the walls in place.
Once the walls were up Cheryl and I took a couple of days off work to try and get as far as we could on the project. We love to work together. Our days off work began with me framing the roof and Cheryl pre-priming trim.
Lots of permanent ventilation was included in the coop plan with large openings both front and rear. We used the 1 sq.ft. of ventilation per chicken rule which we actually exceeded. The openings are covered with 1/2" hardware cloth for predator protection. The front is protected from weather by the porch roof. I used a series of foundation vents to cover the rear opening to keep the rain out.
Next was to get the coop dried in so we installed the windows and the door. I chose triple track storm windows for the coop. Both the upper and lower sashes move and can easily be completely removed so there are lots of options for ventilation. They are also very economical. I built the entry door using 2x4's and the left over pieces of siding that were cut out to form the opening for the door. All the doors were made using pocket screw construction. One of my favorite techniques. All the trim on the coop is rough sawn cedar to match the existing trim on the house, shop and storage building.
Some shots of the coop dried in with the exterior all in primer.
You'll notice in this photo that I had the rear windows tinted. There are lights on the commercial property next to us and I was concerned that they might disturb the chickens roosting. The tint took care of the problem.
I wired the coop for lights and plug ins. The outlets were placed strategically to serve particular applications. One right by the waterer for a bucket heater. Another on the pop door wall to power the add a motor. Once the wiring was roughed in we the sheeted the interior with OSB. It was quite a project to get those 2 sheets on the ceiling with just Cheryl and I but we made it.
Every edge and seam was sealed with caulking and then primed twice and painted with exterior semi-gloss.
I was able to re-purpose some shelving that was actually inside the compressor room as storage for the coop by cutting a hole in the common wall and boxing in the shelves.
I coated the floor with Blackjack57 roof coating to water proof it. Pretty simple project. Just pour out the product and use a regular paint roller to smooth and spread it out.
Next was the building interior accessories. The poop tray, roosts, feeders, waterer, sliding next boxes, an auto opening pop door and predator proofing the windows and door.
I made the pop door from some left over aluminum tread plate and UMHW plastic. I cut kerfs in the plastic sides and fit the aluminum in those kerfs. I put additional pieces of UMHW on the wall to seal the door when it's closed.
We used doors on the inside of the coop to predator proof the windows. The doors are actually 2 frames made of pine with pocket screws with the 1/2" hardware cloth sandwiched in between the frames. The frames are then screwed together with 1 1/4" deck screws. These doors also keep the chickens out of the window sills.
I built these sliding nest boxes from left over plywood and 1x4's ripped to size. The nest boxes slide out for easy egg retrieval and then slide back to the wall so the girls can have their privacy. I have removed the nests until they girls are closer to ready to lay. The poop tray and roosts are made from 2x4's. The roosts just lift out for easy cleaning.
The PVC feeders are great and are made from 4" S&D PVC pipe and fittings. The chickens wasted a huge amount of feed until I cut some PVC caps in half and screwed them onto the bottom of the fittings. I saw one like that on the net and it worked great. Almost zero waste now.
Here's the front hardware cloth screen door. It's constructed the same way as the window screen doors. We are using the deep bedding method inside the coop and I wanted to make keeping that bedding captured and removing it easier so I made this panel below the front screen door. It is mounted with 4 barrel bolts so it's a snap to remove.
The waterers are the standard 5 gallon bucket/horizontal nipple design. The funnel ziptied to the top keeps the chickens off of it.
Here's the outside of the coop finished.
The building of the run came next. The run structure is centered around 4x4's buried in concrete that form the sides of the doors and provide solid structure. The upper and lower rails are treated 2x6's. The roof rafters are treated 2x4's with regular pine 2x4 strapping where the corrugated metal roofing is attached. The west end of the run is a section of privacy fence. The predator proofing is double layered. The lower 4' of the walls are covered with 1/2" hardware cloth and the upper portion is covered with regular chicken wire. The entire sides are then covered with 2x4 welded wire. The wire is secured with a combination of screws and fender washers and galvanized fence staples. All the wire edges and intersections are covered with fence pickets. The front and rear doors are solid hardware cloth covered by 2x4 wire. They are constructed in the same manner that the interior doors are. There is a wire apron all around the outside edges of the run to deter the diggers.
Here's some construction pics.
Here are some pics of the completed coop interior. So far the design has worked out well. The storage space that I stole from the compressor room is super handy for all the things that are required in the coop. I have a 4' led fixture on the ceiling that is plugged into a switched outlet for general lighting and a little night light in the outlet by the switch if we need to check on them in the dark.
I added the sliding nest boxes back in today. The girlies are nearly 15 weeks and I wanted to allow ample time for them to acclimate to the boxes and to deal with any issues.
Here are some run interior pics. I made another 5 gallon bucket waterer with horizontal nipples like the one in the coop. I saved some stumps from a tree that we cut down earlier this year and used some of the larger chunks of wood for chicken amusements. I also made a little perch from a couple pieces of the fire wood and a landscape timber.
The dust bath is made from some left over concrete tree rings.
The perch is a super popular place.
I had a 4x4 left from the run so I found a good use for it. I made a chicken trapeze/spiraling staircase/roosting sort of a thing. I ripped some left over 2x6's in half and screwed them around the 4x4. Couple of minutes with the post hole diggers netted me a hole for the bottom. I screwed the top to one of the roof rafters. Turned out pretty cool.
First one to the top?? Laverne of course. So funny to watch them puzzle it out.
One of the things that has been an unexpected pleasure with the chickens is how much my Mom loves them. She's 88 and lives on our street. We always had chickens growing up but she hasn't had any in years. Quite a nice bonus that she enjoys them so much. Here she is with Cheryl hand feeding the girls.
Added drip irrigation to the hanging baskets and micro soaker hose to the window box. The irrigation system makes watering so much easier!!
As winter is approaching we wanted to add some protection for the girls so they could make use of the run and not be subject to the north winds, rain and snow. We wanted a solution that would be easy up and easy down. Something that would last and be easily storable when not in use. We came up with the idea of using 1/2" metal conduit as curtain rods with heavy poly film designed for green houses as the curtains them selves. I used 1/2" thin wall PVC to lock the poly in place on the metal conduit. I cut about 1/3 of the PVC away using my table saw. The resulting pieces of PVC snap super tightly over the metal and secure the film beautifully. I also found some plastic clips that the 1/2" metal conduit snap into the secure the film down the center of each panel. The entire system works together to fulfill my original goals.
Here you can see how the pieces of PVC snap over the metal conduit...
The metal conduit is secured to the run with 3/4" 2 hole clips. To remove the curtains I just remove the PVC from one end of the metal and slide the metal out of the clips and roll up the curtains.
The curtain for the door is actually on the inside.
Pics of the finished winter curtains...
Also have been very pleased with the south side of the run being open and how nicely the low winter sun penetrates the run.
We added a very simple and inexpensive bucket deicer to the 5 gallon horizontal nipple waterer in the coop to keep it from freezing. I have an outlet right at the waterer just for this purpose.
And that brings us back to where we began....the completed coop and run. I had a ball designing and building this project.
There are many more pictures and detailed descriptions of every aspect of the coop and run on our coop and run pages. Here are those links.