My wife had been wanting chickens for some time. A few weeks ago she found a local guy selling some chicks on Craigslist and decided to take the plunge. Luckily we had a huge cardboard box that I cut a large hole in the top of, and used our mesh copper burn bowl cover as a lid for the box. It worked out great for their temporary housing.
She brought home 9 chicks with the intent on hopefully keeping 6, assuming some would be male...which we would then give those to a good home.
My wife found photos of a few coops that she liked, a couple of which were on BYC. So I took some ideas from a couple different ones and got to work on what would be her birthday present.
I marked off the footprint of the coop and dug a shallow trench around it to bury hardware wire that would also attach to the base plate of the coop frame, to prevent any predators from digging under the coop. Half cinder blocks were used as a foundation.
I put down the base plate first, then attached the hardwire wire using pan head screws w/washers, ran it down to the bottom of the trench and bent it in an 'L' shape and ran it out along the bottom of the trench. I would have built the walls on the ground and raised them, but I didn't have time. We were expecting a LOT of snow the next day, so I just wanted to get the hardware wire buried, attached to the base plate, and get it all filled back in before the rain and snow came...and boy did it come...we got over 10 inches the next day. I was so glad I got the trench filled back in. I was working until 9pm getting it ready for the snow. That would have been a mess to fill back in after everything melted.
Shockingly, the snow was gone in a few days and I was back to work.
I used treated wood on the base plates and posts. I had some extra treated wood from previous projects, so I got to use it up here.
The rest of the coop is built with untreated wood.
The nesting box gets framed out.
The roof supports go up. These are 2x6's that I ripped so they were 6" (5.5" actually) at the thick end and 2" at the thin end. And I notched out a decorative angled cut on the underside of the fat end. These were anchored down with hurricane ties and a few screws.
I picked up some barn-like wood grain paneling for the hen house walls at Lowe's. They also had some nice, durable, corrugated roofing material called Ondura Cellulose Fiber/Asphalt Panels... http://www.lowes.com/pd_12749-1115-153_0__?productId=3010612&Ntt=corrugated+roof&pl=1¤tURL=?Ntt=corrugated+roof&facetInfo= . I ran 2x2's perpendicular across the top of the ripped 2x6's and extended them out one foot on the left and right sides. The roofing material was then nailed to the 2x2's with special nails specifically for this material. The nails came with rubber washers at the head of the nail to seal the nail hole. I was one sheet short, so finishing the roof would have to wait until another trip to Lowe's.
The ramp/stairs was already made. It was a ramp I made for our old black lab who has trouble with our deck steps...but he never once used it, so I'm glad it will finally be used.
I then cut out the window and installed the screen door. This was a basic screen door from Lowe's...I think it was $22. I had to cut off about 6 inches from the top of the door to fit in the opening. I took the screen off, cut it down, reattached the top with glue and screws. Then I put hardware wire on where the screen was (I used hardware wire all over the coop). I got self closing hinges, which is almost a must...and typical for screen doors anyway. My wife and my 3 year old daughter decided to start staining the coop before it was finished to save time since the chickens were getting pretty big and wanted to get out of that box.
I bought some plexiglass for the window, and I had some trim in my workshop that I used to frame the window. The plexiglass is caulked to the trim. After it was done, I realized it looked like an iMac monitor. I need to put an Apple logo on there.
Again, using material I already had (architectural shingles)...I shingled the roof of the nesting box. I even had extra felt paper and drip edge laying around, so I got to use that as well. I used dual 1x3's to trim out the corners of the hen house...and the doors for access to the hen house and nesting boxes have been put in.
Finished nesting boxes...complete with golf balls for encouragement.
View of the inside of the hen house from the access door. The two horizontal 2x4's you see running left to right are the staggered perches.
They love it!
The day it was completed, my wife got a suspended feeder that we hung under the house. And for water, we have an old juice bottle with a dispenser tip on it wired to the leg of the house. Eventually we are going to add a 2 gallon bucket with 4 dispenser tips.
I really enjoyed building this coop. My wife is in love with it, and my kids get a kick out of watching the chickens. I'm looking forward to when they start laying eggs. Should be a fun summer!
We added a suspended feeder and a water bottle with a nozzle at the end. We got the water nozzles on Ebay. They're awesome. Water stays clean and no mess. The bottle is temporary until I can get a 1 or 2 gallon bucket and put three or four nozzles on the bottom, and rig something to where we can fill it up from outside the coop via a pvc pipe or something. If you use the nozzles, make sure it is vented at the top somehow, otherwise the water won't come out properly after a little bit of use. I added a vent by poking a small hole at the top with a screwdriver and voila...the water came out of the nozzle great and the chickens went to town on it.
An inside shot of the ceiling under the roof.
This one shows how I attached the hardware cloth to the framing. Washers and pan head screws.
A close up of how the hadware cloth is attached to the bottom plate of the framing. It goes underground straight down for about 4-5 inches and then turns 90 degrees and goes out 6-8 inches or so more to prevent predators from digging underneath.
Detail of the roof...ripped 2x8's and cross 2x2 supports.
Another close up shot of the roof, but from the other end of the ripped 2x8 support boards.
Here is the vent for the hen house. It is a few inches tall and as wide as the house. In the hot months, I'll check to see if this is enough ventilation. If not, I'll add another vent on the opposite side at the top. I've seen people use cold air return vents, which is what I may use if I need to add another vent. We'll see.