Just to start, this coop was made in one day, from mostly recycled materials sitting in the backyard after we had a predator take our beloved Spot from us in the middle of the night. Evidently a chicken tractor was not nearly as secure as we would have liked, as the sucker jockeyed the door open and stole our 2 month old baby from her happy sleep.
I started with an 8'x3' garden box(made by me from recycled pallet's). I never got around to elevating it so it was just hanging out. I made it by using two 8ft lengths of 6x1's and two 3ft lengths of 6' by 1's. Just staggering the corners so they fit like a puzzle box instead of sides on the outside or inside. We then took 4 2x4's and cut them. 2 at 4'6" and 2 at 4'. We put them in the corners, attached to the sides not the front and back. We cut top braces, three of them at 8 ft and put them lengthwise across. we then attached braces to the front and back. cut them to fit (4' and 4'6") two in the front and three in the back.
On one side we made a window. We cut a 2x2 square of wood and attached it with nails and other wood to fit. I think the top and bottom actually went all the way across and we just put 2ft boards to make the sides, we then covered it with hardware cloth. On the other side we took the leftover pallet boards (1"x4"s) and made clapboard siding, but didn't overlap, kind of left the natural gaps so there would be ventilation. We covered the inside with hardware cloth.
When we got to covering the rest of the sides we realized that there were approx 1 inch gaps because we put the braces on the outside as it seemed easier at the time. We had to cut boards to fill the holes. We measured our spaces and made cuts to fit. Kind of a pain, but it worked. Top and bottom, all four sides. We then used scrap plywood on the remaining side and the back. We bought one 8'x4' piece of osb board for 8.50 at home depot for the front. We attached it to the sides and to the braces. No hole cut in it for a door yet.
I bought two pieces of the pvc wavy roof stuff (2'x8') and staggered them on the roof with one brace put in the center so it rises just a bit to let the water drain. They were about $13.00 each. (So far 34.50) In retrospect, I would have bought a dark color as the light ones I got make it VERY hot in there during the day.
I had to buy hardware. I bought the hinges that are triangle on one side and rectangle on the other, I think 4 inch. I bought 2, buy 3, trust me. LOL
I also bought one of those twist lock things that you can put a padlock in, even though we don't. In all honesty, we are thinking about getting two more, that may be because our door isn't straight, but then again, it may happen to you as well, I mean it is a 4ft door. The door gaps unless we put something up against it. I do not feel secure with it. We put a pallet against it every night, we also use the same pallet to hold the door off the ground during the day.
The nest boxes are two 5 gallon buckets, from Home Depot, secured with 4 bolts each, and one to bolt to each other. When you connect the boxes to the coop, make sure you use the large washers inside the buckets against the plastic and the small ones on the outside against the wood.
Other hardware needed was two packs of one inch self tapping machine screws, two packs of rubber plumbing washers to fit those screws. (gives you 20 for about 5 bucks vs the 15 for the 100 rubberized roofing screws that are considered specialty screws when you need about 12) I got a bunch of 1/4 in washers and screws and washers to put the hardware cloth on, and more of the 1/4in bolts and screws for the nesting boxes. We also used the bolts and washers for the hinges and lock. If you upgrade on the osb board, I don't think you will have to use the bolts and washers, but it must be solid wood, not osb, particle, or mdf. If it looks like it is made with little chips, use bolts. It would be better to not use cedar as it is bad for your animals, or so I've heard. Use screws, not nails. They hold long term and pull everything together for no gaps between wood pieces.
Along with having to fill gaps around the top and bottom, we did have to add pieces to the top as the pvc roofing was 8' but after putting it together ours measured about 8'3". Possibly the edges at the front as well, but I took a break when hubs did that part.
Oh, we put the hinges in between the the two braces in the front on the bottom, and the lock on the top between them as well. We used a sawzall to make cuts next to the two braces to make the doorway. Big enough for us to get in, and functional as a ramp for the chickens, and now ducks to get in and out. We did that after adding the hardware (hinges and lock) so we didn't have to try to "hang" a door, which can be a pain in itself.
If you decide to paint it, use a 3 gallon bucket of something. We recycled our 3 gallon Kills bucket (even though the coop was not what we painted yet) into a waterer. I took a doorknob drill attachment and drilled 4 evenly spaced holes in it about an inch from the top and filled it with water till it stared to overflow. This is the best thing ever! You can refill it every other day, with only 4 chickens, as long as they have access to other water during the day! We also refill their feeder every other day, and use the "deep litter" method, but we change it out once a month instead of adding more. Just turn it when you change the water and add feed. I have hay about 3 inches deep, I get it for free from a local feed store, I have to go get it off the ground, but it works great and is free!! I also use the hay in the nest boxes.
We got the 16ft, 12ft, 8ft, and 4ft pallets from lowes and a local lumber company for free. I just asked them, no haggling, no well maybe's, just yeah, knock yourself out! It was awesome! I think on our little penthouse we spent less than $100. Way better than the retailers would charge you for a coop this size. (800-1500) The roosts are just the leftover wood made in staggering heights because we have a blind chicken who cant get up that high.
Just FYI, the brick is on top because we have cloth to protect from the sunlight and 3/4 of the coop. It really does get quite hot in there. If you live in a cooler climate, this might be a good idea, but in southern Louisiana, it is not!
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