I have dreams! At first I wanted just about 7 hens, enough to provide us with PLENTY of eggs as I love to cook, but then I doubled that number to have enough eggs for my college bound son who is cooking for himself, and extras for friends. I then perused this website, all the coop pages, other sites, many books, and decided on this design, which, while it is not spectacularly beautiful, it is functional, and matches the other building shapes on the property.
This coop will be 10x14, with a 10' peak (county code requirements). This will be a simple shed plan design, with the man door on one end, the chicken pop door on the other, and windows on the North for ventilation, and South for winter light/warmth. There will be a 4' entry room that will house all the feed, extra bedding, brooder when not in use, and the grower house when not in use. This will also house the battery setup for the solar part of the greenhouse.
As it will be tough to run power out there, we are making this coop "green" by installing a solar panel on the South facing roof, to provide power for the waterer/warmer during extra cold nights, light to keep the egg production going, and hopefully, a power guillotine-style chicken door that will be automatic. On the automatic chicken door, the plan is to have a light sensor and an automatic timer set up. Fingers crossed! Hopefully I can put in a little night light for the chickies too. I have dreams!
I am starting with 15 chicks, and we'll see where I go from there. I am making this coop large enough to handle twice that many, in case things really go hen-crazy. :jump
>>>>>>>work in progress<<<<<<<<<<<<
pics and chicks to follow!
[FONT=comic sans ms,sand]17 chicks, now teenagers (July) just got moved in to their coop. We had a very wet May which stalled the build, and they were ready, and the coop is not quite complete. There are some finishing touches like painting the outside, soffits, my storage room shelves and door, but the rest was ready for the hens. I super painted the inside, with porch and floor paint on the floors and halfway up so I can scrub if needed, or use the pressure washer when it is time to clean it out (yearly). The upper half is a nice warm yellow that reflects light well.
I have two 9' roosts (2x4 ripped), and a poo board for underneath. I found some vinyl used for making boat tarps (very waterproof and durable) and stapled it to the 30" wide boards. I sprinkle a little bedding up there, and clean it off a couple times a week. They have a 5 gallon bucket with 4 Chicken Nipples for water inside, and a hanging feeder with grower feed in it so far. I close the guillotine style door nightly, and open them up in the morning by 7:30 a.m. They are comfortable in there until I let them out.
When they exit, there's a little 2x2 roost just outside the pop door, and then a stump for them about a foot out and a foot down. The pop door itself is 2 1/2' off the ground as I accidentally made the concrete piers for the building a little tall, the bottom of the house is almost 2' off the ground. They have loved the space under the coop though, to stay out of the weather, sleep, hide from vultures that fly over every now and then. Even a loud motorcycle on the road will send them running.
Halfway into May, we started on the fencing, because if we couldn't build the coop we could at least give them a large pen to run around in. We dug down 6-8", ran some water line for a couple of extra sprinklers for the pen area, and then sunk 5" posts 2' down into concrete for the corners, and made diagonal braces for extra support. We used 2x4" welded wire and stretched it gently and stapled to every post, adding a few t posts in the middle. There is now a 5 1/2' tall fence around the orchard/pen and they do love it. They love the dirt around the edges where we back filled, so I am going to till them up a little patch to work in one of these days.[/FONT]