We've been wanting chickens for years but didn't think it was possible on our small, in-town lot. After some careful law researching and thinking, we decided to give it a go! We knew we wanted a coop and fully enclosed run. Although we plan on free ranging some, we live between two schools with a big playground and a 3rd school only a few blocks away, plus the normal collection of stray and pest animal, so it's necessary for us to have a space where they don't HAVE to be let out to range.
We started with this idea: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/emededs-member-page which uses this youtube video plan:
Although the finished product looks like the youtube plan, we had to make some construction adjustments to fit our needs. The run is only 10" long because that is the longest board that would fit in our car and we didn't have access to a truck that weekend. We added some extra 1x2 framing to stabilize the plywood pieces, especially at the attachment of the nest box. The other big change was to put in 2 roosting bars angled across the coop - adding up to a total ~6" of roosting space.
Before finishing the roof. That gap between wall and roof was covered with 1/2" hard wire mesh for protection and ventilation.
Pop door swings in - we open and close it by reaching in from the full-wall door. The door is elevated with a scrap board at the bottom to keep bedding in as much as possible.
Double nest box latches with a spring loaded eye hook, like all the doors on the coop.
You can see the extra framing on the boxes for strength, plus the scrap board to keep the bedding separate.
Full wall door swings out.
In place in our yard. Scrap shingles make it mosaic
Scraps for the ramp. Food and water will stay in the run due to limited space in the coop and wanting to keep it as clean as possible. They've since been moved to cinder blocks along the right side. My husband dug a trench and filled it with landscape rocks (relocated from another part of the yard) to improve drainage and prevent rotting of the bottom frame. We're using fresh grass clippings during the summer and will probably add hay/straw come winter.
Close-up of the coop area - we ran out of shingles and had to track down a couple more
I wish we had made it 4x4 instead of 3x3 (not counting the nest boxes), but this will have to do. Our eventual goal is to move to the country and build a giant flock! Then use this small coop for brooding. In the mean time, they'll just have to be cozy and we'll keep an eye on them for overcrowding issues. We currently have 5 chicks. It's definitely small according to the recommendations but after conversations with several life-long backyard chicken keepers, I think we'll be ok. And if not, someone will meet Freezer Camp or be rehomed to friends.
The chicks are so happy outside!
Ranging near the tulips New Hampshire, GLW, Light Brahma, Australorp, and an EE (she's ~3wk younger) from our local feed store, all supposed to be (and still looking like) pullets.
Playing chase with our toddler
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