Well, we started the demolition of the original coop that was on our property. There were just too many things wrong with it to try to salvage it. First off, poor construction led to most of the wood being rotted. All of the roofing was rotted, however we were able to save the 2x4 studs. The entire coop was open to the elements so it wasn't really conducive to what we were looking for. Also, for some reason the previous builder actually stapled the chicken wire to the nesting boxes and had the wire wrapped around the coop twice. I am assuming they did it that way so they wouldn't have to invest in any hardware cloth. The coop was also located back behind the house, hidden in the woods - which would make it not only impossible to see but poised a greater threat to predators!! Over all it just isn't what we were looking to have. We chose a spot on our property that has a 10' x 20' concrete slab - I think it was used to house a dog at one point in time - not sure. Regardless, I can see the slab from the kitchen window (a spot I spend a lot of time in) and it has more access to light & there's a water pump right next to it! My husband is still drawing up plans as we (well mostly me) keep changing our ideas. For now, our plan is to have a coop that is 10x20, completely enclosed. There will be two back entrances - one to the hatchery/rooster area, the other to the layers; and one front entrance that will open up to our 200sq ft enclosed run. This run will be for the times when we are away and the girls aren't going to be free ranging. We have an old play set that he is planning on tearing down and using the "cabin" to create an isolation coop that will be able to connect to the "main" coop for when we have new birds or in the event of an illness. There will also be a separate run. The birds will be able to see one another but not close enough to "touch", etc...
We are planning to find as much recycled material as possible so we can splurge on the hardware cloth to keep predators out. I know for a fact that we have a fox and a skunk in the area - I saw them the other night!! We live in a very remote & isolated spot - down a dirt path where our house & 3 acres are literally cut out of the woods, we have more land but...it's wooded. So essentially we are smack dab in the middle of a forest!! Very private, quiet but with it brings a lot more predators. We have heard, but not seen coyotes and I have witnessed a grey spotted hawk or falcon - we'll say a bird of prey - hanging out in our yard. I didn't mind then because I knew it was hunting the mice near our compost pile, but now that we are planning on getting some chickens...now I am worried! I plan to scope out the Habitat for Humanity Resale shop and see what kind of deals/materials I can get and then work on finding a way to get them to our house. My husband keeps using this as excuse to inform me that he NEEDS a truck. I told him once the coop is built and the chickens are here....then we'll talk.
As for chickens, so far we have someone holding a few Buff & Lavender Orpingtons. I wanted a good hardy breed that was a dual purpose chicken, in addition to being docile. We have a 8mo old (almost) baby and more on the way, so we wanted to be sure that as the kids grow and take on the responsibility of helping to care for the "farm animals" (we plan to clear some land and have cows, pigs, goats, etc...CHICKENS first!!) that we didn't get a breed that was known for being a bit feisty. Granted ANY breed can be feisty, but we've heard nothing but positives about them. I'd also like to get a couple of Jersey Giants, Australops (I think that's what they are called) and Wayndottes (again, I think that's what they're called...not sure about spelling..YET)
So to give you an idea, this is what we are working with so far. This was at the end of day 1 demolition, where all of the studs that lined the coop horizontally were taken down and the rood was detached from the studs...therefore, the roof is just hanging out. We began to try to salvage the chicken wire, but the way it was cut and stapled, it doesn't look like much will be able to be saved. We will be able to salvage the nesting boxes hopefully and there are other metal nesting boxes hanging out next to the wood pile. [I was going to post a photo here, but I can't figure out how. haha. You will just have to wait until I learn] My husband is suppose to start working on building this weekend, so as he does...I will take pictures of the progress and post for all to see!!