My wife and I have been interested in keeping chickens for quite some time now. We happen to live in a city that's friendly toward keeping chickens (Austin, TX) and do not live in an HOA neighborhood. The only thing holding us back was trying to figure out what we wanted to do for a coop. We knew that we would want something that was pleasing to the eye. We knew that we would also need a raised coop that would work well with our sloping backyard. I appreciate many of the "recycled" coops that I come across, but that just wasn't what we wanted.
Well, after looking at a bunch of pictures and plans, we found a design that we really liked. The plans were cheap and available through eBay so we went ahead and bought them. Unfortunately, as I looked through the plans, I quickly realized that this design was not what we were going to build. The use of dimensional lumber (2x4's, 2x6's, etc.) was very minimal and pretty much limited to the floor. The plans called for cement board walls with no additional support. In other words, cement board (which is a siding material, not a structural material) was holding up the entire weight of the roof. I decided that this design would probably go up quickly and look nice for a little while, but would quickly begin to sag and deteriorate.
Alright, time to break out the Google Sketchup. I followed the dimensions and visual design of the plans that we purchased but used proper construction practices. Using Sketchup, I layed out the stud walls with rough-outs for windows (two in the front, one up high in the back) and doors (one human, one chicken), nest boxes, and nest box lid. (By the way, this turned out to be a good learning experience for a cabin that is currently in the works.) At this time, I also made a couple of changes to the design. I enlarged the "human door". I also raised the chicken door and entrances to the nest boxes as my wife wanted to use the deep litter method in the coop. This would allow all of the litter to be contained without spilling out of the chicken door or into the nest boxes.
Sketchup Design of Coop
Using the plans from Sketchup, we have all of our walls planned and ready to construct.