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Cooptopia

By Nedw3, May 23, 2015 | Updated: May 23, 2015 | | |
  1. Nedw3
    We started with five banty chickens my daughter brought home from the local hardware store. Then chicken math took over and we needed a bigger coop for all the new fuzzy butts that would soon arrive. So my husband got busy and started building cooptopia aka fowlcatraz aka fort flox.

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    Concrete footing about a foot in depth for what will be a 10x40 coop.


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    1/2 inch osb inside and out for the walls and inside ceiling.


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    2x3 framing, we went with 2x3 over 2x4 because they are a dollar less each and plenty strong enough. Walls are all on 24" centers for the studs and framing is anchored to the footing with 1/2" rebar drilled and driven in tightly.

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    Ceiling height is 8ft inside and vents run the length of each coop for the top 24" of the front and rear walls. The prevailing wind comes from the back side of the coop and vents are partially blocked to cut down wind though plenty there if they need to be opened up for more ventilation or cooling. Roof is Terra Cotta Red steel from Home Depot and should last much longer than us.

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    We have three sections for two coops each are 10x12 and in the center we have a 10x16 storage/brooder room.

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    There are vents almost the length of each room which we will be able to open when its hot out. This is the west side opposite the runs, you can see the nice overhang on the run side from this view though that gives good shade early in the day.

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    A view from the drive way with our monster banks rose.

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    Not completely done yet but now home to some youngsters. We decided to put two roosts in each house one higher than the other. The roosts run along two walls and make for about 40' of roost in each house. The roosts are 2x3s laid flat, the chicks were climbing all over us while installing these.We also have straw under the roosts for deep litter and easy cleaning, the straw is kept in place with old 4x6 beams as a border on the floor.

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    They have a dirt/sand area where their food hangs from the ceiling and their water is up on a couple of bricks to keep them from causing a mess in their water. To the left you can see the framing where the nest boxes will go, the boxes will have doors on the back side accessible from inside the storage room for egg collection and cleaning or adding fresh straw. There will be 8 nest boxes in each house 4 on top of 4.

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    There are 3 runs with 8ft high wire. The two end coops each have 12x24 and the center one is 16x24. It will be used for an isolation pen and as a breeder/brooder pen.

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    They each also have a compost pile in the center of their run. Since first adding the compost bins in the runs the chickens have been spending much of their time during the day there other than the very hottest part of the day during which they lounge in the shade cast by the 5' overhang of the roof on the run side of the coop, this is the east wall so by noon there is nice shade that continues to spread across the run through the rest of the day. It does seem purchased feed consumption went down after adding the compost piles. Each morning we add more weeds and water it a couple times a day. These bins are made from old 6x12s and we will be adding another to the top of these so they will end up 24" tall. The chickens seem like the security of even being next to a low wall like this. Once they begin to fill up and creating compost we will add redworms and put some kind of cover over a small part of it to allow them an undisturbed area to breed and leave cocoons.

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    Happy chickens getting their treats. The one pen has 30 young chickens in it right now so they have access to the center pen as well. Each pen has a 7 gallon water jug outside and a 5 gallon inside. The water jugs are raised up on a 7" tall piece of 12" pvc water pipe, this pipe is just a little smaller than the base of the waterer so they cannot stand there and mess in their water and the height helps keep down the scratched up dirt from being tossed in it.

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    Here is the main entrance from the yard, the far side will have a regular door so we can walk through to the other side but there are only two ways in. This door has a concrete footing and all the fencing has 1/2" hardware cloth buried 12" deep and sewn to 2x4 welded wire which is the bottom 4' of the fence. The top 4' is 1" chicken wire for an 8' fence or 9' counting the foot underground. We don't have huge predator issues though there have been raccoons, bears, mountain lions and rattle snakes over the years. We really just wanted to make things as secure as we could, the sky is still in question as there are hawks and from time to time eagles. If we need to bird netting or chicken wire can be strung over the top.

    What we wanted was an area that would work for multiple breeds for a colorful basket and be able to hatch new chicks each year to continue with those breeds. We also wanted enough room so the chickens would be comfortable up to 100 or so. We currently have 60 chickens between this coop and our small coop. Also high on the priorities was ease of upkeep, having the deep litter on dirt floor and compost pile in the run will help greatly in this respect and eventually begin to provide great compost for the gardens.

    This is it so far, we still have to finish the breeder pen and do some painting and decorating and probably add some plants in cages.

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  1. Nedw3
    Thank you! We haven't quite finished this one and are already planning a third coop. What can I say, Chicken math!
  2. plm6846
    Wow it is huge!! Nice job!

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