We decided to get chickens in spring this year (2014).
We ordered 4 RSL pullets, then decided we had better get cracking on the coop.
Here is the finished coop:
We used TSC's plans for the How The Chicken Crossed the Road Coop, but we played with it a fair bit.
We started with a square frame (sorry, we didn't take any pictures early on!). Then we cut all the wall, door, and 2x4's we needed (labelling them carefully!) The next step was to attach the walls to the frame.
2x4's in the corner added extra bracing, then we put on legs on the outside, as well as rafters and roof panels.
(The only pictures I have are of the almost finished coop. Sorry!)
Here's the plan for this section:
Shown in the first plan clockwise from top left is the corner detail inside the coop, the plan for the rafters and legs, detail of window trim, detail of roof overlap, details of the nestbox roof and side, respectively, and the floor.
The second plan (in the same order) shows the size and construction of the main frame and the end panels. Two doors are shown on the end panel because the two panels are the same, except in terms of door size.
This plan shows the side panels of the chicken coop: The larger panel is the main side door which will be used primarily for cleaning, the side with the skinny low door opens into the nestboxes, so we can get the eggs.
We trimmed the doors with predators in mind, because we have racoons, opossums, martens, and rats.
The trim basically gave the doors extra thickness at the edges.
Below is a diagram showing the lengths of trim needed per door done in very rough sketches.
(The writing on the side is due to the fact that it is a scrap piece of paper.
Below are a couple of comparisons between several door ideas.
The guillotine door I think was the best, but the door would have hit the run where the run attached to the coop when you raised the door (Does that make any sense?) I have a thread on the topic of chicken doors in winter climates here.
The door for the chickens is a wooden door hinged at the top with a flap door made out of a cheap clear carmat.
Thanks for the idea Chicken Outlaw!
The idea is to keep the wooden door open unless the weather gets really bad, the flap door will work well most of the time.
The flap door is currently taped up until the chickens get used to the coop, then we will lower it.
Also, the door will act as a roof for the entrance when it is open.
(Had fun with the decoration)
The chock in the bottom corner pivots, so we can lock the chickens in if we need to.
The door can be opened from outside with a string run through eyebolts.
On the outside there are a couple nails to tie the extra string around.
The roosts and nest boxes are inside, and the nest boxes are accesible through a door on the back.
Here is a plan that includes the roosts:
The large rectangle in the top left is a plan for a poop tray. Clockwise from that can be seen the rails that the poop tray would run on. The plan was for the bottom rails of the roost to sit on the poop tray rails, so that the worst of the poop could be pulled out on the poop tray. However, we abandoned the idea of the poop tray as impractical when the roost can be removed anyway.
Windows at the top give ventilation in the summer.
The chicken ladder is attached with a hinge (because it was easy AND you can raise it for cleaning.)
The run is a large 4' x 4' box (That WILL be covered in hardware cloth) with extra supports on the roof for the food and/or water buckets. There is also an inset door in the front of the run (not shown in the next few pictures)
Here are plans first of the basic layout of the pieces of wood in the run (Not drawn as a cube) and the second plan is a to-scale plan of the lengths of wood used in the run and a method of dividing them into 2x4's with a coloured schematic to make it easier.
The roof shingles hadn't been added when these first pictures were taken.
Here is the finished roof:
The legs of the coop are surrounded in hardware cloth, so the chickens can free range underneath. The hardware cloth is buried, and the bricks are to keep the earth on top of the trench in place until it compacts enough. They also help protect from digging invaders.
The hardware cloth is attached with staples. The staples are attached at various angles to various wires so if some of the welds give out, it doesn't leave the run open to predators.
The chickens will always have access to the attached run and underneath the coop unless it gets dangerously cold (It can reach -30c)
We are able to rig up a heat lamp inside if necessary, and we can cover the roof vents as well.
When we are watching them, the chickens will be allowed to free range in the yard in a pen.
Our four RSLs are named (from left to right in the first picture) Little Red (the blurry one), McCluckles, Layalot, and Henny Penny.
The second picture is a better picture of Henny Penny, Layalot, and Little Red.
Our chickens love their coop! The learned the door and the ladder on the first day, and they go inside after sunset.
We got our first egg the day after we brought them home!
I think our Country Barn Chicken Coop is a success!