Cozy Cottage Coop

By kdikeman, Jul 23, 2012 | Updated: Jul 23, 2012 | | |
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  1. kdikeman
    This is the coop I made for my small 2-3 hen flock in Houston. I based my plans partly off of a design in the book 'Building Chicken Coops for Dummies', but my dimensions were determined by the scraps I had in the garage. I purchased 2x6s for the base, 3 lengths of 2x4s for the run, and of course the hardware cloth, screws, and staples, but all other materials, including the roofing, were remnants or recycled. Since most of the materials were free, I was able to splurge on paint, hardware, and a keyhole router bit. My husband set the rule about using up what we had, but he failed to give me a budget. He learned a lesson there! Since I had almost no lumber costs, the total amount was around $150 (paint adds up!). One of the main concerns in Houston is the heat, so I have maximum ventilation available, and positioned the coop in a place in the yard where it is almost constantly in the shade.

    Overall pictures:



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    A panel slides into the door and sides attach to the nesting boxes to provide protection from rain, cold, and drafts in the winter.
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    The door between the coop and house slides up and attaches to a hook in the ceiling (added after the photo). I've so far only closed it up once during a bad rainstorm. The girls did NOT want to be closed in, they'd prefer to sit in a puddle under a bush than stay warm and dry. I'm glad I have the option though, particularly if we get a hurricane. This also shows their perch, which has since had a poop board added.

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    The coop fits into a little corner of the yard, the fence and oak provide almost constant shade:
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    This was shortly after we got the girls as pullets, with our curious pup watching on (they've since all become good friends, though the girls don't exactly appreciate her tongue baths).
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    My truly 'backyard' flock! From left to right are Rose (Tyler), Amelia (Pond), and Martha (Jones):
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    Dimensions, Materials, and Constructions Details:
    The base of the house is a side of a shipping crate, which was a sheet of composite board set on a 1x2 frame, and sized 39 1/4" x 27 1/4". That measurement pretty much dictated the other dimensions such as the overall width of the coop. I raised the house 2 ft off the ground to give the chickens enough room on the ground level, and built the house 27" high at the front and 15" high at the back, with a slanted roof. The coop length is 70", and the height of the pen, which meets up with the roofline at the back of the house, is 44 1/2". Most joints were made using a Kreg pockethole jig and Kreg screws, and I cannot express enough how much I love that tool!

    The paint colors are behr 'embellished blue', glidden 'candy apple', and glidden 'white on white'. I purchased the hardware (hinges, latches, pulls, and 24" hardware cloth) from hardwareworld.com.

    I didn't use a pattern for the arched pen framing and scallops. For the arches, I cut the 2x4s the correct length, then wandered through my house checking platters, tables, anything with a curve to trace. In the end I used my dining table. For the scallops on the doors I did the same thing, I cut the lengths, marked out 5 equal segments, and then checked bowls, cups, and sour cream containers until I found the right curve.


    The accent colored front to the nest box, pops off and on with keyhole slots for easy cleaning. The panels to close up the sides of the nesting boxes attach the same way. I just used a 1x4 and gave it a decorative top edge with the router:

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    The front door to the house has a slide-in panel, which has a hand hole cut out so I can pull it out. This shows the groove and the 2 layers with the hardware cloth sandwiched between them.
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    The ramp to the house is made from 2 pieces of cedar fence board, held together with rungs made from a furring strip (1x2). I mitered the edges of the rungs just for fun. The ramp attaches to the house by resting on a board. I played around with the router to come up with a way of hooking the pieces together so it comes off easily but stays on securely. I found a combination of dovetail, v-groove, and square bits that worked, which came in a starter set I had.

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    The latches on the two main doors close automatically from the weight, and the nesting box has a slide latch (shown below) that can be locked, but as-is its easy to open with one hand and an easy habit to close after collecting eggs.


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    What I love about it:
    *The colors and cut outs still make me smile!
    *The size fits comfortably in the yard, and will guarantee I keep my flock small.
    *Cleaning: its easy to get a rake and shovel across the ground from the door, despite the low height of the run. The height of the house is perfect, I don't have to bend down to scoop shavings or reach to collect eggs.
    *Currently, the small feeder hangs from under the ramp, so I can reach it from the door, and it stays covered in the rain. I like the convenience and it isn't wasting space the girls would otherwise use.
    *I feel confident in the security. We went out of town for one weekend and without us or our dog around, the chicken door was attacked! No one was harmed, nothing got in, but it was dramatic for me as a suburban chicken mom! (I'm sure the country folks would be laughing at me).

    The attack evidence:

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    What I don't love or would change:
    *The girls make a huge mess of the feed, which is causing a lot of waste. I need either a better feeder, different feed, or a different system.
    *The run is a little tight for 3 full grown hens. I let them out most days, and it might just be that they're restless, but they seem so unhappy whenever they're cooped up. I was planing on only getting a pair, but the woman I bought them from convinced me I had to take a third.
    *I'd like to add a perch in the run, so on days when they don't get let out they have a place to hang out.
    *I did not think through where their water would go, right now its hanging from the hardwire cloth roof of the pen but I don't know if that will always work.
    *The low height of the run is annoying when I have to catch one of the girls from the corner or if they lay an egg down there.
    *The drainage in our yard is poor, we recently got about 8 inches of rain over 3 days and the run flooded. The girls did not go up onto the ramp or up to the dry house. I threw in some bricks and a log to get them out of the water, but I would like to eventually raise the whole coop another few inches and fill it in with gravel and sand.

    What do Rose, Martha, and Amy think of it?
    They are quite happy going off to sleep in the nesting boxes, though they would prefer it if they could all fit together in one like they did when they were younger. Reluctantly, they've started perching at night, though I do still sometimes find them at 10 pm trying to fit in on top of one another. Aside from the sleeping, laying, and eating, they stay away. They'd even prefer to drink from the dog's bowl on the patio than return to the coop for a drink.

    They prefer sunning on the patio:
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    Or playing in a puddle:
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    Or digging in my flower bed and eating the buds off the flowers:
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    Plans and Construction Pictures:

    Below are my marked up print-outs from the book (Building Chicken Coops for Dummies), which more or less show what went on. I did many changes as I was building, and decided something fit better with a different configuration, and just cut things to fit. Working with scraps meant I had a lot of boards with nail holes, gauges, crooked parts, and of course warping. Also being a fairly beginner woodworker I had a lot to learn about squaring up a frame.

    My powerpoint semi-schematic (mainly I used this to decide how to paint it):
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    Note: These are my plans, sketches, notes, calculations, etc. I don't know if even I would be able to reproduce my coop from this mess, and if anything doesn't match the picture, its because I changed it as I was building. I'd be happy to answer questions or take a measurement if someone would like, but I don't skills with a design program. Several of my notes mention shingle siding, I found a box in our garage from before we moved here and was planning on using it, but there wasn't enough. The shingle plan was the main reason I have extra vertical frame boards on the house. Fortunately there was also a sheet of old beat up plywood in the garage, so I still got away with 'free' siding material.


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    The house framing coming together:

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    The house and pen all assembled, plywood siding up:
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    Before I moved the coop to its location, I dug down 4" into the soil at the footprint, and put a layer of my extra hardware cloth to deter critters from digging. I also put strips of the cloth along the edges, and put a layer of granite backsplash slabs (3/4" thick and 4" wide) to cover the top of the wire and provide a foundation for the coop. My husband found the granite on craigslist for free. Later I also added another outline of granite around, it isn't exact but I used what I had and fit broken pieces together. I think its a good extra level of security, the great thing about the granite is its too heavy for animals to move and obviously solid. I've used pieces elsewhere to keep dogs from digging under fences.
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Comments

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  1. ninjawesome
    I love all the colors. Very nice details.
  2. 21hens-incharge
    This is adorable. I have 3 Polish not getting along with the larger meaner hens. I think I will do something similar for them. Thank you for making this page.
  3. jesswinchester
    Love the coop. But I love their names more!! I like the fandomness! Doctor who for ever will be in my world.
  4. MyPetNugget
    This is so cute! <3
  5. ChickenLife
    I Like your coop very much, It will do the job for you just great. I love the colors you used they looks so nice and happy.
  6. StarSpun
    This is stunning, I LOVE it! So jealous!
  7. chick inn
    That is so adorable! I love it :)
  8. Cameron03
    Doctor Who Companion Chicks!!!
  9. Caitlin2013
    I love this coop! The colors remind me of Dr. Seuss haha!
  10. RangingChicks
    Super cute and love the colors!
  11. joan1708
    Very attractive and functional - Perfect. love your color choices.
  12. Nigellas
    Adorable coop! I love the Dr Who names. :)
  13. Acornewell
    This is absolutely adorable. I love the colors!!!
  14. applegal
    Completely adorable!
  15. marlo1968
    I think its the cutest small coop I've seen yet, reat job!
  16. goose chick
    just adorable great job!!!
  17. lizard of oz
    it reminds me of dr suess
  18. coffeenutdesign
    so stinkin' cute!!!
  19. hollys chooks
    What a lovely coop. I like the names for your girls too. I have an Amelia Pond as well. I chuckle to myself when I'm in the backyard saying "Come along Pond". I saw a photo of a TARDIS chicken coop. Maybe one day.
  20. ChickensAreSweet
    Very beautiful coop and girls! If you put an oil pan or black rubber feed pan under your feeder (keep the feeder very low to the ground too) it will catch a lot of waste feed, which you can then pour back into the feeder every day. http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/388100/how-can-i-not-waste-chicken-feed/10 or you can try the hardware cloth in the lip like the link shows (post #17). Great job and you can be so proud of your coop!
  21. LilyLovesBugs
    This is such a beautiful chicken coop! I love the look of the scarlet and the light blue together!
  22. Whittni
    Love this!
  23. CluckyCharms
  24. judyki2004
    very cute! i see you put ours of brain work on the design and later a lot of details, love it!
  25. Roxannemc
    That is really really cute. I love the rounded doorways and colors.
    If you dont like them loose but they need more room You could add a movable run if you feel the space is too small for them Very simple just six 2x2's just make it 2 feet high and 2 wide 8 ft long.Make another door way for the purpose
    Hardware cloth on each side.
    They could even move in the run in every spot in the yard sometimes, no bordom and grass fertilized too .If i move mine daily there is never a stinky mess as in a permanent run.They are very light to move too.
    Move them back by the coop run near bedtime.Let them walk in.
  26. Knock Kneed Hen
    You thought of everything...then added cuteness!! BRAVO!! Your chickies are darling too. Don't ever be ashamed to admit that you have chicken love! <3
  27. earlybird10842
  28. Red Barn Farms
    I love it! Very nice coop but above all else the color choice makes it AWESOME! . I'll probably go with this plan for a new coop which will be attached to the side of a metal storage unit.
  29. sezjasper
    A beautiful coop, very well done! My only concern would be the proximity to your privacy fence. My coop is also close to a privacy fence, and two of my girls jumped up on the coop and then onto the fence and into the neighbor's yard (who has two very large dogs!) Luckily, no harm done. I ended up attaching deer netting from the top of the fence to tree branches which overhang the coop. That way, if the girls decide to jump, the net would bounce them down and not allow them to land on the top of the fence.
  30. ChickensRDinos
    I LOVE your coop. So cute. Great design.
  31. BYC Project Manager
    Congratulations, we've chosen one of your pics for the CC-POW. Thanks for posting your coop design & pictures to our "Chicken Coops" pages! You can find more info about the CC-POW here: CC-POW Process
  32. Scooter&Suzie
    It's so beautiful! I wish I could build something like this for my bantam pair... *sigh*
  33. TherryChicken
    Really cute!!! I want haha
  34. tlcmama
    great color choices and close up pics - thanks
  35. The Old Yolks
    Really really cute, I love it!
  36. Wabash Wheels
    this is adorable...I love it & your color choices...it's great!
  37. CJJenkins
    Wow, very sweet coop and love those happy chicks!
  38. chicksbunsdog
    Very cute - they look like happy chickens :)
  39. Stumpy
    So sophisticated and cute!
  40. Egg Lover
    That is so cool! Well done!

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