Welcome to Debby10's Roost
Here's the latest and greatest stage of construction of my coop:
The chicken doors are also the ramps. There is one on each end, which will be convenient if I ever divide the coop. I'm closing in on the completion and will certainly be ready for the chicks when they arrive on May 15. Can't wait. Then I'll have chickens instead of a horse to model the coop!
Here is the construction story:
Until very recently I had never posted on your site, but have learned so much from lurking. The information is very much appreciated as is the friendly atmosphere. Now I'm a full fledged member and I'm entering the contest to show off my coop, of which I'm very proud. The building isn't done yet, but I was afraid I might miss your deadline, so I'm sending it along. Because it is all book learning and the 25 barred rocks don't arrive from the hatchery until May, I can't really say too much about what I would do differently next time. Perhaps a storage area? Perhaps get someone else to build it for me!!
The coop was this year's winter project. It was pretty cold here in Pennsylvania, so I built it inside. I had so much left over lumber that I decided to make it pretty big (for me, that is). 8 X 12. But as it turns out, I only had about 1/2 the wood I needed. It took about 2 months and I did most of the work. I did have help from family on things like the roof and the wiring. It would be pretty hard to build alone, but it could be done. Here are some pictures and plans.
I sketched the framing plans and nest boxes, and then winged the rest. (Puns intended.) The plans are kind of sloppy, but you get the idea. Its a salt box shape. The end walls are mirror images. Both ends have a chicken and a human door--which was kind of silly, but the summer breeze is from that direction and I wanted a good cross ventilation for the really scorching days.
The front wall has two big windows made with discarded storm windows off an old house.
The rear wall has a long vent above and eight nest boxes below.
First I framed up the walls and set them aside. Then the 2 X 6 joists for the floor, which I covered with hardware cloth in case of rats, and then the trusses. They are all nailed together just as they are drawn.
I had decided to put the coop on skids instead of a foundation because my county doesn't increase tax assessments for new structures unless they are on a permanent foundation. This is a common trick of local famers. I wonder if it is the same elsewhere? I did it with 6 X 6 pressure treated skids held apart with a 4 X 4 brace at each end that is knotched to fit into the 6 X 6. Then I bolted angle irons on each corner for hooking on the drag chains when it comes time for me to move it.
Then the floor joist were bolted to the skids and the decking was screwed on:
Then came the walls, which miraculously fit together without a hitch. Because this coop will be dragged over hill and dale, I lag bolted the corner studs together as well as nailing them.
Closing it in:
Here's the tar paper, siding left over from my barn/house, purlins, and a shiny new metal roof:
The walls are thin. 2 X 3 and 2 X 4, but I insulated them anyway, partly because I had so many scraps and ends of insulation rolls lying around. The hardware cloth on the windows and the vapor barrier went up before the patchwork of different kinds of plywoods was put on the inside of the walls. Its mostly luan, but also whatever I had to use up in the garage. The ceiling is screwed to the collar ties, closing in the vented peak, or attic space, above the ceiling. For ventilation I left a six inch wide opening the length of the building on both sides of the ceiling, covered with hardware cloth and which you can just see in the last picture below. In the cold weather, when I'll be tempted to close the windows, I hope that will provide ventilation. The coop is wired in the walls just as you would wire a building with electric service. A plug is spliced onto the end of the wire, so the building can be plugged into an extension cord. This junction (which is in a junction box) is in a protected cubby hole accessable from the outside behind a little door. An inexpensive timer can be placed in that cubby hole on the end of the extension cord if I want to extend day length. All that for two light bulbs and an outlet, but I bet I'll be glad to have them.
And then the "furniture": Nest boxes in the back wall were added before the siding was put on and they have outside access. There are about 25 feet of perches, and the nest box "porches" can be closed. I'm going to put dropping boards under the perches. (And I'm going to lose ten pounds.)
The coming out party: A tight fit, but she handles like a dream:
And now to add the trim, windows and doors:
The vent covers, the windows, and the doors, both chicken and human, are all put on the same way. The openings are smaller than the door, creating a jam. The trim surrounds the door like a picture frame, and the hardware is placed flat across both. Very simple. (Wow. Hardware is expensive!) Well, this is as far as I have gotten. I hope to be done in a week or two because the garden has to go in soon and, although I would rather not, I really must move on! I've had such fun with this, I only hope the chickens are as addictive and rewarding as the preparation work.
That's a lot of pictures. Hope I didn't go overboard. Thanks for your consideration and I'm looking forward to going over all the other entries.