After working to get chicken coops allowed in the majority of backyards in Ferndale (bordering Detroit), when the ordinance finally got amended we started putting together plans. We came up with a series of "must have's"
1.) Must fit into the landscape of the backyard and community. We have small lots and I wanted to make sure my neighbors thought it looked nice enough that nobody could ever complain.
2.) Must be completely predator proof, since we have rats/raccoons/possums/skunks/dogs in the area.
3.) My have a covered run, so the run litter doesn't get wet & smelly.
4.) Must make use of materials we already had.
5.) Must have a pergola, to mimic the one we had built behind the house.
We drew up a site map and structural plans (necessary to get the structure approved/licensed by the city):
And thus started the ordeal of putting the whole thing together. Lots of adjustments were made throughout, and there are tons of things I would have done differently if I did it over again, but it came out pretty great.
We put in a roof garden by building up the edges, sealing the roof with roofing sealer, and then adding a pond liner. You can also see the covers over the roof vents on the side- we can tilt them to direct air flow in, or to keep it out.
We build a nice back window for ventilation, with a cover held up by a magnet. I would change the door that we use to get eggs from the nesting box- it's too heavy, and water sits in it.
We used 1/2 hardware cloth everywhere, and buried it 2 ft underground and flaring out, to prevent predator access.
We used windows we found in the trash for the front doors of the coop- we attached small latched on the outside so we can hook them open on hot days/nights. BELOW: I put a latch on the inside of the run door to prevent it being knocked open accidentally when my dog is outside. She's a great dog, but if a chicken was running around she'd likely kill it.
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