Hi, We have been keeping chickens for close to 20 years. The first 10 years were in a rural setting and the last 10 years were in suburbia, at San Mateo Ecovillage, about 20 miles south of San Francisco. We have had a pretty simple coop constructed with a chicken house on the ground constructed of PVC pipe, old lattice work, and chicken wire and a tarp, leading to a yard that was also fenced with recycled lattice and poultry netting. A little over a month ago our neighbor said that he was uncomfortable with the sounds our ladies made while they were laying and asked us to move the chicken house. Having limited space, we were concerned whether we could find another spot, but ultimately did in an area that was mostly for composting and storage of wood and stone. I began taking pictures with my iPhone after the first week, which was mostly cleaning the area. Since that time, my husband has spent almost every morning for the month of July working on the new coop and yard. I helped about half the time, and others in our community helped about three or four days. We got ideas from the backyard chicken forum, but also came up with some of our own innovations. We used lots of recycled materials including the old shower doors that became the trays to pull out to clean the raised coop. I am pleased that we used a lot of recycled materials. I think all we bought new was a half dozen 4x4's, 2x6's, OSB, a dozen 1" PVC pipe, a roll of "netting" and a roll of roofing. From the forum, we leaned about making a raised coop, which we had never done before, and pull out poop trays. I am proud of my idea to use old shower doors for that function. I read about people using linoleum to make the floor easier to clean, but I thought it might be too easily scraped, so since we had some ceramic tile left from a bathroom project, our coop has a ceramic tile floor. Can anyone else make claim to that?
Being in suburbia, we don't have a real predator problem. We have had a problem with rats, but after reading many items on the forum, we decided that it was not worth even attempting to rat proof the chicken yard.
There are lots of pictures of the construction , though I was gone for a week, so missed some phases.
Right now this is a link to an album on Picassa, but I will try to figure out if there is a way to embed code in this handy lttle gadget. When I have time, I might just make my own webpage, so I can embed the slide show. By the way, in one of the later pictures, we appear to be herding the chickens to their new home. Well, we tried, but ultimately we had to herd them back into their old home and then carry each of them over.
Last night I noticed some of them in the perched in the old coop that I thought we had moved. It turned out that they had dug themselves out to follow their instincts. Later my husband brought them all back, ut them all in the new coop and closed them in until morning. We repaired the exit pathways this morning, and then I spent time watching them get use to the new house and discover the laying boxes, etc. Obviously that meant more pictures.