1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Efficient And Super Cost Effective

By Chicken Techie, Jul 26, 2012 | Updated: Oct 14, 2012 | | |
  1. Chicken Techie
    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Night Time

    [​IMG]

    Day Time

    [​IMG]

    Dusk, usually about 7:30 i see my rooster is in there first (the only black/white one) but its a bit after 7:30 so he wasn't alone

    [​IMG]




    Well first of all i didn't know i was getting chickens until the day i got them, i had wanted chickens but the wife was against it til she saw "their tiny little bodies" and she folded (now whe can't get enough of the chickens and has joined this site too!!!). With that said i didn't have much time or money to make a beautiful coop and only a few weeks til it had to be done and with a 2 year old it was hard to find time to work on it. so basically i know its not pretty but it is super functional and efficient for maintenance of the coop and building costs. i reused alot of "cull" lumber from home depot, old basement windows, cut up pallets for lumber, free house paint,and anything else i already had.
    first the outside: i started out by taking apart my sons swingset that had seen its better day (yes im building him another) and started with the kids play house, it was 4'X4' and the paneling on it was junk/rotted but the structure was good, i added 2' pressure treated legs to it which i had and then added andother 4'X4' to it so its 4'X8' now. all of the wood boards on the sides are cut from pallets and the 3 windows that pop up on the back top of the coop were originally my basement windows. the shingled side of the roof was on the original playhouse and i used "smoked" sheet plastic roofing on the new side so they will have plenty of light in the coop but also be able to go in the shade under the shingled side. there are access doors on the front on either end for maintenance. there is also a door in what i call the utilities closet which currently has house power and originally was going to have networking but since wireless worked good for the camera (i'll come back to that) im not going to bother with that. then there is the nesting boxes lid on the front. the coop door the chickens use to go into the run works well it is aluminum c channel from home depot and a piece of heavy sheet aluminum as a door, its both strong and light. the coop door is operated by an automatic coop door opener which is controlled by a lamp timer. when the coop door closes it goes lower then you can reach from the outside so racoons can't simply sneak a paw under and lift the door up (they would have to get into the run first though). and lastly there is a door that the coop door is attached to on the end of the coop where the tray slides out. also there is tons of closeable ventilation to keep them cool in summer and keep the floor shavings dry.
    the inside: when i designed the inside i did some research and found a common theme of people having to do daily chores for the chickens and i thought that if i could design the inside good enough then daily chores would not be necessary (getting eggs isn't a chore, its a pleasure) and i wouldn't get "bored" with them and feel like i could still have a life and sleep in and such. so as listed on the paragraph above i installed an auto coop door which is amazing, it opens at 6am and closes at 9pm (all depends on what i set it for different times of the year) which is all controled by a simple lamp timer, love that feature! then i designed a large 5 gallon capacity waterer that used chicken nipples because people usually have to change the water daily due to the chickens contaminating the water. i live in nh and so winter/freezing was a big factor in the design. i bought a big 5 gallon water jug usually used for sports teams and such at home depot for $20, its insulated and has a large capacity, then drilled two holes in the bottom to fit two 3/4" pvc pipes through, plumbed a loop (see picture) and added a drain for maintenance (attaches to a standard garden hose for draining). before i had attached the loop i had drilled holes and added the watering nipples. i got the watering nipples from amazon.com, they have yellow ones that "clip" on the pipe and they say no sealant needed but i did for peace of mind and i got 5 for about $15. here is where winter/freezing becomes a concern, i had plumbed a loop so i could use a small aquarium pump and cycle the water through the pipes and im useing a bird bath water heater that is safe to put right against plastic and its thermostatically controller so it won't kill the electric bill. and since i have to pay to heat the water that was why i started with the insulated water jug, i plan on adding a hard type insulation to the pipes that the chickens can't peck. the beauty of this waterer is that it can't get messied up by the chickens, has a huge capacity, will not freeze, and lasts my 13 chickens well over a week if needed. then the feeder, its just a 5 gallon bucket i drilled holes in all around the bottom and up one side, i added an oil pan i bolted to the bottom of the bucket as a catch for the food falling out and the holes up the side i covered with plastic from a 2 liter mt. dew bottle as a sight gauge for how full it is (wish i had used a clear 2 liter bottle but green works good enough) , this is a simple design and great because the chickens don't pull food out onto the floor and waste it and it holds 35lbs of food! then i built a large poop tray for the whole floor that slides out one side of the coop for super easy cleaning, its a piece of waffle board with linolium flooring attached and it slides on 4 pieces of 1/2" pvc conduit to keep it elevated a bit and keep it dry underneath. also i used the monkey bars from the swingset as their perch inside the coop.
    the camera: this is the one i have found to peak the interest of most people (that and chicken nipple waterer), its an IP camera i bought off amazon.com for $67 made by loftek, it will pan and tilt and has night vision, its an amazing addition to the coop, why u ask? well everynight we turn on either a laptop or just look on our smart phones and count the amount of chickens in the coop to make sure all 13 made it inside before the door closed and only once one got locked out. another good use is i can see how much feed they have and thanks to the large thermometer i can see the temp in the coop, since i set it up properly on my router i can check up on them anywhere i have cell phone signal/wifi. this is a huge plus!
    the chicken run: the chicken run is a dog kennel i bought off craigslist, it has a nice door and is about 12'X12' and 6' tall so i can go in easily. i roofed a little more than a quarter of it so they have a space to come out in the winter w/o me having to shovel. the rest of the roof is 2"X4" welded wire. around the base i attached chicken wire and laid it across the ground 2' from the base of the fence and buried it. i know that weasels can dig down very far, my hope is that they dig and hit wire, they would have to back up 2' to get a spot w/o wire and i hope they don't figure that out. i basically left no spaces any bigger than what the chain link fencing is, so far nothing has tried.
    so to sum it up, large quantity feeder, large quantity waterer, high ventilation for a dry floor and a removeable floor keep cleaning to a minimum, secure chicken run, easy access nesting box, ip camera to view them anytime, recycled materials, and add a few chickens and you got an easy to maintain, low maintenance coop with happy chickens and you don't have to really worry about predators! i can go well over a week with the feeder and waterer without any danger of running out and don't need to get up early or rush home at night to close the coop door. if anyone has any questions i'll try my best to answer, thanks Tom

    UPDATE:
    Well the role of this coop has changed...what i mean is that since my wife and I are crazy chicken people (we see how people stare...) we kinda kept adding chickens and then decided to turn one of the barn stalls into a chicken coop. why didn't we just build the coop in the barn in the first place you ask? well thats because we thought at the time that we had zoning issues but we don't... so the role of this coop has changed to use as a temporary home for trouble makers, meat chickens, and new birds that need to stay seperated. i still look at this coop as a great design useing "recycled materials" and its great to have a seperate place if we decide to breed for eggs to hatch and so on... if you want to see my new coop follow this link:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/horse-stall-to-easy-maintenance-coop-good-ideas-for-any-coop

    Share This Article

Comments

To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!
  1. Chicken Techie
    thanks, before i forget that jug i used is from home depot and it does have an internal foam liner, after 3 different tries to properly seal the two holes, the water kept seeping through after a few weeks, i tried a clear tube type sealant first since it wasn't supposed to have any harsh chemicals, that didn't work at all. then i tried caulking, that worked for 3 weeks or so then leaking, it released its bond with the plastic of the jug. lastly i trieda two part epoxy by JB weld for water pipes, the inside of one of the seals failed and it leaks slowly from the mount of the cup holder on the side but the outside ones don't leak... yet
    Since this coop i have modified a horse stall in my barn to be a chicken coop, still useing the old one for a batch of meat chickens but the reason i bring this up is that i have built a newer/far better version of the waterer still utilizing the nipples. the nipples you buy on amazon say upto 15 chickens but i think thats crap, i have 23 birds on mine now without any problems. im going to do a whole writeup on my new waterer this week which i think is much better. i'll update this writeup with the link when i do it, have a good day
  2. bruceha2000
    Nice job. Wish I had thought about the insulated jug, I went with the standard 5 gallon plastic bucket. I have a floating stock tank deicer and a small pump. Now that I have seen yours, I'll likely get an insulated one as well, makes a lot of sense. Like you, spending a fortune to heat water all winter is not my plan :) Is it just double wall "air gap" insulated or is there a foam layer? Years ago a friend had a standard cooler and foamed (non expanding) the shell. Amazing increase in ability to keep the cold in and the hot out. If the insulated coolers are air only, I'll probably foam it, And the current bucket wouldn't be wasted. At the moment the girls are using the brooder waterer out in the run. I can move the bucket out there. I got enough saddle style nipples to have a setup outside similar to the one in the coop, just haven't gotten to it yet.
    Also it is great you put a bottom drain on it. My bucket is outside the coop but I hadn't considered clean out and the only drain I have is at the end of the 3/4" pipe in the coop. Not all that convenient ;)
  3. Chicken Techie
    I did some research on weasels after being advised just how small of a hole they can fit through then rocovered all of the coop openings with 1/4" hardware cloth, would of used 1/2" but already had the 1/4" anyway
  4. Chicken Techie
    first of all thanks! im really not worried about the size wire i used the only addition i was thinking of doing is adding a 3' tall smaller holed wire around the base of the chain link so nothing can reach in and grab a chicken, but til then they seem plenty safe to me, i over build everything and it is very secure, a bear would have a hard time.... and yeah the camera is awesome, i just added the daytime camera view and a good whole coop picture, now to enter into the BYC coop contest!
    i also thought of adding a float valve switch so when the water gets low an indicator light would turn on which would be viewable in the camera, then if there is a bad storm for a few days i only have to run out to grab eggs! yeah im a bit lazy but i would rather enjoy my chickens when we sit in their run with them than doing tons of chores
  5. lizm1221
    Super time savers! I love your self watering ideas, and who wouldn't want a camera to see what they are up to at night? That will be great in winter to check on them without going out in the cold!
  6. Stumpy
    Wow -- you've obviously worked hard and have packed a lot of features in there. Personally, I would be very concerned about predators, though, because of the chicken wire and other large-holed wire used.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by