Egg Song Music Factory

By rosemarythyme · Jun 23, 2018 · ·
Rating:
4.4/5,
  1. rosemarythyme
    name.jpg
    :jumpy Welcome to my coop! :jumpy
    Like many first time chicken owners we started off with a little box of chicks and a prefab coop. Two years later we were ready to expand both the flock and the coop. We're up to 3 hens and 4 chicks at the moment!

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    (newly installed coop at left, old coop at right, for size comparison)

    OVERALL COOP BUILD

    I hired a local shed company to build a 6' x 10' shed. Actual interior measurements are 5.5' x 9.5' (approximately 48 sq ft not including nest box) so this coop can hold up to 12 standard hens. The coop sits inside a split run measuring approximately 20' x 25' (440 sq ft not including coop) overall. It sits elevated 6" on concrete blocks to deal with rain and to deter rodents from tunneling inside. The entire base is surrounded with 1/2" hardware cloth, tucked under the coop footprint and secured by lawn staples, stainless steel screws and fender washers.

    coopb.jpg coopa.jpg

    Since it's hard to get a good photo of this, below is an illustration of how the interior is laid out, roughly to scale. Aqua = windows, grey = roost and nest box, pink = pop door under the window.
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    FLOORING

    After reading other recommendations on BYC, I went with two coats of Black Jack #57 on the floor and up a foot or two on all the studs (the walls are covered in Tyvek so no need to coat). I also put Black Jack on the inside of the door and on the support legs of the roost and nest boxes. Bedding is currently wood chips. I use a 1x4 held in place with bricks as a kickboard to keep beddings from flying out the door.

    POP DOOR

    I installed an automatic door by ChickenGuard which opens and closes by timer. I'm a late riser so now the chickens don't have to wait for me to wake up, and as we're often busy towards the end of the day, this means we don't have to rush out at dusk to lock up either (we still often end up checking in at "closing time" - it's a habit). I chose to install the auto door internally so that weather will never be a concern. With the pop door 16" above ground level we put in cinder blocks for steps, as we get a lot of rain (I didn't want a slippery wood ramp) plus we have limited space in front of the coop, so steps make more sense. The chickens (even 4-week-old chicks) have no problem using 8" tall steps.

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    VENTILATION

    The coop has approximately 32 sq ft of ventilation, not including either human or pop doors. There's 5 windows, 1 gable vent, 2 floor vents, 40 under eave vent holes front and back, and a ridge vent. Recommended ventilation for a build this size would be 12 sq ft (a minimum of 1 sq ft per bird OR 10% of floor space, whichever is greater) so I went well over. For extra security the windows are all covered in 1/2" hardware cloth with stainless steel screws and fender washers.

    ROOST

    The roost is made from 2x3's with fence brackets for securing branches. The branches can be removed during cleaning, by simply unscrewing the raised section of the bracket. The roost sits across the south side of the coop, the only side without a window, as that faces the direction of prevailing winds on my lot. The top roost sits 14" from the back wall, the lower roost another 18" further down, sloped at a 45 degree angle.

    coop1.jpg

    NEST BOX

    The nest box is made from 3/4" plywood plus a few bits of scrap wood. Each bay measures approximately 14.5" x 14.5" x 14.5" rising to 24" in the back, so the top slopes to prevent chickens from roosting on it. The top is hinged to the wall so it can be opened for easy egg gathering, cleaning or broody removal, and I've also added a hook and latch so the top can be propped open. For nest padding I put a folded feed bag in each box, with wood shavings on top.

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    (occupied!)

    THE RUN

    The chain link run measures approximately 15' x 20' x 4' tall on one side and 10' x 20' x 6' tall on the other. There's approximately 18" of 1/2" hardware cloth at the base of the fencing, secured with hog rings and zip ties,* and 18" aproned out and secured with lawn staples. Over the top we have 2" heavy duty nylon bird netting** which lets snow and leaves fall through but provides coverage against birds of prey.

    Currently the run has a lot of obstacles in it, including the brooder, a watering station, a covered feed station, a jungle gym, and a raised dust bath. As we're integrating chicks this gives them a lot of options to get out of line of sight of the adults while still keeping ample open space for all the chickens to dig around in, lounge about on, and explore.

    I highly recommend a split run. It's very convenient if you're ever planning on integrating chickens, or even if you just want to keep the chickens out of the way while doing cleaning or maintenance work. Originally I had some garden beds plus an occasional use chicken pasture in the larger run (hence the fence height), but with the new coop in place I now free range with supervision if I want the chickens to have some forage.

    * Work in progress: I plan on replacing all standard zip ties at the base of the fence with stainless steel.

    ** More work in progress: After the coop was installed we finished netting over the entire run. On the sides with 4' fencing, we added several 6' tall U-posts, set them into the ground with a mallet as far as we could manage, then wired them to the existing fencing. I ran tension wire near the top of the posts to give the netting a frame to rest on. The netting still needs to be permanently secured on all sides.


    ;) EXTRAS ;)

    Here's a few more things I added, both for function and for fun!

    A coop nameplate. My husband named the coop (originally it was E&S Music Factory, a spoof on the pop group C&C Music Factory). But the only music we're producing is the egg song!

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    Shelving for extra feed, treats, grit and oyster shell. Yes, I eat a lot of gelato...

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    My husband is a big fan of the Silent Hill video game franchise. Here's the pop door "art", and the reference photo. I might try redoing it later with some newspaper, to make it look more like the original.:

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    (the cool thing is this is only visible when the pop door is closed :cool:)

    Nameplates for each hen, which hang above the roost. I was going to buy ones off etsy but why buy when I'm capable of applying paint to wood?

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    N F C likes this.

Recent User Reviews

  1. N F C
    "Nice Upgrade"
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Jul 30, 2018
    Well written article on how the small pre-fab coop was replaced by a bigger, better fitting coop. The only thing I'd change is the roosts (I like 2x4's with the wide side up). Well done!
  2. Cryss
    ""
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Jul 18, 2018
    Love the game reference.
  3. MROO
    "Starts with a ready-made shed! EASY!"
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Jul 17, 2018
    I love the idea of starting with a solidly built shed and designing from there. All of the major issues are already taken care of - leaks, predator proofing, windows. Nice job!

Comments

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  1. Amenbrotherben
    Love the name plates! :wee
  2. N F C
    Nice job!
  3. Dmontgomery
    Very well thought out design. Excellent job.
  4. boz
    that is a very nice coop ,but for me I have to say that chain link fence would have to go, I guess that is because I am more in to free range chicken, I feel that the more room a chicken has to range around the happier they are ,but again that is just me.
    job well done it really does look good
    1. rosemarythyme
      I don't free range without supervision as we have everything from stray dogs, coyotes, coons, hawks, owls, eagles. On days when I do let the chickens out they almost always head back to the run on their own after an hour or so, they're very comfy in there.
      Skellington and Harley Chick like this.

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