Hen Haven
Southern Style



Hi and welcome to our page. Hope you like the new coop we built. It took several months to complete due to trips out of town, work schedule and arrival of new chicks having me scramble to build temporary housing for them, taking me away from finishing other parts of our project.
We still have to install chain link over top of run, finish roof over 10 x 10 run by side door , install chicken door motor , run power and water underground from house to coop and some more landscaping.
We are new to raising chickens, hooked by our 12 year old grandson from Atlanta into giving it a try. Now we are addicted. My wife works a stressful job in a courtroom and sidelines as a paralegal for law firm. I am a Firefighter and remodeling guru, so the chickens have become our stress reliever. Plus our other grand-kids love them. Oh yes, and the wife has named them all.
Our Hen house is 10' x 12' floor space. 7' tall on low side and 8' on high. Metal roof, vinyl siding and aluminum windows. Two french doors for people and a sliding chicken door for.....well, the chickens. We put congoleum on the floor and use deep littler method. i built a single roost and added removable poop trays underneath the roost. Works great and easy to clean into tote and bring outside for the compost pile. There is a ladder leading up to the roost. Will add more roost space as needed. Interior walls are covered with 1/4 masonite for easy clean up as well. The house has plenty of ventilation to get rid of the deep south heat we get via 5 windows and a high volume exhaust fan. So far working great with our 95 degree heat we are experiencing. A few little finishing touches and we should be done.
The run area will be two part. 10' x 10' enclosed with wooden fencing to block winter wind and roof overhead to keep dry. This is where their feed will be and nipple watering system. Also food storage will be here as well as a sink for cleaning up utensils and a garden hose for poop washdown.Trying to create a shady, dry area for them to stay out in, even if it is raining or hot summer day. The open run will be 20' x 24' using chain link fence panels set in 4" x 4" framework, topped with chain link fencing over treated lumber joists. Will have two 4' wide people gates....one on front side and one in rear for hauling out shavings/poop for the compost pile.
As a former city boy, all of my inspiration came from BYC. Looking at other coop designs and reading the forum. I just tweaked some of them a little to suite my ideas and needs.
Hope you enjoyed the story and please take a moment to view our photos of the building of our coop. I did all of the work myself, along with dear wife. Did have the help of fellow firefighters Freddy, Keith and Skip on first two days framing walls, setting windows, sheathing and installing metal on roof. Otherwise it was a one man show. Used as much second hand and left over materials. Scored the fence sections and metal for roof off Craigslist. However, still cost a pretty penny. Friends and family call it the "Chicken Palace". Hope you enjoy.
Judy and Erik


Materials gathered.

I framed platform, supported with stakes to keep level and square. Then set posts
Posts set in concrete.


3/4 " osb for decking

Back wall with openings for nest boxes. Plumb and square.


Front wall(8') in place. back wall 12"s lower for shed roof. Openings for 2 windows and door.


End wall with openings for 2 windows. Braced to keep plumb and square.


Other end wall in place. Opening for 1 window and side door to run. Fireman buddies were nailing together as I was cutting and laying out. Note rafter in place.


All rafters installed. Braced in all directions to keep plumb and square.

Rough openings in back wall for future nest boxes with outside access.


Windows going in.


osb sheathing on and felt on roof. This was day two.


Opposite end with side door. Note openings in rear for nest boxes. Also, wide overhang of roof to protect nest boxes.
Hurricane straps.....we do get Hurricanes down here on Gulf Coast.....can we say "Katrina"

Adding blocking in between rafters so critters can't get to the girls. Wife caught me off guard.


House wrap in place. Ready for soffit and facia. Then vinyl siding.

Metal on roof. Note temporary run in background. Got a few hens unexpectedly so had to hurry my progress on new coop.


Jumped inside and got wiring done and masonite on walls. Also put up roost made from a 2" x 4" with a 1" x 3" on the flat on top, for a nice wide footing for the girls.


Built the nest boxes in my workshop and brought them over and installed. Lids to follow. Will be hinged to open from outside for egg collection. Gotta move all of that pipe on ground so DW doesn't break a leg and then break my head.

Nest boxes finished, poop trays installed. They are used cafateria trays sitting on a 2" x 2" framework for easy removal and cleaning.

Now you can see them better.

Oak ladder from a shoe store that I cut down and installed for the girls to go up. They love it.

Front door I had laying around from remodeling job.

Ditto on the side door.
Note the blocks between the rafters to keep critters out and birds in. Metal hanging over end of rafter will continue over 10' x 10' enclosed run so they'll have protection from rain while outside. Chicken door will be to left of side door.

Vinyl siding, soffit and aluminum facia finished. Door painted and wiring ready for outside lights. All we need is a porch and some plants.


Back inside with the girls. Grandson brought some girls from Atlanta unexpectedly and babies came in so had to re-group and throw together a brooder real quick. Now we have four different age groups to deal with. Crazy

The new babies a few days old with 2 teens from grandson.

Still jumping around. Didn't get to finish the siding, had to start on the run. Temp run getting crowded. Gotta get moving.

Moving right along.

Fence sections in place. Bought these off of Craigslist for 10.00 each. Got twenty of them. They are 6' high and 10' wide. Cut one of them down, re-assembled it and made the gate.

Mama's walkway and garden. Suprised her with that. Copper rooster standing guard on post is gift from friend.

Wider look at overall coop and run. Grandson visiting from Atlanta feeding them grapes. Planted a few crepe myrtle trees for shade in future. Still have to frame up and chain link fence a cover over the whole run. Next week I hope, along with trenching over the water and power.
This is the area that the roof will continue over. Note chicken door in bottom left next to side door.


Side porch built, ramps installed, steel tool box for feed storage(very predator proof), ss sink for clean up and chicken nipple system mounted to fence. Just need that water line run over. Babies growing and enjoying a stretch and some Louisiana sunshine. Between the porch and platform the feeders are on is where the trench will be dug for water line and electrical conduit. That will be the last thing I do. Extension cord and garden hose from house about 70' away will do for now.


Close up of the chicken nipple system my buddy in Arkansas gave me. I rigged it up on some old brackets I found in my workshop. total cost. 0$ Gotta love it.
Princess the slikie is deciding whether to go out thru the chicken door or not.


Chicken door made from an aluminum street sign my son stole years ago. Just had to cut down and make a track for it to slide in. Now, just waiting on my chicken door motor to hook to a timer. Then we will be automated.
Well the door motor finally came in and it took all of 10 minutes to install. Very simple and works great. Plugged into a timer to control up and down movement in am and pm. Love it. The girls wait for it to open in the morning and then all pile out into the run. Funny to watch.

Motor and timer setup. Just a Christmas light controller I had laying around. Plugged timer into outlet and motor transformer into timer. Set on /off for up in am and on/ off for down in pm. Bam! done deal.


My ventilation system. A three speed a/c blower temporarily wired to the middle speed. the high speed will almost suck the pine shaving off the floor in there are no windows opened. Will be hooking up to a three position switch so we can move as much air as we need to according to the weather. Works great and again it was a freebie. Just alittle muscle to get that sucker hung up there.

Siding finished on back and hinges and handles installed on nest boxes. Still need to level off the ground, move "junk" and put down stepping stones.


Trying hay in two and pine shvings in other two just to see what the girls prefer. Notice I went for wider boxes, they don't seem to mind sharing. Working so far.
Had to name the Hen house, so we came up with this. Made the sign and hung it yesterday. Still gotta install light over front door.


Last but not least.....the very, very, very expensive egg. I hope it is solid gold.
Well folks, I hope you enjoyed looking at our coop. It truely has been a labor of love and worth all of the sweat and back ache.....and the money that I have put into it. My wife, grand kids and friends all love it. The girls seem to love it as well. I will say that everyone thinks I am alittle crazy and went way overboard, but I would do it exactly the same if I had to do it over. Maybe even alittle bigger.
Update....got the run roof framing done today. Took me about 4 hours to do this alone. Tomorrow DW and I will lay out the chain link fencing on top.

Another view. Area in rear of picture where green netting is hanging will have metal roof over it. Plan on starting that tomorrow, once we finish the chain link. Starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Now the chain link is in place on the top. Two friends came over yesterday and we knocked it out in about 2 hours.

Another view from farther away. Very solid and strong. No hawks or owls to worry about now. Just gotta finish that last little bit of roof over back of run so they'll have a place to hang out when it's raining to keep dry and keep their food dry. Also, thinking about some shade cloth as well. Setting sun really heats up the run in the late afternoon and the girls either go inside or hang out under the porch and feed storage box in back of run.

Another update here....added step to make entry to front porch easier.

Adding hardware cloth over all 5 windows for further protection from bad guys we have here in Louisiana.

Framing finally begins on area of run that we wanted to have covered. Would know I'd pick a rainy day. Downpour rolled in and had to stop.

Another view of framing progress. Will be sheathed with OSB tomorrow, then felt and metal to match coop roof. Close in front , side and rear. Girls safe.....the goal willl be accomplished. No more wet feed or wet chickens.

Had to alter my original design of only one roost and poop tray setup and tweek alittle....added a second roost and set of poop trays. Grandson talked us into getting more girls, plus we had varying ages and older ones wouldn't let younger ones up high. So now they have their own roost to sleep on and poop trays to ....well.....poop on!

Latest update photos after putting on the roof over the enclosed portion of run. Plus adding welded wire to enclose top so flighty girls don't end up running around outside of run as we have had to deal with in past few days.
View from front over open run.

View from under new roof of enclosed run, 1'' x 1" welded wire to keep flighty girls in, needed ventilation and to keep " bad guys out"! This is where we will hang their feeder to keep it all dry.

One more view of welded wire screen area done today. Despite the rain....got if finished. Can rest alittle easier now...tired of chasing flighty girls around my property.

So, I'm finally getting around to trenching the permanent water line and power over to the coop from my house.

Here is friend "Big Mike" running machine starting the trench in back of covered coop, working his way out into the run and heading over to the house. We went 12" deep since we barely freeze down here in deep south.

Trench finished, 1" water line in and 3/4" conduit for wiring in place. Now to back fill, hook up water line and pull wires through conduit. Almost there.

Here is the almost finished product. Freeze proof faucet installed. Hose for wash down. Nipple watering system tied in. Still need to hook up stainless steel sink. I spread gravel in entire area of run that has the roof over it. Easy to keep clean. Installed extra faucets for any future water needs like misting system for hot days, etc... Plan on adding a roost above nipple waterer since the girls jump up on the pipe supporting the nipples anyway. Also have to hang 30lb capacity feeder I just got. Blue tool chest is where we keep feed. Wife will paint it tan to match the coop.

Added a roost over water nipples in enclosed section of run. Will build angled "roof" over nipples so no one getts pooped on while getting a cool drink of water below. Also hung 30lb feeder under roof so feed doesn't get wet.

Ok, decided the girls needed some exercise and fun in the run...so we built our "Chicken Jungle Jim" today to give them a place to play and exercise. We have a swing, ramp, roosts, ladder roost and bird bath for washing their dirty little "feet". Was alot of fun to build and the girls love it, only they are all chillin' durning the photos trying to escape from S.E. Louisiana heat we have going on. But trust me, they love their "playground".



With the extreme heat and humidity we have been experiencing i decided I had to do something to give the girls some relief. Came up with two ideas: Provide more shade and try dropping the temperature during the hottes part of the day with some type of cooling. What follows is what I came up with.
Added shade cloth on top of chainlink over portion of open run adjacent to the enclosed run in an attempt to block the setting sun from warming up that area.

Added a fan that I got from Home Depot for $32.00 coupled with a 6 nozzle mist system DW bought for $30.00. Mist system simply attaches to fron of fan with cable ties. Hooked up the supply hose from mist system to our cold(well water) supply and turn on fan. Dramatically reduces temperature in the enclosed run area.

This photo shows close up of how mist system is attached to fan. The small dia. water line on right side of fan attaches to hose bibb I set up for future water needs when I was designing my water distribution piping last week.

Once I run a circuit from inside the coop to out into the run area, I will plug the fan into a cheap timer and program it for activation from about 11 am 'till around 5 pm. On hottest of days, we will manually turn on the faucet to add the mist. May at a later point, tie the water line into a solenoid valve controlled by timer so that it would all work without human involvement for when we are gone on trips.
Ok, newest update. Yesterday finally put the metal roof on enclosed section of run. Felt paper was holding up great, but I decided I had to finish this thing.( Well, almost) and put an end to this madness called Chicken Coop Building and Additions. So, here are a few more updated photos of this finished and things added. They just don't seem to stop.
So, here is finished roof. Narrower section in background is what I finished yesterday. That section is over the covered run area. Also finished the cap trim on high side.

This is a view of the shade cloth that I installed over a section of the open run.

Princess drinking from the nipple waterer system. They all took to it within a day or so.

Finally got the foot controlled sink hooked up. Dear wife loves it. It is in the covered run, next to the feed storage box.

Another view of the the roof trim I finished yesterday. Also, porch light and motion sensor controlled flood lights.

Mist/Fan system doing it's thing helping lower our 110 degree temp. by at least 30 degrees or better....seriously. With cold well water supplying it, it is almost like air conditioning. It is amazing. We only run it during the hottest part of the day.

And finally a new shot of front of hen house, landscaping, run and our chicken watching/beer drinking chairs.

Update 9-14-2011 Decided to suprise my wife with a patio are for sitting out and "Chicken Watching". Did this as one of her birthday presents. She loves it. Will be adding more pavers in front of porch next week.
Still need to mulch and add more landscaping once I finish the pavers over to the porch.

More to come, I'm sure.

So there are the additions so far. Keep looking and please leave feedback.

Oh, and here are some Pictures of a few of our girls.

Sylvia.....Silver laced Wyandotte

Ruby-RIR on right, with the wild woman Rhonda-NHR on left
The teenagers Grandson hatched and brought us. In front, Molly-Black Austrolorp....then Rosie-Sex Link......in the back is NOLA(for New Orleans La) the " Black and gold" Easteregger. Growing as we watch them.


Little Princess the white Silkie

Our new Roo......Rocky, "Yo Adrienne"

And some Lagniappe..... Our Koi pond


Hope ya enjoyed.
Please let me know what ya'll think. Thanks