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Fresh Eggs

By Claires Chicks, Mar 12, 2013 | Updated: Mar 12, 2013 | | |
  1. Claires Chicks
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    We had 1 chicken and wanted to get babies, but first we needed a larger coop, and more easily accessible laying boxes.
    I looked at a lot of coops online to get an idea, but buying one this size would have cost at least twice as much!
    It took my dad & I about 4 or 5 weekends, start to finish. Our deadline was when the chicks grew out of the dog crate in our living room.
    I would suggest building most of the coop before you even get the chicks. Leave the details until after they move in. Make sure it's closed off to cats, racoons, hawks... You only need about 2 nesting boxes per 8 chickens. We built 3, but we usually only find eggs in 1 or 2 boxes. Our nesting boxes are under the white roof in front. We can walk out, lift the roof and gather eggs every morning without going inside the enclosure. We also put a hook and latch to hold the laying box roof up so we can use 2 hands to get the eggs.

    If you only have 2 or 3 chickens, you can get away with a more simple or smaller design, but we planned on 7 chickens, and this is the perfect size.
    We mainly used large sheets of wood from Lowes (almost half of the total cost), hinges, and some extra roofing shingles (our grandparents just redid their roof, so we got some scraps).
    We put a perch inside and outside. Our older chicken didn't perch much, but the babies were perching on anything they could from 1 week old. 2x4s or studs work great for perches.
    Make it easy to clean! We put bedding in the nesting boxes and in the bottom of the coop. The laying boxes are just a frame, so we can lift them out and sweep all the dirty bedding and poop right out of the coop, and fill it back up with more bedding (about once every 6 weeks, or when it smells)
    We put a door on each side to make this easier. Make sure the doors have latches!!! We started with a magnetic door, but a chicken either leaned against the door, or the wind was really strong, and we found it open a couple times. After that, we added a latch.
    Some people put ladders in the coop for the chickens to climb up to the coop or to the laying boxes, but we put in a ramp to make it easier for them. Don't make it too steep. We added some small strips of wood on the ramp for more traction. As your chickens get older, they will appreciate the ease of access.
    The final coop cost no more than $500, including paint & chicken supplies.

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    Extras: depending on the climate where you live, you will need a heating lamp. Make the roof high enough so the lamp will be at least 2 feet away from the chickens at night, and put a hook or somewhere to clamp the lamp. Also, have a way to run an extension chord/ power source to the coop without having to prop open a door.

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    My 2 yr old cousin thought it was a playhouse for him! You can see the laying boxes and perch, and we put chicken wire as a screen on the windows (The windows are plastic, and can open and close for ventilation).

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    Here's the entire enclosure. It's under our redwood tree so at least half of their enclosure is always shaded.
    Someday I would like to have a chicken farm and start a business selling organic eggs from my free range chickens. I would make it like a small barn to accommodate more chickens, and accessible so I can walk into the coop. I really like the coop on Fancy Farm Girl.

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  1. onebigglo1
    Nice job! I wish my teenage daughter liked chickens as much as you do. She prefers her ducks.

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