Our Harvester Egg Farm Coop
My husband and I have sort of tossed around the idea of getting chickens in the past but always laughed it off as a ridiculous idea, especially as I'm not even very fond of eggs, but for some reason, this year, the idea stuck. My husband works with someone who raises chickens and although we live in a suburbanish neighborhood, we noticed that several neighbors also raise chickens. So, one day, back in June, I dragged some leftover 2x4's out of the woods and started cutting. I didn't have any real plans I was following, other than a picture that I sketched on a piece of paper, which I have since lost. Originally, the coop was going to be a tractor that we could move around the yard but once I started building, I realized it was going to be much too heavy for dragging around.
Anyway, I started with building the base which elevates the coop about 2' off the ground and is roughly 4'x6' wide. The first design had one of the sides opening fully for cleaning but then I realized I better have two side doors in order to make access to the coop a lot easier. Lucky for me, my parents arrived at the end of June (they live in Florida and we're in CT) and my father who is way better at carpentry than I am, helped me significantly.
So, here are some pictures of the coop under construction...
The first cut, made in the basement, before we dragged the saw up to the garage
The front of the coop under construction...
Working on the nesting boxes, the dividers remove for cleaning...
Nesting boxes installed on back of coop - I've also added a lock to the nesting boxes.
Inside back of coop
My dad working on the base
My mom helping to staple down the peel and stick tiles which didn't stick!!!
The front of the coop up on the base
My husband and father working on something or other
Dad in coop trying to secure the whole thing before it falls apart
Our kids playing in the coop
Strong enough to support two grown men - should be able to handle 5 chickens!
Finally got to painting the coop. Here's my dad standing next to it and he's about 5'11". The roof frame is just resting on top. We later topped the frame with plywood and then added a tin roof. Wont attach it to the coop until it gets moved to the backyard and out of my garage - can't wait!
Side and back of coop
Front and side of coop
Inside of coop - nesting boxes to the right, droppings board straight in front and roosting bar will obviously go right over it, another perch in front of the window. There will be ventilation through all the eaves and over the side doors as well as a window that opens on the front of the coop.
Still have to come up with a creative name but here's the coop. The chicken door slides up and down with a rope - not attached yet in this photo.
Preparing the site in the backyard as the chicks are due to arrive any day now - though a friend is going to raise them and we will take them when they're old enough to move outside of the brooder.
Tried to do as much of the coop with recycled material but still ended up spending ~$500-$600 on it (including the run) as the hardware, hardware cloth and tin roof really add up.
Finally, the time came to move the coop out of the garage and into the backyard. I dug holes and placed cinder blocks in them and leveled them to the best of my abilities. Luckily, we have two strong, college aged nephews who were able to come down and help with the big move. We disassembled the coop and moved it out in pieces and then reassembled out back.
Here's my daughter helping to pull out the front of the run on our wagon...
Here's my husband and nephews working on assembling the coop, walls of the run are leaning against the trees...
The above picture are my three beautiful chickens, oops, I mean, children. The small door in the front of the run, we will eventually use to let the chickens go into a portable tractor (next year's project). The people door to the run was a closet door my dad purchased at the ReStore. He cut out the center panels and we filled it in with hardware cloth. I ended up filling in all the space under the boards of the run with the brick pavers and then skirting the run with hardware cloth and putting some garden edging at the base of the run. I covered the skirting with soil and planted grass and also made a garland with twigs and pinecones to decorate the run.
Above is a picture of the interior of the coop - nesting boxes to the right along with the pvc feeder, sliding chicken pop door is not in this photo but it's to the left. Roosting bar and poop deck straight in front. Both side doors open fully for cleaning the coop.
And here are the chickens...
Muffin (EE), 2 Australorps (Matilda & Badger), Mica (Barred Rock) and Ruby (RIR). We also put sand in half the run, will likely put sand in the other half as well but haven't gotten around to it yet. The birds are growing quickly - they're 8 weeks old today and just moved into the coop a few days ago. OK, so now things I would change about my coop:
1. I would use screws for the entire project. I started putting the base together with nails and it just wasn't sturdy enougth. My father and I ended up pulling it apart and rebuilding it with screws instead. Much more secure and able to take it apart to move it from the garage to the backyard.
2. I really like the design of the Wichita Cabin Coop and especially like that it has a covered run. I still may add a tin roof to our run.
3. I would have saved my initial sketch of the chicken coop. It got lost sometime during construction. It really wasn't more than a small picture I drew on a peice of scrap paper but it'd be nice to see how much my coop resembles my original plan. Initially, only one side wall was going to open but so happy I changed that plan to have both sides that could open completely for cleaning the coop and also to help with access to the chickens. Also, the droppings board and the roosting bar in front of the window were not part of the initial design. That was added as we were building and as I continued to research coops on BYC - seemed like a great idea to have a poop deck.
4. I've seen photos of coops with storage closets as part of the coop - that would have been great! Right now, I'm using one of the egg boxes for storage of chicken stuff and will probably continue to do that as five chickens don't really need three nesting boxes.
What I'm happy about with my coop:
1. Seems to be just the right size for our 5 chickens (~22+ square feet inside the coop - 4x6' outside dimensions) and the run is 78 square feet.
2. Building it so that it's easy to clean.
3. I've added a small rack outside my coop for Purell - though we always wash our hands after handling the birds, it's nice to have the hand sanitizer right there before we get back to the house.
4. So happy my dad suggested a tin roof (tin over plywood) - he was worried a branch would fall on a pvc roof and crack it and lo and behold, a large branch has already crashed down on the coop, bent the gutter in the back but the roof is fine!
I am so very grateful to my father for helping me build this coop!!! He built the roof and the frames for the run. He also lent significant assistance with the building of the actual coop including both side doors. I think he loved building it as much as I did!