Here she is... in all her glory. Our new Chicken Coop!
After LOTS of research ( much of it on here at BYC ) - rehashing plans MANY times and lots of troubleshooting. This is the final product!
Time to build: 3 Months ( including all finishes) it was about 5 weeks till the ladies moved in.
(Wo)Manpower: One Dad, One Better Half, One Mom, myself (a Girl with a Dream) and our trusty 4 legged foreman phoebe!
Total Cost: Just under $2,000.00 ( we also sourced a number of windows and doors for free/low cost)
Included Below: Detailed Pictures, including rational and process. The original plans ( we adjusted them a little throughout the build).
The initial must haves.
Research early on lead me to a list of must haves.
- Large enough to stand in for care and cleaning, both the coop and run.
- Elevated; for less rot, easier time with zoning and just in case we ever wanted to move it.
- Ability to open run pop doors and poop tray door from outside the coop.
- Large enough to accommodate 25 Chickens in "main coop"
- A secondary separate space to house meat birds, keep younger chickens pre integration and a place to separate birds if needed.
- A porch, because I didn't get one on the house.. and I wanted it.. so it was on the list.
We chose a location with good sun exposure in the winter ( to help warm things up) and nice trees to help shade the run in summer. We plotted out the main structure - which we refer to as the "Main Coop" - General Plans are at the end.. they are rough estimates, since we ended up with varying sizes of windows and doors.
Staking out the placement.
The Main Coop Floor was built with 2x4's and 2x6's - we used joist hangers for added support. The entire floor was secured to 4x4's that were sitting on top of cinder blocks that had been dug into the ground. The 4 X 4's are about 2 -3 inches in the ground.
Here is my dad ( Kevo ) starting to frame out the floor.
you can see the 4x4's better here (sitting in the ground on top of the bricks) - this was before the floor was secured to them.
The entire floor was "varmint proofed" with wire ( this happened to be some left over stucco netting we had laying around ) the other half was done with 1/2" hardware cloth. We used OSB plywood for the floor. It saved a bit on cost.
The secondary coop space, what we refer to as the "meat bird area" was framed out in the same way and attached to the end. The main coop is 8' x 12' and the meat bird area is 4' x 8' - The total size without porch is 8' x 16'
Each wall was framed out and put up. Many of our specs from initial plans changed here, based on some free windows and a low cost door I was able to score on the side of the road. Below is Kevo and my better half, Joey. Working on framing out the walls.
This section here is the meat bird section. The hardest part of the framing was just making sure we had the right measurements for everything. All in total framing the floor and the walls took a little over a week to two weeks.
Framing of the roof then began. We went with a pitched roof because of our New England winters ( we live in North Central Massachusetts - sometimes referred to as the snow belt in MA) The pitch of the roof was to the specifications of our roofing material ( we went with metal standing seam). We used roof joist hangers on the peak and hurricane ties where the run hit the wall framing ( this way we didn't have to notch out for the 2x4's and it gave us space to be able to later include sofit vents.) You can see the hurricane ties further down in the whitewashing pictures.
Here you can see the roof joist hangers.
The Meat Bird roof ( and the porch roof ) are angled. Here Kevo and Joey are putting up the OSB plywood. We decided to do plywood under the standing seam metal roof. Some people had said you could put the standing seam metal roof on ( with proper roof joist spacing) without plywood. For the extra cost, we decided the extra support would be best. You can see foreman Phoebe ( our foxhound) supervising inside the coop.
The roofing went up next. We did a metal standing seam roof in gray. We put it up based on the manufacturers specs. We custom ordered the roof - luckily another small roofing order was going in at the same time - so we weren't charged the added "small order fee". I personally liked the look of the metal and the cost was similar to architectural shingles.
Once the roofing was up we started putting up the siding. As the roof went up, extra boards were put across some of the larger window opening to help brace until the walls and windows went in. For siding we used a T1-11 siding board. This one we got from lowes - an engineered treated wood siding panel, made to look like wood and was under $25 a sheet. It has grooves and was easy to cut. We also white washed ( i'll talk more about that later) the insides of the panels, since they would also be the interior walls. The inside parts of the boards do suck up quite a bit of whitewash (or paint).
You can see the siding a bit better in this photo.
We used caulking on all of the seams of the siding to help keep things as water tight as possible. The smaller cut outs on the bottoms were for the run pop doors. We kept the siding to use to create the doors.
As the siding went up we put in the windows too. We were able to get all of our windows for free, including the large picture window.
The front decorative window we got was old and needed to be stripped and reglazed. We had wished we read the window reglazing in advance, since it recommends 14 days to harden.. and it took all 14 days. you will see in the pictures following our front window was blocked in with siding until the glazing dried.
Once siding was up, we started painting the outside, as well as starting to frame out parts inside the coop.
We did an exterior paint in country blue. Beyond liking the color... cornflower blues are supposed to help keep nesting bugs at bay.
The inside work began with an amish whitewash on the floor and on parts of the coop we wouldnt be able to access after additional framing happened. Joey is painting outside. The door he is at will be a door that will enter into the closet from the run.
The windows we got were older, so they have some condensation issues, but for the coop they work just fine!
Here is the framing for the closet. You can enter the closet from the main coop, meat bird side and the enclosed run. The three way entrance really makes it easy for accessing items, passing into other areas of the coop, and helps keep things separate.
The door I grabbed for $5 at a tag sale, we stripped it down for repainting.
We also pre-painted the fir stripping we used for molding. that way only the cut ends needed to be touched up afterwards.
Here foreman phoebe can be seen "overseeing" with a paint stain on her ear, from all the days hard work.
We purchased silver hardware and used a rustoleum metal paint to make all our hardware hammered black. The silver hardware was much less expensive, so with a little extra work to spray, we got the look we wanted at the price that worked!
For the interior of the coop we used an Amish white wash. It is hydrated lime, salt and water mixed together. Finding hydrated lime was a bit difficult, until we realized it was used in many masonry applications. A local concrete / stone supplier had big bags of hydratred lime 9 also known as masonary lime). It helps protect, is safe for the chickens and because of it's acidity it helps keep things sanitary and discourages the nesting of creepy crawlies.
This is the roof whitewashed. You can also see the hurricane ties we used here.
Here is what the white wash looks like. it is 1 gallon water , 2 pounds salt and 7 pounds hydrated lime. You heat the water and dissolve the salt, then add the lime. We used a drill with a paddle to stir, since it is a but chunky and thick to get through. It's sloppy and looks thin/ almost translucent when applied, but as it dries thickens and turns a solid white.
A few notes about the white wash... it is sloppy. Lime is also caustic, keeping your eyes covered .. and not much open skin is best. Wiping the lime off with a wet cloth is good if you do get it on your skin. As you can see below I was covered... and some of the bigger splotches irritated my skin, even left a small burn in one spot. I knew better, but it was hot.. and I didn't care.
As we finished painting, the rest of the windows went in and trim went up! The notched board was fro the sofit trim.
Here you can see the notched out trim that went up in the sofits, we used 2" circular sofit vents for circulation in the end.
The door opens into the coop, with two slide hasps to keep the door secure. The chickens constantly pile shavings in front of the door, but I have no trouble pushing through.
Next we added all of the doors on. We used the siding pieces reinforced with left over plywood and fir stripping. We used hasps and S Style carabiners on all doors to ensure nothing unwanted would get in. The S Style are quick release and easier to handle.
This is the access to the nesting boxes from the front porch.
The doors open on sliding hinges to access the nesting boxes from outside the coop.
Here is a picture with the bottom door open.
This is the "poop tray" access. we constructed a tray to slide under the chickens roost so we could clean out easier.
Here is the poop tray. We had an extra piece of roofing, so we added some framing around it. It's light weight enough that one person can handle it and the metal is easy to clean and spray.
We have four pop doors to run space. Two in the main coop and two in the meat bird side. One door opens to the enclosed run space, one on the other side for when the birds go ranging in their electric poultry netting.
The porch construction and inside finishes began at the same time.
Here is the framing of the porch roof. plywood and standing seam roofing went on top.
The porch from the front.
Porch from the side. The size of the porch is 4' x 8'
We constructed the nest boxes based on avalible space. they are about 12" x 14" ... give or take a bit. We used leftover siding, whitewashed and framed it all out.
This is what they look like today! With happy laying ladies!
The roost is pictured here ( with poop tray under). the roost is hinged , so the entire thing can lift up for easy shoveling out the poop tray door!
we elevated the feed and water on rocks.. as the chickens have grown, so has the height of these to keep shavings, straw and poop out!
At this point, the ladies were able to move in! We build a small run for them, while we constructed the rest of the finishes and the run.
Here is the closet from inside the main coop. Including the girls Burlesque Sign.
This is the closet looking in from the main coop. The door straight ahead leads into the meat bird area. The door to the left leads out to the run. It makes it easy to access all areas with food, shavings and straw.
the inside doors are all simple turning wood pieces to lock and open the doors from either side.
This is looking into the closet from the outside run door. You can see the shelf that holds two bags of shavings and the area we built to hold a bale of straw. Below that we store the food. A shelf to the left holds supplies and other odds & ends.
We installed wire around the bottom of the coop, dug in about 6".
Once all the roofing was up, we were able to do some finishing paint touch ups, above.
The run construction then started. We used landscape timbers, flanked by two by fours.
The upper parts of the run were enclosed with welded wire.
The Lower parts have 1/2" hardware cloth, with a strip of wood where the two join. it helped to cut costs ( hardware cloth is expensive)
Here is a better view of the full construction.
A better view of the joined wire and hardware cloth.
An old screen door a friend had became repurposed for the run door.
You will see in the final photos, we had to box out above the door out to the run, to make enough head space when we enclosed the top with welded wire. We attached the wire to the side of the coop with pieces of molding.
Here is the back side of the coop, before the final touches.
We made a small copula for the top with a weather-vane.
The weather-vane went up!
Here is another view from the back side.
Foreman Phoebe has claimed the porch as her own..
We ran electricity to the coop (powered with an extension cord for now - we will run a line out this spring).
There is a light in the main coop, in the closet and in the meat bird side.
We also used a main switch for the electric, with a light. This way we can power down everything, and if the light is not lit outside, we know that the power is not running.
We have a plug in the coop , we runa light on a timer in the winter months and a pan heater for their water.
Here are the initial plans we started with. As I said, they changed a bit and I am not a master carpenter or architect. I didn't completely figure all of the needed allowances for the walls ( or so I am told by Kevo and Joey ) but thoguht maybe these could be helpful to some!
I know the post is long, but here are a few shots from today - six months later. We have eight layers currently and did a batch of 25 meat birds over the summer.
The meat side is used for storage during the winter and may stay that way going forward 9 we may be doing some moveable pens next year.
Please, ask any questions. I wanted to give as much info as possible, because I know how helpful it was to read thigns like this during my coop construction!