About a year ago, I finally decided to go through with my plan to get a few chickens for eggs. We live in the city, so I planned to get 4 hens. I knew I would need a place for them to roost, thus the hunt for the perfect coop began. First I looked in books about the sorts of amenities coops needed to have like adequate roost space and nest boxes. Then I browsed around at local feed stores and online to get an idea about pricing and what other peoples coops looked like. They were expensive! Even the ones you could put together yourself were almost 500 dollars.
Then an idea came to me. My uncle is a contractor,and if he can build beautiful homes, surely he could slap together a chicken palace! He did some wonderful work, and only charged me for materials.
This is a picture of the coop before I painted it, the day he brought it over. This gives a good view of the left side which has a 2 door opening that latches shut. The small beam right under the roof eave slides back to reveal a screen window!
Here it is after I painted it. The front door is a ramp that can be put up and latched...see the little latches on either side at the top? The white drawer leaning against the brick in the right-hand corner is the litter drawer. It slides in on the longer side. I usually use wood pellets to line it and they last like a month! The floor of the house is welded wire of a pretty small gauge.
Here are the nest boxes, there are 2, divided in the middle by a piece of wood board. The lid lifts open and can also be latched shut during the night. Inside there are 2 roosts; one lower that runs the length of the house and one higher that runs the width. Every surface had to be primed first before painting so it would better withstand the weather and being hosed off.
The next stage is designing a run large enough for the chickens to move about during part of the day. We part-time free range ours, so they are let out in the morning until about noon and then they go back in for a few hours and come back out in the evening.
This was my very first run design 3' HX9' W. It wasn't very user-friendly I must admit. It was great at keeping chickens in and predators out, but not easy to clean or to replace food and water out of. We laid a section of wire under the ground as well. We weren't sure what sorts of predators our birds would attract, so we prepared for the worst.
With a growing family that soon included a 5th hen and 2 ducks, we upgraded to a 10'X20' chainlink run! It was so much easier to walk in and out of! We covered the top with chicken wire and we use strong tarps in the winter. Notice that the roof is peaked using capped fence posts. The extra yellow house came with the run that we bought off of some neighbors who were having a yard sale and we use it for our ducks!
A small kiddie pool even fits on the other end so the ducks can swim safely even when we aren't home. The coop is sitting on small pavers to keep its legs from rotting in the wet soil. 5 hens live in this house. I probably wouldn't go more...but it is great for a small group. They stay cozy in the winter and the window provides great ventilation.
Thanks for checkin' out my cozy coop!