It all started with this statement, “I’ll build you whatever you want, honey.” This is our chicken Coop Story. I had been talking about getting chickens again for a while and we had been looking at the different options for a coop (prefab coops, storage buildings to convert to a coop, the barn on our farm etc.). I just couldn’t find anything I was willing to commit to. So, one day my husband said those seven words, that I am sure many times over the last three months he regrets even though when I would ask him if he regretted offering to build my dream chicken coop often, he always replied, “No honey, it’s what you want.”. My husband is one of those men who can look at something and then build it without plans (pretty handy talent ). He told me to find an inspiration picture and he would build it. I wanted something full sized for easy cleaning and pretty as I planned to spend a lot of time in it with my babies. I also wanted a happy bright place for them to live. This is the inspiration picture:
Pretty darn close huh? I actually like mine better! When planning to build this, we discussed our main objective, which was to take every single safety precaution we could to protect our flock. I had chickens about 15 years ago and lost them all to predators. I swore I’d never get them again until I could build a chicken fortress. The coop is 10X10 on the inside with a 3-foot porch on the front. The run is 10X20 all covered in hardware cloth. Half of it has a vaulted roof covered in tin and the other half of it is flat. There is hardware cloth buried around the run as well to prevent digging if a predator were to get through what I call the containment fence. It is a 5-and-a-half-foot fence covered in field fencing with a hardware cloth apron buried around it. The fence has hotwires 6 inches apart all the way to the top. It is electrified by a 13 Joule fence charger that we are running at half power and it is maxing out a 7000 volt fence tester. We bought a 13 joule because we knew we'd be expanding. There are solar powered motion sensing lights on the containment fence as well. The coop had metal roofing on the floor as the first layer. You may think that is strange, but my last chickens were killed by a predator chewing though the wood floor. So, we put a layer of metal roofing then the plywood on top of that.
Now to the fun girly stuff! The coop is done in a pretty butter yellow and purple with white trim. All of the doors and windows and eves etc. are covered in hardware cloth (I should have bought stock in the company that makes it). We used stair stringers to make the roost and each level has a different type of bar (a wood branch, 2x4 turned on it end, a 2x6 flat). I couldn’t decide which one I wanted so I thought, why choose just one? The roost isn’t’ attached so I can take it outside for deep cleaning once a week. I have 6 nesting boxes, 2 -12inch wide and three 20 inches wide, they are 18 inches tall. I like larger breed chickens and wanted to make sure they had plenty of room. I also made nesting box curtains for their privacy…and because I thought they’d look pretty. The flooring is a rubber/vinyl material. We got it on sale for 80$...it is very thick and looks like the stuff you see on gym floors. It's in the nesting boxes as well. I included a picture of it. That brings us to ventilation. He built this row of windows on the top back wall so that there would be a cross draft from the dormer on the front. He asked me to come out to the construction site so he could show me something and get my opinion. He had gone to the barn to look for a vintage screen door we bought at an auction a while back and found these shutters/windows he made about 20 years ago to close off a room that was beside the stairs. He built the frames for them and put glass in them and I use the stained-glass paint and liquid lead to decorate them. I had forgotten about them being in the barn. He had joined them together in one frame and had rigged them on a pully so that they could be opened. They are a little worn as some of the glass paint has chipped off…but I think they are perfect for the coop! Where the windows are in the front of the coop, I wanted the girls to be able to hang out in front of the window, but didn’t want to build just a roost there. So, my husband made what we call “The Jail” and “The Hospital” under the windows. We will also use them to integrate new babies when we hatch chicks. We used a piece of plexiglass and put a wood towel bar on it as a roosting bar. There is also plenty of room for them to just sit in the window as well. We did the plexiglass as it will be easy to scrape/spray off to keep it clean.
As you can see, we used full sized doors (got them at an auction for 8$ each). We removed the glass and covered the opening with hardware cloth. In the winter, we will put Plexiglass covers over them and the window opening as there is plenty of ventilation from the eves, dormer and the back row of vents. There are also side vents on each eve. I used vintage match stick holders for grit/oyster shell. We also added a mirror so they could look at them selves! Esmarelda (Blue Ameraucana) is in love with herself...she lays in front of it and just stares at her reflection! It's a hoot! Oh and in one picture you'll see our 35 year old horse who was absolutely convinced the coop was for her! We still need to finish all of the top jut out pieces on the containment fence and finish hanging all the motion lights...but other than that it is done! We will be adding a larger run next spring. I also included a picture of the movable run my husband built for less than 100 bucks! I wanted to insert the pictures in the story but doing this on my IPad it didn't want to cooperate! So here they all are starting from a pile of lumber in the pasture to the finished product!
Thanks for taking a look!
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