I am building my chicken coop in my side yard between two large holly bushes. This area is sloped. My site is small, wind protected and shaded. There is also a compost pile and fruit trees in this side yard. I drew all kinds of plans and didn't use any of them. My objectives included: 1)It could not be visible over the fence, from the street or from any neighbors second story windows, 2) no complicated saw cuts, 3) as rodent/predator proof as I can make it and 4) of course it has to be comfortable for the chickens. I plan to get 3 or 4 silkies in the spring.
I used cinder blocks for the foundation. I did try to make this level and square.
THE FLOOR. I am building it from my old stockade fence. I'm also using left over exterior house paint. I painted all the wood pieces before putting it together to hopefully make it last longer and maybe have fewer mite/pest problems. There is hardware cloth under the floor. I caulked the board seams and gave it an extra coat of paint.
I added the corner pieces and framed the top. Of course nothing is "square" anymore, and the wood is all a little warped. The inside ended up to be 36 inches wide by 27 inches deep. I added the hardware cloth on three sides and a layer of insulation on the back that faces south.
I put wood slates on both sides of the hardware cloth on the back wall. I added the pop door 8 inches off the floor (I don't want litter falling out). I put hinges on the side slats so they could be opened for more ventilation and breeze in the summer. There is ventilation at the top on both sides of the coop. I added a little side roof to keep rain/wind from coming in through the vents. The top has wood slats, insulation and metal roof. I retro fitted 1/4 in hardware cloth on the inside ceiling of the coop. I also stuffed steel wool and caulk in any hole or crevice I think a mouse or rat could chew through.
I added the front door. It has hardware cloth on the back of it. There is also metal plates all around the inside to discourage rodent chewing. It seems tight enough to keep rodents out. There is a plexiglass side window to look in and see whats going on before opening the door. I may end up making that two small doors to retrieve eggs. There has been a couple of rain storms and the coop has stayed dry!
This is the start of my chicken yard. I cemented the poles in. I had an electrician come out to install a security light on the house by the coop and plug outlet so I can see at night and heat the water in the winter.
I initially tried to make the run a "half hoop coop". That was a mistake. It looked goofy and put to much pressure on the front poles. So I put in another set of poles in the back that are slanted, so I can get back there if needed. I did not cement the back poles in the ground. I first put hardware cloth on the ground as part of the predator defense. Then I pounded a two foot piece of rebar into the ground about a foot and put the pole over that. I wedged rocks under the pole. Hopefully the hardware cloth and the rocks will keep the back poles from sinking into the ground. The hardware cloth is also aproned under the cinder blocks in the back. I have the hardware cloth done on the back panel and the roof so far. I secured it onto the cattle panel with hog rings. I'm going to cut out two doors in the front cattle panel on either side of the apple tree. I want to make them as big as possible for easier access to the inside of the run.
The first door/gate into the chicken run. It's a little lopsided, but I think it will be OK.
I have the roof to the run done. I used that sun tuff stuff. I think its easier to work with that the metal roofing.
12-27-11. The second access door and a pop door to the regular yard done.
I hate these latches. Too much fussing to get it latched! I'm going to change them if I find something better.
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