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"Villa Gallina" A Tiny Chicken Coop, By Judith Correa-Ellotfi
"Regard it just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral." -Frank Lloyd Wright
Few months ago I started an organic garden in my tiny backyard,combining/experimenting with SFG gardening & permacultural principles. Made 3 raised beds, and planted aromatics herbs, spices, medicinals, veggies as well as many ornamental...soon I started to think in adding a few chickens to get some organic eggs too... and that's how i get to find BackYardChickens.Com... and fall in love with the coop designs and get addicted to BYC ! Since then I started to play in my mind with the idea, more than that to get obsessed with the possibility...So after hours and hours of browsing the site I started (inspired by many wonderful coops here) to actually create some plans for a 3'x4' coop using simple drawing tools from PowerPoint.

Villa Gallina is a 3’x4’ - 2 nests coop , with an attached PVC run 9’x3’x 4.5’ designed to use in a tropical environment in a suburban small backyard.

There are not many predators, God forbid a burglar that jump the fence or a stray dog. Safe enough to protect them from “Guaraguaos” a local pray bird from the family of hawks as well as dogs.

It will host an initial family of 3 birds (1 rooster & 2 hens) but in theory may house up to 7 hens (giving more than 2 square feet per chicken in the run & 11“ each space in the roost inside the coop.

Its made out mostly of new treated wood panels and 2”x4”, semi-industrial linoleum tiles, asphaltic zinc, 1”x1” metallic wire & an attached ¾”PVC tubing and green plastic chicken wire run. We also re-design and adapt the original plan in order to save some money and re-purpose 4 good quality mahogany doors, laminated with Formica in the exterior side, savage from our old kitchen cabinets. Also the door the in the run under the coop was a re-purpose canvas stretcher (18 years old) made out of good quality wood 1”x4”.

Here is a simple layout of the walls & floor, as well as the nest parts:


Inside the coop ...



Front wall, back wall, ramp/ladder, roosts...

Side walls inside & outside...


Nests...
Side walls again showing the chickens door & the egg's door...

This is how I calculate how many chickens fit comfortable inside the coop roosting space :O)


& this is how I calculate how many fit in the run space (each square represent 2 squarefeet) ... lol

3'x9' attached run & 3'x4'under the coop run...

as you see if we add the blue spaces we can add 3 more chickens... humm...ok thats going a little too far I guess!


Gathered the materials, buying little by little and searching for good materials to reuse.

List of Materials
COOP

  • 1 panel 4’x8’x 3/4” (floor & front wall)
  • 1panel 4’x8’x1/2” (side & back walls)
  • 4 pieces 2”x4” x 6’ (posts)
  • 6 pieces – 2’x4”x 47”
  • 6pieces-2”x4”x 33”
  • 6 pieces – 2”x2”x2’’
  • 4 pieces- 1”x3”x48”
  • 8 pieces 1”x2”x4’ (for trimmings & ramp steps)
  • 78 - 3 ½”decking screws
  • 1 box 1 ¾ “drywall screws
  • ½ lb. 1 ½”nails
  • ½ lb. 3”zinc nails
  • ½ lb. U shape clips
  • 15’x3’ -1”x1” wire ( New A GIFT FROM A FRIEND)
  • 15- 12”x12” semi- industrial linoleum tiles & 1 quart glue
  • 1 ondura corrugated asphaltic roofing sheet – 48”x72” & 1 ondura asphaltic ridge cap 72”
  • 1 set of hinges
  • 3 latches
  • 1 Gal semigloss exterior acrylic paint color “Very Pink “& 1 Quart ” Plastic Vinyl Enamel “Deep Garnet
Re-purposed material:
  • 4 cabinet doors with knobs & hinges
  • 1 wood canvas stretcher
  • 1 piece 1”x10” x 5'
RUN
  • 10 -10’x3/4”PVC tubes ( cutted in 8 pieces - 53”, 6 pieces 33”,
  • 12- ¾” PVC T’s
  • 8- ¾” PVC corner fittings
  • 1 – 1/8 PVC clear adhesive
  • 2 rolls 25’x3’ – plastic chicken wire
  • 2 bags 100pc plastic straps
  • Re-purposed material:
  • 1 piece 2”x36” PVC tube
TOTAL APROXIMATE COST $450

Finally spent my Christmas vacation building it. Is the first time I build something, but armed with a power-drill, a jigsaw, a hammer, measuring tape and a square; started what my husband called the "Chicken Villa Project", and which end up at Villa Gallina.

I started on December 24 by cutting /assembling as much as I feel confident to do (My husband was willing to help me but working 6 days a week, don't leave him much time to do so, so I went on, asking him for advise at some points, and knowing that if I get stuck he will came to the rescue. As I started to succeed, I decided to keep on working, but still will leave him some to do ;)

First I cut & assemble 2 pieces -3'x3'x1/2" (walls; one with the chickens door, another with the opening that give access to the nests) 2 pieces- 3'x4'x3/4" (one with a window opening 12"x36",and the floor. With some left overs built a 3'x4'wall with an opening door for give access to human for cleaning).
I decided to paint before assembling, so later we only need to retouch, and so far has been the best idea.


Cut and assembled the nests, 12"/14" x12"x36" with a center division,and 2 entrances (sloped top, so they don't use it to roost), and a ladder/ramp which my sweet MIL says wont be necessary as chickens fly (and she is right, but just in case)

The frame is 4 posts 2"x4" x6', six pieces 2"x4"x 47" & six 2"x4" x 33" (assembling the frame was so far the most difficult part of the process, first time it took me a whole day & came out twisted, so next day I had to disassemble and try again, one of the post was bended and a 1/4' difference at assembling made it all wrong, so I must took all the 72 screws and started again, this time I used only one screw in each end just to hold it in place and started setting up the floor and walls, and then go back and reinforce with the other 5 screws.)
I covered the floor and top of nests with 15 pieces 12"x12" semi-industrial linoleum tiles


I use 4 doors from our former kitchen cabinets, they are covered with Formica, but i paint them
So far we are in this stage, the roof is not attached, just put on place

Still need to fix the ceiling, is still loose... I need to do another trip to the lumberyard but today is a Holiday in PR, 3 Kings Day :). Also need to cover the down part with wire and construct and attach a runner. (3'x 6' x6' if we decided to fix and use a re-purposed cage or, 3'x 4 1/2'x 9' if we decided to built a new one )
Guaili, our cat is inspecting the project =^.^=
The roost also need to be fix, the latches to close the doors, a flower pot will be attached under the window, and plants will be put in the flower pot over the nests doors; some trimming here & there for aesthetic reasons, work the landscape around the coop & bring the chickens in (considering to buy from a friend 3 hens & and 1 rooster, almost a year old, already laying)... I'll keep updating. Blessings!

Almost finished... 7/1/2012

Villa Gallina PVC Runner
Today 1/15/2012, 3:30 pm...just finish the 3'x9'x4.5' PVC run frame... only need to cover in wire, level the dirt floor, add wire doors to the area under the coop and we will be ready to bring in the chickens!!!

Getting closer...
Today's achievements ( January 16,2012):


Under the coop runner is finished, door & locks installed


Only need to put some trimmings
& finish the PVC run

JANUARY 22, Sunday
Finally can say the coop is finished! Today I put up green plastic chicken wire on the run...here are the pics so far,,,



With a leftover piece of the over the door& ramp/ladder."ondura" corrugated asphaltic roofing sheet & PVC tubes built a little roof on the attached run
I hope they love it ( and pay the rent with many beautiful & tasty eggs)
I'll update when I get the chickens


January 29,2012

Last minute finishing touches with my husband's help & the Chickens are here!!!

Just for aesthetic reasons the front of under the coop run 's wire was changed ( a suggestion of my husband)
roost were reinforced & decorative painting was hang up inside
Guaili made his last inspection of the coop & tried the nest's comfort...actually spend a couple of hours chilling & napping there :O)
I decorate a pot & put a smaller one inside with a cute flowering plant, my husband installed it to the front wall.

My hobi decided we may need electricity in the coop and make it happened!
We add gravel inside & outside around the run.
Probably we will put some concrete blocks (like we do for the rised beds) around it.

Called it finished at 5pm and of we went to get the chickens!


Here they are!

They are bigger than I remember, still young, one year old girls started laying last summer,
I'm told that they are Black Sex Link...
You can get to know them a little here:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/villa-gallina-residents



Hope this page serve as inspiration & may be of help to anyone planning on made a small coop as so many cute & functional coops in BYC inspire me & help me to design and built our little "Villa Gallina".


UPDATE
This weekend God willing will be adding some roofing to the run... is raining almost daily & i want them to be more comfort... probably will add some sand in the run under the coop too... pics soon!


Just add 2 bags of coarse sand under the coop where they have fresh water (change it twice a day) & food (30% protein mixed with layer's pellets). Greens,fruits,veggies scraps, lentil sprouts, crackled corn, oatmeal, yogurt,sunflower seeds are some of the goodies that are served sparingly/randomly on a daily basis.

And a piece of ondura corrugated asphaltic sheet was added to the run, hopefully this will help to keep them dry :O)

April 16, 2012

Latest improvement, a door was finally added making possible to a human to get inside the run. Is not the fancier door, just a pvc rectangular frame covered with chicken wire & attached by plastic straps, as a closing device I'm using and elastic band with hooks on each end.

August, 7, 2012

After 6 month of being a happy chicken owner & of using this coop, I'll tell what I learn so far:
  • Making a slant top part for the nest is not practical if some part of the roost will be above it.
  • The roost indeed should be of a piece of wood, 1"x3" (specially if your chickens are big.
  • Making more than one nest is totally not necessary if you have less than 6 hens
  • Skipping preparing properly the land where you plan to put your coop/run was a major mistake... it should be flat, well leveled and if possible made some solid foundation, with good drainage... on top of it the best is to have a thick layer of sand (and it should be a fine sand, the coarse one in the pic don't last a week as they scrap it out)
  • If living in a tropical place heat & rain are two elements to take care of, so adding some kind of roofing protruding over the window openings is a must, as well as some barrier against the windy-rain in the side of the run that is most likely the wind blows the rain in...

November 10,2012

UPDATE

The roost was substituted months ago for a wider one (1"x3" ) and today I modified the nests, leaving only the side the girls use hopefully, now the top part of the set don't get full of poop!

Almost a year later...

I just built a small housing for a couple of Kikirikis check it out!
https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/kikiriki-tropical-coop





April 21,2015
Home Improvements in Villa Gallina!



Four years ago I started the adventure of chicken husbandry, starting with the construction of Villa Gallina. The tiny coop has suffer some changes since as well as it occupants has change, non of it original residents still alive; actually, the rooster is Favio, a handsome black cooper maran, Yamina, a mutt with some black star among her genes, that lays small cream eggs, Karaya a longhorn/ eastern egger that lays big blue eggs, Raphaelle a lovely red layer who is the youngest and lays big brown eggs.



Villa Gallina "housing" has change quite a bit. The most recent improvement was actually making its run smaller ( instead of 9'long x 3'wide x 4.5'long is 8'x 3'x4' ) now that the chickens spent most of the time free range in the backyard they dont need as much space in the run. I substitute the old plastic "chicken wire" for metal 1"x1" wire, and change de "human door" to the front. I add a swing for their amusement.

Yamina get broody again, and of course the other girls just want to keep laying in their common nest. (Originally the coop has 2 nest but they always used the same, so i decided to eliminate one.) The solution I found was making a broody room for Yamina in the run. Its an enclosure 33"x22" with feed & water containers, and a roomy nest made re-purposing and old PC monitor carcase.
The floor is made of PVC 1in panel , the front wall is a 1/4 in x 1/4in attached to a 1in PVC tube frame, the door opening was cut out to fit the cover of a cat litter 5 gallon bucket and the three outer walls are cover with a blue inexpensive awning.



This little guy is a rescued pigeon chick that fall of the nest and I found him wondering hungry in a parking lot 4 weeks ago, he still a baby that needs to be fed by hand and can not fly yet.

Yesterday 4/27/2015 A new lady move to Villa Gallina



And Today, 4/27/2015 Yamina have her first two baby chicks!!!



Turn out, that Yamina is a very good mama hen, she stay in her "maternity room " until her last egg hatched on May. A total of 7 chicks of different ages... only one died on day 2. So she got to rise 6 chicks, 2 boys and 4 girls. I give away 2 girls and a boy, and keep 1 boys and 2 girls.



With 8 adult chickens, its obvious the run is too little to leave them there 24/7... so I decided to leave them freerange in the backyard from 7 am to 7 pm.... not a good idea... they eat and scratch most of my veggie/ herbs/ ornamental plants and dig holes everywhere, not to mention the chicken poo all over the backyard.

So today a trip to the store was in order to buy what i need to increase the size of the run and here are the material list so far:

8 pvc tubes 3/4"
21' of chicken wire 1"x1" x 2'
100 straps
pvc adhesive
8 - 3/4" pvc elbows
14- 3/4" pvc T
1 ondura corrugated asphalt roofing sheet

Fastforward 5 years...
53 days ago, huracain María hit PuertoRico
20171007_175051.jpg

A​
Our island was devastated. We still have most of the country without electricity, cumunications and or water service. Many people lost partially or totally their homes due to the winds and or the floods. Agriculture suffer great losses. Many roads were damaged, and entire cities specially in the mointains got incomunicated. Many people died as an aftermath due to the imposibility of getting the medical treatment on time for preexisting conditions or new sickness. Its been a painfull process for all. But I am very grateful because on our home we were 43 days without electricity and internet, 20 days without running water and a big tree from my neighbor's fall exactly on my tiny chicken coop and run but other than that we are fine.

Now we are planing on reconstruct Villa Gallina, make the coop it a little bigger and add a nest box outside in order to increase the sleeping space of my flock of 9 hens and 1 rooster.
Villa Gallina 2.0.jpg


20171219_182444.jpg

The following photo was took on November 13,2019
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About author
judyki2004
I'm a dreamer. an idealist, an artist (illustrations, mosaics, watercolors ect.), a healer (reiki , reflexology, aromatherapy), a backyard gardener, an urban chicken keeper, who also have 2 ducks and who host a broad variety of wild birds. I have 2 cats: Guailí (16 y/o) & Malaki (2 y/o); and some fishies.

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Wow! What an amazing "read!" I expected a quick article on a cute little coop set-up. What I read was a wonderful documentary! Villa Gallina is not only a great coop set-up, but the text reads like a novella - complete with drama, disaster, loss, hope and, of course, love.
Thank you for this detailed account of your chicken adventures. I hope they ll continue for many years to come!
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judyki2004
OmG thanks so much for your kind words♡♡♡
Looks like your coop is holding up really well! Nice to see that you've kept your page updated with coop upgrades and new bird additions!
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judyki2004
Thank You :)
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Comments

thanks greeneggs1m planning on getting the chickens today...so is too soon to know how it will goes but I made the nest's top slanted so i hope that wont be a problem...stay tuned ! lol
 
Thank you so much for posting the photos & plans of your coop!! The measurement-labeled plans from several views plus the photos of so many aspects were excellent for helping understand exactly how you laid things out. This has helped me IMMENSELY in planning a sleeping quarters box for 3 chickens within our semi-enclosed run. It is very hard to find info on small spaces like this, & on head room needed above perches.
I also really appreciated the additional explanations on the thread you posted on at http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/77274/dimension-questions .
One modification I'd suggest would be on perch shape. Best perch specs are something not commonly known—I might add a page on it on my website sometime... For large chickens, perches 4 inches wide, unpainted & with slightly rounded edges are optimal. That way the chickens can rest on their feet better (not have to teeter & grasp as much), and--VERY importantly--their bellies & feathers can warmly cover all of their feet when they're sitting during winter.
Thanks you again for answering questions I'd really been wondering about for my project. I know that takes a lot of time to put together such clear explanations—Thank you!
 
@ SpeckledHills thanks so much for the feedback! I'm glad it serve it purpose! Your suggestion on the perch are very welcome! I made them of 1" x2" rounded in the corners, but Yesterday I notice my chickens have BIG feet lol well they are all big, specially the boy! , So probably soon i'll change it according to your advice... so looking forward to see your project! Blessings :O)
 
I have predators here in the hills but I love your run. I could use that during the day and lock the girls in their house at night so they are safe. I have extra pvc pipe so that is great..thanks for the idea
 
tripleG i'm glad is an useful idea ! i think that if i had enough space i'd made it lower and move it every 2 or 3 days so day can graze all around
 
What software did you use for you plans you posted?
Supposedly treated wood means chickens/eggs aren't organic, but what is expected, allow termites by using untreated wood?
Good, practical design!
 
Thanks for the feedback fc !
The plans were made using simple drawing tools of Microsoft PowerPoint...
I used treated wood in order to give durability to the coop, and protection against termites & moths, because Puerto Rico's tropical weather (lots of humidity) is a paradise for them. So the "organic" about the eggs will be achieve by providing them with food as natural as possible...anyway they will be better than those of the supermarket. :O)
 

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