My original coop was a pretty simple A Frame design, with standard water basins, and a home built bulk feeder... but nothing fancy. It was a wheel-barrow style tractor and was the first attempt at a coop. It was satisfactory and has worked for the last 5 months, but in using it, I've also learned what I would like in a 'dream' coop. Here are the shortcomings I wanted to address with a new coop...
Here-s the A-Frame as it is today:
Nesting boxes & outside access - With the A Frame, I had to open 1 or 2 large panels in order to gather eggs - which would lead to hens leaping out of the coop and the fun of getting them gathered back up. In addition, sometimes we'd get eggs with bedding caked on and my wife doesn't like to deal with that, so she'd just toss the eggs - so the nesting boxes needed some separation and easy access to eggs.
Feed access - same basic issue - to fill the feeder, I had to open the large panel - leading to the same fun in issue 1... and the feeder didn't fit all that well in the a frame - a triangle shape hen house has some spacial limistations
Ease of cleaning - the A-frame has all kinds of oddball corners, nooks and cranies, and miscelaneous 2x4's running around for support - I wanted the new one to be easy to clean out.
Other things I wanted - I liked the retractable plank the A-Frame had and the top/bottom split for coop access and free range access in one portable unit. I wanted something a little larger also than my A-Frame so we could comfortable keep more hens and they wouldn't feel squished. I wanted some lighting built in and a heat lamp for colder winter months. The lighting needed to be on a timer for winter laying with all electrical easily accessable and the wires not struined all over the place. Adjustable ventilation is a necessity... and the other stuff I'd figure out as I went along. Oh yes - wheels on all 4 corners so we can just wheel it around the yard.
The real shape I wanted was a Barn shape - a prarie barn with the 2 pitches in the roofline - I've always thought they look nice - so I began sketching out the coop, the frame, thinking of placement and access, size, footprint, and then doing some scale drawings to get the angles correct as I wanted it to look like a mini-barn with the correct porportions.
(8) 2x2 - $2.71 each at Home Depot
(40) 2x2 metal brackets - $0.33 ea/ @ HD
(20) L brackets - $0.56 ea / @ HD
Wood scraps - I have lots of wood scraps - the previous owner was a woodworker, so there is ALOT of scrap material I've been able to use. - N/C
Lighting setup - Bought the wire, socket, timer, heat lamp housing, ceiling boards, upper vents, & nails at a Second Hand construction store - $8.00 total
Here's the Barn Coop framed in and some detailed shots of the initial construction
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