This is my first coop, ever. It has been quite a process over the last several months, but oh so worth it all. I started with a basic 8x8 shed structure with an angled roof. I live up in the mountains of Colorado so I took the extra step of insulating the whole building. The short side of the building is 8ft while the tall side is just under 10ft or so. I used a steel door for the human door, also with living in the mountains I wanted to build the coop to be extremely predator proof. I used metal roofing as I really liked the look and installation was pretty easy. I have this coop running power via a basic solar system, which currently runs the automatic coop door. I am using the Poultry Butler Automatic door and am very happy with it.
Below are some photos from the build project itself. I didn't really draw up plans for this coop so I hope that the photos will help folks understand the process I went through.
Ventilation was probably my biggest hang up during the building of this coop.
I have 2- 6" round vents close to the floor, one of which is positioned to help vent the area of the coop that I have the battery for the solar system.
I have 6- 24"x6" vents along the tops of the walls opposite the roosts and 5- 12"x4" around the roost area, I went with adjustable venting there so if necessary I can open/close them depending on the weather.
The interior of the coop is tri-level with a small workspace area by the human door.
I have a 1 1/2' high barricade that creates just enough space to walk in and close the door without stepping directly into their bedding. In that space I also house the battery, which is protected by a 3 sided box. The rest of the space is for the birds. The roost level is at 4' off the floor with the roost bars themselves 1' from the floor of the roost level. This level is about 3' feet wide with the roost bars 1' apart. This level also runs the entire right side of the coop so it's 7' something long. I have roughly 1 1/2' of space between their heads and the vents on that side of the coop.
The solar system was actually pretty easy. I am only running the door currently but will probably be adding some dc lighting near the nesting boxes in winter. I will post about any changes to the system when I get to that point. I use tap lights in the coop for now as I don't need a light right now.
I went to Murdoch's and picked up a decent Marine Deep Cycle Battery and a 20w Solar Panel. At first I tried a power inverter but the Poultry Butler allows you to run the door via dc power so I was able to connect it directly to the battery itself and didn't need to invert power. In the future I plan on picking up some dc lighting for winter time so the girls will lay throughout the year.
Thus far with this set up I haven't had to do much. I currently just use the light sensor on the door. When it's light enough the door opens and when it gets dark enough it closes. I have found that I check the door way for any bedding or rocks as it has gotten stuck trying to close twice now because of a rock being in the way, so I try to keep the bedding a little thiner in front of the door and I clean out that area periodically. Other than that it's awesome. I do plan to start using the set time setting as once in a while they don't all get inside before the door closes, luckily this doesn't happen often. So I think the set time might work better for them. I will update this once I switch over.
I built a fairly large wedge style feeder, I found an example here and just sorta went with it. If anyone wants the measurements I will gladly measure it out for you. It fits quite a bit of feed, not 100% on how many pounds but its probably in the 50-60lb range, I usually just throw a 40lb bag in at a time and I still have room for more. I don't ever let it low enough to get an accurate number to be honest. But it holds a lot.
I put the feeder on two cinder blocks for support and I tied it into the coop wall as well.
The nesting boxes:
I put the nesting boxes in two spots in the coop. I have a total of 7 boxes and 12 girls. They are high enough off the floors of the levels 1 and 2 that they can still walk around under them. My goal was to allow as much space as I possibly could. I have a 7lb feeder full of oyster shell in level 1 for the girls. The boxes in level 2 are smaller than the ones in level 1 and I will definitely be fixing that but for now the lower level boxes are working well. They are 1'x1'x1 1/2' where the boxes in level 2 are 1'x1'x1' and one of my EE girls looked pretty tight in those boxes. The extra 1/2' makes a big difference.
This is my coop thus far. Of course I still want to make a automated water system at some point. But for now I am really happy with how my first coop came out.
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