Lazy Womans Automatic Self Operating Chicken Coop

By 7 Biddies, May 23, 2012 | Updated: May 24, 2012 | | |
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  1. 7 Biddies
    480.jpe 480.jpe 480.jpe Got my first chickens, 7 of them, in March when they were just 2 day old peeps. It's amazing how much they grow in 2 months. Just got their Big Girl House completed and they seem to love it. It's the lazy woman's version, so it has the automatic solar powered, photo sensitive poultry door, automatic waterer fed from a rain barrel, and a Poop Deck; a vinyl covered drawer under the roost that slides out for easy clean-up. I call it my "Automatic Self-Operating Chicken Coop". All it lacks is a chute to automatically transport eggs from the hen house to the refrigerator in the winter. But, I'm working on it. ;)

    The hen house is 8 x 6', with an 8' foot ceiling. The 2 windows, on opposite sides of the house for cross ventilation, were from a left over double hung that we dismantled, each pane attached by hinges that open/close with ropes on a pulley. The floor is remmant vinyl for easy clean up, and the roost folds up to facilitate clean up, as well. Under the eaves (above the windows), are vents covered in hardware cloth that can be plugged with custom fitted insulation board in the winter. I put knobs on them for easy installation/removal. The run is 6 x 12'. Everything is covered in 1/2 inch hardware cloth, including the underside of the hen house floor!

    Should I ever give up chickens, it'll make a dandy garden shed. Cover the run with plastic, and I'll have a green house for winter-long veggies!


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    This is my Mountain Woman Chicken Tractor accessory, for outings in the yard:

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    Roost Down (Poop Deck below with Ace Hardware bag)

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    Roost Up

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    Poop Deck open from outside

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    There's an automatic waterer that supplies water from a rain barrel:

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    We created a "dip stick" out of PVC pipe and a toilet float ball to measure the water level, so it doesn't run dry.

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    Other than the aforementioned automatic nesting box to refrigerator egg delivery system, have I forgotten anything? I hate walking up and down the hill in winter.

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  1. LeslieDJoyce
    You've got some really clever solutions! I use the same type of waterers in my coops. I LOVE not having to haul water and cleaning those founts is a snap. We don't get so many freezing days here each year so an automatic system is possible. It saves so much labor.
  2. sunflour
    Great coop and details.
  3. 7 Biddies
    I didn't mention the feeder because it's just a standard one that hangs from a chain in the run. I manually fill it each evening when I collect the eggs. Gives me a chance to visit with the girls at least once per day.
  4. 7 Biddies
    No. We built it with leftover wood and put it on hinges. But, it quickly became too small, so I bought wooden closet rods from Home Depot and installed those. They work fine on the 6' wall, but for the 8' wall I had to hold up the center with a chain attached on each end to hooks in the rod and ceiling. Unfortunately, that allowed them to roost over the nest boxes upon which they pooped all night. So, I got a squirrel baffle and slid it over the rod to keep them off that side. Problem solved!
  5. Eileen 1930
    I need instruction to build a wood nesT box for my hens. Can anyone help me PLEASE
  6. crazyaboutchickens
    Ingenious design. Especially for the poop board drawer. I've always wondered if there was anybody else here who gave their chickens rainwater. But there's no mention of a feeder.
  7. 7 Biddies
    Being my first go 'round with chickens, I soon discovered (as the girls grew) the roost was too small. Plus, they all want to be on the top rung. I have since added a wooden closet rod above the old roost that extends across the full width of the hen house, and the girls use the old roost as a ladder. The closet rod removes easily and the "ladder" can still be raised for cleaning.
  8. jflower
    Nice coop! Maybe when I do mine the right way I will copy a few of your ideas!
  9. CGinJCMO
    I don't know where 7 Biddies got hers from, but I got mine from Murrary McMurry, and Randal Burkey. I think I've seen them else where...just google Chicken Water Bowls and you'll find them.
  10. JeffOeuf
    Where did you get your water dish? That looks like just what I want. My girls have been on a dish from day one, and I don't want to switch them to nipples at this point.
  11. 7 Biddies
    That is Clara Cluck, a golden laced wyandotte.
  12. sarahpetrey
    what is the breed of chicken in the bottom of the picture of the auto waterer? I got one free with my chick order and I can't identify it............duh! I'm talking about the black and brown feathers with fancy tail.
  13. 7 Biddies
    Hey, Andy!
    The hose is attached to the spigot at the bottom of the rain barrel, then runs to the waterer. The waterer bowl is on a spring, whereby as the bowl fills with water, its weight causes it to lower, which turns the brass "fount" in the center off. As the chickens drink, it lightens the waterer, causing it to rise on the spring which, in turn, turns the fount on. When it's filled to the level you've set, it stops. It's a pretty cool system and the chickens seem to be very happy with it. We've got it hanging high enough that they don't fill it with shavings and such like they did with the manual type.
  14. andycowboy
    That's a great-looking, and highly functional, coop! I have a question, though - what keeps the water from just running down the hose into the bowl and emptying the rain barrel? Been trying to figure out how to do one of these automatic waterers for the 2nd coop I'm just get started on...not that we get much rain here in central Texas any more! Could you give some detail on how you make this thing work - it would be greatly appreciated!
  15. 7 Biddies
    I just clean it out with a paper towel every couple of days. They get food in it when they drink, which sinks to the bottom of the bowl. It's easy to just tip over, or with a quarter turn, the bowl comes off. I just dump it out, wipe it out, and put it back. It refills within a couple of minutes. By then, the nosey girls are investigating and sticking their beaks in the fresh water. I swear, my cats are more work!
  16. Janetm
    Your coop is great! I am in the process of building one and your automatic waterer is just what my husband suggested. I nice to see the idea in practice. How do you keep the water clean? Is there a filter or something?
  17. 7 Biddies
    I want to get 2 more babies, but they're only 2 weeks old and my girls are 11 weeks. I don't want to ge through brooding again, and I'm worried about combining them. How have you managed the age differences? How do you get them to use one hen house for laying and one for sleeping?
  18. hbwbk
    I love your ideas I'm working on a larger coop now as I have 6 big girls and 8 new babies. So I now have a egg laying hen house and a sleeping hen house. The run size has 1 1/2 more room in it. They should be out by tomorrow. Can't wait I want to get them out of the nursery they are just to big for it now. They go out in the day and in at night as the old hen house is to small for all of them.
  19. 7 Biddies
    I'm providing photos of the roost in both the down and up positions. (I had to put them in my original post.) It's before completion, but you can see the "Poop Deck" under it (filled with construction materials). Another photo shows the Poop Deck from the outside. I built the coop about 15 feet from my compost pile, so it's a short trip.
  20. Roxannemc
    Your coop sounds great.and looks cute. tracotr coop too,. Good cleaning ideas which i am always looking for.and good use of reclaimed doors, windows .Does your roost happen to be an old clothes drying rack?Just wondered as they close up too and would make a good roost I think if weighted as ithink they are fairly light .

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