My goal was to build a coop that reminded me of the red barn I grew up with and to reuse as much material as I could. This was to be a home for 8 layers, who were 5 weeks old when I started. The finishing touch was a 'coop' quilt on the door. The coop/run was built in four sections which allowed me to get the girls out of my mudroom sooner. The coop is 4'x6', the porch (upper level) is 4'x4', and the lower run is 4'x10'. It is fully enclosed with hardware cloth and the wire runs under it and beyond the border to prevent digging. There are perches in the lower run and the porch which are not shown in the pictures. It is wired for electricity so I can run a fan in the summer and heat their water in the winter. There are vents on both ends near the roof and two louvered windows that sit across from each other for ventilation.
I wanted a secure coop with some run space so that if we were gone, the girls could move freely from the coop to some outdoor space and be as safe as possible. There are five exterior doors at this point: a large one at the end of the lower run, a double door to the side of the lower run, a door to the coop, and a door to the porch. All doors are double latched with one slide latch and one snap hook latch. There is a pop door inside the unit that leads from the coop to the porch. It is made of 3/8th inch plastic type material. It is very durable and moves easily with the track and pulley system. It is also slick so difficult to move by pushing on it with my hands (or paws). It drops about 8 inches below the level of the door and I do have a lock on it as well.
I decided to make the nesting box access with a drop down door due to the height of the coop, which is secured with snap locks. I love this design; it is very easy to open and get the eggs. After doing a lot of "lurking" on BYC, I decided to not have dividers between the nesting boxes. The boxes are Rubbermaid tubs. They are easy to take out and clean if needed, softer to the touch than plastic, and will tolerate the cold winters we have. An added bonus was I happened to have three I had used over the years for gardening just waiting to be re-purposed. Two of the pullets have just started laying and they are using different boxes, which makes me happy. In the picture below the interior entrance to the nesting boxes are shown still covered with mesh till the girls got closer to egg laying. When the coop door is shut, the nesting boxes are in the darker end of the coop and the pullets seem very comfortable with them. The floor of the coop is covered with a matte counter top laminate sheet. It is easy to clean and I have not noted any slipping by the chickens. I have a couple inches of shavings down for the summer to provide some cushion as the chickens come off the roost. The interior of the coop is painted with an exterior latex semi-gloss with the nesting boxes in a darker tone. The coop is lined with aluminum so cleaning will be easy.
The ladder from the porch to the lower level is made out of a type of plywood siding that is like a rough cut plank, which provides traction without slivers. Rungs were also added for footing. The ladder drops down to a table in the lower run. The table provides a large landing space, allowed the ladder to be shorter and at a comfortable degree of incline. I put a tub for dust bathing under the table. In the picture below you can see the waterer made out of a kitty litter container and horizontal nipples. I topped it with a large plastic planter to keep them from perching on top. The kennel was removed once the coop was completed and the waterer moved to far end of the lower run.
The roosts in the coop total almost 8'. I built a table which is lined with NRP paneling (smooth side up). One roost runs along the top with poop boards filled with PDZ underneath. My poop boards are cafeteria trays and boot trays. The other roost sits at the same level but runs lengthwise. I made a one legged tray board that seats onto the support board of the table. Trays also sit under this roost. I can easily reach each tray from the coop door without getting in the coop so cleaning is quick and easy. The roosts are part of the unit rather than being supported by the wall. The whole unit is easy to take apart and remove from the coop for cleaning.
A peak at the pop door and the second vent at the porch end. You are looking through the unopened porch door. This door access allows me to peek in through the pop door to the nesting boxes at the other end of the coop without being too obtrusive. I also can clean the porch from this door, and in the winter will move the food and water to the porch. The floor of the porch is divided in the center and can easily be removed for cleaning.
These are some construction photos. The first job was to dig in the cement block and level them as the site runs down a slope; great for drainage but not so much for building a level building. The first section built was the 4'x6' lower run with the double doors. The floor of the coop acted as a ceiling and I used metal grates from a freezer to close off the yet to be completed end. The chicks were 7 weeks at this point and were still in our mudroom at night. Getting this section done allowed me to move them out to the run at night using the top part of a dog kennel as a shelter.
This shows the coop framing, which sits on one section of the lower run. I built this like a house versus a pole building thinking that if I ever had to move it, it would be easier to do as I could take each section apart. This took longer and is probably the one thing I would change if I ever did another one.
Lower run done and porch and roof completed. The roof was then shingled, an aluminum skin added to the coop shell for ease of cleaning, outside siding added, then the finishing details. The floor of the porch sits higher than the floor of the coop. This decreased the drop from the pop door to the porch floor, but allowed for a deeper drop to the coop floor to help keep shavings inside and allow the interior pop door to fall down way below the level of the doorway so if a predator did make it through all the exterior defenses, they would have a difficult time getting a paw under the door to lift it.
So far I am happy with the design of the coop/run and find the many doors allow easy access for cleaning without bending over. I am now working on a 10'x10' run that they can access from this unit.
Aluminum - free (from an old pick-up camper we had)
Louvered windows - free (from the camper)
Vents - free (from the camper)
Trim - free (mahogany window casings given to me many years ago)
Ladder and table - free ( plywood siding, mahogany, and cedar all given to me)
Pop door - free (piece of thick plastic I found in the garage, framing was the mahogany)
Interior coop paint - free (Recycle center)
Interior/Exterior primer - free (Recycle center)
Floor covering - free, someone gave me a roll
Posts for run/porch - free (from a garden arch that a tornado took down, wood is naturally resistant to rot and insects)
Stain/Sealer - free (Recycle center)
NRP siding for poop table and lining the frame of the coop - $4.00 (H for H ReStore)
Shingles - $15.00 (ReStore, $5.00 a pack)
Brass hinges - $3.00 (ReStore - 50 cents each)
Roofing felt - $4.00 for a roll (ReStore)
Lower run framing - free (friend tore down a deck)
Cement blocks - 5 were free
Hardware cloth - some in machine shed from years ago, most purchased new
Exterior Paint for Coop - $17.00 (regularly $40.00 a gallon)
Roosting board/poop tray unit - free except 2x4 roosts (cedar and mahogany)
Including the items with a cost noted above, I spent about $250.00 on this coop/run. New items included 2x4s for the interior coop framing, cement blocks, siding, exterior and lath screws, shingle nails, roof sheathing, and latches/locks. When I could I got things on sale or used the 11% rebates at Menards from previous purchases.
Here are some pictures of the next component of the project. Although my flock free ranges all day, I wanted to have a larger run for times I wanted them contained. I built this run out of lumber a friend gave me when they tore out a large deck, thus the beefy construction. The run is 10 x 10 ft and 6.5 ft tall. It is covered with hardware cloth on all sides and the top. Around the bottom edges I laid an apron of chain link fence (given to me by a neighbor). On two sides I also overlaid it with hardware cloth. I have some large rocks I will be placing around the edges as well. Next year I will stain it with a redwood stain I got free at the recycle center.
To connect the run to the coop, I built a raised walkway out of the decking lumber and hardware cloth. I laid aluminum sheets I had left over from the PU camper I took apart and laid on top to provide shade and rain protection. In the picture I moved one of the panels to show the hardware cloth on top. Since there is hardware cloth on all top/bottom/and sides, and both ends of the walkway had doors, it has doubled as a broody box when I had a pullet go broody and I wanted to cool her off. I put water and food in with her and one day in the "box" and she had cooled down and went up to the roost that night. The chair is for the chickens to perch on, there is also a stump and a branch perch in the run. The chair was a reclining lawn chair so it is fairly heavy and doesn't tip when the birds perch on the arms or back. It had cracked in the front of the seat so we no longer used it, but the chickens love it.
This is the door that leads from the run to the walkway. It drops down so doubles as a ramp up to the walkway. There are actually two cross pieces on the "ramp" for footing, just didn't have the second one on at the time the pic was taken.
Below is the pop door that leads to the coop's lower run. It is a nylon cutting board from Walmart. This is viewing it from the top of the walkway. It is open here, the bolt slides through to keep it up.
Here is the door shut. The bolt again is slide in to lock in place. I slip another bolt in at the "handle". Making this pop door was the most stressful part of making this run and walkway because I had to cut into a very secure coop. But the door turned out fine and I was very careful to ensure there were no possible entry points around the framing or door. If an animal were to pull out the bolt and pull the door open. they still do not have access to the door's opening.
This is the pop door that leads to the walkway as seen from inside the run under the coop. At night I close both the pop door in the large run and this pop door.
The cost for this run and walkway was about $120. The majority of that was the hardware cloth. The cutting board was about $9.00 and I had to purchase more lath screws and deck screws to finish this project. I was fortunate to have the lumber and chainlink fence given to me and I had hardware for the pop doors and the main entry door on hand.