I have been wanting chicks for a long time and the weekend before Easter Mark looked at me and said, "You wanna go get some chicks?" My response was "HECK YA!!!" So off we went to the local farm store. In our case, *The chick's came before the Coop!*
Now that we had all these chicks we had to figure out what kind of coop we wanted. So we grabbed a roll of Bounty paper towels, started sketching and we were off. Unfortunately we had a little spill while constructing the walls in the garage and the blueprints for my coop just so happened to be the closest thing and the 5 minutes we spent sketching went down the toilet literally!
Both of us knowing very little about chickens other than they are really beautiful birds and I LOVE EGGS! Mark has called me the "Egg Lady" for a long time (now I'm the "Chicken Lady"), I hit the Internet and searched and searched and searched. I discovered this website and read and read AND READ! I was amazed at the wealth of information on this website (THANKS EVERYONE)! But after a lot of research we decided what the most important aspects of the coop were. To me, ease of cleaning and gathering of the eggs, but also I didn't want an eyesore in my yard that I had to look at everyday and Mark being a custom home builder, had to figure out a way to get me what I wanted and it still be constructed so that it doesn't fall apart before we get enough eggs to pay for it!
Construction began, It was raining a lot during that week so it was decided the best way to tackle it was to build it inside the garage and move it to the actual location when it was completed.
This is the construction of the floor, he used treated 2X4X8's for the frame of the floor, on that was added a piece of plywood for the actual floor of the coop (I was concerned with using this on the floor due to the water that was going to be used for cleaning, I didn't want it to rot over time, but he assured me we would figure that part out later and he did!) and on the front porch, some leftover outdoor wood flooring and then the porch post, made out of leftover fir timbers ripped smaller so the proportion looked correct for the overall size of the house.
2X4's were ripped in half for the frame of the front wall. This wall was very important to both of us because this is what actually set the theme of the entire coop. We had some window panes that were found in the old farmhouse we bought so we decided to add the 4 windows in the front and of course we had to have a door for the chicks to go in and out of the house. We had some leftover fir siding that was used for covering the front wall. We were aware we didn't have enough to finish the entire front so it was decided that we would frame a place between the top windows for a picture or sign of some kind with the leftover outdoor flooring.
Wall stood up, we decided on front porch design then.
Porch roof, treated plywood was added for the roof.
Porch railing and spindles were added.
Side wall, again framed in 2X4's ripped in half. A friend gave us an old window that had been replaced and it was added for more light.
Sidewall stood up and temporarily attached.
Other sidewall was framed same as other walls and a man door was added for big people's to access the coop.
Roof was added to front and two of the sides.
Front door and side man door was added made out of old cedar boards that were used as packing material that was throwaway.
Coop was then disassembled, wall by wall and moved outside and placed on 4X4 posts placed in the ground and cemented in so the coop was raised off ground level. Sorry no pictures of that, I celebrated just a little too much when the actual shell of the coop was finished and had to take a small sabbatical. We also added a run area framed with ripped treated 2X4's and 3' fencing. We also put the same fencing around the outside perimeter of the coop so they can lay under the house for added shade.
So at this point the really IMPORTANT stuff was beginning, the actual functioning part of the coop!
A gravity watering system was added made out of a 5 gallon bucket, quick-connect-with shut-off (so I can turn off water supply and disconnect the hose, lift bucket out, add water, put lid back on and re-connect hose quickly) was screwed into a hole that was drilled into the bottom of the bucket and siliconed in so there is no leaks, a vacuum sealed lid that came with bucket, short piece of garden hose, 3" PVC pipe cut in half with caps glued on each end. After installing this we discovered a few things. First the water was continually dripping and over a period of time and I mean a very slow period of time, would just run over. We discovered the hose can't have a 90 degree bend in it like the picture shows so we had to adjust the clips so that it had more like a 45 degree bend in it instead. But so far, fingers crossed, it has been working correctly for about 3 days now. Chicks drink water down just below hose and air seeps into hose then water replaces air space. Also we added the piece of wood over the top of the "PVC Trough" so chicks couldn't turn it over. Also had to add a slopped roof over it so chicks didn't just jump in and take a swim! Or a POOP! Which was the real problem.
A better picture of the 5-gallon bucket watering system and under that is the food trough, we used the corner as the outside walls and added a piece of plywood and left approximately 1 1/2" of space between the plywood and floor, added a board that is about 1 1/2' long and attached it in front approximately 2 1/2" in front of the piece of plywood and you have a gravity fed food trough.
Nesting shelves were an added extension off the back of the coop with two big doors that open for collecting eggs without having to go inside the house and for ease of cleaning.
Then the sides were added on two of the shelves for the nesting boxes, the bottom shelf was left open for my 2 ducks and the top shelf was left open for a little storage for extra feed and MEAL WORMS!
Also you can't see in these pictures, I'll add pictures of these things soon, but the area under the nesting shelves is covered by a treated 2X6X8 with a handle attached and it just lifts out so I can just push the straw and all the poop out the back onto a tarp. I applied several coats of heavy coat polyurethane to the entire floor and up the walls approximately 3", the front porch floor, and the nesting shelves so all you have to do is take a push broom and push all the shavings, etc. out the back and spray it down with hose, let it dry out and put your straw back out and they're ready to start pooping again!
I realize this is a terrible picture and I will get a couple more to add, but this is the roosts, they are made out of tree limbs that have been laying in the woods, most of which are bark-free and almost petrified. The chicks are only about 5 weeks old and they already actually roost on there!! They are just screwed directly into the frame of the walls and also screwed into each other for added stability.
Unfortunately, we found out the hard way that we obviously HAVE to add some kind of top over the run. We were just letting them out during the day while we were around, and low and behold I walked out of the garage yesterday and discovered a HAWK dining on one of our favorite RIR! I was so upset! We knew we were going to have to put a top on it we just haven't had time so we thought we were outsmarting the hawks and other varmints by only putting them out while we were there, and much to our surprise we were the ones being outsmarted!!! While we were inside the garage trying to figure out the goofy watering system, the hawks were having a buffet, we lost a total of 4! Very important lesson learned!!
Wanted to add those pictures that I referred to earlier so here goes:
This is the 2 doors that open to reveal the back side of the nesting boxes.
This is the floor with the treated 2X6X8 removed for cleaning.
This is a shot with the straw cleaned out and the back doors open.
This is a shot of the treated 2X6X8 inside the frame from outside.
Also wanted to point out the fact that he made stops in all of the windows, including the big one on the side so that they can be removed in the summer and replaced with wire for cross ventilation.
Shutters, window flower boxes and porch swing were added just for fun!
Metal roof was added to top it all off !!! He did a WONDERFUL JOB!!!! I LOVE IT!