Well, I am finally going to document our coop build. We took a lot of design features from The Palace and Lake Norman Coop DeVille - thank you both for documenting your builds so well.
We are new to raising chickens. I got the bug from listen to friends who raised chickens. At first I didn't get the hype, but I did love the idea of having a steady supply of fresh eggs. Then I ate a farm egg... that had me sold!!
We did a lot of research - how much area does a chicken need? What do we want in a coop?
We spent a month constructing the coop after the "Master Builder" had the design down. We had a coupon for 10% off from Home Depot and a list of all the stuff we needed. It was go time!! We constructed it out of redwood - yeah, that may have been overkill, but we only wanted to do this ONCE!! We also constructed the frame to where we could take it apart if needed - in the event we moved or decided chickens weren't for us we could sell the coop. So, the roof is one (very heavy) piece and the panels are solid construction. 2X4s were notched so the plank boards could sit inside flush. Just loosen some screws and it all comes apart. Just a weird design we had to have - leave it us to make it harder.
This area was separated from the rest of our backyard - surrounded by a white fence with a gate. The original use was an outdoor play area for our kids when they were toddlers with the idea it would be a garden once they were grown. Perfect use for chicken - a coop with an outdoor roaming area. The dog has the yard beyond the fence. We just used end cap pavers for the foundation and filled it with dirt.
So, here is the coop assembled. Each wall is a panel - 4 exteriors and one interior (house). Nesting boxes will go where the unfinished boards are. The door to the house opens fully to make cleaning easier. We installed a bard door so we could reach in and fill water and feed without letting the girls out. No roof yet. You can see the small (tiny) coop our pullets were living in before.
This is the view of the inside of the house. Nesting boxes will go where the unfinished boards are. Me installing the "fake" redwood flooring in a redwood coop - oh the irony!
Roof construction. If you noticed in the previous pictures - the main roof trusses were part of the side panels. The roof piece is the rectangle box (allowing a 1-foot overhang all around) with some interior beams. The interior beams were what we nailed the plywood roof to. The roof is held in place by screws from the box/fascia boards. Just undo those screws and the whole roof will lift off - of course with shingles making heavy it will take a few guys to actually do it.
Roof mostly done. Extra pavers added for the nesting boxes.
Nesting boxes added. Like the rest - they are separate construction - only held in place by some screws from inside.
A design idea I had - put a storage area under the boxes! This was before we installed the doors. We keep our feed and scratch in the small metal trash cans. I learned the hard way not to use plastic as we found out our very suburban neighborhood has rats & squirrels who will stop at nothing to get to the feed! As you can see it is complete walled off from the run area under the house. No way for critters to get in, but if they do they will find metal cans.
View inside. The fascia board in front of the boxes is one piece and the screws (in each corner) hold it in place as well as the nesting box assembly. The long board under the fascia comes out (it is just resting in a groove we made), so we can just sweep out the shaving/straw material for easy cleaning. Same with the unfinished board in front - it is just sitting in a groove to hold the shavings inside. It has since been stained. Since the panels were constructed with "dog ear" fencing, we had to cut all the tops of the fencing off. Each board was sanded down smooth (makes the stain easier to apply) and stained prior to assembly - thank goodness for kids!! The kids and their friends did all the staining. I mention the dog ears from the fence because that is what we used to attach the roosts. The other side has them cut out so the roosts can be removed. I used pressure-treated tree poles for the roosts - mostly because I had some and also to be able to tolerate being pooped on repeatedly.
The ladies like their new home!! The kids each picked out a bird so we have quite a diverse flock. And they all have names the kids picked out.
No cozy coop would be complete without some chicken décor! I need to add a chicken weathervane!
Things we considered in the design:
Functional - it had to be easy to clean!!
Expanding possibilities - we knew we would add to our flock.
Transport? - if we ever needed to move it, how would that be done?
We spent the hottest part of the year building this - 100+ temps!! We bought the toughest stain we could find. While we liked the idea of having natural wood color (come now it is built of redwood!), we really didn't want to stain this repeatedly. We have termites in our area, so that is what made us construct it out of redwood. We didn't want to have to do structural repairs. We tar papered and shingled the roof as the roof and floor of the house are the only non-redwood pieces - just the average plywood. All the builds seem to use linoleum for the floor of the house to make it easier to clean.
The ladies started laying about 1 month after we finished the coop. All seems to be working well so far.