We wanted to have room for 6 hens and easy access to the eggs as well as easy cleaning. We knew that the coop would go where the swing set used to be, with plenty of pea gravel in the yard. We had a good amount of nylon netting used for driving ranges and an old screen door. The water system is wonderful, but we did have some minor issues with temperature control. The water is too hot to drink in the summer as the sun is on the pipes, conversely the pipes froze in the winter during the cold snap we had.
Note that we raised the base allowing for easy access to the nest box, easy access for cleaning and a protected shady area for the girls. (They love hanging out down there)
We had seen a design on here that was pretty close to what we had in mind. The more we researched, the more we found ideas to incorporate into the coop. The base here is 4'x6'.
Next was building the sides. Note that we included screened windows along the top to allow for a cross-breeze. The side closest to the house includes the nest boxes (we decided on two, but they really only use one). By making the nest box longer on the outside, we ended up with a nice storage area where we keep our scratch, broom, bucket and coop cleaning supplies.
Framing is done, now to add the siding. Note that the original design we were working with had the entire side here on a hinge. We opted to frame it in to make it sturdier.
Next up was adding the roof and cutting out the back door.
Note that we added screens to the window venting and eventually added curtains to allow us to control the ventilation (closed all winter)
We decided to move the hens in while we finished the run and ran the water. We kept the heat lamp in for a while until the weather warmed and the girls were acclimated.
Note that used 4" dowels for the roost and eventually replaced the pine shavings with cement sand.
Next up was the watering system. It is nice to know that we can go away for the weekend and the girls are safe, fed and watered.
The girls figured how to get water as soon as we showed them how it worked.
All in all, we are quite happy with the way this came out. We have easy access to the 'overnight accumulation' below the roost as well as the nest boxes. We use a kitty litter scoop and a bucket to keep the area clean. The storage area has been a nice bonus and we keep the straw in a bin under the nest box which allows the girls some privacy and safety from the dog as she loves to circle the run & coop.
The only thing I would change would be to move the hen exit door to the middle of the coop. Shortly after we put the girls in the coop we got a new puppy. The dog leans into the netting with her paws on the ramp waiting for the girls to come out. She lives to scare the girls. We have since put in lattice to keep her off the ramp.
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