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MN-Hardy 7'x8' Chicken Coop with Attached Run

By Flower Chick, Jan 17, 2016 | Updated: Apr 13, 2016 | | |
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  1. Flower Chick
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    MN-Hardy Chicken Coop and Run


    On April 25, 2015 my husband and I packed up our kids and our dog (she travels with us wherever we go) and drove to pick up our very first 1-2 day old chicks. We had waited close to three years after moving into our current house before deciding that this was the right time to get our chickens. We were all very excited when the day finally came to go and pick up our chicks.
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    Our dog was very interested in the faint rustling coming from the box.

    The previous winter was filled with researching (chickens, coop types, coop construction, how to care for chickens, etc.) and drawing up coop and run plans. After looking through many books and poring over the many beautiful coops on Backyard Chickens.com, we finally decided on our final coop and run design.
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    When we got home with the chicks, we put them under a heat lamp in our basement. The kids (and dog) pretty much lived down with the chicks until we moved the little ladies (and little did we know a rooster) out into the coop.
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    Our pup and Rose, our Barred Rock, did a very nice job of keeping watch over the flock.

    After gathering the materials we needed (well, most of them anyways as we ended up taking many trips to Menards throughout the coop and run construction), we began constructing the frame of the coop.
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    My parents had some extra 2x4's in their barn (some of the 2x4's were the boards my great, great grandparents used to build their first house on the farm in 1884) so we were able to construct most of the frame using these boards. *See plans for board lengths.
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    After leveling the ground, we placed four 18" cement squares (one at each corner) on the soil and put the frame of the floor squarely on these stones. We decided to insulate the floor, so we used ground-rated, 3/4" plywood on the bottom of the frame, stuffed some left-over insulation between the joists, used 3/4" plywood on the top and finished it with a laminate remnant from Menards (for easy cleaning) before putting up the walls.
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    We were lucky to have my dad help us out with putting up the frame.
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    A great learning experience for the kids!
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    We also decided to insulate the walls and ceiling of the coop so we added plywood to the inside of the coop first. The bottom 12" of plywood is treated plywood so it won't rot if it gets wet when we wash the floors. We used 1/2" plywood on the walls and 1/4" plywood on the ceiling.
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    The roofing came next. We stapled some tar paper down before attaching corrugated steel panels to the roof. We bought eight 3'X8' corrugated steel panels and ran them from the east end of the coop all the way down to the west end of the run.
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    The run was attached to the coop so we could have one long run of a roofing and continuous shelter for the chickens. After leveling out the 'run' ground, we partially buried ground-rated 6x6 boards on all three sides of the run. The 6x6 boards are attached to the coop using 5" screws at the base. We toe-nailed four screws on each 6x6 at the point it attaches to the coop. We bought even longer screws (8") to screw the 6x6 boards into each other on the two outside corners of the run. Finally, the joists were erected and a roof was added over the run.
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    Back to the coop. We stuffed insulation in-between the joists on the outside of the coop. Then, tongue-and-groove car siding was hung using a nail gun. The nail gun made the installation of the car siding very quick and easy. The most difficult part was fitting the car siding between the exposed roof joists, but with a little elbow grease (and our trusty jig saw), everything came together very nicely! I loved the look of the natural car siding, but we had our hearts set on a red coop with white trim.
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    For our windows, we decided to install simple barn-sash windows. We wanted windows that could swing all the way open to allow for the maximum amount of air circulation. These windows were also much more inexpensive than the traditional windows we looked at. We paid $18 per window at Menards. The kids enjoyed helping me paint the windows white.
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    After the windows went in, we painted the coop a brilliant autumn red.
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    We re-purposed a door that was originally in my great-great grandparent's farm house (built in 1884). The nest box door is insulated so the hens (and eggs) can stay as comfortable as possible in all seasons.
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    Here is a look at the back of the coop.
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    Finally, we put a large door on the west side of the run and added support boards between all of the run joists. We decided to make a 4' door so we could get a wheelbarrow in and out of the run if needed. Also, we put a spring hinge on the door so the door would shut right behind us. Half-inch hardware cloth was stapled to all sides of the run. We also removed a couple of inches of soil from the bottom of the run and attached 1/4" hardware cloth to all of the 6x6 boards and to the base of the coop to keep predators from digging up into the run. We put the soil back on top of the hardware cloth once the cloth was secured. Quarter-inch hardware cloth was also used on the inside of the windows and vents to keep predators out of the coop. A chicken door was attached to the coop using hinges at the bottom of the door, and we added 1"x1"x12" pieces of wood every 2" down the inside of the coop door so when the door drops down, the chickens have their own ladder into and out of the coop.

    Here's a look at the inside of the coop:
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    We added 16"x16" nest boxes under the front windows. A sloping board was added to the top of the boxes to prohibit roosting on top of the boxes.
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    Goldie our Gold Star was the first to lay an egg at 18-weeks old. Note: We added a lip to the outside of the nest boxes so the blue inserts couldn't be kicked out. Also, we turned the inserts sideways so they would fit snugly inside of the boxes.
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    A hanging waterer and feeder were added using eye hooks on the ceiling and carabiner (which attaches the chains to the waterer and feeder).
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    I built a perch out of extra 2x4's and a small ash tree that was getting choked out by larger trees in our woods. The ash provides a comfortable, easy-to-grip surface for our birds, and it should last a long time since it is a very hard wood.
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    Our birds like the high perch by the windows.
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    Here are our chicks enjoying their new coop!
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    Our chickens free-range most days. We keep them in the run when we go out of town or if the weather gets bitterly cold.
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    The total cost for the coop alone was about $1400.00. The run cost another $700.00. It took us about a month and a half to build the coop and run. This was our first construction project, but thoroughly enjoyed the experience!
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    We are rewarded with eggs of many colors and sizes.
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    Now that it is winter, our birds still love to get out of the coop when the weather is warm enough.
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    We wrapped the run in a stretchy snow fence to help keep out the wind and snow. The snow fence is a simple shade cloth that can be purchased at most home-improvement stores. Shade cloth is a very durable material and we plan on washing it down with a hose this coming spring before we remove it so that it will be ready to be put back up on the run next fall (thanks to my mother-in-law for the great idea of using the shade cloth).
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    Hay was spread out on the floor of the run.
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    As you can see, the snow fence has kept the snow out of the run very well. It's amazing how much the shade cloth blocks the wind too!
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    I took these winter pictures in the run today and we currently have wind chills at -40 degrees fahrenheit. The chickens have spent much of the day in their run, protected by the snow fence.

    In a few months we are going to pick up five more baby chicks. We are looking forward to adding more chickens to our family!

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  1. Flower Chick
    Again, thank you all for your sweet comments! @RezChamp , YOUR comment was quite 'engaging' and I enjoyed it very much. I had to call my parents and read it to them as I knew that they would appreciate your witty humor and the story about your wash-stand. They both thoroughly enjoyed it, just as I knew they would. Also, I completely understand your desire to keep the wash-stand in it's original beauty. I hope that it can stay in your family for many generations to come! Hope you enjoyed the rest of your day off!
  2. RezChamp
    Lucky chickens to have pet people who are so meticulous. Your beautiful chicken coop is so well planned and well built. A coop and run so well done from start(actually before 'start') to finish is such a good investment. Kudo's to you and your crew of beautiful apprentices. Aren't kids and G-kids just the most awsomer-r-r-est assistants?

    At this point I'm having feelings of self pity but also feelings of gratitude.
    Self pity because I had planned to and started out with keeping 2 Roos & 28 hens, a trio of geese and a trio of ducks over winter as breeding stock for the coming spring/summer hatch but all I have left is 1 rooster & 9 hens, 1 Goose and 2 ducks because my coop wasn't as well planned as I had at first thought...and I took some short cuts.
    Gratitude because my wife doesn't 'go on' BYC to see beautiful coops such as this.
    Gratitude also because my day off work was started with a nutritious late brekky and a nice story over a cup of warm have with real cream and brown sugar.

    This may seem a bit off subject but please indulge me. I have a very very irreplaceable historic and sentimental piece of family history that will last but a few years outside with the ravages of weather conditions and in your case terrestrial predators. It's a wash--stand my Pampa(g-dad) built for my Nana in the 30's. He cut down the trees(Pine), cured the log, cut the lumber, planed, beveled, drilled, fastened, rasped(file) & sanded and then painted with calcimine paint.
    He didn't have any power tools, so Swede-saw, cross-cut saw, carpenter's saws, brace and bits, hand planers, carving knives, pitch(glue), and hand planers and a few (horse)shoeing nails. I haven't had the heart to strip off the original finsh(paint) and 're-finish' it with stain and varnish, it's 'kind of ugly' to some visitors' point/s of view but it has has a place of honour in my home.

    I know this is quite a long post but it is my day off and it is a beautiful coop, and it is a nice story...and obviously you are quite the engaging people...
  3. Homesteader2
    Our coop is also red and white (to match our house) but not as stylish and well built as yours! Good job on the design, construction, and pictures. You're an inspiration!
  4. Hiyaherc
    What a fantastic coop! Thanks for sharing so many of the details of the coop construction as well as the photos of your progress. Your flock is beautiful. I particularly like the idea of the snow fencing. I will need to try that for next year. Our girls do not like to come out of the coop if it is below 30 degrees....what a bunch of chickens they are...lol Thanks for sharing your story!
  5. Yorkshire Coop
    Fantastic coop & a most helpful informative coop page!! :)
  6. peastix
    What a lovely story and beautiful well built coop.
  7. Beeholder36
    Thank you for the info, I will definitely look in to the shade cloth for next winter
  8. KDOGG331
    Love this coop!! Your chickens definitely seem very happy!

    I wanna build something similar, though the expense scares me hahah
  9. Flower Chick
    Thank you all for your kind comments! @Beeholder36 , yes, we ran power into our coop (and we are very glad we did) because the water tends to freeze once the temperature gets below 20 degrees outside (even with the coop being insulated). The snow fence we use is a simple shade cloth that we tied up using zip ties. The shade cloth is very durable so we plan on taking it down in the spring, hosing it off, and storing it until next winter. Here is a link to some shade cloth on Amazon.com if you want to see what it is: http://www.amazon.com/Shatex-Sunblock-Outdoor-Sunscreen-7-8x50ft/dp/B015GMMEHS/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1455558824&sr=8-12&keywords=green+shade+cloth
  10. Loc20chick
    beautiful n nice winter-proofing the run!!!!

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