I'm very new to chickens. I mean, I've eaten at KFC for years but never owned a live chicken, nor do I know anyone that has. I did have a parakeet as a kid though but my parents just bought it a cage, a seed tree and a mirror to regurgitate on. I digress...
Now we have 6 chicks. Daddy's little girls. Two Tetra Tints, three Golden Comets and a Rhode Island Red.
Like so many others, I tried to find a coop design online to build. I was pretty overwhelmed. Never really built anything this big before. I did put together my kid's swing set by myself though so we can chalk that up for experience on my chicken coop resume. I finally gave up looking for plans, drew a picture of how I wanted it to look and added some basic dimensions. I then just started cutting wood and screwing it all together. Kinda making it up as I went along. The base of the chicken coop is a 4x8 sheet of plywood. I guess that would make it a medium sized coop. I painted the base with Blackjack 57 to help protect it from any poo so it would be easier with cleaning. I put that base on 4x4 legs to raise it off the ground. I then framed the inside of the coop with 2x4's and attached plywood to those. Across the front is 6 nesting boxes with doors that lift up. 3 nesting boxes under each door. On either side of the coop I have a hook and eye loop so I can hold open each door to the nesting boxes while cleaning or when getting the eggs. (only one door is shown open).
Inside the nesting boxes are plastic containers I picked up that fit in there perfect. Great for cleaning should an egg break or something like that.
On each side of the coop, I have a door that opens to the side so I can climb in there if need be or rake out any litter that needs to be removed.
On the front, I have a window that I can lift up to aid in ventilation as you can see in the previous images. It's hard to see in the following images, but across the top in the front and back of the coop, I have gaps for added ventilation.
The window and all gaps are covered in 1/4" hardware cloth. I'm thinking of adding two more windows on the sides of the coop to give it more ventilation. Still, I've gone in there in the heat of the day and it's not too hot or stinky in there.
I currently have 3 natural roosts inside the coop that go from front to back at staggered heights.
More pictures of the inside:
Finally, I used Ondura for the roofing material.
For the run, I built a fenced in area using 4x4's as the posts and 2x2's for runners. I had some left over strips of siding from when we built our barn (big shed), and used those as a wall at the end of my lean-to in order to complete the fence. I originally used a roll of chicken wire that my neighbor had laying in his yard to enclose the run. After reading multiple posts on BYC about predators being able to get through the chicken wire, I decided to use 1/4" hardware cloth. I left the chicken wire in place and screwed the hardware cloth on top of it. Additionally, I dug down around 12-18" in the North Carolina clay around the perimeter of the run and started from there with my hardware cloth to deter anything from digging under the fence. I put 3 4x4 posts in the center of the run and anchored them to the rear of the coop and to the rear of the run. From there, I framed it with more 2x2's and 2x4's and framed out a roof. For this, I elected to just use thick chicken wire. This is mainly a hawk deterrent since I see them fly over all day.
This is a picture of the door to the run. You have to duck when you go through it but once you get in there it is tall enough to walk around. It only takes hitting your head once or twice before you permanently remember to duck when you go in and out. The door fits real tight and is framed at the top and bottom. The door also has a spring so it will close behind me so I have the red rock there to prop it open if I ever need to.
On the back of the coop, I have a small door I can raise and lower. I tied a piece of 550 cord to the top of the small door and have it running up through eyelets to the right side of the coop. At the end, I have it tied to a pop tab so when I pull to open the door, I can hook the pop tab on a nail to keep the door open during the day. Also on the back of the coop, I built a covered area where I could hang the food and water so I don't have to keep that inside the coop. I didn't originally plan to use what I have as a ramp. It is a scrap piece of siding from the barn. Since it is kinda steep, I screwed a leftover piece of hardware cloth on it to give the chickens something to grip onto while they are going up and down. They haven't complained yet about it so I think it may be permanent. There is also hardware cloth attached to the bottom of the coop and dug into the ground to prevent diggers from getting in.
They get excited when Daddy comes in their yard as you can see from one of the Tetra Tints flying at me when I took this picture.
I found a small downed tree in the woods at the back of my property and cut a length of it to use as a natural roost in the run. I plan on adding more in the future but this will do for now.
Finally, a few pictures of my girls while I was taking a break from building the roof to their run.
Next, I plan on building them a little covered place to take a sand bath in the corner of the run.
UPDATE: I added their 'Sand Bok' today! Play sand with a little DE mixed in.
I decided to make a chicken ladder for the girls to climb on. I went into the woods in the back of my property and found some recent dead fall and used that. I cut little notches for the rungs to sit in and secured them with a screw. They love it so far!
I decided to go ahead and add windows to the side of the coop. It will help with ventilation and give more light during the day but mainly it's so I can peep in on my peeps without opening the side door. I have only completed one side but the other will look just like this one. Guess that will be a project for tomorrow. I used some scrap wood for the trim and some scrap 2x2's to frame the inside. This also has hardware cloth on it.