My Mid Life Crisis Coop

This beautiful coop must be seen and admired. It's definitely a favorite of the community!
By todtrac, Jan 11, 2012 | | |
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  1. todtrac
    My Mid-Life Crisis Coop

    My wife says that most men going through a mid-life crisis get themselves either a new car or a mistress -- but lucky for her I got into chickens instead! Here is my story . . .


    It was Easter 2010 and my wife insisted on getting our 10 year old daughter an incubator. I was originally against the whole idea, but she felt it would be a great family project. The idea was to get eggs, hatch them out and raise them just long enough until they were ready for auction. Done!

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    What happened next, however, is --- I got involved! And, after hours, days and weeks of research on the internet, I came to find what wonderful pets chickens make and how their owners just love them and their vibrant personalities. Soon, I stumbled upon the BYC website, where I found a photo of a chicken coop which become the inspiration for my project/crisis . . . It was then, that my quest for "Chicken Ranching" began . . . From bonafide "City Slicker" to "Country Cowboy" . . . It only took me 41 years to realize my life's true calling!


    So, the saga begins . . .

    It was a cold April day in Pennsylvania when I began to construct what has, in our circle of friends, become known as the "The Taj-Mahal" of chicken coops.

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    First, I had to figure out what type and how many chickens we would be keeping. We decided that we wanted to keep all bantam breeds (Silkie) and roughly 8-12 birds. Using the calculation of 2 sq ft per bird for inside the coop and 10 sq ft per bird for the outside run area, the blueprints in my head began to take shape . . .

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    Once I had the outside dimensions figured out, I proceeded to construct! No plans, just a picture of a similar, but smaller-scale design. I made some revisions to the original based on preference. It was my goal to build a "house" that was fully functioning without ever having to set foot inside the building --- I have two nesting boxes with outside access doors, another door with a viewing window, two large doors opening on the front for ease of cleaning/feeding and a side door for tool/feed storage.

    The perimeter of the actual coop is 6' X 8'. I decided to raise it off the ground 32". I did this to deter the entry of rodents, predators and to provide some cover over the run on hot or weathery days.

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    The height of the peek of the roof towers over 14' off the ground.

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    I used left over shingles from our house for the roof. Once the roof was complete, I began installing the 7/16" OSB siding using 8 penny nails.

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    When the OSB siding was complete, I trimmed the overhangs with OSB board.

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    Now, the dreaded task --- painting! UGH!!!

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    Once the painting was complete, I installed the windows. I was very lucky to find a used window dealer who was going to throw these ones away because they were fogging up. They were only sashes, but I was able to build wooden frames for them. The windows are able to open by tilting them out from the bottom. The sashes measure 18" X 32". I aligned two, side by side, for the walls.

    My next step was to install the vinyl siding, which was leftover from our home. I attached it using 1" roofing nails.

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    After the siding was complete, I added a cupala with a rooster weathervane.

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    I began on the inside of the coop. I insulated the walls with R16 and used 1/4" OSB for the interior walls.

    Now, the hanging of roosting poles and the building of the nest boxes. The box openings are circular in shape measuring 9" X 12", the actual nest boxes inside measure 12" X 12". I determined that only two would be required for the amount of birds I was planning on raising (one nest per 4-5 birds). The two roosting rods are of natural timber found in our woods out back. The highest roost is 32" off ground and the low roost is 18" off the ground. I calculated the space required at 5"-10" of space per bird.

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    If you didn't notice -- that is a family photo in the coop! I thought it needed some ambiance to make the girls feel right at home. I also hung the water and food canisters from a chain, as this really helps in keeping them free of pine shavings. Since my girls are getting spoiled, why not add some lighting for them??? Thus, my wife found a chandelier to put in the coop --- and YES, it works!

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    The next stage was to begin the construction of the attached run. The run measures 8'W X 14'L X 7'H. I decided to cover it all with 1" chicken wire to protect the girls from predators above. I used 1/4" chicken wire all around the bottom 2' high. Not shown, but done, is the fact that I dug out the whole run area 4" deep and buried 1" chicken wire to stop skunks, coons and foxes from digging in. GOTCHA!

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    Food storage was a concern of mine. I had planned all along to to add a space on the back side of the coop with one large door for access. I store the feed in 5 gallon plastic buckets to control rodents and moisture.

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    All of this, not just for my lady chickens, but also to keep my main girl happy!

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    So . . . Even at this point, my wife claims that she would have rather I have taken up with a mistress versus getting into chickens, as she states, "At least the MISTRESS wouldn't be living in her back yard!"

    Hope you all enjoyed my story, I am really enjoying my CHICKENS!!!

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    Lessons learned:
    - Plan on spending way more time than the wife allotted..ouch!
    -- Started April 10, 2010
    -- Finished Sept 4, 2010 (well there are still a few odds and ends)
    - Hidden cost were everywhere . . .
    - Before building an off-the-ground coop, check to see if the bird breed you are raising can navigate a ramp! I found out a little too late that my Silkies don't! UGH!

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    Total Construction Cost Breakdown:
    -- Estimated Material / $550

    - 34 (2x4x8)
    - 12 (treated 2X4x8)
    - 4 (treated 4x4x8)
    - 8 (2X6X8)
    - 8 (7/16 OSB)
    - 6 (1/4 OSB)
    - 14 (2x2x8)
    - 40' Drip Edge
    - 40' Vinyl Starter Strip
    - 100'/ 1"x4' Chicken wire
    - 45' / 1/4" x 2' Chicken wire
    - 2 gallon white paint
    - Hardware (handles/hinges/screws)
    -- Misc Items
    - Cupala (Purchased through EBAY for $ .99 plus shipping)- WOW!
    - Weathervane (Purchased through EBAY for $19.99) - WOW!
    - Chandelier (Purchased at Thrift shop $2.00) -- WOW!
    - Artwork (Purchased at flea market $2.00) -- WOW!
    - Water and Feed Buckets (Purchased at Tractor Supply $30.00)
    - Vinyl flooring (Purchased at Lowe's, bartered it down for only $5.00) - WOW!
    -- Free Items
    - Four bundles of shingles (left over from house)
    - Vinyl siding (left over from house)
    - One roll of R16 insulation (left over from house)
    - Windows (savage from local dealer trash) -- LUCKY!
    - Misc nails, screws.

    -- Labor ..... PRICELESS!!!

    With all this, I think you will agree with me that a $600 chicken coop is much less expensive than a new car and MUCH more reasonable than a MISTRESS!

    Sincerely,
    Todd Bowser
    aka: Todtrac

    Link to BYC


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Comments

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  1. Chicken Lover!
    We. NEED. This!
  2. Triciakins
    I love it!!! We are in process of building right now and when we first researched chicken coops online we thought 399-799 was high... our so far bill (we didn't have anything left over from our house and had to purchase all new) is well over 950.00 and we aren't finished yet. In the end it will be one tuff coop and our chickens will be happy and not to shabby to look at in the backyard. Nicely done though- it's adorable!!
  3. Sophia5
    Wow my dream chicken house!!! <3 <3
      achiekitty likes this.
  4. ashlieneevel
    i love this coop its very classy!
  5. Pepperanne
    I really like the looks of this coop :) One thing though -- the chicken wire.. umm raccoons, foxes, and even rats can chew through it fairly easily.. You should replace that with some hardware cloth (you know, the thicker wire) before you have an unfortunate evening and a morning of tears.
  6. Angierob
    I love it....ah it is so nice.. it looks really great and I am glad you shared. i am still planning my coop.
  7. loplover3476
    Would love to have this!! Once I change the law where I live, I would totally build one like it!
  8. budda
    Even after a year, this is still my favorite coop!
  9. blipit007
  10. Emmapee
    the little framed pic on the inside is so cute
  11. Motherhen12
    Awesome coop!!!
  12. MaryEllen3
    Your coop is adorable and so attractive to look at. I enjoyed seeing all the pictures during the construction. How are your silkies handling the ramp? Are they comfortable using it now?
  13. whipittire
    my wife fell in love with this coop. we copied your design and im not sure weather to thank you or be mad at you!!!!! alot of work but worth it. thank you, yours is beautiful, and I have a place to live if my wife kicks me out !! win win
  14. cubbysan
    Will be putting my silkie eggs in the incubator tonight. Your "Taj Mahal" is the best looking I have seen. I hope you don't mind if we try to do something similar.
  15. Roastie-Nugget
    woahhh!!!! Considering building one of them!!
  16. danniboi1990
    i want one!! this is amazing! well done!
  17. FowlmouthChick
    What a lovely coop!!!
  18. <3 N.C Chicken Chick <3
    I have the same pic in my coop! Your chickens are living large!
  19. binkii70
    im just starting on ours..thanks to you i'm having my husband look this one over!! ...love it!!!
  20. Rustys friend
    Wow! This is really, really nice! I'd love one in my backyard!
  21. blr8t2
    Cheaper than a car, cheaper and easier to maintain than a mistress AND, you have the best looking coop I have EVER seen! If you bought this it would probably cost upwards of 2 grand, good job. Now come make me one please??? :)
  22. BlueEggBetty
    It looks like the time you put in it paid off. What an awesome outcome. Out of my new crazy love for the Americauna, we are going into the free range business! Can you imagine seeing a bunch of your swanky buildings rolling around in the pasture? ;-) I don't think my husband will be too thrilled about me wanting 5 Taj-Mahals built for our gals...doesn't hurt to ask!
  23. AnotherKim
    Gorgeous! How I wish I could build.
  24. chickenlover237
    man I would love to have a coop this nice but 'sigh' cant have something that nice
  25. LindaJR
    Not going to show pictures of this to my chickens, they would want to go to your home. Great job and if next owner is not into chickens can be a play house for kids.
  26. ELLY1
    Love it LOVE it LOVE it
  27. ConnecticutCowgirl
    This coop made me want chickens...
  28. willowbranchfarm
    Wow This is AWESOME!!! Great job!!
  29. EggTooth
    What a great coop! Thank you for sharing! I really want to have my coop off the ground like this, thank you for inspiration =)
  30. Tortuga
    I've emailed this to my hubby, I want one kust like it!!!
  31. Chicky1
    awesome!
  32. nimrod3316
    Your coop in my opinion is the best of the best....I soon hope to fulfill my life long dream...Of
    building our own coop,and raising some girls and a good man...I will keep your plans in mind...
    What part of Pa are you from...We'll be soon moving to Clearfield...
  33. QueenBeeMom
    Graet coop, and you are very funny! Your wife and daughter must be proud- they are certainly lucky!!
  34. lincolnlogsfarm
    wow what a beautiful design! I love the story line too!
  35. PiecesofAmber
    Wow...this is awesome! I love the chandelier, windows, plants, and the family photo. The chickens are beautiful! Nice job. :)
  36. kmjcrs
    It is very nice! BUTTT...how do you get the chickens to go in and out if they dont utilize your ramp?
  37. Jazzchick
    What a very special memory you created for your daughter, Th day dad got involved with her wanting chickens, THAT IS PRICELESS!!!!!!!
  38. FuzzyButtsFarm
    Love your coop and you article is one of the best ones on here. I love your style.
  39. Adoravachick
    Your coop is so beautiful! I just love your story. Chickens.....they are addicting.
  40. Gardeningmama
    WOW!! Absolutely stunning, ( I think it's MY dream house). Thanks for the ramp tip, we are building a Silkie Coop right now, so NO RAMP. Good to know.
  41. Analog6
    Holy wow! It's a veritable palace. You have very lucky chooks.
  42. sansert
    Great Job!!
  43. Bantamphantom
    This may sound weird but... um...
    can I be your pet chicken?
  44. Meg2000000
    It is gorgeous! WOW! What a lucky little girl!
  45. Daloorashens
    Awesome coop and very neat pics!!
  46. chloezoebob101
    NICE JOB!!!!! Talk about spoiled chickens!
  47. showmesilkies
    Fantastic craftsmanship
  48. lilygombosh
    Love it!!!!
  49. kemclaughlin
    You have a beautiful daughter and the coop is nice! You will have very happy girls...
  50. BYC Project Manager
    Congratulations, we've chosen one of your pics for the CC-POW. Thanks for posting your coop design & pictures to our "Chicken Coops" pages! You can find more info about the CC-POW here: CC-POW Process.

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