My Super Awesom Chicken Coop

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  1. CockadoodlePoo
    Poppy's Surprise!
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    First thing....I know "Awesome" is spelled wrong above, but I have no idea how to change it!

    This massive coop undertaking was a direct result of my dad (Poppy) wanting to suprise my kids with baby chicks for Easter. Knowing I was allergic to cats and dogs, my dad thought it would be funny to bring a box of 6 chickens to my doorstep as pets for my girls!
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    Needless to say, as a city boy, I was not happy. I knew nothing about chickens or any other barnyard animal for that matter. But then I discovered Backyard Chickens! What a lifesaver! I learned so much about these crazy little creatures from the great community here. Then I discovered the Coop Design section.....big mistake! My mind started racing and I sat down with a few pages of graph paper and a mechanical pencil and the rest is history. While this is an original design I definately borrowed some ideas from the other members. (I had no clue about perches and egg boxes and ramps before viewing the other coop designs, so thanks!) Here are a few pics of the process. I hope you enjoy them.

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    This is the preliminary drawing of the coop. Some changes were made to the finished product but this served as a basic model of the proportions.
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    Here is the plan for the floor joists. 2X6 construction with joist hangers and 4x4 posts in the corners. The dimensions are 6ft X 6ft. Note***If I had known that a 6 x 6 structure would have generated so much waste I would have definately changed that part...Since most materials come in 4 x 8 sizes and 8 foot board lengths, you basically have 2 feet of wasted material when it comes to the 2x4's. Also, if you do like the 6x6 size (which I do) I would create the frame a few inches smaller because you pretty much end up with 23" boards as waste when you start to build to the outer materials and those size boards are good for nothing! Below is the actual pic of this structure. The 4x4's are buried about 2 feet and concreted in place.
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    This is the plan of the front wall of the coop. Numbers represent inches. Cut list at the top. I know, it's built like a house! That's the problem with reading "house framing" books...I totally overdid it! But it's solid.
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    This is the back wall with opening for door.
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    Next is the egg box wall with window opening. This was the most complicated wall.
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    Next is the wall that joins to the run. I wasn't sure how I wanted the run roof to connect to the coop, but I eventually decided to just center it on the wall and use equal sized roof rafters on the same pitch.
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    Here's a pic of the front and back walls in place.
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    I know this is a big jump in construction but I didn't want to put too many boring pics on this page. The walls are complete and sheathed with the roof rafters in place. The total height of the coop is approximately 12 feet tall!
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    The roofing material is on and the egg box construction has begun...again with the over-framing....the egg box supports my weight with no problem...200+ pounds!!! I think it'll handle a couple broody hens! haha. The roof material is an Ondura product I found at the local home center. A little pricey but easy to install and it'll last 50 years. It's basically like a sheet of shingle material that mimics the look of galvanized steel roofing minus the eventual rust!
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    Next the tar paper vapor barrier was stapled in place and the smartboard sheathing was screwed in place. The smartboard really takes paint well. I used a 100 % silicone caulk on all edges of the material to make sure it doesn't absorb moisture and break down over time. I milled the window sill plates out of 2x6's and used a 14 degree angle to help the water shed away from the structure. I also cut a drip edge in the bottom of the sill so rain doesn't get under the sheathing material.
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    Finally some color! This is all my wife's domain. She's the color expert and I knew there was no chance of beige or brown being acceptable! When she told me she was going to use a greenish color for the body I was concerned the coop would blend in with the surrounding trees.....guess I was wrong! It's more of a blueish green. I thought I'd put myself in this one so you can get an idea of scale. I'm 6 feet tall.
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    The windows were reclaimed from my garage...they were hiding in the rafters when we bought the house...I designed the window openings from the beginning to fit the windows I had. Planning is important. They did need to be trimed slightly though but it was no problem with the assistance of my dad's table saw. inside of the window opening I stapled 1/2 inch hardware mesh for security and screen to cut down on flies (another tip I learned from the BYC community!) The egg box lid is attached with a piano hinge for easy access to the eggs from the outside of the coop. A lot of custom cut pieces to get the egg box to work. I had a general plan but it ended up turning into a monster project. I kept the roof of the egg box as a 45 degree angle to match the roof of the coop.
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    Next is a view of the back of the coop. The large door was cut down to size from a leftover door found in our basement. My wife again went crazy with the color. She painted all of the detailed rectangles in different colors as a decoration for the outside of the coop but when I attached the hinges to the door frame it turned out she painted the inside of the door! Oops. We took the door down and she painted the other side all fancy too. Now the chickens have something pretty to look at too! The egg box was topped with cedar shingles and the hardware cloth was attached to the run area. I burried the cloth in a 1 foot by 1 foot trench all the way around the coop. LOTS OF DIGGING! The wire goes down the ditch, along the bottom, and back up the front wall of the ditch. Then it was all filled in.
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    Here's a pic of the inside. The walls and floor are insulated. I used a linoleum sheet and PVC trim boards at the floor level for ease of cleaning. I ran a bead of 100% silicone caulk around the edges to make sure no nastiness was absorbed into the flooring. You can see the three nesting boxes and two perches made out of large curtain rods (another garage find) I know the wainscoating is a bit much, but I like it! I'm going to insulate the gable walls and roof before winter. I also plan on running electric for a light for heat in the winter.
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    Here is a pic of the chicks on their first day in the coop. They were about 3 months at this point. The coop will never be this clean again! I later purchased hanging food and water containers that are about 2 gallons each. I thought my white chickens were Orpingtons for the longest time but I'm starting to think they are leghorns. The roo is Roofus and the hen is (large)Marge! The other RIR's are Milly, Lilly, and Buddy. We're hoping to get a few more hens in the future since I've read that a good ratio of hens to roos is 10 to 1.
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    Here's Roofus trying to get used to coming down the ramp. A little precarious at first, but they're pros now.
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    And here's the (almost) finished coop! Still some trim to attach and finishing touches. I did put a few large branch perches in the run area. My wife also wants a window box built for the front window and of course some chicken friendly landscaping around the coop. My work is never done! It took about 2 and a half months of all of my free time and more money than I'd like to admit, but we really love our new coop and the chicks seem to love it too. I hope you've enjoyed this. I was certainly inspired by all of the great coop designs I looked through on the BYC pages.
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    April 8, 2012 - Easter

    OK, there have been some major and occasionally disturbing developments since getting the chickens last year.

    1) Marge, the all white leghorn, is actually a rooster as well. We still call him Marge! But this brings our ratio to 3 roosters, 2 hens. For the longest time I was under the impression I could make this work. After all, I have grown somewhat attached to these creatures. Well, After about six months old, the two white roosters became super aggressive and Roofus managed to chase my wife across the backyard. That was the end of her involvement with our backyard chickens and the beginning of her fear of extremely large birds!

    2) The 3 to 2 ratio has taken its toll on my poor girls. I watched as their feathers slowly disappeared from their backs and their backs became red and sore looking. I thought to myself, they are going to molt anyway and their feathers will grow back soon. Well, as I was getting ready to head out the door for my overnight wedding anniversary trip, I checked on the chickens one last time. I was horrified to see Milly had a huge gash across her thigh and the skin was completely peeled back. I immediately separated the boys and girls, keeping the girls inside the coop with access to the egg boxes and the boys outside in the run. Luckily the inside of the coop is large enough to keep the girls from going stir crazy! Milly seems to be healing nicely and they are both benefiting from not being continuously mounted all day. I let the girls walk around the yard when I'm outside so they can free range a little. But now, I'm stuck with the predicament of having to get rid of my roosters to save my hens. I honestly am feeling less and less bad about it as it concerns my white roosters because they have become very aggressive and constantly attack me when I open the run to change their food and water. I do however feel bad about having to get rid of Buddy, my RIR rooster. He has never once attempted to bite or scratch me. But his is the biggest of the roosters and I'm afraid he will hurt the hens.

    So, if you are new to raising chickens, use this story as a cautionary tale of what not to do. It seems roosters should be housed seperately or there needs to be a large number of hens to one rooster ratio. Don't fool yourself and be willing to accept that you cannot control everything. When you take a wild animal and control its living conditions, you are responsible for its safety and well being. An emotional decision to keep the roosters led to an even harder emotional decision to get rid of them.

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    Here is my "Buddy" He's a really good rooster.


    I am hoping to get about six more pullets this week to add to the flock!!! I have read to introduce them to the existing girls slowly....we will see how it goes!

    May 25, 2012

    Finally got a few new chicks today! The new additions are two black australorps and two buff rocks. The first batch of chicks were got from Poppy were already about 4 weeks old, so this is our first experience with babies. I hope all goes well. I'd really like to locate a couple of barred rocks too, but they have been hard to find.
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    I know the temp is a little high here, but I was just getting the light adjusted to the right height.


    Here is a video of the chicks...


    June 10, 2012 - New chicks are 2 1/2 weeks old. I'm starting to wonder if I'm cursed with more boys because the black australorps are kind off aggressive. They fly around and land on eachother. I'm keeping my fingers crossed...hopefully it's just the breed. [​IMG]

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    July 8, 2012

    The chicks are almost 7 weeks old and they are getting huge! I think three of them are girls for sure, but I have my concerns about one of my Black Australorps. The tail feathers stick up and I saw the neck feathers standing on end today when they were playing outside. I have introduced the new chicks to the "old chicks" and my big girls quickly put them in their place! I keep a close eye on them to make sure they don't get abused and only let them co-mingle for a short period of time. I'm going to start planning a temporary addition to the coop so they can get to know eachother through the hardware wire.

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    Keeping my fingers crossed, but this one looks a lot like a boy!

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    Lilly is keeping the little ones on their toes!

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    One of my pretty buffs.

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    My black Australorps!

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    A little Yin and Yang moment.

    July 24, 2012

    I spent all day yesterday getting the coop ready for the new chicks. I added a partition wall to keep the big chicks separated from the little chicks and added an access door on the back side of the coop. I have read that you need to introduce the two flocks gradually, so the little ones are segregated to the area of the run that is under the main coop. The two areas are separated by a hardware cloth wall so they can see eachother and get used to one another. Adding the access door to the back of the coop allows me to reach all of the corners of the run for easier raking and lets me bring the little chicks in and out. I hope this works! It feels a little wierd not having the babies in the basement anymore. Now I have to walk all the way outside to see them.[​IMG] But I guess they were getting way too big for my little brooder. I'm sure they will appreciate the extra space. I will add a few pictures of the modifications soon!

    October 23, 2012

    A sad day...I finally got rid of Buddy, my last rooster. No more cock-a-doodle-dooing all day. I guess my neighbors will be happy about that. It was finally time for the new chicks to become integrated with the old hens and I just couldn't subject them to the same torture Milly and Lilly had to endure. Buddy is a really huge rooster and his spurs have gotten really big. It was a hard decision that Buddy has made easier for me because he has become very aggressive lately and started attacking me when I would go into the coop at feeding time.

    January 6, 2013

    Happy new year to anyone reading this! It's been a while since I posted so I thought I'd give a few updates. Life is much easier without the roosters. I really felt bad about getting rid of them, but the pain subsided pretty quickly! (Sorry Buddy) I guess it helps that the hens are doing much better without them. Milly and Lilly have made a full recovery. I thought they would never get their feathers back, but they went through a pretty ugly molt and now they are fully feathered in time for winter. I pleased to say that all of the new chicks are indeed hens. Whew! The two Buff Rocks are huge and fluffy and the Black Australorps are pretty fuzzy too. They are all really soft. I put some plastic on three sides of the run to keep the area free of any major drafts. We have gotten down to about 30 degrees I guess so far and the new hens still sleep outside in the run on their branches. Milly and Lilly like to sleep inside the coop.
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    This is Coconut. She has had a bit of a crossed-beak since she was little, but she has had no problem eating and has quickly become a dominant force in the coop. She is the biggest by far. And she has become the first to start laying eggs out of the new hens. We have gotten about 5 so far. It is crazy that she knew to go lay her eggs in the nesting boxes since she doesn't really spend any time in the coop at all. Her and the other new girls pretty much just hang out in the run and sleep there too!
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    Milly and Lilly, my Rhode Island Reds, have gotten all of their back feathers back! I felt so bad for them...it was starting to get cold and they were molting, but they are back in shape now.


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Comments

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  1. Indiana Chick
    cool chickens and what a nice coop!
  2. featherweightmn
    Awesome trim detail!!!
  3. Mac14
    Glad things are turning out for you! :)
  4. RezChamp
    Wow. That's pretty good for a city boy.
    My being a da to 4 daughters I know what I would do for. Actually ALOT of what I have done too.
    Good going there CackadoodlePoo. I extend and hope you accept a bouquet.
    Also, CONGRATS on your coop being chosen.
  5. Mellow1
    Really great job! You can tell by your comments and pics you did your research....love the coop colors, reminds me of Easter :)
  6. Henna56
    really lovely coop! great job!
  7. Sam3 Abq
    Great coop and even better story ! Awesome.
  8. LoveChickens123
    SO CUTE LOVE THE COLORS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  9. Janiecoke
    I am in love and how very cute. I have a converted large horse stall with a 10X50 chain link pen along with netting on the top and love it. Just set up another 30 ft run yesterday and working on getting it chicken safe. Now I want THIS!
  10. CockadoodlePoo
    To Bruceha2000- thanks for that link...I'm feeling better about my australorps now...I can't believe the comb and wattles on that 3 1/2 week old chick..crazy! And as far as Buddy is concerned, I still have him. Trying to see how it goes with just one rooster. The older hens are currently rocking chicken saddles and they seem to be doing the trick, but I'm still waiting for the feathers to start growing back.
  11. CockadoodlePoo
    I just logged on and saw my coop on the home page banner. Awesome! Just wanted to say thank you for all of the kind comments. The coop really was a labor of love. I literally knew nothing about chickens before finding this site and really appreciate all of the members that take time to post comments and suggestions. Everytime I have a question I know I can find an answer here.
  12. chicken king
    very nice coop with even a lil room for eggs
  13. ghostie
    Beautiful coop! You and your wife did a great job with it. And THANK you for posting the picture of poor Roofus trying to go down the ramp. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time! lol :)
  14. coupdegrass
    What a GREAT coop! Thanks so much for showing the process... my whole family read it and we really enjoyed your story! All the best with the 'buffs and 'lops.
  15. strawberrytech
  16. BuffOrpington88
    Wow! Beautiful coop!
  17. acamp35
    Love the coop!! What a gerat design and the chickens have their wonderful personalities!! Awesome..
  18. Autumn D
    you should get some saddles for your hens, it will protect them from the roos
  19. foghorn8ladies
    Loved all of it! I'm also new to all the chicken thing and man do you get close to them. They are my pets and I love them. I have the same problem or roos. I have a RIR roo for a year the 1st group. I bought pullets this spring (all were suppose to be sexed) but there is a roo in the bunch. I do have 17 girls so I hope it does work. I'm going to try. I love the coop. It's to cute. Good luck it's to much fun.
  20. TXchickmum
    -love this post!! -coop is fabulous, as well!!
  21. kellysmall87
    Can I move into that coop?! Amazing.
  22. Jedichickens
    oo! Cute. ive had a temp. coop for a while, but gonna build a new one this summer :) Love the design. Cute chickens. Hopefully Jedi. :D
  23. FowlmouthChick
    What a marvelous coop!
  24. raygirl4386
    i must be lucky my roo is very good with his 6 hens no feather loss, but i could understand 2-3 ratio =( poor girls. my favorite chick turned out to be a roo and our neighbors havent complained about him crowing they said they cant hear him in the morning hours. the coop looks great!
  25. QueenBeeMom
    I love how you embraced Poppy's gift! Chickens must be in the blood!
  26. lillypad268
    amazing coop! I love all the photos, the rooster going beak first is pretty hilarious xD
  27. 2redhens
    This is an AMAZING coop!!!! Congratulations!
  28. joan1708
    Gorgeous coop! And those crazy colors WORK!
  29. Whittni
    Nice coop n chickens.
  30. mates5
    Amazing to read your transition into a serious chicken owner....you came so far...It made me smile! Beautiful coop and ALL your "girls" are lovely!
  31. Chickerchalk
    awsome coop!
  32. bruceha2000
  33. bruceha2000
    You can easily do a 6' rather than 8' design without waste. Buy 12' long boards and cut them in half.
  34. SummerChick
    Gorgeous, well thought out design!! Glad you found BYC!
  35. Amb3r
    White Leghorn Roosters are mean. The best way to deal with them is kicking their butt!! They are the stupidest breed, no wonder they are culled on the first day of life. And those that become the cute Easter chick will be a Velociraptor in no time.
    There are 3 ways to deal with them.
    1. Get a good sized Asil Roo, the funny thing is this breed though formidable looking will never hurt a human being. But they'd kick the butt of a white leghorn roo. So once the doofus is demoted in his role as a alpha male. You'll not believe but they actually "behave."
    2. Throw everything you can find at them. First I was throwing buckets of water at my Easter-chick-turned-nightmare White Leghorn rooster, later I was throwing buckets. His reign of terror was short 6 months, my Dad liked him, but it left when he tried to spur my Mom. And my Mom kicked him square in the butt and my Dad had no chance but to give him to a family friend.
    3. Kill him and feed the carcass to the dogs that he has been terrorizing. I am sure they taste yuck..
  36. Chambertin
    Bad rooster, good soup.
  37. Bananikaa
    It is very easy to tell that you are dedicated to your chickens! My suggestion for the roosters, is that you should really only keep 1 rooster in a flock your size, but bigger then about ....... I don't know, maybe 12 hens and 1 rooster, you can add another rooster. But it all depends. I have 6 chickens, about teenager size like yours, and you can kind of tell which are boys and which are hens! Boys- strut around and JUMP! hens- a bit more civalized. Hehe yep. But i love your coop! You did a very good job on it.
  38. 3 Golden Girls
    One awesome coop and lucky chicks to have such a colorful home. Thanks for sharing all the terrific pictures. The one of Roofus coming down the ramp... too funny!
  39. ChickInDelight
    I learned the boy-girl ratio thing with my ducks. I am new to this too - learned everything here at BYC. I luv luv luv your coop. My next one will be planned. (I rent my home - can't wait to own my own. May even build a small house for me after the confidence I gained building a fowl house.)
    Buff Orpingtons = super sweet and mild. Rhode Island Reds = affectionate, smart - my Penny thinks she is a dog.
    Many of us are new to agrarian interests. Don't feel badly that you have to lose a few. What a wonderful life you have given to your flock - and I see some happy child faces too.
    Love your coop design! Enjoy!!!!
  40. Zchicks
    Oh and gorgeous coop!
  41. Zchicks
    I have 1 rooster and 7 hens and all is well so far. None of the hens are showing any signs of injury or wear and tare. He did attempt to attack me one time when I was by the nest boxes and a lady was in there laying but I put him RIGHT in his place and he hasn't shown any aggression since. My fingers are crossed it wont happen again because then he'll be gone! (I have a toddler and 2 preschoolers.) Yes the crowing starts exactly at 4:30am and continues sporadically throughout the day in bursts. It's never just 1 cock a doodle.
  42. chicksbunsdog
    So glad that you posted the picture with you in front of the coop - I would have never guessed it was that big from the first picture. Lots of luck with the chickens!
  43. sezjasper
    Absolutely gorgeous...and you should get Dad of the Year (from your daughters, AND your chickens!!) LOL
  44. judyki2004
    Thats not fair, your coop is cuter than mine!!! LOL just joking, you did a great job with such a lovely coop! Very neat! Love it! Wonderful pics, your chickens are beautiful & your little girls are just adorable! Blessings
  45. Iridian
    That is one amazng coop! It's so huge! Thanks or sharing the pictures and the details on the construction. Sorry about your roos, I have a brahma (6 weeks) that may be a roo, she is a bit agressive, which will not be good considering the breed size is ginormous. Fingers crossed.
  46. ganesa_9
    I had the same problem in my first attempt to keep a rooster... non-stop chicken RAPE! Honestly, get a room you two! But seriously... I too had to get rid of my rooster (beautiful barred Cuckoo Maran) to save my hens. Feathers were gone from their backs in no time and it's taken months for the feathers to start growing back in. They are a very sad looking flock of chickens. I don't think I've ever read anything about a roosters insane sexual appetite! Was I ever surprised!!
    I also built a gorgeous and colorful, completely over-engineered coop that will (no doubt) outlast my home.
  47. Lynda Ann
    Everything about this post is great!
  48. ksmissy
    what a wonderful coop, and your wife's colors so pretty. I know the problem, we have 22 chickens and 8-9 roosters, trying to give them away, way to many roos, makes our poors ladies stressed.
  49. 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
  50. CockadoodlePoo
    Thanks for the information BillyB! I'm still keeping my fingers crossed. We are at about 4 weeks now. I guess we'll know for sure before too long!

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