I'd been seriously thinking about getting chickens since the local ordinance passed early this year. My husband and I agreed to wait until this Fall or next Spring. Then I took a chicken coop tour, and he started looking at designs here, and we started building the coop about two weeks after the tour.
We decided to locate the coop under a large sugar maple in our backyard, which was a really good decision in retrospect. We've only had the chickens a week and a half, but it's been the hottest week and a half in Nashville's history. There is a lot of deep shade under this tree and in this section of the yard.
We hired someone to place the 4x4s, since we didn't want to deal with the tree roots and various foundation remnants on our property. This section of Nashville was farmland until around the time our house was built (1930), and there are random buried foundations in our backyard. With the benefit of hindsight, we would have hired someone else, because this guy didn't get them as square as we wanted, and it caused a few issues building the actual coop structure.
The run structure is surrounded entirely with 1/2" hardware cloth, as are all the openings in the coop. We also put a hardware cloth apron on the outside. It's definitely overkill, but we wanted to prevent predators and rodents from accessing the coop. My biggest concern about getting chickens was their tendency to attract rodents.
Here is a detail of the back side of the coop. The lower window is to access the poop boards below the roost. We plan to make a cover for it in cold weather (assuming we ever get there again!). All closures are also secured with carabiners.
This is the far side of the coop and run. This side has the main human access door, with a removable board (not shown) for full coop cleanout. The paint needs touching up. Do these things ever get fully finished?
This photo shows the external nest box access. We went with a drop-down design and are trying litter trays as nests for the time being. Our pullets aren't laying yet, so access from inside the coop is currently closed.
Here is the auto pop door. We decided on the VSB door (aka the Foy's Pigeons door), which can still be ordered from the manufacturer in Germany. After a lot of research, we opted for this one based on price and ease of use (no need to run electricity). It has worked really well in the month or so we've had it installed. I was impressed that it wasn't fooled by our exterior dusk-to-dawn light, either. Also shown below are the poop boards, the Nosloc nozzle feeder, and one of two nipple waterers. I ordered the Nosloc from the manufacturer in New Zealand and have been happy with it so far.
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