Here is our completed coop.
Hello from southern California! My wife and two daughters and I decided to try our hand
at raising chickens. I had never built a chicken coop but I was really glad to take on the
challenge. I'm always glad anytime my wife has an idea where I get to cut some wood
and dig some holes.
The chicken run measures 8 foot long by 4 foot wide. The inclosed portion of the coop
measures 2.5 feet by 4 feet. Additionally, the nesting box measures 30 inches wide by
15 inches deep. The nesting box I divided into two 15"X15" nesting boxes.
First we had to find just the right spot. We decide upon a site and set to work clearing
out the Ivy.
I had decided upon starting on the chicken run first. Just felt like the 4 foot by 8 foot
dimensions just seemed like a good amount of room for a couple of chickens to enjoy
themselves. I outlined the footprint and dug the earth out approximately 1 foot deep.
I knew I would want to be able to enter the run without bonking my head or ducking so
I framed out the first wall 7 foot tall by 8 foot wide.
The rear wall stands at 8 foot tall creating a 1 foot drop for roof runoff.
I was certain that a variety of animals lived in ivy directly behind the coop. I was very
conscious of keeping the coop critter proof, so I decided to surround the bottom of the
enclosure in a foot of plywood and hardware cloth screwed to the inner walls covering
the floor. This would later be buried by the dirt I initially removed.
For the door into the run I used spring loaded hinges and a self locking latch. I thought
this would be a good way to help us avoid leaving the run door open. For the handle I
felt inspired and decided to make it myself with the help of my table router.
I had initially planned on making the inclosed coop half the length of the entire run but
I ended up shaving it down by a foot and a half and ended up creating the inner coop
floor 4 foot by 2.5 foot. I shortened the length because I wanted to reduce the angle of
the ramp from the ground into the coop.
The girls helped out with the painting!
Here's the nesting box in the framing stage. It measured 30 inches wide by 15 inches deep.
I used plywood for paneling the walls and roof.
We are living in Southern California so the temps are never to cold but I didn't our chicks
to be too chilly at night. So I used "Owens Corning Foamular" insulation foam board in the
walls. It was a really easy product to use just cut it with a box knife and glued it in place.
I filled in all the cracks with expandable spray foam insulator.
I left two large triangular vents at the top of the coop for good ventilation. I would later
cover them with hardware cloth. At this point I had also completed the roof. I went
with a corrugated aluminum.
Here it is with the coop access door complete. I added an extra window to let a little
more light and air into the coop.
Here's the vent door down. We keep it like this during the day to let the air circulate.
Here's a pic with the coop access door open.
I added a couple of perches and this panel to keep the bedding in while accessing the coop.
Removable for easy cleanup.
I went with a vertical sliding door for the chickens run access door.
Opened, the door measures 15 inches tall by 12 inches wide.
It is raised and lowed with a pulley system attached to the ceiling of the coop.
I used screwable eyelets and brass grommets to feed the rope through to the outside
of the coop.
I had to get creative with the pulleys.
To keep the door open.
To keep us from getting trapped in the chicken coop I installed this latch release system.
I went with a gravity watering system. I built this shelf of the outside of the coop and
that is where the water water source sits. (5 gallon bucket from the hardware store.)
I installed a bulkhead fitting assembly at the bottom of the bucket. From there I attached
my hose which entered the coop through a hole in the wall.
The hose was attached to a length of PVC pipe with poultry nipple feeders installed.
And that was the short of it. It took me about 5 weekends, 900 bucks and a little bit of
blood. It was a lot of fun to build!
At this point we were ready for chickens!! We had already decided upon three chickens
and we knew we wanted Golden Buff Orpingtons. For our chickens we contacted a farm
called Dare 2 Dream Farms a few hours away from us in Lompoc California.
Dare 2 Dream Farms is a small, family owned and operated chicken farm located on forty
acres. They were so friendly and helpful and they delivered out chickens right to our door!
Here's a link to their site. I highly recommend taking a look. http://www.dare2dreamfarms.com/
Our girls arrived! Three Golden Buff Orpingtons. All 6 weeks old.
They are really sweet chickens.
Everyone getting to know each other.
We let the girls out in the yard whenever we are outside. They love the bugs.
Lots to explore in the garden.
So far, backyard chickens have been a complete blast. We all have so much fun
watching the chickens interact, explore the yard and hunt for bugs in the garden.
We look forward to having fresh eggs and loads of compost for the garden!!
Week 5:Update 7/2/2013
Our chicks are 11 weeks old now. They have gotten big pretty fast on a pretty steady
diet of Chick Starter pellets, bugs and veggies from the garden.
Last week I decided to build a gravity feeder for them. I thought this would be a good
idea for when we go out of town for a day or two.
The entire project cost less than 20 bucks and pretty fun to assemble. I used a length
of 3 inch ADS pipe, a 45° PVC fitting, a 90° PVC fitting and 2 end caps.
I used a bit of plywood to built a little roof over the feed tray to stop and funnel the
water away from their food when the sprinkler is on.
My daughter is in love with her chicken. Most of the time her chicken seems pretty
content to be in her ours or in her bike basket.
They are always together. Its a lot of fun to listen to their vocalizations and watch them
shuffle around the backyard.
In the garden.
They are very inquisitive.
The Golden Girls