Open Hardware Coop

By erictj · Jun 29, 2012 · Updated Jun 29, 2012 · ·
  1. erictj

    hen we decided to move ahead with getting chickens and bought our first chicks, we knew we’d soon be needing an outdoor home for them. We were looking at several different plans and idea about what we wanted in a coop, but we had some specifics we wanted to make sure we had based on our newly-learned chicken facts.

    In hindsight, some of these requirements turned out to be absolutely essential, and others weren’t really necessary. As they say, live and learn! Below are the requirements we now know are essential to having an enjoyable long-term chicken coop.

    • Plenty of ventilation to keep things disease-free and non-smelly
    • Ability for the coop to protect chickens from blowing snow and wind
    • Very easy to clean the coop–as in 5 minutes or less easy
    • Simple to fetch eggs from every day
    • Lots of room for at least five chickens to stay in their coop comfortably if we are away for a few days
    • Safe and enclosed, to keep the raccoons from slaughtering them all
    • Must be kept under 120 square feet in order to avoid a building permit requirement in our county

    What we ended up with was a mashup of lots of coop ideas we found as well as other sites we stumbled across on the Series of Tubes. We basically took all the ideas we liked the most, threw them in a blender, and hit frappe. So far we’re very happy with it, though there are some things I’d change if I had to build it over again. The plans at the end of the post have those changes incorporated already. I’ll touch on the particular changes made at the end of this post.

    We are offering all of the information and plans here under a Creative Commons license, meaning you can pretty much do whatever you want with this information, as long as you give attribution. You can also commercialize it if you want. For details about the license, click on the link below.


    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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  1. erictj
    BigECarter: You're welcome! We did a lot of work when we were designing/building our plans, that we wanted to share back the info, so others don't make the same mistakes we did.
    joan1708: We'll take more photos of the coop, inside the hen house, where the nesting boxes are, how the door works. We'll post them here once we take them.
    Zane K: We actually didn't bury hardware cloth, although that's an additional safety measure to take--especially if your dirt is soft or you have digging predators. Our 2x12" boards go about 8" into the ground, and we have hardpan dirt on both sides, so we haven't had a problem with digging. The ultimate in safety would be to lay hardware cloth completely under the coop, say, 12" or so, and then staple it to the side wood beams. That will make it completely enclosed. Also, we didn't add a lock to the latch, as it twists sideways once closed, so probably requires an opposable thumb to unlock (although I wouldn't put it past raccoons to figure it out if they could reach it!)
  2. Zane K
    Did you bury a bunch off hardware cloth? Also I would put a lock on the latch.
  3. joan1708
    I haven't seen one quite like this. Would love to see more views of this coop.
  4. BigECarter
    Awesome! Thank-you so much for taking the time to lay out your coop construction in so much detail. Not that I will help me. My woodworking husband probably won't let me touch a single piece of wood, LOL.

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