Our chicken coop project...

This is a narrative of my first ever coop building adventure.
By Chad Oftedal · Jun 6, 2018 · ·
  1. Chad Oftedal
    It started with an idea to have a chicken coop. I just needed to figure out where. One night while looking over my options in our yard, I realized I had never gone on the other side of the fence on one corner of my property. Yes, it seems hard to believe after living at our new place for six months, there was still space I hadn't explored, but this area was behind a fence, tucked in behind our shop and on a slope. It was just a "dead corner" that I assumed was not very big. It just wasn't in a part of the property that we really used. The access gate was a part of the fence that was over 30 years old, so it hardly looked like a gate you could go through. Anyway, with some effort, I managed to break the sticky gate free so it would open, and this space is what I found. This picture is taken from the high side of the slope and shows the fence that I went through. It turns out that this space is where the previous owner stored his camper, boat, etc, over 30 years ago before he built the shop. The fence was put up to basically make a privacy area so that his possessions couldn't easily be seen. The fence wasn't part of a property boundary, it was a visual boundary. Once he built the shop, the space was never really used again, but the fence stayed up.


    After shaking my head in disbelief, I now had my space situation resolved. A 25' x 25' square section of land that had no real use. It was going to be perfect for the chicken area. The problem was that it was not flat. Not even close. Well, we can fix that. Enter Mr. Contractor and grading equipment.


    So now we have a retaining wall, no more old fence, and a nice, flat piece of workable land.
    Front view IMG_2350.jpg

    Before I got too far, I pulled power and ethernet and buried it so it was out of the way.

    And the layout...

    Oh, and we also have these guys. They don't grow that fast, do they?

    OK, so now we have some incentive. They are going to need a new and bigger home. The plan is for an 8x8 walk in coop with 165 sq. ft. wrap around run. Here's the foundation. I used pier blocks with adjustable brackets in case I had to do additional leveling in the future. I had never attempted a project of this scope before, and I wanted to give myself some wiggle room if needed.
    Next was the floor. Used 3/4" PT plywood. I bought the 21 degree air driven nailer from Harbor Freight. That turned out to be a very good purchase. If I did building professionally, I'm sure I'd go cordless and higher quality, but for my needs, and mainly this project, it's worked really, really well.

    When it rains outside, you build the walls inside the shop
    IMG_2844.jpg IMG_2836.jpg

    Then you get an unsuspecting friend and co-worker to help you set the walls and start the siding. He thinks I still owe him dozens of eggs for this day of work.

    More siding. This is the LP 76 SmartSiding that I bought at Home Depot. It was really easy to work with, and I'm very glad I went with it.

    Finally, siding on the front. I put drip flashing to cover the top edges for both the front and back pieces, below the gable portions. They are later covered with trim to hide the flashing.

    Remember these guys? Yeah, still growing, like they were lit on fire!

    The siding all on, and on to the roofing

    Hardware cloth under the eaves

    Gable vents on the ends. This is the larger vent (12"x18") because it is at the back of the coop. The front has the door to contend with, so it was only an 8"x8" vent.

    On to the roofing. This was the first roofing I had ever done, and so I read a lot online and watched some Youtube videos. It turned out to be a fun part of the project. I probably wouldn't rush out to do it again, but I'm glad I did it, and I could do it again in the future if needed.

    After the tar paper was down, on to the actual shingling. The gap there is for the ridge vent.

    These were Corning Architectural shingles that I bought from Home Depot. This whole coop project, we wanted to tie in with the existing structures on our land, so that's why I went with the SmartSiding and architectural shingles.

    The Corning Ridge Vent. It came in 4 ft sections which simple snap together. I bought 2 of them to make an 8 ft ridge. I then covered it with the ridge cap shingles. I could have saved a bit of money by cutting regular singles into ridge cap shingles, but time was more of the essence, and the ridge cap shingles fit perfectly and were easy to install. I'd still do them again, even if I wasn't under time pressure.

    Next I added the awning windows. I pre-built them in the shop and then cut the openings to fit. After cutting the openings, I hardware cloth'd over them, and then put the windows over the top of that. In effect, the windows became trim pieces that hid the edges of the hardware cloth to give a nice, clean finish. There are a total of 5 windows, two on each side, and one on the back wall. All of them are the same size. The plans for this coop were really a greenhouse that I just made in to a coop instead. I chose the set of plans because of all the windows and ventilation, and the fact that it was a nice 8x8 size.

    Almost to move in day. The birds are starting to fly out of the brooder pen which had 30" sides. They are ready for more space. This is the Exterior Steel door that I used. The rough opening was for 32", which meant a 30" door. But when I got to Home Depot, I had 32" stuck on my mind, so that's the size of door that I bought. Oops. Luckily, at that time, I hadn't finished framing the front wall, so I simply adjusted the rough opening to 34". Yes, that really is a deadbolt installed there. No wily neighborhood roosters are coming around to visit my ladies...

    It's finally move in day. I put up a quick roost bar. It's going to be changed out for poop boards, but for now, they're lower on the list. I needed to get the birds into the coop, and their run built so they had outside time.
    IMG_3334.jpg IMG_3392.jpg

    And on to the run we go. I chose to go the route of building panels in my shop, then attaching them to 4x4 PT posts that I cemented into the ground. The panels were created by joining the ends with pocket hole connections using the Kreg HD jig. The HD is for 2x4 construction and worked really well. It drops in to the Kreg K5 system that I have which was slick. The panels were all 78" hight and varied in length depending on the distance between the posts. The welded wire - 16 gauge 1/2" x 1", 75" high and 48 ft long. Yes, quite the odd size. Turns out that it was a mistake in manufacturing. It was supposed to be 48" high and 75 ft long - which would be quite standard. But, somewhere along the way, the numbers got messed up. This turned out to be perfect because I could make it a walk-in run at 78" high, and I didn't have to splice together multiple runs of welded wire, I could just use a single piece and cut it to the length that I needed. I ended up buying two of those rolls of welded wire so that I had a little extra on hand. For fastening the welded wire to the panels, I used a DeWalt cordless 1/4" crown stapler with 1 1/2" stainless steel staples. This was the bomb. It has no trouble holding the heavy welded wire in place to the frame, and it moves along quite quickly. Every three or four inches I'd put a staple in. I couldn't be happier. The 2x4's underneath the welded wire gave me a place to stand, and keeps the welded wire "level" to the frame. I ended up building 8 panels in all to create my run.

    This is the back of the gate to my run. It's design helped come along from suggestions of other BYC'ers input. It turned out really well, and I'm quite happy with it.

    These next shots are showing the installation of the completed panels with the apron attached. I attached the apron wire fence to each panel just before installing the panel to the posts.
    IMG_3509.jpg IMG_3525.jpg IMG_3507.jpg IMG_3541.jpg

    The last panel was the one that had to attach to a tunnel on the side of the coop. Because of the way I need to do my roof over the run, I need a space between the side of the coop and the run. This meant the birds needed a short tunnel (16") to get from the coop out into the run. The girls were quite curious why there was suddenly a hole in the side of their coop wall...
    IMG_3497.jpg IMG_3534.jpg IMG_3556.jpg

    Here are some finishing shots of the current run.
    IMG_3559.jpg IMG_3561.jpg

    Here are the girls out enjoying the run
    IMG_3565.jpg IMG_3573.jpg

    So, what's left to do yet? Well, I'm currently working on the roof of the run. Since I'm in the PNW, I want to have a dry run for the rainy times, and also provide that extra measure of security. I'm about 40% of the way done on the roof. After that, I need to install my poop boards and finish up the inside by installing the electrical connections and network tap. I'll be adding those pictures here as I finish up each piece.

    Thanks for looking, feel free to ask any questions, and I hope the pictures help you out for your journey. I would not have come near this far if it weren't for all the great advice and help on this forum.

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  1. Hopperkiller
    Interesting layout and build. All you need now is a high photo from the top of the shop. Your mini tunnel was a nice touch.
      casportpony likes this.
    1. Chad Oftedal
      Thanks! I might be able to make that pic happen as I need to clean off the needles on the shop roof anyway.

      Yeah, the layout was determined by my property boundaries. My coop has to be 10 foot from the neighbor’s boundary. Since that corner has two neighbors, it pushed the coop to the area near my shop. It actually ties in well, and even though we have really nice neighbors, I wanted to keep things proper and the boundaries respected.
      N F C and casportpony like this.
  2. N F C
    Very well done, thanks for sharing your coop build!
      casportpony likes this.
    1. Chad Oftedal
      N F C and casportpony like this.

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