My wife asked me to build her a chicken coop. She loves eggs, but can't eat store bought ones anymore due to doctor's orders, but the doc said if we raised our own chickens she could eat those eggs. So, I told her anything for you honey We have 3 kids and live life on a budget, so the planning and saving of materials began. She researched about raising chickens and I researched about building a coop. This site was extremely helpful! I do a little woodworking as a hobby, but not into construction. I got a lot of recycled materials off of craigslist for free or cheap. 4 really nice sliding windows determined the size and layout of this coop.
I built a platform..dimensions are 8'x6'. I built it about 3 feet off the ground to give them some cover to walk around underneath. I initially was going to use pallets to build the structure, but after thinking about my wife a 3 small kids walking around in this, I decided it would be more structurally sound and easier to build the window and door framing into if I just built traditional framed walls. The tall wall is 8' tall...short wall is 6' tall, creating a slope. I used my bro-in-laws old fence parts (long 2x4's) to build the floor. I stripped a lot of the pallets I got for free that had quarter sheets of 5/8 plywood on them to sheath the floor. I covered it in a remnant piece of linoleum.
next I framed in the four walls and built the roof. I used a solid core exterior door I got for $10 bucks off craigslist. the tricky part of this was it did not have a door jamb. I've installed doors that were prehung, but had to build a door jamb for this one. it actually wasn't too difficult to build the jamb. Next I installed my free craigslist window finds. built the roof and installed tin sheets that I got at lowes. then I sheathed the whole exterior with the salvaged plywood from the pallets. I covered the exterior with fence boards from my bro-in-laws fence he tore down. it looks kind like an old rustic/barn building. I left a ventilation gap of about 4 inches between the roof and and walls at the top. I stapled chicken wire over this gap from the inside to keep predators out.
originally, i collected a couple of big ATV crates that I was going to make the coop out of. we changed our mind and turned these into a run/tractor. I called in a couple of friends to help me wrap these crates with hardware cloth. the crates were covered in a thick tarp like material. i left it on the top to provide shade and they are waterproof for the rain. the two crates together are 8'x8'4.5' tall. we built a couple of doors, roosting bars and added our first chickens. 3 buff orpingtons, 2 rhode island reds, and 2 black australorps. the chicks are 2 months old. I need to take a pic of our waterers and feeders. I used 5 gallon buckets for both. bought nipples off amazon and screwed them to the bottom for the waterers. for the feeders, I cut four slots near the bottom of the bucket. heated the cuts up with a torch and pried open a "lip" for the girls to peck in to. they use both of them great and since we can keep lids on them, the stay clean and we don't have to refill everyday.
it was an experience...took about 1 month to build, working on weekends when I had time. total cost was about $350. appreciate any feedback and hopefully might give some others ideas to incorporate in their coops. I'm attaching lots of pics (click on them to see bigger view) as it may help others during their building process?
Our first coop - medium/large - many recycled materials
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