Our "Chick Mansion"
Here is the coop my husband built for the newest members of our family, six golden comet pullets-Rosa, Contessa, Donatella, Giovanna, Francesca and Sienna. Since hybrid hens are considered by many as “working class” we thought we’d at least give them exotic Italian names. Hey, it worked for Sofia Loren. And besides, my husband likes Italian Birds, as Austin Powers would say.
Our coop is 4’x6’ and is raised 24” off the floor. Wall height is 7'. The area beneath coop is enclosed for storage. Framing is 2”x4”s. Coop is covered with 3/4” sheathing, roofing felt and channeled panel siding. The Coop has two windows, a chicken door, an egg door, and two clean-out doors. Roof is architectural shingle. The run is 8’x6’, and is enclosed with 1/2” hardware cloth. Construction took one month of spare time and cost $1000. Almost all materials were from Home Depot (except for the windows, light, hardware cloth and weathervane). Shutters are recycled– we added our own hen cut-outs.
Framing Interior Inspection Sheathing and Felt Panel Siding
Roof Inspection Storage Area Installing the Architectural Shingles
We made the coop and run very secure because we live in CT and have all of the “usual suspect” predators: fox, hawks, coyotes, skunks, raccoons, owls- you name it. During the day we let the girls free range, but only because our property is enclosed with deer fencing.
The cat guarding the hen house... Interior of coop
Windows and Ventilation
Our coop has two barn sash windows, one is 2’x2’ and the other is 3’x1’. The 3’x1’ is facing south east for extra sunlight in the winter. The hinges are on the outside and the windows, which have hardware cloth screens, can be propped open for ventilation. The soffits are covered with 1”x4”s on hinges that open and close for extra ventilation. The openings are covered with hardware cloth so that no critters can get in.
Window. Cat checking screens! Looking up at soffit "covers" Interior view of soffits
Close up of run/hardware cloth Run soffit predator proofed too. Shutter closeup: Jigsaw Hen Cut-Out
Nesting Boxes and Egg Door
Our nesting boxes are directly on the floor of the coop and can be moved/removed for cleaning. Being on the floor doesn't seem to bother the girls, as we are getting 5-6 eggs a day. The girls like to sit on top of the nesting boxes and look out the window. The egg door provides direct access to the eggs and is a good height, even for small children.
Egg Door/Nesting Boxes Side: Egg + Storage Doors. Back: Clean-out door
Currently, the perch is a 6’ long 1 1/2” closet pole, 28” above coop floor. However, based on advice of BYC members, we will switch to a 2”x4” (instead of the pole) before the winter to keep the girls' feet warm. The 6' length is nice because there is plenty of room for all of the girls to cozy up at night without bickering. And the height is nice because the girls can look out the windows and get plenty of light.
Interior view of perch/chicken door Interior view of ceiling height Nesting Box and Perch
Floor and Clean Up
The floor is covered with a piece of linoleum that can be removed for cleaning. The raised height of the coop really helps save my back when cleaning, and I love having the storage directly under the coop. The two clean-out doors (one in the back of the coop and one inside the run) are also nice because they make it easy to access the entire coop.
We still have details to finish, like the electrical, the mechanics for the chicken door, etc. But, my husband has received a motorcycle part he has been was waiting for, so I have lost him to another Italian love, his vintage Ducati. Considering what he’s already done with the Coop, I guess I can’t complain, so I’ll just be patient.
Clean out & chicken doors Big coop/little coop
The Girls: "Where is our daily mozzarella?"
Thanks to the BYC members for all the advice, especially to the Cage de Poulet and Cage Mahal owners for sharing their coops which were the inspiration for our "Chick Mansion".