School House Chicken Coop

By dantrisha, May 4, 2015 | Updated: May 6, 2015 | | |
  1. dantrisha
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    Here is our chicken coop. It's a work in progress but we are proud to show it off. We started with a pile of scrap wood, no plan, and very little carpentry skills. The ideas and styles were mostly from coops we saw on backyardchickens.com. We still need to finish the nesting boxes and we just finished building a second chicken run. We want the chickens to eat grass and bugs so the second run will allow the first run to recover from the chickens destruction. The chickens won't start laying eggs until June so we have some time to get the nesting boxes done. We made many mistakes and had many successes.

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    This is how we started out. It doesn't look like much but it took a lot to get everything square and level for a couple of newbies. We purchased the 2x4s new and they are pressure treated. The pressure treated wood will last a lot longer but we didn't realize how much heavier it would be. We put everything together with deck screws and Kreg Jig screws using a cordless drill. We bought a pneumatic framing gun to put the run together. Too bad we didn't have it from the beginning because it would have made things a lot easier. The only down side to the nail gun is when you make a mistake it's a real pain to remove the nails.

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    This skinny bathroom door was left behind by the previous owners of the house. It was a normal size door we cut down to fit the coop. It works great for cleaning. We put the bucket under the door and rake everything into a big plastic tub. Framing and leveling the door was monumental task for us. Probably would have been a 20 minute job for someone who knows what they are doing.

    The next step we installed the floor. Fortunately our free pile of wood included a sheet of 3/4 inch plywood. We didn't use any other cross beam underneath but it's still strong enough to for us to stand up inside. I don't have a picture of the floor installed. At this point we realized this chicken coop was turning into a monster. We decided to move it out of the shed and out to it's final resting place in the yard before it became too heavy.

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    Here it is out in the yard with the walls up. We purchased 3 sheets of 1/4 inch plywood for the sides all the way around. The windows were cut with a jig saw and that was the first time either one of us used a jig saw. We also used the jigsaw to cut the little door out for the chickens to use.

    Did I mention we already had chickens waiting to move in? Our brooder was in the living room and our 15 chicks were rapidly outgrowing their brooder and their welcome. We did all this out of order but now it was crunch time. We had to make the coop safe for them to move in and keep predators out. We worked until 1 am on this coop even when we had to be at work by 7am the next day.

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    We finished the roof and patched the gable late at night. The chicks moved in seemed happy with their new place. We took a break from coop building to catch up on life.

    After a few days, we had to get back to work. We joked that the coop looked more like a crack house.

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    We had to hire a chicksitter to get the rest of the work done.

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    We debated the roofing materials and finally settled with shingles. We wanted a tin roof but it would have required too much piecing together and cutting we weren't sure about. The shingles were the cheapest and easiest option. They were on the discontinued shelf at Lowes. It was tedious and frustrating at times but we made sure everything was straight. Trisha did a great job!

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    Next we worked on the gable. Our scrap pile of wood included a lot of wood flooring pieces. We faced the bottom of the wood flooring out and it came together nicely. There's chicken wire at the very top and we installed a cross beam for those at the top of the pecking order. We used plywood on the back since it doesn't have to be as cute.

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    While we were building the coop, the chicks continued to grow. They needed space to run, play, and eat so we started working on their playground. We decided to use 8 ft posts (2 ft in the ground) and we wanted the run 10 ft x 16 ft. It's actually a few inches smaller than that so some of the boards could overlap. We used 4 ft chicken wire and put a strip across the bottom and then another strip across the top. We spent hours pulling it tight and making it straight, but the end result was worth it.


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    The shutters don't look too difficult, but we had such a hard time getting them right. We wanted them to match, be cute, and be functional. One problem with using scrap wood is the problem of finding matching pieces of wood. Trisha finished painting them just before our big family gathering on Easter.

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    We installed a weather vane but the tree branch in the background hides it in most pictures.

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    Thank you for looking at our chicken coop. It was inspired by all the great coops here and hopefully this helps anyone else trying to build a coop. We are happy to answer any questions and look forward to the comments and suggestions.

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  1. crazyfeathers
    I like the two runs idea. Our chickens have their huge run destroyed, but they free range everyday. Good idea..

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