This was a small 4x3 ft chicken coop I threw together over a weekend. It was spurned on by the foul odor our chicken, duck, and goose were making in our basement. It was time for them to migrate outside. I will walk you through this coop build explaining the process I went through. You can eliminate some lumber by skipping some steps, I'll try to let you know when as I walk you through the build process. I am by no means a carpenter or home bulider, I simply am an Electrical Controls Engineer with a desire to play with wood at times. So I probably won't have all the correct terminology and at the same time over analyze things, for that I appologize in advance.
I originally had built a small 4x3x2 open box and lined it with 3 mil plastic liner for the floor and walls so the newly hatched birds could live inside during the cold start of spring. I eventually wanted to utilize that box for their new outside hut. You can see the box with the first gable roof frame on it in the image below. Unfortunately I don't have an image of the box inside with the plastic lining for you to see.
If you don't have a 4x3x2 box pre built like I did than you will need to start by framing the box. My 4x3x2 ft box was originally built for housing the birds inside, but it worked out nice when converting to the hut. To build the box you as I did than you will want (qty 4) 4ft cut 2x4s for the width; (qty 4) 2',9" cut 2x4s for the depth; and (qty 4) 2' cut 2x4s for the height. I used pressure treated lumber because I was able to get a ton of it for half price at lowes in their cut/scrap lumber section.
So, first cut your lumber to length, measure twice, cut once as my father taught me . Then take (qty 2) 4 ft pieces and (qty 2) 2',9" pieces and lay them out so you can measure a 4'x3' box. The shorter peices should be on the inside of the longer pieces. Then 2 nails at each cornor, a total of 8 nails for holding the boards together. Then repeat this process so you have (qty 2) 4x3 assemblies.
There are two ways to get your final 4x3x2 ft box. Here is one of those areas I could have saved some lumber. If you look at the back side of the hut in the image below you can see that my original box was built with the 2' 2x4s on the inside of the 4'x3' assemblies so that they were flush with the top and bottom of the box. This gives you a 2' high box exactly using a 2' 2x4s. This was done more or so to simplify the process when I was building the box and to give me a little bit more stability with my open box plan for inside use. When converting to the hut I had to add additional (qty 4) 1',5" 2x4's, as you can see looking at the front of the hut in the image below, in order to get a flush face for putting on the siding. You can save an 8' 2x4 by leaving out the inside 2' 2x4 and using the only the 1',5" 2x4s. Now if you have already cut your lumber as I had said to do so above, just simply trim your 2' boards down to 1'5" boards and nail them inbetween the 4x3' assemblies as seen below. You will have to toe nail them in this way or use a bracket of some sort, so for those not too good with hammering nails like me to begin with, a pre drilled hole works wonders.
In case you aren't sure on the toe nail lingo. Google is a good friend of mine...
I wanted enough room inside for when the birds grew to their full size and I also wanted enough space to mount a heat light inside, (it was still a bit chilly outside and the duck and goose still hadn't developed their feathers). So I decided to go with a 45 degree gable roof top, I figured that would give me enough height. I decided the simplist method was to make two triangle roof trusses, as seen below, using a 4 ft straight cut 2x4 and (qty 2) approximately 2',10" 45 degree miter cut 2x4s (the 2'10" approximate was based on h = 2/cos(45) for all you trig scholars, make sure your calculator is in degrees not radians ). The miter cut 2x4s should be cut so that they look like a trapezoid with the long side being 2',10" if that makes sense... If not hopefully you can figure it out in the image below.
After building two of these roof trusses, I clamped them on top of my box and nailed them down with about 4 or so nails. You can also screw them down if you would like as well.
I also wanted to have a roof top entry that would be large enough to be able to get in the coop with ease.
This little house started out small in my mind, but ended up being quite large and heavy. For the frame, I capitalized on using 2x4s from a stack of pressure treated lumber I got half price from Lowes scrap cut lumber. I lined the walls and roof with 3/4 inch pine and used cheep 1x4 firing for the siding. I used brown corrugated metal for the roof, one 3x10 sheet covered it all, and I used 5/4x6 cedar for trim. I went with a dark ebony stain for the trim and a dark walnut stain for the siding.
Overall I like the design. Plenty of room for the birds, but no way I can move this thing on my own. It is heavy and solid. Currently I'm using a 4x4 run for the birds out front, I plan on eventually moving the house to my back yard and letting the birds run free. That is, if our giant newfy pup will refrain from trying to eat them!
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