Suburban Chicken Project
(otherwise known as Two men and some hens, Eggarea 51, Big D's Chicken Ranch, or Good-Lord-I hope-the-neighbors-don't-find-out Farms)

My 12 year old son and I live in a typcial suburban neighborhood. I have always wanted a chicken 'r two, so as part of a Boy Scout project and just a silly dream, we have 7 fantastic cochin hens. The were hatched in Texas on about March 20th and are all healthy, friendly and great entertainment

We have learned everything we know from BYC and the members here. Without the advice and experiences of breeders, brooders and egg'finatics around the hemisphere, we would be as lost as hens in the dark.

our bird herd out for a scratch. they're about 6 weeks old here.

Our brooder was made from scrap lumber from a garden shed I built last year. It's 4'X2' and 2' deep. The top has an opening covered with chicken wire, and the front is lexan for easy viewing. All supporting lumber is 2"X4"s that I split to make "2X2s" out of.
Our coop and run are going to be attached to the garden shed, on the North side. This will allow more shade on the structure. Since we are in Florida, heat is a bigger factor than cold. The coop design uses the best use of dimensional lumber, for cost savings, while still have plenty of room for our girls. I'll add some pics of the construction, once construction has actually begun.

The garden shed and the space on the right (North) of the shed is the space we have to work with for our coop and small run.


The same space with the 'studs' in view. It looks slim in design, but thats part of the plan. Remember, they have 30 square feet in there.

An 'artists rendering' of what the finished coop should look like. It should sort of blend right in with the existing shed--same color and same basic trim.

Notice I'm digging a trench. This is to bury some poulty fencing about a foot deep around the coop itself. I used some used fencing, that I had used for the 'playpen' for the chickes. They are comfortable in the back yard now, so i dont need the playpen. We dont have foxes or badgers or other predators for the most part. Our only real concern, I think, is raccoons. But a few shovels of dirt, some time and a few feet of underground fence is worth it's weight in worries.

Same shot, with the 2 by 6 footer in place (ok, a representation of the footer in place). I plan to use the deep litter method, and pressure treated and sealed 2 by 6 lumber will not only allow a solid baseboard for the structure, it will let me know how deep my litter really is.

I know these are just photos of what I 'plan' to build, but afterall, these are my coop 'designs', and that's the name of the game, right?
Below are a couple of images of the layout. Since the coop is narrow, the access door is in the middle of the longer wall. This allows complete access for me and my son to check on everything, and still maximized height and width of the coop. Our girls can nest on the West end, with stagered nest boxes, and roost on the East end with high and medium roosts, and we have access to everything, without anything being in the way. Food and water are suspended from rafters about in the middle, so chores of filling the bins can be done without walking all over the coop.

Here's a few sketches of the plan...



more pics coming soon.