Let me preface this by stating that I've always been a city boy and I've never considered myself a manly man/good with tools/mr fix it/lets get the job done kinda guy or any other adjective to describe a handy dude. I'm a slacker, unmotivated, underachiever that would rather play Farmville if I absolutely had to yet I found this entire experience to be fun, exciting, invigorating, and almost therapeutic as well as being a great learning experience for my 7 year old. It really wasn't anywhere near as difficult as I imagined it to be.
This is your basic 2ft by 4ft by 3ft tall (4ft counting the peak of the ceiling) and with 2x4x2 run below and 2 external 1ft by 1ft by 1ft nest boxes. Its small but they free range most of the day weather permitting and only go in to sleep. It is the first coop I've ever built (come to think of it this is the first ANYTHING I've ever built that didn't involve Lego's) and I got in done in about a week putting in 4 hours a day. I could have finished it sooner but my tiny assistant did the best she could. The true test came on the 3rd day when our house was hit by a tornado and the whole thing stayed completely together so it looks like structurally I did something right.
The initial design, however, was very crowded for my 4 girls (5 weeks old) after adding food and water bowls in the middle floor area so I added two perches. I also bought a feed box that hangs directly on the wall. The water bowl still took up floor space and constantly had bedding kicked into it or they would just knock the water over completely. The salesman at my local feed store showed me the orange "bowls" with a yellow stopper in the middle and explained that the bowl fills up with water and as the hens peck at it to drink they hit the yellow stopper which opens the flow and more water fills in. All I had to do was somehow mount them to a hose of some sort that leads to the main water source which I ended up working out with a reservoir that hangs outside for easy refilling and pvc for water transport and support.
I left the vent opening towards the bottom on each 2ft wall so air can flow through but the girls can perch high and not get wet even in a storm. The way I see it the poop sits at the bottom so what better way to get the smell out. I also figure that since heat rises they can stay warm and dry at the top of the coop.
Below are pics in chronological order. Any questions, comments or suggestions are welcome and encouraged! Enjoy!!
The base turned upside down 2x4s by 2ft tall vertical and 1x4s horizontal
Added 2x4s 3ft tall on corners with 1x4 3ft tall where doors would come to a close. Nest boxes in back.
Very simple roof, just slapped on some ply wood then shingles but that's the entire roof frame. I cut 90 degree wedges on the 2x4s so they would lock into place with top of the frame.
Sanding down the splinters
1x4s for the walls which I found super convenient for when I needed to add openings for vents I just unscrewed the unnecessary boards, no cutting required.
Doors, same 1x4s
It took the girls a day to figure out how to use the ladder. It was a piece of hardwood floor I found that was super slick but nothing a little sanding couldn't rough up.
Wrapped it in heavy duty wire and even covered the bottom to keep predators from digging under. You cant even tell there's a wire floor anymore with all the grass/bedding down there. I used 1 inch wood screws (#10) with washers to make sure the wire mesh couldn't be pried off the wood
Ran out of wood but after I made "windows" I used those boards in place of this eyesore lol
No she didn't get that paint on the house, that was me :/
Window/vent with food box on the inside hanging from the wire. It has a lid.
Water reservoir which leads to....
Nice and out of the way
Much more space after installing the feed box all the way on the right which can barely bee seen and the water "fountains" on the left side, also hard to see.
Two perches which they somehow found their way up to and love sleeping on.