Tailfeather Cottage

By Cooperkeeper · Jan 11, 2012 · Updated Jan 17, 2017 · ·
  1. Cooperkeeper
    Tailfeather Cottage
    "Really? We need chickens? Now?"
    Our adventure began innocently enough as my husband and I realized our dream of owning acreage and finally planned to move our horses from a friends farm, home! The barn had taken some time, fencing was carefully planned and installed and moving day came. We could sit back and relax as we watched our happy boys graze in their new pasture. But someone should have warned us (or at least my sweet husband, as I knew this deep down already) that this was just the beginning. We needed to jump right into this farming thing! So the research began.
    Farm magazine subscriptions replaced the fashion/entertainment variety. My summer reading list included books on homesteading, organic gardening and sustainability. The frequent internet searches brought me to BYC and I was hooked. More nights than I care to admit, I would find I had lost complete track of time (ie. wee hours of the morning) scouring the pages of amazing coop designs as well as the wealth of information on raising healthy peeps. I bookmarked several designs and started making my own wish list.​
    • Room for a dozen layers (Yes..I know..beware of the chicken math!)
    • Coop and run to be attached to raised bed garden eventually (composting, de-bugging before spring planting and after fall harvests)
    This led to our (my) design: 6x8 coop with covered 6x20 run.
    The coop design forum is where the many ("many,many, many...", adds my hubby) necessary details became evident.​
    • Ventilation!!
    • preditor proof!
    • 2-3 nest boxes
    • plenty of roost space
    ..to start.

    Armed with a drawing, I approached my husband (the one in this duo with the engineering/building know-how) with my plan.
    "Really? We need chickens? Now?"
    I smiled....BIG.

    I ordered the chicks to be shipped the second week in June. Seeing as it was only March, I figured this would give us (DH) ample time to build the coop without pressure as we would have until the end of July before the chooks would be ready to move in.
    And so it began:
    The future garden and coop was laid out and my husband started setting the 4x4 treated poles. The project was designed to be built using pole building type construction methods rather than traditional home construction style framing.[​IMG]

    The tractor, thank goodness, made this job much easier than hand digging each one and the poles went in quite quickly. Our horses didn't seem to mind the noise and napped in their pasture nearby.

    Poles and bracing in place, the rafters my husband built in his shop went up.

    Starting to look like a building.

    Hanging on with my toes, I help add the purlins that will support the galvanized metal roofing.

    Much more comfortable with heights, my husband worked on the roofing.

    Finally the trees are starting to pop and we take advantage of a gorgeous Michigan spring day.
    Roofing is complete. Using 2x6 treated lumber, joists were built for floor deck and covered with 3/4" plywood salvaged from our barn project.

    As I mentioned..I was ready to jump into this farming thing. So while my dear husband is continuing to frame the coop for windows, vents, and doors...I bring home my two adorable nubian bottle babies! Meet Nelle and Sophie!

    The girls inspect and approve their future neighbors new digs!

    My sweet hubby has been busy and has windows in and siding, vents, egg door and trim coming along nicely.


    Looks like I should start on hardware cloth while he is finishing up these details.

    I added 1/2" 19 gauge hardward cloth on run and buried 18" in L-configuation underground as hubby finished trim and built doors and vent covers.

    Now trim painting can begin.

    Growing chicks enjoy finished run for first time while painting continues.

    This grass stuff is alright!

    Weeks now of HOT weather! Chicks are so big and ready to move out of their cramped brooder. The camera got pushed aside so we could finish up with all the interior details and of course...all that painting!
    Note: Nest boxes were originally to be set on outside of coop, but because we had ample interior room, and weatherproofing could be a real problem on this west facing wall, we put boxes inside and flashed the top of opening. EVERYTHING is caulked as well.
    Small pop door on south facing wall will eventually allow me to let chickens into expanded goat pen.

    Yes..this is Martha Stewart Yolk Yellow from Home Depot!

    Interior is all insulated with 1 1/2" styrofoam then covered with scrap OSB which all was given two coats of semi-gloss exterior latex for easier cleaning.
    Hardware cloth over all windows and vents.
    Roosts are 2x4's, wide side up, at 3 1/2' and 4 1/2' heights with temporary poop boards.
    This picture shows the half screen door (one of those.."OH, Honey?? Just one more detail that would be sooo nice...?") so that I can open coop door and observe/open pop door without the ladies escaping.
    You can also just see the removeable board in doorway to hold back bedding.


    PVC feeder, one of many ideas gleened from all of you on BYC! Classy margerine tubs keep unwanted material out of filling tubes.
    Sheet vinyl remnant on floor. We cut this 3/4" long on all sides, then tacked down with 3/4" wood strips rather than gluing so that we might change out if needed.

    Pop door to run. Note that after having everything neatly painted with the semi-gloss, we had to sand off the paint in the track of door as it was too sticky to move freely.
    Currently I lift this manually from coop door, but have the add-a-motor (BYC Idea) to be installed when electrical is completed.

    Still trying to determine what to use for poop boards under roosts and on top of nest boxes.
    6" board hinged on front of boxes can be lowered for landing pad when the ladies are ready to lay.
    Removeable plastic totes fit inside boxes so that I can remove to clean when necessary.

    Roosts added to run. Currently the 9 week young ladies aren't trying them out. That top one is pretty high!
    Sand also added to run, with future plans to plant a "salad bar" in last bay of run area.(BYC. BYC!)
    I think we are ready for move in!!

    But first, my dear husband decided after all this work, we needed to have a ribbon cutting ceremony!!


    NOW it's move in time.
    Transportation provided from the crowded brooder in our shop to the new "cottage".

    Settling in with part of the neighborhood welcoming committee.

    A project completed (almost)!

    I have had a blast planning and designing and getting so many great ideas from this forum. This project took more time (and $) than I anticipated, even though we used a lot of materials we had collected from other projects, partly because my husband is an engineer through and through. (When in doubt, build it stout!) And because it had to be CUTE!
    A few things left to do are:
    Add electricity for pop door motor, water heater in winter and potential heat lamp if needed.
    Salad bar planter in run.
    Poop boards/covers?

    The ladies (3 EE's, 4 PBR's, 3 SLW's) seem to be very content and I can't wait until part of my daily routine with them is collecting beautiful blue/green and brown eggs.

    Thanks to all of you for your inspiration and for looking at our coop.

    Share This Article

    Suess Crew, Larry55, N F C and 2 others like this.

Recent User Reviews

  1. Nardo
    "Outstanding how to article"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Jul 23, 2018
    Super nice coop and run. I really like the windows.
  2. PNW_Peepers
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Jun 29, 2018
    What a perfect coop and run! Lovely article. Finally someone who put some effort into their plans. Wouldn’t change a thing!


To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!
  1. Debbiedodo
    Really nice coop. It looks like you have a beautiful set up for all of your animals. Well planned and you have a great builder. Hi to another Michigander.
  2. En Plein Air Farms
    Well done! Great space for the little girls and great job!! Thank you for sharing your journey~
  3. WasabiChicki
    Super Cute!!!
  4. PoorAssPrepper
    Looks great!
  5. lesgo54
    yall did an awesome job
  6. PamelaTX
    Thanks for taking the time to take such great pictures and post a great coop building story! Think of all the people who will be looking at your post and gaining great ideas just the way you did when you were in the planning stage. You have a great place there! And you really are jumping in aren’t you…horses, goats, chickens…when will you get the pigs? Thanks again.
  7. Buckhunter76
  8. MadHens
    I enjoyed reading your story and looking at the pictures! You and your husband did a fabulous job planning and building your coop/run. Our chicks are only about 10 days old and my husband will be starting to build our coop/run soon. I hope to steal some of your ideas. Great property, BTW!
  9. Stumpy
    Very, very nice! And so sturdy!
  10. mmorgan79936
    Wow Love this very creative! Great job!
  11. Greasydog26
    Nice carpentry work!!!
  12. ESherrill43
    nice coop!!
  13. BYC Project Manager
    Congratulations, we've chosen one of your pics for the CC-POW. Thanks for posting your coop design & pictures to our "Chicken Coops" pages! You can find more info about the CC-POW here: CC-POW Process
  14. DeesHens
    Enjoyed your pics and write up. Very nice plan & outcome. Yep. It looks cute too. :) You will have happy chickens which means yummy eggs. Love how you and your man work together in harmony. ;) Very nice place you dwell with all your animals. Cute goats too. Life is good! ;)
  15. BGeezie
    Very nice guys!
  16. Yay Chicks!
    Gorgeous! Love your little goats as well.
  17. Onna
    Really Good Job....
    love the egg yoke yellow, and Tree limbs for out door roots.
    Your place reminds me of Kansas.
    Thanks for sharing.
  18. cmedeiros17
    WoW! Loved your write up with the pics. You (and hubby) did a FANTASTIC job on that coop!!! You will have some very happy chicks :)
  19. ZaksGarden
    Wow! I have considered extending the run portion of my coop and this helps me visualize it! Wonderful coop, your chickens should be very happy. =)
  20. 3 Golden Girls
    nice job... the yoke yellow is very fitting and love the wreath on the red door.
  21. BigRooNTN
    Great job by the both of you. You guys did a great job. I looks great. Love the country look also. Looks like northern MI. I use to live on the east side near Port Huron. I am looking forward to getting mine started. I got an old barn style shed to use now.
    Thanks for sharing. Great pix.
  22. Fancy Feathers
    Really cute! Very nice :)
  23. joan1708
    Love it! And your goats are so cute too!
  24. Alte Vogel
    Love it! Is your husband willing to travel. I want one just like it. LOL. Congratulations. I know your peeps will be so happy with their new home.
  25. Kansas Prairie
    Great job! Looks like you are ready to start another project!
  26. lizm1221
    adorable! Congrats on your budding farm, that is my dream....someday! The coop looks perfect and I love the colors
  27. rekkas peeps
    LOVE IT!!!!! great job!!
  28. rendezvous1838
  29. Knock Kneed Hen
    That's a beautiful coop and run. I can tell how excited you are putting your little birds in there. Great pictures, makes me feel like I was there with you Love it all!!
  30. Ariel188
    WOW amazing, beautiful, awesome work!! :)
  31. tadpole98
    LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!! :D
  32. DianaMallory
    Thank you for sharing! I enjoyed reading this so much I read it twice!
  33. unohen
    Nice!!!! Love the bright yellow!!! Looks like hen heaven.
  34. ducklin
    great chicken house love it when a family works together
  35. lorijohnson823
    Pretty!!! Ya'll did a great job!! :)
  36. MaineGigi
    Just an idea about your poop boards. If you make a shelf say 12" wide with a lip all the way around as long and your roosts are . Fill it will pdz and you can scoop with kitty litter scoop and it doesn't smell and scoops easilly and keeps the shavings wayyyyy cleaner! I'm building mine this week.!! I do love your coop, fantastic work!!
  37. ChickInDelight
    That is darling! Enjoy!
  38. ChicknPeeps9
    I love your new coop! Gives me some ideas I would like to use when we build our new coop. Right now we have a small coop that works but it is small. I have the "chicken fever" and need more chickens! So we have been planning on building a new one like you have made. I hope it turns out as nice as yours. (Hubby is not handy.) Best wishes on your farming! Your little goats are so cute!
  39. Rhoise
  40. clucky3255
    i like the color! snazzy too... mine is just ...well.. not fancy or cute but something simple, and safe... and something that definetly made me and my dad very proud of our hard work through the hot weeks......
  41. awesomechicken
    i love the coop
  42. Munsterbucks
  43. gmarlett
    Thanks for sharing your coop design with great pictures. Your husband did a great job with the construction!
  44. teach1rusl
    LOVE your coop! I had to laugh at the pic of you up there nailing on purlins w/a hammer - all that nice equipment (especially that post hole digger on your tractor) and you don't have a Paslode?!?! LOL You guys did a wonderful job!
  45. Egg Lover
    Wow......very well done. One of the nicest coops I've seen.
  46. locavore
    Beautiful - so well thought out! Lucky, lucky chickens! May they lay many eggs...
  47. Attila the Honey
    Nice job! Where in MI? I grew up there and am thinking (dreaming) of moving back.
  48. LuxuryOverdose
    Hi there. I'm a new member to this site, and having been charged with designing and building a coop for my kids' school hobby farm, your effort has given me some great ideas. Well done to you and your husband. It looks fabulous.
  49. JillTx
  50. tumbles
    I love this coop!!
    We are gathering ideas from lots of peoples coop projects, thank you for taking the time of explaining what you did. I hope your chicks are happy ones!!

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