We bought 6 chicks in early April with plenty of time and the intent of building them a 12'x8' coop (and adding to the flock), attached to a 20'x20' fenced in garden area ... but Spring took its time to arrive, the area where the coop will be built is not level and needs a lot of prep work and time was quickly getting away from us ... our chicks were 6 weeks old and ready to move out of our basement!
So I figured we could build a "temporary" coop in a weekend that would buy us time to build the permanent structure ...
18 hrs of labor over 3 days, a mix of scrap & bought ply & lumber, an old door, recycled kitchen cabinet hinges & door knobs ... and here's what we came up with.
Saturday: Pressure treated 2x4's for the ground frame, regular 2x4's for the roof frame & coop support frame, 2x2's for the uprights, other supports, & roosts. Tried to utilize native lengths where possible ... 8'x10' total footprint, (6' high) 4'x8' floor of coop, about 3 feet high.
Boxing in the coop was the first priority, with corrugated plastic roofing* over top of whole coop/run, so our 7 week old chicks could move in ASAP! (Sat night)
Scraps of plywood used where possible ... coop cleanout door at back of coop ... coop filled with pine shavings (deep litter method). Two vent windows added either side of door since photo taken.
Sunday: Sided & wired, 2x2 roost-with-a-view Chicks check out their new digs ... very happy
Old 2x6 from our yard and scraps of ply made the ramp ... screwed to coop support. Vent window cut in this coop wall (after photo) for cross ventilation.
Monday: Roost bar #1 at one end of the coop ... another installed on the other side of the pop door & cleanout door. Whole outside coated in Linseed Oil for weather proofing.
My favorite feature is the old door (center) that had been laying in our yard for years. To the left of it (top half) will be access doors to the back of the nesting area (not yet constructed).
Planning to add levered wheels and make it a Chicken Tractor ... it's on a level grassed area of about 1/6 acre ... plan to move it weekly for fresh pasture (maybe more often as they get bigger.)
*Need to redo roof (add another panel) and add pitch for drainage.
And after all this ... not sure if we need to build the original coop we had planned
Wheels added ... four wheelbarrow wheels rated 600lb each, 2ft levers made of 1" square tube steel ... they barely lift this thing! Next time, less 3/8" ply, more 1/4" ply, less 2x4's, more 2x2's.
UPDATE July 2014: More roosts added and decided not to use coop as a tractor (too heavy) ... instead we will make a moveable pen around it for fresh pasture weekly (6 plots) using hog fence panels (with extra wire added).
Chickin' out one of their new roosts ... keeps them out of the poop!
Upgraded to a 5-gallon bucket/nipple waterer ... lasts 4-5 days full!
New nesting boxes made from Clementine/Mandarin boxes & scrap lumber. First egg laid within days of installing this!!