Wanted to get chickens 4 years ago but DH was resistant. I studied BYC extensively. I had no idea chickens would be so involved. Every spring the chicken fever would hit and my husband finally agreed maybe we could get some chickens. I went on My Pet Chicken before he could change his mind and ordered 10 Barred Rock chicks. So of course we now had to build a coop. We have never built anything like this and it would have been difficult for us to work together on this many years ago but we have been married 31 years now and have adapted to each others work styles. I had designed how I wanted the coop built generally speaking but things never go quite as planned and getting everything squared up is harder than it seems like it should be.
It's hot in Tennessee in the summer so I wanted a place with shade. Not much shade you can see but it was still late winter. The Old Sage Orange(Hedge apple) trees get their leaves late so that gives warmth and sun well into spring.
I also wanted a dirt floor coop and to use the deep litter method so as to eventually have some good compost for the garden,
I didn't want critters digging in so we decided to bury one row of concrete blocks and then put another row on top. This was probably the most difficult thing to get square but it was the foundation and thus it was very important and just took some time.
The boards on top of the concrete block are fixed by pouring concrete into the holes of the blocks and then carriage bolt placed through the wood into that concrete and allowed to dry. One thing we did learn from a great helper at Lowe's was to use screws instead of nails so that when you make a mistake( like placing the first wall upside down) you can just unscrew and fix.
We did later add some brace pieces between the upright 2x4s as we figured where we needed them. The roof was kind of difficult.
We did get some cheap materials at a Habitat for Humanity store. If you have one of those in your area, visit it regularly and you can find some good deals on building materials. We paid $5 a pack for shingles and $5 each for 4X10 OSB. We had windows from when we had the windows replaced on our house and a free door was given to us by a neighbor who moved in and replaced their front door.
Of course we had to have a run and what I hope works out well is the landscape timbers. They were a lot cheaper than treated 4x4s. and I think they look nice. They are also treated so should last. We concreted then all into the ground. We also concreted in 2 4x4s where the run starts and stops at the coop and then used some large screws to screw them to the coop just in case we had not done the best building job so that a high went didn't take our coop away. We also used treated fencing for the boards that are going across. It was cheaper than 2x4s especially when we found them on sale. The run is probably about 600 square feet and when the chicks are grown I plan to add a small chicken door out the back for them to free range in the evenings when I'm home. We have yet to add a top of any kind to the run. I worry over it every day. We have a lot of crows around which may be what keeps the hawks away. There are plenty of hawks in this area but they have either not found my chickens yet or there is currently easier prey to be had.
We did buy the nest boxes off Ebay. I like the idea of the easy to clean metal and my husband was pretty much over any more building.The chicks started out roosting on the bottom of the wall in the corners but now (the original 10 BRs) are on the roost but the other 14(chicken math) chicks are still roosting in the walls. Right now the BRs will the 10 weeks old tomorrow and the others(CCL, BLRW, and a mix SBEL) are 5 weeks old. Plan to add doors to be able to collect eggs from the outside.
Of course, once we were finished(or almost finished) with the coop we had to extend the path we had been making through the back yard all the way to the chickens coop. We are blessed (or cursed) in the area with ROCK. We decided to make the most of it. So we extended our path, added plants and decor and we are really enjoying our chickens. We also bought a gliding bench so we can just sit out there and watch them. Even some of the little ones are using the outdoor roosts now but I haven't gotten a pic of them yet.
We also made an overhang on the side of the coop so that if it is raining they can come out the chicken door and eat and drink in dry
area. And they have an area that is always in the shade
The thing in the middle of the run is where I am going to have a couple of swings and a place to hang a cabbage or other treats. I have lost the paracord I bought for that purpose and as soon as I find it I will complete that job. The platform that the BRs are perched on is a cover to keep them from getting the little chicks food but they love to chase the little ones away when they get a chance. Hope you enjoy our Tennessee Coop.