As a new chicken owner, and the first time ever living in the country, we can tend to dive in with both feet. Once we decided to finally get chickens, we searched out various coop designs. I kept going back to the hoop coop because it just made sense. The panels make the structure and that sounds SO much easier to deal with than buying lots of wood and taking measurements and all that jazz. Found one I really liked but wanted to make modifications to and shared it with the husband. He was agreeable, so we went and bought the stuff. That's what you do, after all.
We ran into snags and learning experiences along the way. One, just because you tell your husband that you want to make it bigger and not close in the coop like the blog post you found, doesn't mean that'll sink in when you tell him to go ahead and get the stuff while you're at work LOL. The other coop was 12ft. I wanted 16ft. Whoops.
Anyway, these are some of the photos taken during the build process, to hopefully make it make sense for others coming along in their chicken journey. Enjoy!
Husband was able to secure the cattle panels to the wood and themselves, and then used his truck to flip the thing over, so the panels are on the inside of the wood. We chose a metal roof mostly over on one side, spanning about 8ft of the coop. We didn't take it all the way to the ground for ventilation purposes. It's HOT here in SC and an open air design seemed more logical.
I put the chicken wire on by myself by putting the roll on top of the hoop and working the wire down the side.
It stayed, for the most part, so once I got half done, I went and "secured" it to the cattle panel, so I could finish rolling it down the other side.
Here, you can see the door frame in it's infancy, as well as the back wall and the metal roof. #protip If you can, I'd HIGHLY recommend trying to attach the hardware cloth before you even flip the cattle panels to make the frame. We didn't, and working around the roof and trying to work with a roll that wanted to roll back up was a PAIN. Second #protip, invest in hog rings and hog ring pliers. I love those things!
We built this over by the garage instead of out in the field. Made getting to the tools easier.
No nest boxes, yet.
Until now! Many have told us that the boxes are too high. We weren't interested in redoing them to make them lower, so keep that in mind when planning yours. Short story is that the chickens should be able to roost higher than where they lay. Our point with them being higher is that I want to incorporate a broody pen under the nest box area.
*side note* We had to make adjustments to this latch in the end, because the wood kept swelling, making it difficult to open the door.
In addition to galvanized wire and zip ties, we also added hog rings where we could. This picture is mainly to display how we dealt with the "joins" of the panels.
Oh my that is some BRIGHT paint! Take your possible colors out into the sunshine before you purchase because inside, this color was NOT that bright LOL
The hog rings were a big help on getting the hardware cloth up on the coop. It's a little rough looking here, but if it keeps the critters out, I'll be satisfied.
Fence staples along the bottom and, not pictured, additional staples to make it harder for any claws to get in under the cloth on the wood to get leverage. The wood join you see there is part of the 12ft/16ft miscommunication earlier in the build. Bought more wood and created something to hold the pieces together lol. We also offset the joins so they both weren't on the same end of the coop.
Around the front, I was pretty insistent on not making more cuts in the hardware cloth than was needed, so I wrapped at first, then came back to this corner and cut the wire along one edge, so the rest could be pulled tight and secured.
Still not the final door latch, fyi.
I want to integrate that puppy pen into a broody pen somehow. I'll update once I get that figured out.
Working on the new latch design. Before, it was a dowel. Now, a piece of PVC that's less likely to swell with rain and temperature.
Shingles make this lid pretty heavy, but the addition of the trim is going to be a nice touch!
We left the top portion open for more ventilation as well. Wrangling the hardware cloth to bend under the roof was a bear!
But it's not impossible. I had to make cuts to work sections separately, to also deal with the bend in the coop. They're secured on the inside with hog rings.
Final latch design! A couple years ago, we purchased a kegerator with various supplies from the Habitat store. Husband had the idea to use some of the tap handles as handles for the coop. So, Budweiser and Busch, welcome! LOL
Oh, yeah. I made curtains for the nest boxes and used sisal rope and eye hooks to hang them. One set, I accidentally made a little shorter, so I banished it to the center box. I also got lazy when making the curtains and used the fabric tape instead of sewing. I've had to re-press the hems together on a few occasions. Probably user installation error
Woot! We struggled trying to figure out how to move the coop from the garage area to the pasture field, but some straps and extra wheels got it done! Initially, we put wheels on the back, but had an almost 90 degree bend to make it from the garage area. No trailer to use and putting it at the ball hitch, we risked damaging the coop. Husband found some straps that you typically use for lifting heavy objects with your upper arms (you slide your arms into them) and tied those around the front. He pulled the wheels off his deer blind and put those on the front. With the straps, he was able to get it straightened out and pulled into the field. We can add the wheels back if we ever decide to move the thing in the future.
That's the coop that the previous owners had. It creeps me out to walk in there and I had no interest in trying to rehab it. I'm trying to get that interest up though, because we could really use a second coop. But anyway...
Wheels go here!
Painted the front, built the pvc feeder, added bricks to separate the bedding from the grass, and moved the chickens in!
It was recommended to use carabiners on latches, so that's what we went with. Hubs tied them on to the coop so they don't get lost, hopefully
Almost ready! (just gotta add chickens, and water!)
The table in the back is for the water bucket to rest on, hopefully out of the sun for the most part.
PVC being used as a lid prop lol
Ready for eggs!
And they're in! That was a task!
Feed goes in here. You can see their old feeder down at the bottom. That worked for them as babies. Now, I'm going to fasten it to the inside somehow and let that be the oyster shell dispenser.
Recycled ladder for their roost, with some additional 2x4s added to keep them from pooping on each other.
Waterer on the table, feeding the pvc waterer
We cut a hole in the table, the size of the hose
Then we cut another hole in the back wall of the coop to feed the hose through
And then the hose connects to the PVC. We're hopeful this keeps the hose out of the sun too.
That's all for now folks!
**July 9, 2016 Edit**
A couple of things...
We traded out the regular bucket for an Igloo cooler we found at TSC on clearance. We spent some time explaining our needs to the guy at Ace and he helped us get the materials needed to replace the push button spigot with something we could turn on and attach tubing to.
Our hope is that we can add ice to the cooler and help keep their drinking water cool during our melting hot summers here in the south.
We also built an introduction pen for adding new chickens and brought it up next to the main coop.
I do feel bad having 8 pullets in a pen built for 6, but, chicken math.
When thinking about how we were going to introduce the new birds to the old birds, we decided it would be best to add an expansion for the run so we can just let them out and they have room to interact or retreat. In comes the kennel panels!
We got enough panels for a 20x20 kennel (one gate panel).
We laid down some brick pavers to handle the low spots we encountered after getting everything put together. These pavers were left from the previous owners with the purchase of the house.
We had to move the introduction pen forward to bring the panel in to fit flush with the back of the main coop. The chickens weren't too thrilled about that, as you can imagine lol.
Yeah, our grass is a bit tall right now. The chickens will be appreciative.
We don't intend on leaving them out in the run all the time so we haven't locked this down like fort knox.
Another low spot.
We picked up some bird netting to pull across the top of the run. I added some chicken wire at the bottom of this gap and we'll bring over the bird netting to cover up what remains. We also recycled some t-posts to provide some extra leverage.
Since the main coop is only 8ft wide and the panels are 10ft long, we had to do some weird angles to bring the 20ft on the other side to match with the 18ft on the coop side.
This is the long side of their run, so we added a t-post here for a little extra stability.
Again, more chicken wire and bird netting will need to be used here to close the gap, especially with the introduction pen being right there.
More to come once we get the netting up!