The Big Red Hen House

By kate2008 · Aug 28, 2015 · Updated Oct 15, 2015 · ·
  1. kate2008
    700 33.jpg

    After years of yearning for chickens, our local city ordinances were updated to allow for chickens.

    We designed this medium sized coop inspired by the Wichita Cabin Coop and the Garden Coop with the design modified to fit the building materials we already had.

    My dad salvaged a bunch of old billboards that were 4' x 8' and salvaged 2"x"4s.

    Footprint: 10' wide x 6' deep, secured with an apron of buried hardware cloth.
    Coop: 4' wide x 6' deep. Walls are 4' tall with 17" of ventilation at the top, sloping to 10" in the back. This was nice because it allowed for a sloped roof but kept the coop walls square for ease of cutting.
    Houses: 5 Easter Egger hens

    Building progress (May 2015):
    Started with billboards. My dad found these. They were 10+ years old with no signs of rot so whatever they are coated in must be really awesome. We stained the boards of the run so they would match. It was a mix of salvaged 2"x4"s so staining them made everything look consistent.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Ready to introduce the birds (June 2015):
    At this point the weather was very pleasant so we put our 5 week old chicks out in the coop without a heat lamp. They loved having all the extra room to run around.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Getting ready for eggs (August 2015):
    - uncovered the nest boxes
    - added a second roost
    Birds have been in the coop for a little over 2 months. I have no complaints. I love this design. We typically let the girls out for the day to roam in our fenced in backyard. The enclosed run is large enough that I don't feel guilty if we leave for the weekend and have to leave them penned up. We use oak leaves for the run bedding and regular pine shavings for the coop. It's been very easy to keep clean with the door that opens in the front. The roost is directly in front of the door so it is easy to rake out the shavings when needed. The window in the door and space at the top provides plenty of ventilation. Our climate as rather mild so I have a plexiglass insert for the window in the winter to prevent drafts but plan on leaving all other vents open.

    View of the coop in the yard, just this side of our garden

    Inside the run: We have a standard feeder and these girls don't seem to waste much so it works for us. Our waterer is a 5 gal bucket with poultry nipples on an old chair frame. A mixing bowl covers the water and prevents the girls from roosting on top. On the other side of the run we have an outdoor roost made from branches.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Inside the coop: Two roosts, equal height at 24" off the floor. Nest box divided into two 14" x 14" x 12" sections and covered with a curtain made from an old tshirt. I hope they decide to use them when they start laying.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    So there we are. The girls are 18 weeks old and we are playing the egg waiting game. So far I love this design. It's easy to access, clean and the girls are happy. I just hope they decide to use our nest boxes!


    Update - October 2015
    Things are going really well and we officially have one bird laying eggs. I was very nervous if she would use the nest box and she has! We also decided to add on a small chicken door. Our girls free range during the day and I found leaving the people door open problematic. It would swing around in the wind and started to sag. So, we rehung the big door added a smaller door just for the girls. It works great and we only need to open the people door a few days a week to refill the feeder.


    Share This Article


To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!
  1. CharMac76
    Great work! Awesome job using old materials too.
  2. backyardahens
    Awesome job! I hope you get your first eggs soon!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: