Instead of a “here is what we did” and adding some photos, we need to start with a story about us. We live in Central, NC, in a log home, and my wife is an animal person. She cries at the Budweiser commercials during the Super Bowl, and she has never been able to watch any of the Free Willie movies, even though the whale in those movies ends up OK. She apologizes when she bumps into a dog….any dog, and the next door neighbor’s cows eat out of her hand.
Therefore, before we ever bought our first chicken, I started our coop design with one fundamental tenant. My wife wanted happy chickens. To accent this point, I have uploaded the photos and typed much of this article, the whole while my wife is holding a chicken that she has since named Goldilocks, due to its golden head.
We looked at more than ten designs on the website. We decided to make it look like our home (log based), and we wanted it to be as nice as we could make it, so as to justify all the effort needed to keep it clean. We spend ~ $1400 on everything to get the coop up and running. A third of our expenditures were from Craig’s list, and nearly half of the total cost at the local lumber store, as we got some custom made trusses and used treated lumber and screws for nearly everything.
To begin, we bought a 4’ x 8’ trailer on Craig’s list. The rest is in our pictures.
And we framed it using what we learned from others who have posted on this website who have gone before us. We used treated lumber and made sure everything was screwed and not nailed, to ensure that it lasted.
As we got the walls done, we used custom made trusses from the local lumber store, and the lady who processed our order for $35 trusses, told us that this was the smallest order she had ever placed for a roof structure.
When fnished, the frame and roof weighed a couple of hundred pounds and occupied the entire footprint of the 4' x 8' trailer that we bought.
I used log siding (quite expensive) to cover all the walls, so it would match our home.
After all the siding was in, my wife painted it using extra paint from our house, so as to match.
We put in a three stall nesting box and put hinges on it, so the act of taking out the eggs would be easy.
Instead of buying pullets or full grown chickens to start with, my wife started with baby chicks both from a local breeder and from a local feed-n-seed store.
We kept them in a neighbor's dog kennel with a heating lamp in our laundry room, to keep them warm.
Our cat monitored the chicks, watching their every move.
As the chicks aged, she kept them outside during the day, in the kennel, to acclimatize them to life outside.
We bought some dog kennel fencing on Craig's List, to create a chicken run.
I added a pulley based timer to control when the coop door opens and closes each day. We also added a solar powered, motion activated flood light, to notify all of us when a racoon or opossum is trying to get in, during the night.
My wife spends no less than an hour each day, talking to the chickens and petting them, as if they were cousins. They get more attention than I do! They will roost on her arms and shoulders.
A friend of ours created a sign for us, using the materials left over from the rough hewn lumber used when making a pallet.
Our final product.
Therefore, before we ever bought our first chicken, I started our coop design with one fundamental tenant. If she can’t handle having chickens that die, then I want to have a coop that we can sell that leaves no trace that it ever existed. Therefore, I decided on a coop on wheels that can get pulled at 55 MPH down the highway and is “ready to go” for whoever buys it.
We looked at more than ten designs on the website. We decided to make it look like our home (log based), and we wanted it to be as nice as we could make it, so as to justify all the effort needed to keep it clean.