So I finally decided to take the plunge and buys some chickens. I tried last year but made the mistake of telling my wife before hand. Needless to say she was not thrilled about the idea. This April I decided to try a different approach. I brought the baby chicks home, let the kids see them so now she would have to be the bad guy if she didn't want them.
I did quite a bit of reading and Google image searching of chicken coops to try and figure out what I liked and what I didn't. BYC was an overwhelming source of information. So much so that at some point i had to stop reading at night because i was changing my sketched plans on a daily basis.
Its strange that I'm a computer engineer but whenever I build something in the backyard I will always revert back to a pencil and graph paper.
I decided to go with sand instead of the deep litter method. I also didn't want the coop sitting directly on the floor for drainage reasons so I wound up building it on top of a standard deck foundation.
Here we see my 2 faithful helpers.
Here's the finished 4'x8' stained base.
The final resting place for the coop will be that back corner in this pic. I decided to build it on the cement pad for my shed just to make it easier to move around it. In the end I was glad I did but I also needed 10 guys to help me move it into place. Getting 10 able bodied guys together at one time was not as easy a task as I thought it would be.
Framing went up pretty quickly (as it usually does) I decided I wanted to hen house to sit box like on top of the run (similar to the way a house is stick framed). In the end it made for a bit of a strange layout but the end result worked out ok. All the ground level lumber is pressure treated.
Here is the completed frame with the hen house all boxed out.
As you can see extensive research was done before we introduced the chickens. Cooper was really taking one for the team here.
Here we have Christian testing out the strength of the hen house.
I used 1/2" osb as interior sheething and T1-11 for the exterior. I wanted to be able to easily clean out the hen house so I put the entire side on hinges.
The nesting box was built but just hanging at this point.
Here is a shot of the interior of the hen house. I don't like the look of the screens just stapled to the wall so I quickly framed them out cheap 1'x2''s.
Everything is all stained up now. I was just starting to install the trim around the windows.
As you can see Cooper was present for moral support at this point.
Finished up my stone work and sent out a distress call. With the help of ALL my neighbors, their sons, brother in law, nephew's and anybody else who happened to be available we lifted this monster into place. I put it up on 4x4 so that I could get drainage stone underneath it easily. Still waiting for my special order roofing to arrive at Lowes at this point.
So this was my first time ever putting a metal roof on. All I have to say is thank god for you tube.
At this point I had lost complete interest in making the screen frames. Each screen consisted of and inner and an outer frame. Lets do some basic math shall we. 14 separate screens times 2 (for the inner and the outer) equals 28 screen frames. You know that section where you are supposed to talk about how you would do things differently. Well this will be at the top of my list.
The Girls inspecting their future home. Gink (in the front), Snoozy (stepping out of the coop), Bosco (back left), Skittles (back right)
Here a shot of the almost completed front (still have to stain above the door but I ran out of stain) I had some left over pool coping that I used as stepping stones to the coop.
Easy Breezy swing away wall. Im very happy I decided to do this. For all you future Coop builders I highly recommend making the coop easy access to help with cleaning.
I also put the screen on hinges so that I could fill their water and food without having to walk in the run.
The Girls first night out.
Freedom!!!! Lets go poop on the patio!!!!!!
What I would have done different....
screens, screen, screens. I should have built the vertical 2x4's on the flat and covered the screen edges with a fascia boards painted green. I would have been done so much quicker.
Originally I covered the top of the deck with landscape fabric so the sand wouldn't sink through. That was a waste, the chickens ripped it up in the first week and in retrospect if I'm losing any sand through the deck boards Its hardly noticeable.
Don't buy the 1lb box of deck screws. You are always going to need more. Just buy the 5lb box and don't cheap out. 6, 1lb boxes later, lesson learned.
Its easier to buy more than one you need from home depot/lowes and return what you don't than make 5 trips over a weekend.
Its cheaper to get a yard of drainage stone delivered than to buy it by the bag (for me anyway)
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