It all started in March 2013 when I got an itch to have a few chickens running around the yard. Then it turned into having a few ducks as well. I ordered my chicks and ducklings 8 weeks out. I needed time to plan the best coop possible. I figured by the time they were old enough to move into the coop it would be a nice, warm summer. I literally designed coops for weeks. The deadline was approaching and I could not settle. Finally it hit me. Keep it simple, put in some windows, add a fence, and just call it a day. I drew up a design for a 4' by 6' coop with a triple nest box. Then I went through every detail so I knew all my materials ahead of time. We're talking major math here haha. 2" by 4"s, 2" by 6", plywood, shingles, vinyl siding, windows, doors, vents, wiring, outlets, paint, etc.
Once the materials were purchased and organized we were ready to begin. My wonderful Father and Boyfriend helped with the major construction of this project. We started with a 6' by 4' floor. It is 2" by 6" lumber with 3/4" plywood on top.
Next the frame itself went up. I have insulated windows on each side of the coop. I believe all the 2" by 4" are 16" on center. Thank gosh these boys know their building
After the frame itself went up and the pitched roof put on we went to work on the outside. We used 3/4" plywood and some 3/4" particle board. We used whatever we had left over for the outside figuring we were going to cover that anyways. Next I added insulation. I believe I used R13. After the insulation was put in we put 3/4" plywood on the inside. We siliconed all seams to prevent bugs from nesting with the chickens. After all the plywood was on we were ready for siding.
We put in a regular steel door here. I painted it black and the black framing around the door is so we can attach the fencing. We cut a chicken size opening in the door and the plywood flap you see folds down into a ramp. Then we added regular siding. We put our leftover house shingles on the roof and put up the saufits and what not. Basically this was a tiny little house for chickens...and for people to go inside to visit
We moved the coop outside with a backhoe and some ropes and fastened it to the cement. The slab was there from a silo so we used it as our main ground. The fence was then attached using all 2" by 4" and 3/4" plywood. We used regular fencing like a dog fence and then we have a line of chicken wire at the bottom in case of raccoons or other sneaky predators. I don't believe the chicken wire has been added to this yet. All the black paint is oil based in hopes that it will last longer in our crazy weather. The finishing touch was the cast iron rooster I was gifted by my Boyfriend's Mother. I had to paint it white so it would stand out. And it had to face east because that's where the sun rises and I figured my rooster may need the hint. (Four AM tells me he doesn't)
The finished product itself is a 4' by 6' by 8' high coop with a 10' by 6' run. We free range so we did not add a large run.
Almost to the end here. Next was painting the inside. I contemplated painting the KFC logo to "scare the girls into production", but decided that a nice sky blue would suffice. I used to work at a countertop shop and the nesting box is actually a leftover bottom. I drew up a design and had my Uncle piece it together. Each box is 12" by 12" and the top lifts up. It is, you guessed it, 3/4 plywood with FRP. The FRP is for easy clean up its just a smooth plastic coating. After that we added the two levels of 2" by 4" roosts. We had also added power to this coop. We dug a trench from our main barn to the coop and fed all the wiring through. I hook up heat in the winter and thank gosh because it was a heck of a cold one this year. It's set to a thermostat to shut off at about 20 degrees. I also use it to hook up all the heated water dishes. The little ledge in the corner there was suppose to be for a clear spot for the ducks. They much prefer to just sleep in the run
I absolutely loved this project. I come from a family of builders and designers so doing something like this is right up my alley. The goal is "strive for perfection settle for good enough". I am very proud of our coop. After all the building we use pine shavings for bedding and I have straw on the concrete for winter. Like I had stated before, our flock free ranges from sun up to sun down so we did not think too much against just using the concrete. It makes for nice hosing off haha. I actually appreciate having chickens and ducks that much more after building the coop. Shortly after the coop for my "Rock County Layers" was built the babies moved in.
I wish I would have saved all my original plans so I could have shared those as well. In hindsight (which of course is always 20/20) I wish we would have made the coop bigger. The only good thing is it keeps me in check with buying more and more chickens. Hopefully in a year or so we'll be able to add on to this one. I'd like to either get a few more chickens or at least let the ones we have now stretch a bit more when those real cold days swing through. Some people say we went overboard with this project, but we wanted something that was going to last forever and I really believe this will. For the time being I would not change a thing, but in time I may change them all