Here it is! The color is a funny coincidence, we bought it at Lowe's for $5 ($40 primer/paint good brand in the oops paint section) and it looked more reddish, but once we got to painting, holy moley this thing is Cowboy Orange! Since OSU is my hubby's alma mater, it is only fitting we name this the Cowboy Coop!
The things we were looking for in a coop were easy maintenance, easy feeding and watering, 100% removable roosts, and lots of summer ventilation that is easily covered in the winter (we do live in Oklahoma after all, home of the 115-degrees-for-weeks-on-end summer). We also wanted it semi-movable since it is going in the garden this year but not next year. So we designed a main rectangular coop and then a feed/water bay on one end and a nest bay on the other end, they butt up to the coop and we will hook them somehow to hold them up tight. They are interchangeable. The plywood square on the front with the entrance opening is also the same size as the bays, so depending on where we put the coop we can pop it off and relocate the entrance to an end and put a bay there.
The plan for feed/water is 5 gal buckets that sit on top of the feed bay with PVC that runs down to bowls inside. We designed it with deep litter method in mind, also the fact that is it IN the garden so we can just MOVE IT when we want to spread the manure and bedding around. We made lock blocks that pivot on a screw to hold the roosts in place, easy peasy to remove a roost! Also designed the nesting boxes so that all dividers slide out of the way for cleaning, etc. Main coop is 4ft x 6ft, feed and water bay and nesting bay are 15"x15"x30".We were given some old office cubicle dividers, we are going to use the iron frames to frame up a storage shed and peeled off the fabric to expose the 1/4" plywood underneath, so that was free, the treated runners were on clearance at Lowe's- a whole wrap (maybe 25 or 30 pieces) for the price of 2. Some of the lumber was left over from other projects but some we did buy. Chicken wire was left over from another chicken run. Clear bubble window will go in the roof, it was $5 at a garage sale.
Comments and critiques welcome. This is the first coop we have built and are not too proud to admit we may not be thinking of all the angles.
Will update pictures as we finish- still have to get the roof on, set up feed/water bay, and figure out an outside egg access system.
Removable lip and dividers in nest bay:
Feeder bay, with extra top support to hold feed/water buckets
A little update:
We did figure out the feeder system for the Cowboy Coop, the water is halfway figured out. Here's the feeder system. Oh I guess I forgot to take pictures of inside the bucket... guess I will go do that tomorrow! We cut a hole in the bottom of the 5 gallon bucket and nested it over a 2 1/2" PVC pipe attached to the top of the feeder box. That pipe feeds into the 4" pipe inside. What little they spill the usually scratch around in and finish up. Much less waste than the silly round feeder we were using! Right now there isn't anyone "living" in the coop but all the free rangers have found this little food source and I see them hopping in for a snack often. When the bucket gets low I put a brick on top so the wind doesn't tip it but the length of pipe that extends up in keeps it in place really well.
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