This is the tale of our coop build, which took nearly nine months (and still isn't quite finished), lots of discussion and head scratching, and immeasurable patience. I hope you enjoy our journey - we certainly did!
It all started with a 100 year old outhouse:
It's a two-seater
We knew it would be the perfect place for our flock. Unfortunately, despite its aesthetic value, it was in pretty rickety shape. So in March of 2012, we had to knock it down:
...And light it on fire:
It was pretty awesome
Of course, we saved the important part:
My husband and I are both architects, which means we like to complicate things. We first thought about a fully stone, round chicken coop. Then we realized that neither of us happen to be masons, so we scaled back and enlisted our friend (another architect), who had a bit more "concrete" experience:
At this point, we were still thinking round. This is the base slab for the floor, 6" with a 12" haunch at the perimeter, about 8' in diameter.
Next, the floor finish. We poured a topping slab and inlaid some flattish field stone that we have lying around everywhere:
Now for the fun stuff. Using stones scavanged from the old stone walls in our woods, we built a 2' high knee wall for the coop:
We decided to go for an octagonal coop, so we set anchor bolts into the mortar as we built the knee wall. Then we stopped for beer:
And we decided to call our creation the Henhaus. Beer does wonders for creativity
All that concrete and stone work took about a month of weekends. After the mortar cured, we were ready to start framing. This took the rest of the summer:
Playing with framing and setting the door height (this took A LOT of ... "discussion". Architects are very opinionated about every little thing).
My gorgeous cousin, helping us out for scale. He's a model and an actor.
Things are starting to take shape, finally. This is the second weekend of framing - we had to set the sill plate in mortar and wait for that to cure before we could get started.
The first roof truss. Those long ends are because we couldn't agree on how deep we wanted the overhang.
For the walls, we decided on insulated sandwich panels inserted into each wall frame. This helped stiffen everything up and stabilize the building. You can also see the finished roof trusses.
Panels are done! I can't tell you how many times we had to cut and recut, fit and refit, each panel. Measure twice, cut once. And then measure again, and cut a few more times... and measure some more... trim a bit here and there... You can see the pop door opening at the back there.
Plywood for the roof is done. What you're looking at is a skirt around the bottom of the roof, and the extensions of the trusses will support a wood slat sunscreen. We left an opening at the top, so that we can put a cupola up there for added ventilation. For those of you keeping score, it's now August
Early September, and the tar paper is up and the door is built.
Another day to build the frame...
And hang the door. We tarped the roof because of that storm cloud zipping in.
Soffit panels in place now, with holes cut for the soffit vents in each one. Then I had to stop for hay:
Who needs the gym?
My cohorts abandoned me to finish the interior, which is just as well since I'm more anal retentive than either of them. I mean precise! More precise, with finer attention to detail!
The two nesting boxes, taking shape. We have six hens and one rooster, so we're hoping two will be sufficient.
Remember that most important part of the two seater?
Cut and fit to perfection, if I do say so myself.
Especially since the hens and Henry are getting a bit anxious to move in. They lived on our screened-in porch during the build.
The pop door, which lifts straight up to a stainless steel eyelet...
Through a pulley at the peak scavanged from the old barn...
Through a hole in the soffit...
and out to a cleat mounted next to the man door. And my husband said it wouldn't work! Pssh! I'm a girl genius.
You can also see the 1/2" hardware cloth windows finally installed to keep out the nasties at night.
Ready to move in! I hadn't finished the poop board yet, so I layered hay under the roost as a temporary measure. There's a cinderblock under the nest boxes for feed; water we'll keep out in the run except on the really cold and nasty days. You can see a ledge to provide a little step up for the hens to get to the roost, and a landing pole in front of the boxes so the hens can get in and out comfortably.
Tada! Front swings down for easy nest box access!
All that's left are the wood shingles on the roof, the sunscreens, and the cupola. When the hens finally moved in, it was early December, so we decided to call it quits for the winter, tarping the roof for extra protection on top of the tar paper. We'll wrap it up in the spring and find the next project to argue about!