OK- So here is a brief overview of the adventures we had building the coop.
The DH is a welder, so all steel was tear-off, scrap, or recycled. It was important we used what we had, could recycle, or get used. In the end, we only had to buy concrete mix and the hardware cloth. And tack screws. LOTS AND LOTS of tack screws. We didn't want to use the heavy-duty steel mesh because once you get below 2" squares, it is exponentially expensive. Plus, the hardware cloth doesn't weld so great.
First the DH moved the construction junk he had piled on top of my gardening stuff. The house is under MAJOR construction, so things keep getting piled and repiled....
Then he moved the garden stuff and graded the area.
Next we dug a footer, poured concrete, put in cyderblocks, and filled the cynder blocks with concrete. We were able to save a few dollars (and time in the heat) by bribing the neighbor with beer and round-robin guilt.
Some Sweaty Men:
The footer. The east side is lower to prevent flooding. It may not rain often here, but when it does, our yards look like flash-flooded ravines.
Next we put up a frame. The steel was recycled from reclaimed gates or was scrap. The coop was attached to an existing metal shed and an automated swinging drive gate. Because we are (quite literally) in the middle of Phoenix it is unlikely we'll have predator issues, but the DH loves to over-engineer things. Here he proves it is strong enough to hold a gorilla.
To match the existing roofline of the shed, we made the top of the coop higher than the wall. This will give the chickens a little more air flow that would otherwise be prevented by the block wall and shed. We want our chickies to be comfy and cool when it is HOT outside.
Continuing the roofline and setting the doors.
Here is a shot from inside: the coop door facing south.
The glass door in the background goes directly into the living room. It is rarely used to go into/out of the yard, but allows for easy, air-conditioned ChickenTV. Here we are watching the menfolk.
And tuckered out from all that hard work!
The East door of the coop. We put two doors in for easy access and cleanup. Everyday access would be via the southern door to the garage (not pictured). I can I grab ice-cube jugs from the garage freezer, give treats, and refresh the water without having to worry about the doggies trying to eat the chickens. Nor do I need to worry about the chickens getting out and then bolting into the yard and garden...so long as the drive gate is closed. The east door makes it easy to bring treats from the garden and take litter directly to the compost pile. Wide doors allow for easy wheelbarrow access.
Next we put in door locks: top and bottom. The bottom lock is a sliding bolt lock that drops 5 inches into the footer. We wanted to make sure even our most persistant (and a little OCD) dog could not bend the bottom of the door. Although it would be quite a feat with the steel frame...
Automatic door closers---for sneaky dogs, sneaky chickens, slow children, and forgetful mommies.
I insisted the DH install a inside door pull after reading a few stories on BYC. Something about people locking themselves in the coop...
Since we put up the run at the end of July, there is no need for the "coop" part of the coop. We hope to get to that on Labor Day weekend, but even then, it might be a while before we put the "pretties" on it. The chikens are chickies still, and wont be laying until end of December....SO, there is no real rush.
BUT-the chickens needed more space than the brooder had, so out they went. Here they are exploring the coop. Chicken air-conditioning and ice jugs in the background.
Nuggett taunting the dog:
My BIG FLIGHTED CHICKEN:
Notice his shorts.
And the baby exploring the coop. Don't worry, at this point the sand was still 92% poop-free.
AND NOW THE NESTING BOXES....