The Lafayette Chicken Compound

By aaronri, Apr 15, 2013 | Updated: Apr 19, 2013 | | |
Tags:
  1. aaronri
    If you asked me even a year ago if I would ever own chickens, I would probably look at you funny and say "No, I doubt it..." My girlfriend and I came to own chickens when the house we bought had existing outbuildings, and one of them had been used to raise bantam roosters for show in the past. We liked the idea of getting a flock of our own, to have for eggs and entertainment. We were supposed to close by Jan 18th, and didn't end up closing until Feb 22nd. I had already ordered the chickens from eFowl.com thinking that we would be in the new house by February, and they ended up getting to us Feb 11th. We ended up with 18 day-old chicks in our apartment in Newport, RI for a week and a half!




    [​IMG]










    [​IMG]



    Here is the new property:



    [​IMG]




    And the Existing coop:



    [​IMG]



    The Coop:


    You can see that it needed some TLC, so we started by scraping and priming the outside:




    [​IMG]



    Once that was finished, I moved inside. Here is the way it was before we got it:


    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]



    I started by getting rid of the roost shelf:



    [​IMG]


    Once everything was cleared out, I started thinking about what I wanted to do with the floor. The building is in OK shape; it is pretty old though, and parts of the floor seem to be better than others. I wanted the floor to be easy to clean, but also provide great protection from any predator trying to dig through the floor from below. What I came up with was to add 2 layers: the bottom layer would be wall-to-wall hardware cloth, stapled down along the seams and outside edges. On top of that, I would use vinyl flooring, to make it easy to clean. (I want to use the deep litter method, where I can keep adding hay every week or two, and clean everything out into the compost twice a year.)


    Here is the hardware cloth stage, not all pictures show the finished stapling, I went a little crazy with poultry staples...




    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]



    Next we added the vinyl flooring on top:



    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]


    Here's my girlfriend doing surgery on the flooring:




    [​IMG]



    I secured the flooring using felt paper nails, I had thought about adhesive, but if I ever want to pull the floor up, it would be a huge mess.



    [​IMG]


    At this point, it was mid March, and the girls (and one boy) were about 4 weeks old, and the temperature outside was still very cold. I did, however, want to get them out of my house, where they had taken over a guest room. I bought an additional heat lamp, and set them up in the new coop, which held the heat surprisingly well considering it isn't insulated.



    [​IMG]

    At this point, the chicks were in a clean, dry, warm environment with food and water, so I moved outside to tackle the run.



    The Run:


    My girlfriend and I work full time jobs, so we needed a place where we could feel comfortable leaving them all day. I had seen a lot of different types of runs here at BYC, and I decided to focus on the things that my run should provide.

    -Human sized- I want the run area to be accessible for cleaning, feeding, and handling purposes.

    -Protected- It is very important that the run be protected from common daytime predators: Dogs, foxes, hawks, etc.

    -Covered- A lot of people use netting or wire on the top. I want the girls to be able to go out in their run in the rain and snow and not get soaking wet.

    -Well lit- I know there are a lot of options for the roof, and I wanted to pick something that would let through a lot of light, so that it feels like you are outside when you're in the run.




    With my list of wants, I went about sketching out a rough design. It was nothing special, and it ended up getting left out in the rain during the construction of the run. It would be about 20' long, and 12' wide, and attach to the peak of the existing coop structure. I decided on clear corrugated roofing while walking around the hardware store.


    [​IMG]


    All of the lumber is pressure treated, I really want this thing to last. Special thanks to my girlfriend's father who helped me move all the lumber and build it.


    [​IMG]


    I started the construction by measuring and digging the main posts, which go down 2'. To keep everything straight, I decided to frame out the roof before filling the post holes with concrete:



    [​IMG]



    Next I built the doors, and added some more framing to help attach the fencing to the run.



    [​IMG]



    For the fencing, I landed on 2x4 welded wire fencing. It was either that or hardware cloth, and I really feel that the biggest threats to the chickens in the daytime are loose dogs and hawks. I hope I was right. I'm going with this setup until there are enough "incidents" to justify reworking the design with hardware cloth. I think this looks so much nicer:



    [​IMG]



    Pictured: Chicken approved. [​IMG]




    [​IMG]


    At ground level, I half-buried a 2x4 to attach the fencing to, and below that are 6" garden staples, 11 gauge. I think this is much easier to install than buried fencing, and I think it will do the job. Again, this is the run, so any digging that happens at night will be easily visible the next morning before the girls go out. Heaven forbid something digs into the run, they still can't get to the girls until they're let out.

    For the door thresholds, I did something similar, except I used concrete instead of a 2x4.

    This is before I filled it with concrete:




    [​IMG]



    At this point, the only thing left was the roofing, which was so easy to work with, I just put up cross-braces up to attach the plastic mounts to, and went one panel to the next screwing them in at each "valley".



    [​IMG]


    It came out nicely, and is exactly how I pictured it.


    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]



    Here is my rooster Jubal inspecting my handy work.





    [​IMG]


    Since they were getting so big, I also built them proper roosting poles. When they were chicks we set them up on a clothes drying rack. I made them a ladder roost out of poles I cut in the woods.



    [​IMG]


    All in all, the chickens are very happy, and love running around their coop and run. My projects in the near future are their nest boxes and their automatic pullet door. they wont lay until July, so for now I'm gonna take a little break and just enjoy what I've done so far.


    I'm not sure if there's anything I would do differently. I know as time passes and I start to have problems it will become clear what those are, but so far there aren't any signs of digging, so I can't tell how that will hold up. I've seen hawks around, but obviously they don't have any option to get to the flock. I think it came out better than I even planned in my head.


    Wish me luck!

    Share This Article

Comments

To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!
  1. aaronri
    Nice! Thanks everybody for the compliments, we are loving having chickens, and the fresh eggs are an awesome bonus. What other pet pays rent?!
  2. theoldguy
    Great job to you and you girlfriend, looks like you knew what you were doing, excellent coop and run, cheers ffor you :)
  3. Green Lantern
    Nice coop and run! :) It sounds like you have put a bunch of thought into them. 2 small concerns - first, make sure the hay stays dry (don't know if their water will be in the henhouse with them or not) because if it gets wet it can grow a mold that is toxic to them and second, it is my understanding that the deep litter method is best used on a dirt floor so that there is composting going on. If you plan on letting the soiled hay stay in the henhouse for 6 months at a time on a finished floor you could be asking for parasites and other nastiness. I think it would be a good idea to change it out more often than that and also to put sprinkle it with diatomaceous earth (DE) to help out with the parasites.
  4. Clucky Me
    Excellent job! Beautiful Run and Coup!
  5. brendi
    Very NICE!!! Love the step by step pictures. Congratulations on the Coop of the week!!!
  6. Troy6671
    Sweet coop and run! You guys did and excellent job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  7. jdoane
    Nice! I love the idea of the Garden Staples!
  8. Nutcase
    Impressive and very nicely done. Great article!
  9. chickenluver555
    very cute! I love how you totally fixed up the old coop. Brilliant! The chickens are cute too.
  10. Eggsalad
    Maybe line the inside or outside of run as suggested earlier. We quit counting after 18 raccoons taken out in addition to several skunks & cyotes.
  11. Eggsalad
    Great job!!! Looks like you found your "from here to Heaven" property as we did, congrats. Could you please in case I missed it tell us all the approximate dimensions of your coop & run separately? This looks very near what we are trying to establish...at least a 12x12 for approx. 35-50 birds with a 24x 30 pen. Thanks and best wishes on your "finishing touches." We also reclaimed truss tarp from a building site to use as a shade cloth if we need to, going to use a slightly tinted roofing. Blessings on your new property & endevors!
  12. wv leipers
    i love it . what a great job ,the vinyl flooring is a great idea when it comes time to clean out the chicken house . if the sun gets to hot coming through the roof , just lay some cardboard over it . peace and remember jesus love you , wv leipers
  13. Shabana
    I love looking at pics of chicken who are well looked after :D Congrats on a job well done !! I must say I,m totally jealous of all that land and a pond too ! It looks amazing!
    I do think the roof is really very good and will be what I will put onto my larger run as we are struggling with mud in damp Yorkshire England and as we move into autumn it looks like it will be the best option to keep my ladies feet cleaner and dry :) Good luck to you all and much happiness in your new home x
  14. Photoman509
    Amazing so impressed!!!
  15. chickenpooplady
    Amazing coop! Congrats on CC-POW!
  16. Coldjensens
    We had two problems with that type of fencing. Chicks can squeeze through it until they are fairly old and raccoon reach through and pull the heads off our chickens. We ended up putting green plastic chicken wire around the bottom. I am still glad we have that heavier large fence because it is rigid and provides a stiff backing for chicken wire. We have a lot of wild and domestic animal threats dogs, cats, coyotes, raccoons (the worst), hawks, eagles, minks (do minks eat chickens?) foxes, children, . . . the double layer of the hard horse fence and plasstic chicken wire for the first four feet make a really good combination, so if you have problems, just tie chiceken wire to the outside of the hard fence. It does nto look bad and that plastic stuff is far far cheaper than hardware cloth.
  17. Coldjensens
    This is really neat. I think I will copy the run when I rebuild ours this spring. Electrical wiring is very easy if you can follow directions, just get a good book. The logic is pretty simple. High school drop outs become electricians at times, you can figure it out.

    One concern you may have is the posts are not deep enough for a cold climate, you need them below the frost line. However if they have problems, being only two feet deep it will be easy to pull them out and if you can knock the concrete off the bottom, you can just extend them. They may hold up fine anyway. I removed a deck a while back with posts only about 2.5 feet deep and it had been there for at least 18 years.

    I thik that roofing will stand up to raccoons. We had it on a patio at a former house and it is very difficult to break, cut, or otherwise penetrate. I removed some peices and tried to cut or fold them up to put in the trash. It was difficult.
  18. 3littlechickies
    Great coop! I was thinking about using the same roofing material for my run as yours!! I am not sure if I will because I don't know if it will stand up to raccoons. Do you have any raccoon problems there?
  19. Bullitt
    "We were supposed to close by Jan 18th, and didn't end up closing until Feb 22nd. I had already ordered the chickens from eFowl.com thinking that we would be in the new house by February, and they ended up getting to us Feb 11th. We ended up with 18 day-old chicks in our apartment in Newport, RI for a week and a half!"
    Let that be a lesson to you. Don't count your home closing until it hatches. :)
  20. Valk
    Great job! The clear, corrugated roofing is perfect. I'm definitely going to upgrade our run roofing to that in the future.
  21. Teena Marie
    Very nice job improving the existing old coop. Love the run too. Thanks for sharing.
  22. dwgov
    Now that is a Beautiful coop! Mine is very similar, but I have netting over the run just because I had it. I really like your covered run. Was the panels you used expensive? All the Best...
  23. Tacampbell1973
    Wow guys! That's nicer than my house is....way to go, lucky chickens. My coop is reminiscent of an old style outhouse. Just missing the crescent moon on the door and some toity paper inside....
  24. BYC Project Manager
    Congratulations, we've chosen one of your pics for the Chicken Coop - Picture of the Week. Thanks for posting your coop design & pictures to our "Chicken Coops" pages! You can find more info about the CC-POW here: CC-POW Process
  25. lizm1221
    beautiful set up! Love that you reused your old outbuilding and made it something really nice! And what a lovely property!
  26. Roxannemc
    IM jealous so nice.and roomy
  27. aaronri
    Thank you! They won't be laying until July, when I'll add 3-4 nest boxes where the lower windows are. They will be able to be accessed from outside the coop via a locking lid.
  28. CrazyPetunias
    Its a great coop! I understand your girls are still young and are probably not laying eggs yet. Are you adding nest boxes or using the shelf for this purpose? didn't see any nests in the pics.
  29. Stumpy
    Fantastic coop and run!!!
  30. Trefoil
    Beautiful place, you lucked out. Your coop and run turned out great. Sit back and enjoy your chickens.
  31. aaronri
    Thanks, I'll take that under advisement. We have some friends who are electricians, I'll have them check it out. Thanks Celtic and Thistle!
  32. ChemicalchiCkns
    I advise Caution, with the electricall Wiring. Such old Things as that Coop, may have dangerous Conditions.
  33. Thistlelady
  34. celticgarden
    Great job! Excellent use of an existing outbuilding! Enjoy your chickens, looks like a nice bit of property!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by