This is my first foray into chicken raising and I'm loving it so far. Had a blast building this coop and I still have some things to finish it up.
This is our first experience with chickens and building a coop. I was a budding Architect student at one point of my life, so the design, drawing, and building is all part of the whole experience for me. My drawings are shown below.
I started building the coop's four walls and floor in my garage in the winter. As soon as the ground was soft enough to dig, I started assembling it outside. I cemented four posts in the ground. I found a remnant high grade linoleum for the floor. After reading all I could and visiting a few of my friends coops I decided to go with a sand coop. The linoleum will allow me to clean and change the sand regularly with ease.
The floor is in the ground and the cement is left for one week to cure.
After a week of curing, the walls start to go up. I could carry most of them with the aid of a dolly, although it was a little awkward.
Four walls up!
I found many great things at a habitat restore including windows for five dollars a piece, a skinny windowed door I thought would be great for a window, and they threw in a gable vent for free. The paint also came from the Habitat for Humanity Re-store. It matches a rabbit hutch I built last year.
The roof goes up. Tar paper and shingles to come. The winter got long waiting to put it outside so I added an additional project for a touch of class, a cupola for the coop. Not only did I like how it would look, but it's very functional for ventilation. Once again, I found the four vents for the top of the cupola at the Habitat re-store for a really good price..
Now for the inside. I got 12 sheets of 3/4 inch pressed board from a good friend which saved me a lot of money and increased what I could do on the inside. Living in Michigan, I felt it was important to insulate the walls, so they have a low grade rolled insulation inside.
The basic dimensions of the coop are 8 ft by 6 ft. It's tall, because I wanted to be able to walk in through a normal door and to be able to stand up to clean the coop.
The litter trays were high enough that I did not have to bend over to clean them. I have a chronic pain condition, so the ergonomics are important to me.
I built the tray high enough to get a garbage can underneath. I ended up replacing the one in the picture with a metal can about 6 inches shorter that fit better. I can keep the food and treats in there, without having to haul it in every time.
The door to the run was added after it was assembled. I have a pulley system so that I can open and close the door from the outside.
Construction grade sand shoveled in to floor and litter trays. Water and food bucket added. Food is suspended from the ceiling about 12 inches off the floor. The water sits on a half cinder block.
Chickens of course were scared of a new environment but we sure were glad to get them out of the house. They warmed to their new home quickly. They stayed "cooped up" for a few more weeks until I got the run fence up.
My daughter loves to feed, pet, and hold the chickens and they respond well to her.
It took me a little more time to get it trimmed out and painted.
I wanted to add a weather vane to the hutch, but didn't want to pay the price. My mom surprised me with a weather vane one day. She said it needed one to finish it off. I used an old screen door that was sitting on my house since we purchased it as the entrance to the coop. A 6 foot chain link fence was found on Craig's List for the run. The run size is about 22 feet by 11 feet.
Our four year old loves to pick up the chickens.
Our first egg came at about 17 weeks.
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