We're a family of four from Michigan. Our two boys, Brad (14) & Luke (11) have kept laying hens for years, but our coop left alot to be desired. It was falling down and in need of repair, so we all sat down and did some brainstorming. With this new coop, we tried to address all of the issues that have plagued us in the past. We hope that you find the photos and descriptions below helpful. Here are some of the features of our coop that we feel make keeping backyard chickens easier and more fun.
  • We use "chicken nipple" waterers instead of conventional ground waterers. (see photos below)
  • Homemade gravity feeder made from free materials (see photos below)
  • Bottom entrance to coop keeps debris and rain out and helps with ventilation (see photos below)
  • Removable door panels for hot days (see photos below)
  • Integrated lights on a timer to manipulate the seasons and increase egg production (see photos below)
  • Trouble free temperature control system to keep water from freezing! (see photos below)
  • Lots of doors to help make cleaning and chores a breeze (see photos below)
  • Removable manure box under roost bar really helps with poop collection (see photos below)
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Construction begins...


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Construction, day 2


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Thanks go to our oldest son Brad here.
He's 14 and strong as an ox. He dug each of these post holes to 40" with a hand held post hole digger!
Let's see... that's 40 inches x 8 holes = 320 inches or over 26 VERTICAL FEET! Thanks Brad!



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Well, here they are now... Thing 1 & Thing 2


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Still a long way to go, but making progress!


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All done!
We have a variety of hens... Rhode Island Reds, ISA Browns, Black Sex Links & Barred Rocks


Happy chickens!


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Below are some of the key features of our new coop that we think make keeping backyard chickens fun & easy...
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By using a timer to control sunrise & sunset, you can manipulate the hens' seasons.
From their perspective, the days never get short, so they continue to lay eggs year round!

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The bigger flood light in the photo is connected to a "Thermo-cube" outlet that turns the bulb on at 35 degrees and off at 45 degrees.
Freezing water has always been a problem for us... but no more! Simply hang bottle waterers (with poultry nipples - we got ours at Farmtek) on the gray hooks and forget about them! No more frozen water!



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Another light mounted underneath the coop is also connected to the timer and keeps the ground lit up.



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The nest boxes are made out of recycled planter boxes... we were even able to save the screws!

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Here's our homemade waterer. We love these because the water stays CLEAN!
Also, each nipple is just a couple of dollars, so the cost is another perk! Just drill a small starter hole in the bottom of just about any container and screw in the nipples!

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The chickens love this waterer!

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This gravity feeder has already had some use, as you can see. It's super simple design works perfectly... maintaining a constant flow of clean feed.


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A view inside the top of the feeder... It's just a juice bottle suspended upside down inside the bucket. Use a long dowel rod or stiff metal wire to run through the bucket and bottle!

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Keep the tip of the juice bottle about 1/2" off the floor of the bucket.

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The door panels slide out easily to allow ventilation on hot days


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Doors with panels removed


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Our youngest son Luke is 11 with his favorite ISA Brown... This hen follows him around like he's just one of the chickens.
He was heavily involved with construction and came up with lots of great ideas. He really enjoyed building the new coop.


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The roosting bar is made of 1.5" diameter square lumber. We just rounded the sharp corners with a hand planer. We think the square roost bar is better than a round one, but that's just our opinion.

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The manure box sits directly under the roost bar... It collects the bulk of manure during the night and is easily removable.
This little trick really saves cleaning time.

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The bottom entrance helps with air flow and also keeps water and debris from blowing into the coop.

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Top access door for easy fill of waterers and feeders



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We didn't use a commercial blueprint for our coop, but here are some sketches that we made late one night while talkin' chickens! We didn't follow these sketches to the letter, but the basic dimensions and locations of the doors are the same.

We used as much recycled materials as we could... including the red barn siding, some of the white trim, some old planter boxes (they're now the nest boxes), some of the lumber, some of the cage material & just about all of the electrical system.






We hope that you enjoyed our new coop ... Now, everyone do the chicken dance!


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