We started this project with significant disagreement regarding “how big” & “how many”. She wanted 10 chickens with room for more and I wanted 4 in a 3’x4’ hut on 4x4 posts. After months of research and review of dozens of designs we came to the finite conclusion that we still disagreed. There are many good designs available, but none quite fit her space and accoutrement requirement.
In the end, as is typical, I lost.
For several weeks we scratched floor plans on note paper and relied upon my past experience remodeling and building furniture to pull it all together. In the end, we built a 6’ x 10’ stick-framed structure with a 96” eave.
During construction of a post & frame storage building, we had an additional slab poured that measured 6’ x 15’ and had a single 20a circuit run under it in conduit. This would be the home for our coop. On July 31, 2013 we began framing.
2x4 joists were placed 24” o.c. and the base was leveled and squared. To provide for some level of insulation in the floor, we added 2” rigid foam insulation sheets between the floor joists, providing an R-10 barrier. This was covered with ¾” T&G plywood that was glued and secured with ring-shank flooring nails.
The walls were erected, leveled and squared, sitting flush with the edge of the floor. Once squared (measuring corner-to-corner), we braced them.
On one end of the coop (left as you are seeing it), we framed openings that would later accept 2 nesting boxes that measure 41” long, 14” tall x 15 ½” deep. These are divided into 3 nest boxes per unit via ½” plywood dividers and are access from the outside of the coop.
As I built this alone, on evenings and weekends, it wasn’t feasible to stick-frame the roof structure. As an alternative, I shop-built roof trusses out of 2x4’s and reinforced the joints with ¾” CDX, secured with construction adhesive and 2” exterior ring-shank nails.
These I could set alone and I installed them 24” O.C. along the top plate, securing them with 20P galvanized nails and hurricane straps. The trusses have a 12” overhang (or eave) and each end truss incorporates a “ladder soffit”, creating a 12” overhang around the entire circumference of the structure.
Next we installed the door and windows, installed 1x3 nailers 16” O.C. and furred out the door and window jambs in preparation for Western Red Cedar board & batten siding to come.
Leveled, squared and secured.
Doors for the egg boxes were fabricated on-site using sandwich panels, with 1” x ¾” hardwood frames, ½” exterior panels, ¼” interior panels and 1” of rigid foam insulation inside. These are mounted on 3” “no mortise” hinges and close against vinyl clad foam door weather strip that is secured in ¾” x ¾” stock. The stock has a saw kerf in it that accepts the weather strip, creating a seal similar to that on a refrigerator door or a commercial pre-hung exterior door. The exterior of the doors were then covered in Western Red Cedar to match the exterior of the coop.
The exterior was covered with 1 x 12 Western Red Cedar boards, the soffit treated with ½” plywood and the soffit boxes fabricated from cedar as well. Soffit vents were added for ventilation. The window trim, door trim & soffit trim are also 1” red cedar. Hardware cloth was applied over the window trim, and then covered with additional cedar trim.
Double 2 x 6’s form the support for more roof trusses, placed 24” O.C. and secured with 20P nails and hurricane straps. The 2 x 6's were secured to the posts with galvanized 1/2" carriage bolts. When all was level, plumb & secure, the tops of the posts were trimmed off.
We added a bench across the end posts of the run, so that Mom would have a perch as well.
A roost, a waterer and some straw finish off the run.
The finishing touch to the whole project might be the look in a grandchild’s eyes as she communes with Aggie for the first time.
The inside is insulated with R-19 walls, R-30 in the ceiling and sheathed with ½” plywood. We chose to cover the floor with very inexpensive, self-adhesive tiles to facilitate easy cleaning. The “poop” board, shown here below the roost, is covered with stainless steel sheet procured locally (Lowes) and provides for very easy cleaning.
We added trim boards to the front of the nest boxes to give the girls an easy way in an out.
Gusset supports fabricated from scrap 2x4 & ¾” CDX are screwed to the wall studs and support both the roost and “poop board”. In the background, above the chick door, is the ceramic heater.
The artist in the family adorned the interior with wildflowers and grasses to break-up all of white and give the coop the right feel.
All of the research and reading we did before we started allowed us to catalog the comments of other coop builders and learn from their mistakes Page after page of things they wished they had done, features they wished they had incorporated and the key elements of several designs allowed us an advantage. The Nest Egg is warm in the winter, cool in the summer, opens to the garden as needed and is predator proof (so far).