The Wee Kirk Coop

By Todd Leach · Sep 25, 2012 · Updated Nov 26, 2012 · ·
  1. Todd Leach
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    My wife and daughters took me on Pittsburgh’s 2012 “Chicks in the Hood” tour. Prior to taking the tour, we agreed that if we heard the chickens or smelled the coops before we saw them we would not obtain our own “flock.” We were pleasantly surprised. I began researching the type of coop that would fit our needs. I liked the security of a small stationary coop, but also appreciated the options of a tractor style. In the end, I decided to build a hybrid – both stationary (with buried hardware cloth) and a mobile tractor.
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    We have a small backyard that is adjacent to our neighbors’, so I wanted to have a coop that looked nice. I researched extensively, mostly through, and learned the basic needs that should be included in a coop. Because I was purchasing new materials I decided to put some additional thought into the aesthetics. After a few sketches (see below), I decided to build a small coop in the style of a church, thus The Wee Kirk. It seems to be appropriate since I am a pastor.
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    I wasn't pleased with the appearance of the steeple sketches so I attempted to use Google Sketch to get a better view of what I was attempting to create.

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    Once I was pleased with the sketches, I began the construction.

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    The coop has large doors on both sides, for easy cleaning. I have painted the interior and the plywood floor is covered with vinyl so that the coop can easily be washed. I have one perch inside the coop. Ventilation comes through the three (total six) side windows, the two rose windows, the peaks of the side walls and the steeple is full of ventilation as well. Plexiglass sheets slide to cover the side and rose windows during winter months.

    The coop is approximately 10 square feet and ideal for our two Gold-Laced Wyandottes and Buff Brahma Bantam. The run itself is approximately 35 square feet while in the stationary mode and closer to 25 square feet as a tractor. I have one laying box, which is placed where the “apse” of a church would be found. I was able to bend plywood to form the apse, which has its own access door.

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    Again, the birds are completely secure while the coop is stationary. However, as a tractor, predators could dig under the perimeter. I am not too concerned about this during daylight hours, but mostly concerned about nighttime predators. I wanted to create an automatic door locking mechanism which would prevent a predator from entering the coop at night. I saw some great designs on this website and designed a simple one. The door is opened from the outside by pulling on a vinyl-coated wire that is ran through a pulley and attached to the door that opens vertically. Gravity automatically locks the door when it is closed. (See below) I’ve also included a photo of bottom board of the tractor resting on the top board of the permanent base. I cut a 10 ft. 2x4 board in a “v” pattern.

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    Things I would/may change
    1. Poop-Board – We are currently using sand in the coop. We will likely use pine shavings during the winter, so I need to make a poop-board from some leftover materials.
    2. To help slide the tractor onto its permanent base, I have waxed (using a candle) the board that the tractor rests on. This has made it much easier to transition back to a stationary coop.
    3. Eventually I will add a door to the permanent base and locate it under the coop. This will provide easy access to place food and water under the coop, which will provide shelter to the food and keep it out of the rain.
    4. I have an electrical engineer friend working on a schematic for an automated door opener using a drill motor.

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Recent User Reviews

  1. Hope Hughes
    "How cute is this!!?!"
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Aug 30, 2018
  2. CCUK
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Jul 12, 2018
    A fantastic idea! This had great plans and description. Brilliant!
  3. Nardo
    "Church coop"
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Jul 6, 2018
    Very creative coop and tractor run combo.


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  1. Indiana Chick
  2. Sore Thumb Suburbanite
    I sent this page to my cousin in law who is a new pastor and is crazy creative like you. I love how you hybridised the stationary coop and tractor! If I had time I would do that...but wince I don't really have predators a chicken tractor will do. I love the apse nest box! I think your coop is the best one on here! Your family is super're a paste and you're handy!
  3. Squeaky McMurdo
    Here is the church and here is the steeple. Open the doors and there are the...chickens?
    LOL I too love coops that are modeled to look like something else. Is it modeled after your church? Looks great!
  4. Squeaky McMurdo
    Here is the church and here is the steeple. Open the doors and see all the ....chickens?
    LOL I too love coops that are built to look like something else.
  5. ALRwild
  6. chycknFun
    what a really nice set up!
  7. cstronks
    Very nice coop...good size for three birds.
  8. Yay Chicks!
  9. Studio2770
    Outstanding job! My coop is stationary and the run can be dug under to get to our chickens, but nothing has happened. We have seen a fox on our street but it hasn't come to try at our birds. God Bless!
  10. bargain
    congratulations and it is a lovely coop!
  11. alga
  12. TXchickmum
    -a very beautiful coop!!
  13. Rich386
    Realy neat I love it.
  14. gkleing3
    It's a beautiful coop and the "convertible" design is very innovative!
  15. LuvOurChickies
    It's just divine !! Love it !
  16. Whittni
    Thanks for sharing!
  17. salt and pepper
  18. NewChickPaula
    This is so cool! I love that you included all the sketches and details. Great job!
  19. 4H gal
  20. 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
  21. Life is Good!
    Pastor, your 'flock' is well fitted out in that little chapel. Beautiful job!
  22. carlsaSC
    I like coops that are modeled to look like something else. This is very attractive.
  23. lklik
    What a nifty idea! Great work!
  24. AdirondackChick
    I love this! Very creative!
  25. roostersandhens
    Very creative! I love it! It's awsome!
  26. MarcoPollo
    Very creative! Well done.
  27. Todd Leach
    Thanks for your feedback regarding the coop. We got our first egg over the weekend, which inspired me to finally include some of my coop sketches.
  28. Chicken Techie
    Very nice work, it looks great and more importantly is functional. I work in computers and decided to try to design my own auto coop door opener. i did design one, made sure it was simplified, because simple means reliable and when i added up the parts cost it wasn't worth the savings for me to take time to build it. so i bought one for $95 and then spent $10 or so on a 3 prong lamp timer at home depot and have been happy ever since. If you are still set on making one may i suggest following the design of a locomotive drive train. what i mean is instead of doing the obvious of having the motor turn in one direction for opening and reversing for closing, have the drill motor turn a pully with an arm attached that will raise and lower the door at a slow rate of speed and this way you won't have to worry about having to reverse polarity on the motor to reverse directions, of course the amount you want to open the door decide on how big the pully needs to be, so if you want the door to open 15"s the pully will need to be 15"s or more in diameter. the idea of the "locomotive style" just popped into my head so i never actually designed one or thought of it before i bought my opener months ago but im so happy with the opener that i wouldn't change it now. also i use pine shavings and have very good luck with them and they are inexpensive. last thought don't close up all your ventilation in the winter, they do need fresh air, chickens have a rather fragile respitory system. i suggest closing up the ventilation that would allow drafts to hit the chickens but leave the upper ventilation open and you should be good, good luck and enjoy your chickens! again beautiful coop!
  29. JohnPeel
    I think its a great little coop. I really like the way it wheels over the run. Great idea.
  30. Bulldogma
    Great coop! A job well done!!
  31. Tammy N
    What a Great Coop . Good Job
  32. hangartnerchix
    Wow! I love your design - both how it looks and how it works. You are so clever! I laughed out loud when I saw the apse nest box! May I suggest Sweet PDZ instead of sand in the bottom? It looks just like sand and can be mixed with or put under pine shavings, but it works, pardon me, miracles....
  33. emarketwiz
    Love the church design!
  34. The Old Yolks
    What an absolutely beautiful coop! I love it. One of my favorites thus far.
  35. Kenc
    Love it! Great job!

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