I'm not giving out any designs in this article, but rather reccomending some tips/things to think about when designing and building your coop. This article will strictly be about chickens, so you'll want to think differently for ducks or other domestic birds.
................................Ask yourself a few questions...............................
*Do you want a coop you can walk into or just observe your chickens from the outside?
When deciding this, keep in consideration that at some point, you're going to have to clean this coop, fill water and food containers, gather eggs, etc. and who likes it when they need to catch a certain bird and that certain bird goes to the back corner where you can't reach?
*How tall are you or the tallest person going to be taking care of your chickens?
You have no idea how hard it is to clan out a chicken coop bent over unti you do it several times. Also, if your coop isn't convenient for claning, you won't want to do it as often as it needs cleaned, therefore your girls (or boys!) are going to suffer from the constant aroma of chicken poo.
*Is your coop easily accessable?
Someone asked a while back here on BYC about a suspended coop - hanging from a tree sort of like a giant bird house. I LOVE that idea, but here are a few things to think about. How do you clean soiled bedding? Arrange food and water in your reach so that it dosn't spill. How will you gather eggs?
*What food and watering systems will you use?
Will you use automatic systems? Or fill everything up when need be? Food and especially water is essential to a healthy flock. For a while, I chose to use waterers that were up high that way it minimized the amount of poo or bedding gathering in the tray, and it was easier to fill at my level instead of bending over to something down lower. BUT even though it was convenient for me, what about my chickens? That summer during this expirement, I had more than 50% of my flock die of dehydration because having to climb or make an effort to get to water was just NOT a good idea. Keep chicken math in mind. Having EXTRA coop space to be able to add more birds to your flock or having a way to add on to your coop and run easily is a GOOD idea.
*How many nest boxes are needed?
This question goes in conjunction with the one above - how many chickens do you plan to own? My preferred chicken to nest box ratio is 3-4 hens per next box because they'll all end up having one nest box that is their favorite anyhow and then they'll want to lay in that same box at the same time.
BEFORE YOU BUILD - think it through. Write a plan.
No one likes to build something, then find out that it's too small or too big and needs modifications, so before you jump the gun and start building - or even buy materials if that is the way you decide to go, write a plan and think it through. If you're a normal - not perfect person, you're going to make many mistakes in the first plan you write up, so don't stick with the first plan you write. Erasing and re-writing your design is a LOT easier than rebuilding!
(STILL WORKING - COM BACK SOON!)