Toxo's Chicken Coop
The project. I grew up with chickens when I was small, and in latter years often had a hankering to get some for the garden.
The idea sat on the back burner until a small shed that I had given my daughter came back to me because she didn't have room for it.
Hmmm! Thinks I, I could make a chicken coop out of that. And the rest as they say is history. But first I had to build it.
My backyard used to be a garden and isn't very big so I had to be aware of not taking up too much space.
I learned many years ago to trust my own thoughts and instincts rather than waste time looking for other people's designs that wouldn't fit my criteria anyway.
I've always been a logical person who believes that for every problem there is a solution. You just have to look for it.
I started by reasoning that I didn't know at that stage how many chooks I wanted and how far this journey was going to take me and for this reason I decided to build a coop next to the shed which would leave the shed space empty for possible expansion later.
Working out the floor area was simple. I only wanted 3/4 hens to begin with and a sheet of ply is 8ft x 4ft so best value = 4ft square which gave me a floor and a roof from one sheet of ply.
Next, the height off the ground was dictated by the height of a chicken.
The height of the back wall was dictated by the height of the neighbours fence.
The height of the front wall was dictated by wanting to keep the same slope as the shed roof for aesthetic reasons.
In the back of my mind there was a fuzzy idea for an auto door opener/closer but we'll get to that later.
Here's what we started with.
Had to refurbish the shed first.
Designing as we go.
Took longer than necessary cos I wanted all he edges to line up.
I wanted an under cover feeding area.
The roof of this area will lift up at the front for access.
You can see the sides of the run in this picture.
Here's a better view of the run. The brace is to ensure the correct width so the end and top panels will fit properly.
This view shows more detail to the access area with the roof lifting up and the doors opening outward.
This is pretty much the finished coop. The top mesh frames are hinged for for access.
The door opener/closer.
Because I'm basically a lazy sod and don't like getting up too early, an auto door was pretty much a deal breaker if me and my chooks were going to get along. As you might have noticed from my incubator page, I don't like spending money where it's not neccessary. I bought a cheap electric aerial from Ebay and coupled it up with a cheap light sensor from Maplins (Radio Shack etc) and a 12v battery and here's the result. I have to say it has never let me down. Of course you could change the light sensor for a timer switch. I guess it depends on your particular situation.
Here's the coop with the front off. The door on the left is raised and lowered via the pulley by the taut string which is attached to the car aerial in the shed to the right.
This pic shows the inside of the coop with a view of the door from the inside. I made the door and door slide out of scraps. Just make sure there is some weight to it.
The loose string is for manual opening if anything should fail.
This is the aerial. Basically just fix it so it doesn't move.
You could mount it differently depending on your coop, just use more pulleys.
The battery is on the floor and the sensor is above on the window ledge.
You can see the string tied on the end going through to the coop.
The sensor is adjustable and extends or retracts the aerial depending on the amount of light thus closing/opening the door. I never once had a chook in when it should have been out or vice versa.
Here's the sensor. Comes as a cheap kit from Maplins etc. Don't be afraid of it. It's very easy to do.
As I said before, you could change this for a timer if you want. If you're clever enough (I'm not) you could have both.
Here it is in situ. All looks better after tidying up and using stronger string but You get the idea.
Well there you are. Finished at last. Just shows you don't have to spend a fortune to keep chooks. I hope some of you guys out there get something from it. Paul