Well hello and welcome to how I actually constructed this Duplex Chicken Coop!
Let me say first, there really was no plans involved...it was mainly checking out Craigslist and seeing what was for free or cheap, looking at other sites for coops like BackYardChickens, lots of help from friends and family and a lot of imagination!
Let's get started!
This is actually a two story coop.
The bottom story (in tan) was made from a 'look-out' style tree fort that I got from craigslist (thanks to Drew for helping me get this from North Portland!). It is 8' X 4' X 3' once I cut off the open style top, leaving just the box that was the bottom of the fort. For ease of not constructing anything I didn't have to...since I am not tallented in that at all...LOL, I fliped the box upsidedown so that the 'floor' became a 'roof'. I cut out doors (front door seen here, another in back I needed to put in because the chickens kept laying eggs in the back north corner...LOL!)
and put in some venting holes. Then I cut out a door in the roof and put in a ramp made of scrap wood so that there was access to the second level.
The top story, or main housing, is actually made up of two veal pens. There was a farmer that had just bought a farm and had tons of these veal pens laying around. Basically they are a box frame with sides only, so no top or bottom to worry about. Two of these were perfect to get the top started! My father helped me as we used the box frames available to form the larger box frame, and reattached the wood around the frame with screws. We purchased some plywood (1/4") to make a flat roof (at this time) and attached that to the top of the frame.
The doors were added with serious thought to ease of access and cleaning the coop. The doors are very flush and have self-shutting hinges so that it reduces escapees if I am working in there. The doors open to access the entire top level with ease, and we didn't put in a door jam so that there was no lip to have to scoop up and over when cleaning straw out.
Instead of constructing shelves and chicken boxes that were fixed, I choose to use these old milk crates I had. They work wonderfully, and are light weight enough for me to move and clean! And YES, the chickens are using them!
With the main construction of the coop done, it was time to have some fun! I got some paint left over from my house and painted the top section, and got some paint from Home Depot that was mixed wrong for 5 bucks a gallon and did the bottom. I bought some lathe from home depot cheap and painted those with some spare white paint I had, and measured/cut/attached this lathe "trim" to the front. The trim is attached with wood glue and brads from my staple gun! It was easy!
It looked great but not quite done in my style just yet. I found a cute little Rooster Plaque from Goodwill for a buck, which I put on the front. Then I had some stencils and green paint and added the stenciling and coated it well with clear-coat. The Planter box use to be on my home, but it wouldln't support life because the house radiated too much heat. So a few primary color plants went into this and I got the cute planter box!
This coop is large enough and doors wide enough to accomidate the peacock as well, and he loves being inside that second story! At this point I have 7 chickens and will stop there for this structure.
The Standard Chicken Run Area:
As for the chicken run...easy enough! I just found someone selling a 4' X 6' X 8' dog run (with roof) for 100 bucks and added that to the coop side. I just left off the east wall chainlink so it was flush and open to the coop! That was certainly worth the investment...and we will be adding another one shortly to widen the run for the peacock (he can't turn fully without hitting his tailfeathers).
Food and water are simply a matter of bowls that I tend to one/twice daily. I am thankful I put the coop near water and electricity so I have water and lighting options. A hose provides the water, and I have a tub nearby that is watertight that holds the food...so I just put it into a feeder I constructed from an old trashcan and kitty litter box (another blog on how to make that). So far feeding in the run is preferred to the chickens and myself...but when weather dictates, I can move that inside the coop.
The Banty Coop:
The banty coop was way too easy! Again, being one to avoid having to construct anything unless totally necessary, I found this cabinent on craigslist for free and knew it was perfect! I treated the wood, painted it with the old house paint left over, added a panel of chicken wire to the back bottom open area (part of the run), and cut a hole in back with a nice ramp for chicken access.
Again, food and water is easy...bowls that I clean/fill daily. This is Juliet enjoying some water in there...and although you can't see it, there is an egg behind her! I ran out of straw so it is a bit bare right now...but It is easy clean with a hose. Note again no 'lip' on the doorways to have to bother with during cleaning!
Coop is 4' X 2' X 4'.
The Banty Run
Okay...now this was actually a great idea in my head, but took FOREVER and lots of trial and error to finally get together...but it turned out!
My idea was simple, get some of the 6' long pallets we had from Christmas Tree season (family owns a Christmas tree farm), paint white to look like a picket fence, put on chicken wire and make a roof and attach between coops. Easy right....yeah right!
First probelm was I was too eager to see what I was thinking and attached the chicken wire to the pallets before painting them. That part was cumbersome working with chicken wire as is...but a good staple gun and wire clippers helped. THEN I tried painting them...OUCH! Definately paint before you do anything!!! I didn't have trouble painting the side without the chicken wire, but couldn't paint with a brush on the side with the wire...so the price increased on this from free to 30 bucks easy by having to buy spraypaint. But live and learn...and after a day or two fighting the chicken wire and paint...I got the sides together.
I attached the coop side ends of the pallets to the coop with screws so it was nice and secure (and made sure the chicken wire on the bottom of the coop was attached to the pallets to prevent escape or preditors). Then I attached the pallets to the standard coop wall using some screws.
Knowing that these birds can jump and fly a little, and knowing I have to access this area...I needed a roof! I constructed a simple frame (large) from some 2" X 2"'s I had...but the dog gone thing would bend any time I tried moving it. So I added the support beam in the center. Still no go...would warp and bend. Then my father reminded me about using triangle pieces of plywood as joices (?)...and I got to work on those...BINGO! Simple I know, but as I said...I know nothing of constructing anything! After that, it was a matter of painting (I did it first this time! LOL!) and fighting that chickenwire.
I attached the roof to the run so that it lifts upwards on the front side all the way, and a stick nearby to keep it open. I used three hindges in the back side to hold that inplace on the pallets, and the front side I added a locking latch. Works like a charm!
The entire run is 5' X 5' X 3.5'. For fun I added a shephards hook and hanging basket of tomatoes...out of the reach of the chickens.
So all in all this was a great project that turned out better than I thought it would! Total cost is estimated to be near 200 bucks for the entire thing including hardware! It is about 80% recycled material...and worth the searching and waiting to find cheap or free items to build it with! Most of the cost was the dog kennel actually, and I did have chain link and posts...but didn't want to bother with that at the time...so some of that cost was for convinience! LOL!
The Main Standard Chicken Coop: