Turbokevs Chicken Coop

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  1. turbokev
    ~ Wingin' It ~
    My wife and I had been talking about maybe getting some chickens since it would be fun for our boys (6 and 4) and we'd have some yummy fresh eggs.. We talked to a friend who already was keeping chickens for a couple years now and she said it was great and encouraged us to go for it. She had a feeder, water container and a heat lamp we could borrow for the chicks so off we went to the local animal feed store and were excited to find that chicks would be in the next morning.
    We returned then and bought some shavings, 15 pounds of starter food and 8 little chickies ~
    2 black cochins
    2 buff orpingtons
    3 light brahmas
    1 salmon faverolle
    It became apparent very quickly that the plastic storage bin was only good for transporting them home. I went to Lowes and got a sheet of thin plywood and made a bigger box for them using a washing machine emergency drain tray as a base. I even put in a couple little perches so they could roost as they got a little older.
    Here's a picture of the box with our chicks..
    We got them May 14th so they are almost 4 weeks old here.
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    I had vacation time set for the week of Memorial day so I figured I'd take a couple of those days and build a coop for the new additions to our family.. I mean really, how hard could it be? Now, several days in and nowhere near done I am realizing I underestimated the time and materials needed...

    I'm no carpenter.. but I am relatively handy so I sketched a basic plan and headed to Lowes for what would become the first of many trips for wood and supplies.
    I'll be picking at it a few hours a day, but with the chicks growing like crazy I'm feeling the pressure to get it done~!
    Update 1:
    I excavated an area 12' by 8' behind our garage so I could level out a spot for the coop and enclosed run. Immediately, I knew I was in trouble. I unearthed, of all things, CARPETING. Lots of carpeting. Apparently the previous home owner had just laid out large sections of it around the garage and covered it with 2 inches of dirt.

    Lets just say it took a good amount of time to dig it up and cut it out of the ground so I had room to build the enclosure.

    Pics from this update

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    (you can see the carpeting in the foreground, and parts of the apple tree I cut down)
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    (enclosure is 11'6" by 7'6" and the coop is 7'6" by 4'.. raised up about 22 inches as well)

    Update 2:

    I got the basic coop box framed and the enclosed run framed as well. I'll be putting in a standard 36" wide screen door on the run and adding a sloped roof above the whole thing. I also put a header for the roof up on the garage wall that is screwed every 16" in to the garage studs.

    Pics from this update

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    (yes, I remembered to paint and install the wall closest to the garage before screwing everything in place)
    Update 3:
    Today I got the roof joists on.. that's about it :)

    Pics from this update

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    (we brought the chicks out for a while today to check out progress on thier new digs.. they loved it)
    Update 4:
    Got quite a bit done for this update. I covered the roof with cheap board, strengthened the framing on the door end of the run, built the roost and ladder and started the egg box framing. I also worked a bit on the large rear door for cleaning. I made the roost over an area for a couple large buckets and will section the buckets off with a sliding door. I'll also cover them with hardware cloth to prevent a chicken from falling in. Might use kitty litter in the buckets to make it easy to scoop waste daily. The metal roof goes on tomorrow~

    Pics from this update

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    Update 5:

    Only had an hour to work on the coop today.. I got the metal roof in place. I picked up my hardware cloth too, almost time to start screening.

    Pics from this update

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    Update 6:
    Today I decided to go with egg boxes that were external so I wouldn't be taking up floor space with them. This coop, as enormous as it seems to my wife and neighbors, is just under the recommended 4 square feet per chicken (3.75). Since it has a covered run I think I will be OK with that figure, but mounting the boxes outside will free up that much more floor space for when they are 'cooped up' in bad weather.
    I framed and installed the shelf that will be the floor of the 3 egg boxes and I put the interior plywood in place along with a perch in front of the openings. I got 2 pieces of siding up and painted as well. Tomorrow, I hope to get all the run framing painted and get the rest of the egg boxes done.
    (Man this is taking longer than I thought)

    Pics from this update

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    Update 7:

    Despite on and off showers, I managed to get a few things done on the coop. 2 coats of paint on the run framing, I made the chickens entry door and even got some of the screening up. I need to put another coat of paint on the paneling around the chicken door and build the ladder that will go up to that. I remembered at the last second to raise that door 4 inches off the floor of the coop to keep bedding from falling out when the door is opened.

    Pics from this update

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    Update 8:

    Today was a screening day.. Got the run screened in, under the coop screened in and the new screen door on. I used the hardware cloth on the lower part of the screen door as well. If I have leftover I'll cover more, if not all of the door.
    I've been giving alot of thought to the roost and how my 'bucket area' is taking up 40% of the floor space.. I think I'm going to redo that to maybe an L shaped roost with a droppings board under it mounted high enough for the chickens to have room under it. I've got 58 inches of interior height, I might as well take advantage of it.

    Pics from this update

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    Update 9:

    Today I was able to get the remaining hardware cloth in place and build the external eggbox. I had the chickens out in the run with me all day, they loved it..made quite a racket when I put them all in a bin and brought them inside at dusk. I think they are looking forward to their new home as much as I'm looking forward to getting them out of the kitchen.
    Eggbox is nearly complete. It's all in place and painted but I need to add the dividers still and attach the opening top. I need to pick up a long hinge for that.
    I also took out the roost I had made.. I'm going for a different approach that will free up floor space.

    Pics from this update

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    Update 10:

    2 days of drizzle has slowed progress a bit.. but I have managed to get a few things done. I've added some siding under the roof on each end and I got the egg box cover installed as well.
    The only other significant change was the addition of sand in the run. 700 pounds worth put a 2 inch thick layer of sand and the chickens spent the day scratching and pecking thier new 'floor'. After much reading here on BYC I believe I'm going to use sand in the coop as well, just not in the egg boxes.
    Still plenty to do.. more painting, trim installation under the roof edge, cleanout door, new roost and other odds and ends.

    Pics from this update

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    Update 11:

    I was able to pick at the coop for a few hours over this past weekend and got a few more things done.. The interior walls are now insulated, paneled and painted. I had to patchwork one wall as I was out of 4 x 8 sheets and I really didn't want to go buy another sheet for that one wall when I had so much leftovers. I think it will be fine, especially as the space is insulated so well.
    I also trimmed the roof so it looks a little more finished, again using leftovers, this time 2 x 4's doubled up. Not great looking, but better than nothing.
    Hopefully my next update will be the "It's Finished!" update I thought I'd be making about 2 weeks ago LOL.

    Pics from this update

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    Update 12:

    FINALLY made enough progress to move the chickens out to the coop overnight. They have been coming in every night since the coop itself was not secure. I made the rear door and got the ramps in place yesterday and put all the chicks in the coop at nightfall..
    I went out around 11pm with a flashlight and snuck up for a peek.. 4 of them were sleeping on the floor in the shavings (2 Brahmas and the 2 Cochins) and the others were up on the roost. This morning when I went out to let them in to the run, 2 Brahmas and 1 Cochin were up on the roost and the other 5 were waiting by the door to come in to the run.
    There are still a bunch of things I'll need to do, but at least the chickens can now live outside full time while I finish (are coops ever really finished?) things up.

    Pics from this update

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    (updates current as of June 25th, 2010)

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  1. IvyMaeWilliams
    Wow, that is really impressive. Think you might have to modify the whole "I'm not a carpenter" thing. :)

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