UPDATED: My coop for "A French Hen" - The Run 2

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  1. chickwhispers
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    Almost complete. I don't think it will ever be completely done though. Chicken math plus when I see a better working system of some sort I like to try it out. I also have plans to add some kind of fenced in area to allow a more controlled free range for times when I can't pay enough attention to the yard. Then there are landscaping things too. For every one thing I accomplish I think I add two more to the wish list! Lol.

    1/18/2015 Edited to add materials and plan sketches and information:
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    I sketched out the existing coop and run area and the new run. I used the sketches as a rough idea since the ground sloped so much it gave me a good Idea of what I would need to do and buy. The slope was a bit of trouble as I had to cut each board with slight angles and different lengths.
    Also, because of the slope, it was very hard to know exactly in advance everything that would or would not work out the way I wanted. But everything pretty much came together like I planned.

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    Using the sketches I figured out how much wood and materials I was going to need. I used the S-pen and my smart phone to write things done so I would always have the info with me at the store. I didn't buy everything all at once. I also added to the list when I did the finishing. I added 24 1x2's and 4 gallons of paint for the runs and the coop. I used treated lumber for everything except the roof purlins and the 1x2's. Since the entire run would be painted I wasn't concerned about the treated lumber. I wanted to make sure nothing would rot due to exposure to the elements. Since I made panels for the fencing I used approximately 4x's the amount of wood and screws for these. So from the list above for the panels each one was multiplied x 4 for the 2x4's.

    In the end I had very little waste. I figured out the lengths needed and when one piece was cut I marked it and saved it for use when needing a smaller length. In the end I had a small box of very small pieces left.

    End of edit. 1/18/2015


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    This small run, 5ft (L) x13 1/2 ft (W) x 5 1/2 ft (H) (at the tallest point), is original square footage with the "barn" . The original builder/owner used a stone foundation to keep predators from digging. He had hole in the foundation to place posts and chicken wire. I have added a frame and a roof. First I put 2 x 4s on the bottom all around the current foundation predrilling and using 4 inch Tapcon concrete screws. Then I put the supports up using screws at an angle. I "toenailed" them with the screws to the bottom 2x4s. I put in a temporary enclosure as I had to be away for over a week. There are 2 pop doors for them so one was available in the enclosed area.

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    This is the extended run at 16 ft (L) x 13 1/2 ft (W) x 8 ft (H) in the center with a 1 1/2 foot connection space to the small 5 x 13 1/2 run. The posts are set in place using metal post stakes. All of the frame is made with removeable panels to make any future modifications or removal easier. The whole run is made completley with screws and lag screws all predrilled. There are 10 main support posts in the metal stake post holders. After all were set I found the level for each one at the highest possible point and cut off the ones that needed to be, which ended up being 6 of them. The 2 main oustside posts for walls are spaced a little over 8'3" apart, to allow space for the fence panels to fit in snug but not not impossible to put in (with the wire wrapped over the edges).



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    A panel made from 2x4s getting the hardware cloth put on for the outside. This is a gable end panel with a horizontal brace. Each panel is custom built to fit the size of the opening it will fit into. The side panels are each about 8 feet long and vary in height from 3 1/2 feet on the short side of the run to 6 ft on the high side. There is also a center vertical support put in the panels to keep the space no more than 4 feet apart and to make each panel stronger. In the next pictures you can see the slope of the run. and on the west side, which is the taller side runs from about 5 foot to 6 foot tall. The tops are level but the bottoms are sloped to fit in the elevation. The wire fencing is wrapped around to the sides and bottom of the frame and the edges won't be accessible to prying hands. I used Galvanized staples to hold the wire in place as well on the front as well as the sides of the 2x4s.
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    The center "opening" on the far end will be a 36" door. Here you can see all posts cut level and the top plates in place. They are 2x4's layed flat over the posts and screwed in place. On the gable end is 2x6's (on the outside) and a 2x4 over the door to connecting the posts and a top ple is behind them. On the wall ends the 2x6's are on the inside. This made it easier to install the fence panels. You can see the awkward slope. The post in the foreground is 6 foot tall and in the far corner (kitty-corner) behind it, the post is only about 3 1/2 foot tall. That's a big rise in ground to adjust for!

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    Panels on the west side put in place. Then the east side. Then the ridge board/beam and rafters going up. I put a 2x4 connecting the posts at the bottom of each panel for more stability and strength. I used a combination of ridge board and ridge beam. The ridge board and rafters are constructed like a ridge board with the rafters fastened to the board, but it rests on and is fastened to the support posts, making it a ridge beam. Since I did not set my posts in concrete I wanted it to be all tied together for stability. When putting rafters up for the roof, I had to cut a " birds mouth " in each rafter board to rest on the top plate. Since the ground wasn't level and the original small run wasn't square it threw off some of my measurements and the run isn't square either now. The rafters is where it took more time to build because each rafter was a specific length and cut.


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    All of the rafters are in place and the top gable end boards being put up. Here you can see the 2x 6s and 2x4 on the gable end to connect the posts together on the gable ends. You can also see the lag screws used to put them up with. After reading online a lot of construction codes and specifications for using the lag screws I felt they would be very beneficial in keeping the wood from warping and shifting. The end boards are 5/4 x 6 and were measured and each one cut using the previous board's angle. That helped make that part go pretty quickly. A 2x4 layed flat and extened covers the cut ends of the end boards and gives a place to set purlins in and screw the metal roof panels to on the end.
    You can also see the door put in. I still needed to add the wire to it, but had the hardware so I put it up. It was made the same way as the panels except since it was on hinges I added corner support braces and a horizontal brace. The bottom also has a horizontal brace due to the slope I needed to add that for stability.

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    Start of the metal roof going on. I used 2x4s for purlins on the large structure, but on the small run I had to use 1x3s due to the roof line of the coop itself. The metal roof panels were ordered at 8 ft, but I had to cut a little bit off the ends on a few on the west side to accomadate the out of squareness.

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    The metal roof completed. A view from the (east) short side.


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    Painting on outside of large run and work on finishing the small run. Painting the panels and door for the south gable end. Painting the end panels before puting them up was so much easier! Why didn't I think of that before? Also put in the rain gutter between the two runs. Still to to put gutters on the sides of the big run. I hope to add a rain barrel this year also.
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    Painted 1x6's ready to fasten to bottom of outside of run. They were fastened using self tapping 9x 31/2 inch construction screws along the panel and at each support post. I put pre- painted 1x6 deck boards all around the bottom to help keep predators from prying at the wire there. I have changed the coated 1/2 inch chicken wire out to 1/2 inch hardware cloth that extends 18 inch out. It is fastened at the bottom of the panel to completeley cover the opening at the bottom. This spring I plan to add a 2 foot extension from that and put crusher run stones all around about 3 inches deep and 3 foot wide to make a nice path and finish off the predator barrier.
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    Inside the 1/2 x 1/2 inch harware cloth is put up each panel and overlapped the adjacent boards.

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    1x2's painted and used to cover and finish off the hardware cloth on the top and sides. Each was predrilled and I used 8x1 1/2 and 9x2 inch construction screws.

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    1x2's also fastened on the outside at the posts and center uprights in the panels. They are used in the winter to hold heavy gauge clear vinyl on the sides for wind and weather proctection. Other times thethe 1x3's just finish off the outside and I don't have to store them.

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    This small door is nice access from the front and gives me flexibility when I want to section a space off for broodys and young chicks.
    The latch is secured with srew down chain type link. I also have a hook and eye at the top. The door itself is tight fighting and would take a little work for prying predators to open.


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    A good view of the center post. The center post will also give me more flexibility for sectioning off the run. I also put ridge ties in for more stability. In the center they are right at the top plate. and there are also some halfway between the center post and the gable ends but those are higher up. you can see the end of one in the very upper left hand corner of the picture. I added extra support boards on the sides of center post as I need to add about 18 inches to that post for the height of the roof line. The boards are screwed in with 4 inch and 6 inch lag screws and glued. I used joist hangers to hold the ridge ties to the center post. They joist hangers are also fastened with construction screws.
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    I have the small run already divided part way. This gives me flexibilty for sectioning off the run with less work. There is a large opening on the left for me to walk through and a small chicken sized opening on the right. You can also see the original stone foundation of the small run.
    I also put straw bales in the run and the girls love jumping on them, sitting on them and gives them a place to hide behind to get away from any bossy hens. They love to peck at the pieces of straw and when I need to add straw to the coop I have some available. In the winter the poo comes off readily.

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    The bottom boards on the inside also are on top of the hardwarecloth. The big branch I added gives them a hangout place. I have seen it completely full! It is screwed in and supported at the far end and screwed in at the bottom the close end.

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    A view from the inside looking out.

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    Penny standing on the top of the old set of nest boxes. They like to stand on it and check inside it. I've taken the board off the front that keeps the eggs from rolling out, and so far no straw or leaves manage to stay and they haven't layed any eggs in it. You can see the branch fastened to the post on the right.


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    Some of the girls enjoying warm mash and yogurt and scrambled eggs in the small run area.

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    The blue ring is their dust bath.. At the bottom of it any way. It's a child's swimming pool. I found a plain one with out all the pictures on it. I used dirt, peat and sand for the dust bath. I put big bags of dried leaves and some straw in the run. About once a week I rake the leaves and straw back up to the other sections and it they love digging it all over again. Under all those leaves and straw they have also dug out a few of their own dust bowls.



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    Fall and winter. The rope lights are inside and go around on 3 sides. It makes for nice atmosphere, helps me see, and I've heard predators don't like to be in the light. So far so good.

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    My egg sign. The opening will have a board that says "A French Hen".
    On the top is space for a "Sold Out" sign.


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    Thanks so much for viewing my run! I will update with future landscaping projects. I will also add the "blueprint" picture as soon as I can find it in cyber space!
    The "blueprint/sketch" is now posted at the top. I've updated a couple of things with more information as well. I hope you enjoy the article!

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  1. Red Door Coop
    I love it! It is a lot of work and love but what happy chickens you will have. I will hope :). We too are where we receive most times a lot snow, wind and live next door to a mink ranch so it is imperative it be predator proof....great plans!
  2. chickwhispers
    You are so very welcome! @terrilee ! Thank you for your kind words! I hope it helps you and your husband. If you have any questions please feel free to pm me! Thanks for checking it out!
  3. terrilee
    I sent a link to this post to my husband for your "run" details. Thank you so much for so much detail. You've built a really nice place for your little chickies. ;)
  4. chickwhispers
    Thank you @Free Feather ! I do! They're so fun to watch and I enjoy the eggs the give me!
  5. Free Feather
    This is so cute! You must really care fot your birds.
  6. chickwhispers
    @Bogtown Chick Yes lots of time! It was "supervised" by the girls many days, so extra patience was needed to walk around the bosses! Thank you for you kind words!
  7. chickwhispers
    @Cluckies Thank you! There is actually extra room in the coop and run for the number of chickens I have. I have a little room for chicken math! LOL!
  8. Bogtown Chick
    Lots of Time and Love invested in that Abode! Lucky lucky chickens. Wonderful to see more spoiled chickens. Great job and whole hardy "Wow!" Good work.
  9. Cluckies
    Nice! Love the huge run!
  10. chickwhispers
    Thank you! @Bloveschickens It took a bit of time but was quite fun!

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