By Chipper Chicken · Jul 16, 2014 · Updated Nov 15, 2016 · ·
  1. Chipper Chicken

    May 25, 2017,
    Just realized with BYC's new format some of my pictures are out of order, plus I need to clean up the dialogue a bit. I'll try to get that done in the next week or two
    Nov. 13,2016
    Trim mostly done, hanging clean out doors next....

    July 16, 2014
    Hello everyone. I had chickens when I was a teenager and for many years now have wanted to have chickens again. Knowing this my DH promised me a coop for my birthday ( which was back in May so you see it's already become a long term project), and he helps me every chance we get to work on it. I guess I need to clarify this a REAL birthday present was the free time so I could do the build, not that he would build it for me. :lau

    I have been researching all these incredible ideas that BYC brings together and trying to develop a suitable design for our needs BYC is a goldmine of information! Thank you to ALL coop builder/contributors, administrators and especially Rob Ludlow (@Nifty-Chicken) who thought this whole BYC thing up and made it such a great resource!

    I am only able to get a little bit done at a time because of our work, so this will probably be a rather long drawn out post rather than lots of pictures all at once. I tend to take way too many pictures anyway but I know how much I was able to learn what features I wanted from looking at everyone else's designs, so I will just add them as I go along.

    I chose the Prince T Woods (a special thanks to all those who made Woods Style postings too!!) open air style as healthy air circulation is a must here especially in our (sometimes 8-9 months!!!) long rainy "season" ( we are on what is known as the WE(s)T side of Oregon). The open air coop that Woods promoted was used throughout the nation and Canada in the early 1900's. (Maybe not as much in the Deep South, although Dr. Woods gives examples of suitable coops for that region in his book as well) It worked well even in the rainy NW as I discovered references to the style in old poultry books from Oregon and California from that time period. The main point is that the proper ventilation, (not heating the coop, which virtually nobody did back then anyway) was the key to having a healthy chicken flock. His book really explains how it works a lot better than I can, but I did a rough sketch just to illustrate the air displacement that occurs in this design.

    I also wanted a moveable coop to use as a chicken tractor (and no building permits required) and/or sturdy enough I could trailer it down the highway if I needed to. And it had to be easy to use and clean, as I'm not getting any younger either! I guess I'd better add another caveat here, I did not stick 100 % with the book on some parts of the build as I was doing the build on a two wheeled home built slightly variable dimensions chassis. I had to build to fit the frame and I wanted exceptional strength and durability. Also, since building is something I'm learning on the fly, mistakes and oversights have/will be made. That being said, there is no other style of coop out there, no matter how cute, that I'd rather have to raise chickens in.

    Here are some links to the Prince T Woods Open Air style Coop book:
    ( :thumbsup For the links to other Woods style and Open Air Style Coops, please scroll to bottom of page)
    free Ebook first
    online book.;ved=0CCYQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Another version of the free book

    .....and a site with various poultry housing and misc. plans
    On this link you hit the green plan number to bring up a set of plans. The last one on the list is a woods style aka a half-monitor, but it's hard to read clearly.


    Norton Creek Press is a family business run by Karen L. Black and Robert Plamondon, who've masterminded the reprinting of the book. I give this as a reference. When I talked to him last at the Poultry Swap(and bought his reprinted "the Dollar Hen" he indicated it was simpler to just buy it through Amazon, he gets pretty much the same royalty. He sells most of his books at the swaps if you can get to one, and he is happy to talk chicken ;) Nice guy. (Didn't get to meet Karen)

    NOTE: I decided to use nautical terms on here for a couple reasons. When working with someone else it always helps if you are in agreement over what exactly you mean when you say "front" or "back". In coop terms, for this coop at least, the "front" of the coop is where the open front is. The back is where the roosts are. A no brainer, right? But since this is built on a trailer chassis, the hitch and tongue are more correctly the "front". So if its not clear on front or back....well left and right don't work either. By using Bow, Stern, Port and Starboard, it was simple. And since DH was in the Navy, it just made it all that much more easier. :lol:

    Here's a rough sketch of what I had in mind after sifting through months of research and a notebook of doodle sketches. It might change a bit here and there from the drawing ;)


    I started by finding a homemade trailer frame locally on Craigslist for $200. It was a bit too small (but heavy duty nonetheless!) at 6' 4" wide and a hair over 13' long (not counting the tongue :tongue I always wondered where I could use that :lau ).


    DH has been a welder for many years and went right to work making it wider (8') (legal highway width is 8'6") THIS IS THE "WINGED" PART and longer (16').


    Next up was 5 cans each of primer for rusty metal and flat black enamel paint. At this point was another small design change, I wanted an extra brace on each side of the tongue to hold up to two water barrels. ( thank goodness we had a little extra scrap metal laying around)


    (Total of 10 windows and 2 doors in background also from Craigslist $22! ;~)
    The wheels are now slightly inside the frame ( like a travel trailers) and we (okay, HE, but I measured and bought it so it counts, right? ;~) made a custom wheel well cover out of (forgot thickness but think 1/8" or 3/32", sorry, not at home to check) aluminum diamond decking from Metal Mart in Portland. We had used this material previously on a repair to a 1961 travel trailer and I liked working with it ( there were a couple other reasons for choosing it ; it doesn't rust, is easy to cut and weld, (for him, not me) and it's tough enough to deter critters I hope. ;~)}.


    I knew I would need a bunch of plywood and trim etc., which we again found locally through Craigslist. ( $$ Great deal and more than enough for other projects as well.) I pre-painted 4 of the thickest plywood (3/4") (white) to use as the floorboards and drilled lots of 1/4" holes to carriage bolt it to the frame.

    After I bolted the first sheet down I was thinking through the next step of securing the base 2x4's to the frame and didn't like the 1/4" bolts for that. DH and I brainstormed and decided to weld gussets at each corner (8 now instead of 4 because of the wheel wells) to put good sized bolts through. (Ran out of material, so we went with 6 corner support braces instead of 8)

    So that's how far we've gotten so far. I will try to explain each step as I go so the pictures tie to the current work stage. I will also have to post the pictures separately as they are on my cell phone.


    Front sheet of plywood bolted down, will be putting Blackjack 57 over this (eventually) I think thanks to JackE's suggestion for his floor in his Woods style coop (link to JackE's coop at bottom of page). :thumbsup

    UPDATE. August 4,2014

    FINALLY managed to get back to this over the last couple days, but I've got two weeks off so we'll see if we can make some real progress.

    So what we did to make it sturdier was add 6 braces to the corners and forward of the wheel well. ( my trailer didn't have side rails to bolt to like @off-grid hen's Woods on Wheels

    Then I was able to notch and lay all four sheets of plywood into place. Bolted the forward one back down, drilled holes until dark for the rest. :barnie (just when I was getting rolling, I need a work light!)

    I will fill in the cracks and spaces in the wood with a caulk of some sort, but I'm not too worried about that as the Blackjack 57 should goop up all the holes I miss when I get to that point.

    UPDATE August 14, 2014

    First two sets of wall studs nearly ready to go up. It's been a frustrating week, but I got most of the "oh no, I don't have the right tool to do that!" Issues resolved. The good news is, I got some new tools! :yesss:

    So these are the sidewalls from the highest point, the monitor window area, to the back of the coop where the roosts will be. I cut the studs all on a 71 degree angle at the top. I used a Kreg HD pocket screw jig tool to pre-drill screw holes from the upright studs to the foundation sill. I had tried some cheapo wood screws on this earlier, what a waste of time. This HD version of the Kreg makes a solid solid joint, I won't have to worry about these babies vibrating out! And it already made it a piece of cake to reverse the screws out for one stud that needed to be shaved down a tad. Made me want to dance a "jig" hahaha. I HATE nails!
    Will be posting more very very soon.......
    This picture shows about where the door will be, I had it framed in, but the cheapo screws failed to hold it together through one positioning trial. (Did I mention I love the Kreg!? )


    These are better shots of what the pocket hole system of fastening looks like ( and hats off to Woodcrafters in NE portland for having ALL the Kreg products I needed in one place with incredibly helpful [also chicken owners] sales help to answer all my questions and get me back to working on my COOP!!


    This blue thing is the Kreg HD jig, zoom in on that drill bit if you can. It's HUGE! (I'll get a better picture tomorrow) The box of screws to the left are the HD coarse thread 2 1/2" long.

    the small jig for the nest boxes etc on the left.. The hurkey jig for 2xs on the right. See the difference in screw size? Normal panhead screw on left, HD on right.

    Next I needed to notch all the studs in the corners for the added on braces...

    (Those old C clamps were my late dads, he'd be happy to know they're still getting used. BTW C clamps are a bit slower to use, but they don't break if you drop them!)

    Now I'm just waiting for DH to come back up from cutting firewood so we can start lifting the two walls
    I have done up. :yiipchick

    August 16, 2014

    Walls starting to go up!


    Took pictures before we re squared, so even tho they don't look square here, we fixed already, just forgot to take new pics.....
    Ok, here's how far we got before we ran out of 2x 4's.

    August 17, 2014

    August 21, 2014
    We were able to put in a few extra days so we got a bit more done...

    I cut all the boards to seal the rafters top and bottom and at least one set to go near the middle of the rafters to fasten the roofing to. I'm not sure what the correct term for those are, bridges? We'll wait to put them in until the lower roof is on to firm the whole thing up. At our age holding a heavy drill over our heads 11' in the air is enough excitement without the walls being wobbly too! :rolleyes:

    Squaring up the window frame, I just know come winter those babies are going to swell a bit, so since I have to re-glaze them anyway I'll sand them down and paint them later, to install later. Much later.

    Monitor window frame up with an extra 2x4" horizontal brace under the 2 x 6" to keep it square for now. The free standing 2 x 4"s are for the door studs.

    And all cleaned up, swept out through the "front clean out doors" and tools all put away. It will be a couple weeks or more before we can do any more. Now we have to get back to work and earn some more $$ to keep the ball rolling :cool:

    Not new work since I can't work on it right now, but thought I'd add the picture since I was editing anyway,
    it's just something I was intrigued by and wanted to see if I could do, so I'm thinking I'll add later....


    October 6, 2014


    Lower roof rafters up
    Notice I put blocks under the trailer. I leveled it too. A lot easier to work on now. :rolleyes:


    Used these to hold boards in line on the lower end


    Went with three pocket screws each at the upper end.

    UPDATE, Friday October 10, 2014


    The supervisor needs a haircut! I think she wants something, hmmm, maybe a duck treat! (She's a quack addict) Right now! :cool:

    Put both doors up to test fit. Windows on the sides framed, tested and set aside for now.


    Both doors will be about 8" higher off the floor to accommodate the deep litter I plan on using. The boards leaning against the coop to the right of the door will be used to raise them up.
    I also cut the pieces for the base of the nest boxes over both wheels but haven't fastened them together yet. I'll use plywood against the aluminum Diamond decking, which will have Blackjack 57 over that.

    UPDATE, Saturday October 11, 2014

    Was able to get a tiny bit more done today.......
    Bottom sills and top crosspieces for both doors. Working by myself today hense the triple bracing on the starboard door.

    UPDATE Sunday October 12, 2014

    Lower roof plywood going on

    UPDATE, Tuesday October 21, 2014

    Look at all those pocket holes I drilled!

    Now look at how close those rafters are. How am I going to drive the pan head screws in with that big 'ol drill? I did it on a couple and it was a PITB!!!

    My solution? ELK TRACKS AND DEER TRACKS! Elk tracks veer out a bit, and deer tracks are close set, all at an angle I can reach from below the rafter or above it. Jeez, I'm going to be a real expert at this by the time im done. NOT! :rolleyes:
    I didn't want to recut these but I was worried they'd be too weak if I redrilled too close, so I reversed the pattern on the other side of the boards. These are just to fasten the corrugated roofing to anyway :cool:





    Front plywood on and the "Super" is back on the job, and this time we put the chalk on the wall instead of on her! :D


    First front side panels on both sides on. That's it for tonight, pull the tarp back over and let the rain fall

    UPDATE, Sunday October 26, 2014




    It got a little windy this weekend


    Framing in both pop doors, but will wait to purchase second Ador door until it's needed.


    So, I made a bit more progress and I'm pleased with how it's taking shape. I think one of the hardest parts, for me at least, is about done. I'm really glad I stuck with using screws and not nails, it's so much easier to fix mistakes.

    UPDATE, 10/28/14

    Great progress today....this pic doesn't show it, but the other side is done up to this point as well. I've found it easier to do the mirror image work while it was still fresh in my mind rather than do one whole side then the other. :rolleyes:

    I didn't like how this was yesterday, so I redid it today


    UPDATE, 10/30/2014

    Working on my reversible roll out nest box prototype.(I found a work ligh;)t

    Cut the fixed base for the entire unit to sit / slide on. It won't stick out this far when I'm done, and I'll round the corners to minimize shin bruises. :rolleyes: (at least I found a work light! :clap )

    This is showing the forward rollout on the left. will add a faceplate with a trap later as well.

    The rear rollout area will be a couple inches shorter at 8" deep (after the insulation) by 13" wide. Should be enough, I hope!
    Please excuse the Duct tape, it's just temporary! :oops:

    Short on time today, will come back later to add better captions. For more information on this prototype, please visit

    UPDATE; 11/30/2014

    The day before Thanksgiving we put up the rafter "bridges" and then MY HERO cut the top rafters to match the lower roof. :love
    Before And after
    Then.....Cold wet icky hailstorms, nah, too wet to work on this, I think I'll go cook a Turkey instead!
    Did manage to work on the nest box today tho.....

    Painting and sheathing the hardware cloth on the cleanout doors, which will latch on the INSIDE.

    Time to crow...or should I say sing a hen song???? ..these cleanout doors were something that had me stymied for quite a while, but I'm pretty happy with how they turned out :weee
    Cleanout doors set in place for marking hinge attachments

    Hardware cloth on roof (NOTE: rethinking this step.......I may remove the hardware cloth from the roof if it drips water and condensates too much)

    June 1, 2015
    I had a bit of a setback so the project is a bit behind schedule. Unfortunately this means no chickens yet as I will not compromise on their security and an unfinished coop is far from secure! The good news is I'm able to get quite a bit accomplished on the days I get work on it, so hopefully it'll start shaping up soon. As there is still a lot to do and I have even less time, I've put an outline of what's left to do towards the bottom of the rather long, (sorry!) page, and as I can I will just drop pictures into place. (IF my Android phone will ever start working properly and share the pictures!)

    UPDATE JULY 12, 2015

    Polycarbonate smoke grey panels onto roof
    (Tuftex Polycarb 2.17-ft x 12-ft Corrugated Polycarbonate Roof Panel From Lowes)

    UPDATE: July 26, 2015
    pictures added as progressed on swing down roost boards

    I will have to add a stronger bigger leg later for when it has more weight on it, but the idea worked so I'm happy! :weee
    I will also glue the waterproof shower board to the plywood insert later, since I want to put the showerboard behind the roost also and want to be able to do it all at once.

    UPDATE: Aug. 1, 2015
    Strip, glaze and paint windows. Old glass was removed, double sash channels puttied and sanded, twice, two coats Behrs Bleached Linen VOC free semi gloss paint applied. On a side note, as these windows were pretty old I was very careful to have a tarp under my work station so I could collect and safely dispose of the old paint as it came off. I made sure to wear one of those paint fume masks as well ;) guess I missed adding the picture with the Harbor Freight heat gun, but that's what accelerated the paint removal.



    UPDATE: Aug. 16, 2015
    Hung refurbished windows with new Polycarbonate panes installed (protective film left on for now). I decided glass, especially old non safety glass, the type that shatters into a thousand shards, wasn't what I wanted in a mobile coop. Not in the windows at least.

    Update: Sept. 20, 2015,
    Time to paint the floor and 12" up the walls with the Blackjack #57!
    I am horrible at painting a straight line so I marked 12" up all around first and put painters tape up. It took a lot longer to mix the Blackjack than I expected, even with a good drill powered paint mixing paddle. It looked like it had about 2" of water at the top and big chunks of tar balls below that when I started. By the time I got it all mixed good, at least 30 minutes later, it was about the consistency of cake batter. Thick cake batter. As per suggestions on another thread, I had a bucket of water handy, 2 sets of masks, 2 sets of gloves, my junk shoes and pants, throw away rollers and brushes (not that I will, but I definitely didn't use good ones), and I was ready. This is just one coat so far. Will let it dry a day at least.


    Update; Oct. 6, 2015
    Finished Blackjack, mostly.....
    Will touch up seams later. I bought plugs for the pocket holes......but they were the wrong size. :(
    So I might add those later as well

    Felt/tarpaper and starter row of shingles

    5 rows was all I had enough left over from our last project off to big box to get more....

    Oct. 8.......well now, the orange box decided to quit carrying this style, so off to Lowes (which I like better anyway!) we went and we got extra for other projects too. Still need to add flashing and trim........

    Both doors in with DH's help, will leave glass in for now as these are in pretty good shape. I may switch to Lexan type (Tap Plastics) later if they prove to be too fragile.

    Almost ready for trim....

    Dec. 4, 2015
    ......and rough pine trim is getting planed on one side (Harbor Freight 12" planer used was hubbies Christmas present a few years ago), then cut to size and tacked up. Plan is to finish port side, then do starboard side as well and remove all and paint over Christmas break. I hope. I did put vulkem in the crevices where I didn't get a nice tight seam, ( I am getting better at that measuring and fitting part tho....) the trim is over that. Using a different sealant anywhere it won't be covered by trim.


    Still to do

    MAYBE get bug screen to go with hardware cloth.

    put hinge and latch hardware on cleanout doors (Needed the blackjack on first, but it's easier to work with them off too)

    Install outside trim pieces ( almost 1/2 done!) and paint

    Close off lower roof rafter gaps with hardware cloth and hinged covers/plugs

    Build and install two screen doors

    Build removable roosts, wrap with bicycle tubes.

    Install Plas-tex wallboard (from Menards) onto/around roost boards

    Build Ramps as needed

    Set coop divider partition PVC caps into floor. (turns out I can do this later, after the blackjack)

    Assemble coop partition

    Build brooding area under roost board, use plas-Tex to round corners in brooder area so chickies can't get trapped.

    Set up water barrel(s) with rain gutter connection

    Set up water system

    Feed system

    Solar panel(s) onto lower roof (winter lights, summer mist system)

    Build Battery box on trailer tongue or?

    Set ADOR ( automatic pop door) into place ( have I, need 2)

    Build/install porthole windows by roosts

    Build nest boxes and traps

    First aid kit above nests

    Set up ACV (Apple cider vinegar), Oyster shell, grit, charcoal, DE (diatomaceous earth) and FF (fermented feed) stations

    Hang BSF(black soldier fly larvae) auto treat dispenser (I had BSF adults laying eggs in April I think, they just quit laying a couple weeks ago)

    Build awnings ( no room for shutters :( but I've got some neat ideas for the awnings ;) )

    Build/buy Detachable or swing away Steps

    Add brass escutcheons and other ornaments

    Build summer/winter CHICKEN MOAT!!

    Add swings and fun stuff

    Dust bathing area

    Build incubator.


    (Not necessarily in that order)( also add links to any related items)

    Thanks for looking. If you are intrigued by these open air Woods Style coops, please check out these other great interpretations ......(I'll keep posting links to as many as I can) ALL of these have GREAT ventilation! ;) by @JackE (a thread not a coop build page so much more discussion about the build and performance through the winter. also sprinkled in there are pictures (or references to) of other Woods style coops that don't have a build page)(also movable if he ever needs its built on skids) By @blwells45 (nicely detailed coop build with a tribute to his grandfather) By @offgridhen (first one I ever saw on wheels) By @jeff8486 (very nice use of board and batten!) by @WthrLady (this is gorgeous! .....But of course......she's an artist! ) by @Diann88 (Scaled down to 4'x 12' on an old farm wagon base, nicely done!) by @ash10383 (this is actually a full monitor style, instead of half-monitor) by @loon138 (also on skids, moved into place with a jeep!) By @mexieontheloose (another scaled down version) by @pharmchickrnmom AND @Arty (nice build [thread] using home milled lumber) by @bugsaroo (an excellent example of a larger version. Partitioned for breeding)

    What I'd have done differently......
    Put blocks under and leveled the trailer at the beginning instead of several months into the build. No doubt it would have helped.

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  1. N F C
    Good job!
  2. Chipper Chicken
    Thanks jimbob86! [​IMG]
  3. jimbob86
    Overbuilt is a Feature, not a bug, unless you are doing the moving by ham samwich power!
  4. jimbob86
  5. Chipper Chicken
    Thank you. 50! Wow, are you free ranging? I'd love to have that many, but don't think it would work where I live. If I use the rate of 4 square feet per chook, it should hold 32. The problem Here is we have so much rain ( months and months, of cold, icky, wet, lol!) that I don't want to crowd them. However, I also have a lot of free range area for them and will be building a large run as well for when I can't be there to monitor them. And, although the Article doesn't mention it yet, (will be included when I put the Blackjack 57 down,) there will be removable panels running down the center to divide flocks for breeding when the time comes. ;~)
  6. CrazyChookLady5
    wow!!! this is awesome!! how many chooks can it hold?? my coop is small than yours (not by heaps tho) and I can have maybe up to 50 chooks in my coop!

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