Zaks Coop

By ZaksGarden · Jul 6, 2012 · Updated Aug 28, 2012 · ·
  1. ZaksGarden
    We live in Winston-Salem North Carolina. City ordinances require an individual in this area to have 150ft distance from a chicken coop and all neighboring property lines. We, and most other property owners in the city do not meet those requirements. So the city allows us to apply for a special use permit for $100, which we did! This permit required us to draw up scaled sight plans of our coop and lot, and create an informational sheet about the type of poultry we would intend on having, how many, and what our purpose for having them was.
    After doing all of that we went down to the city planning board and got a sign, which we were required to post in our front-lawn for 30 days. This sign gave anyone living near us the opportunity to call and voice their opposition. (Thankfully no one did!) We then went to a public hearing where we were granted a special-use permit which allows us to have 4 chickens! So then the real fun began. We ordered our Silver Laced Wyandottes from a hatchery and got them in early April 2012.

    Being that we do live in the city, we wanted a coop that was visually appealing, with an egg-access door, and enough space for 4 laying hens. I am over 6 feet tall so I had to have something high enough to walk in without breaking my back. We found the Wichita Cabin Coop on BYC and that is ultimately what we chose to replicate. [​IMG]

    Many thanks to the creators of the Wichita Cabin Coop for sharing this marvelous coop!

    In this photo the chicks are 2 days old, living in a brooder in the garage. We ordered 6 to be sure that we would have 4 hens, we ended up with 6 hens (go figure) and had to give 2 away.

    Apparently not many people in Winston-Salem apply for this permit. It caused quite a stir and the local TV station actually came out and interviewed me on the subject, and shot some video of our baby chicks in action!

    Ok...back to the coop! So it pains me to say my construction skills are not quite up to par, so I enlisted the help of a family friend who teaches Construction / Carpentry at the local community college and we built this coop together!


    The foundation is 5' x 10' outlined with cement paving stones bought at Lowes for $1.69 each. I went back in and dug out 6 inches from the center and filled it with River Sand. We opted for sand after reading on BYC that it is the easiest to keep clean. It cost $9 per scoop of River Sand and it took 2 scoops. (1 scoop filled the bed of our Toyota Tacoma.)


    ...and Voila! The coop was built at the college in several pieces and brought here where the students assembled it and put everything together! We had to carry the pieces over a fence and around the pool....(the only place the city agreed we could place it.) The hens were more than ready for their new "crib" they had been patiently waiting in an old rabbit hutch. The color of the coop is called Cinnamon and it is the Olympic brand wood stain.


    Here you can better see the flip from the original Wichita Cabin Coop. The coop in our version is on the left, run on right. The access door to the coop we moved to the rear. Large door in the center is for easy access to the run. This is very convenient (No bending over or crawling!)


    I wanted to show the cover I have for the window. It fits in for the winter and I remove it in the spring/summer.


    Here is what the coop looks like from behind. I put a stone path around the coop to tie it in with my perennial garden.


    I've had several people ask about cost, the overall expense of the coop was around $1,100.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Here is the door to the coop. No fancy bells and whistle's here. I enjoy opening the coop every day, and closing it up at night!
    Nothing quite like waking up, opening that door and watching the chickens RUN down that ramp to the food! Starts the morning
    off right. The hook you see on the left side of the ramp I use to hang treats on.


    Hanging feeder and water helps to keep things clean. I have since gone back and raised the water and food up higher,
    I found the girls were kicking up sand in them which caused me to have to change it far too often.

    I put a tree-limb roost in the run area. They really enjoy hopping up here from time-to-time during the day..
    who knows what they are thinking When they look out over the yard! "Where is my human with my treat?" Perhaps...

    The girls are around 10-weeks old at this point. I wish I had a video of them learning to use this ramp!

    The ramp I built removes easily for cleaning. Another idea I got from other coops on BYC!


    This is a shot of under the actual coop. This seems to be the girl's favorite hiding place. They do most of their dust-bathing here. I am very happy with our choice to use river sand as litter in the run. Not only do the girls enjoy bathing in the dry sand, but they get grit from the tiny pebbles and rocks in the sand.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I sift the sand on a weekly basis for about 20 minutes and take a bucket of treasure to the compost pile. I bought this sifter at a food supply store (believe it or not!) I am probably the only person who purchased this to sift chicken poo! [​IMG] In the second photo I placed a quarter so you can visualize how big the sifter is. I plan on replacing all of the sand once a year.

    Here is a shot of the side of the coop. The only down-side to the location our permit allows our coop is that it is literally right beside our swimming pool....

    ....but the hen's don't seem to mind their ocean front property...[​IMG]

    On the back side I have a door to access the coop. This door also has a window for ventilation, I leave it open in the spring and summer and I plan on shutting this in the winter months.


    The window closes easy for storms or cold weather. For the most part, even if the windows are open the coop never gets wet. The roof has such a large overhang that it takes a wind-driven rain to enter the coop or run.


    This shows the nesting area, I still have to build the nesting boxes. I plan to build 2 or 3. Our hens will not be laying until fall of this year, so I have a little time to procrastinate.


    From inside the coop this is the nesting area. I will add more photos when I get the nesting boxes installed.


    Inside shot of the coop before it got stained. I elected for tree-limbs for roosts, they were free and I think they give it a cool-look. It has to feel more natural to roost on. The ladder leading up to the roosts is for our hen Petunia. She has problems with her foot and spine and she can't fly well. So for her to roost with the others she has to use the ladder.

    Inside of the coop after staining is complete. I use pine-shavings here, although I am thinking of using sand here as well in the future. It is much easier to keep clean! These shavings take a LONG time to compost as well. Dropping board, two roosts, what more could a chicken want?

    Here the girls are in July 2012, the girls are 3 months old. From left to right Wilma, Petunia, Wynonna, Wanda)

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    The girls return home after some free-ranging.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I saw these signs and had to get them for the coop!


    I think it adds a nice touch to the coop.


    Finally got around to building the nesting boxes. I put some fake-eggs in the boxes. I've read this will help train the hens to lay in their nesting boxes.


    From inside the coop, the nesting boxes are just under the lowest roost. Make sure your nesting boxes are never higher than your roosts! Otherwise your hens will sleep in the boxes and poop in them. I only want eggs in my boxes. [​IMG]


    The dividers snugly fit, but you can pull them right out to clean out the whole area all at once.


    I have a golf ball, wooden eggs, and porcelain eggs.


    Just no real eggs...any time now they should be coming..


    I decided to get rid of the pine shavings in the coop and use river sand here as well. Had to come up with something to serve as a good base for the river sand, so I found some cheap vinyl flooring, cut it to fit and glued it down.


    Another great thing about this flooring is that it can also be mopped or hosed out when changing sand.


    Poured the sand in over the flooring about 4 inches or so. Now cleaning the coop will be a breeze!

    We got our first egg on Tuesday, August 28th 2012! [​IMG]
    Now we just have to train them to use the nesting boxes!

    I think Wanda was the proud mother! She seemed to be very intrigued by her creation!

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Recent User Reviews

  1. digsindirt
    "Great coop!"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Sep 23, 2018
    I love your coop! Thank you for the detailed write up. I appreciate the tips and tricks you showed us.
  2. CCUK
    "Fantastic job"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Jul 12, 2018
    Excellent coop. Looks great well built and easy to maintain.
  3. Nardo
    "Beautiful coop"
    2/5, 2 out of 5, reviewed Jul 6, 2018
    Great and well thought out design. Nice to have the help form the local college in building it. Any way they can give you pictures as they went about putting it together?


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  1. Lady Badlands
    Beautiful coop and wonderful tour of it. Thank you for your generosity!
  2. ZaksGarden
    Yes I was, so sorry for the slow reply. Make sure your nesting boxes are below the roosts. When my hens laid their first eggs I did not collect them the same day, I instead moved them to the nesting boxes, the darkest one which is the one right below the window. I left it in the nest so that they could see the egg. Sure enough the next day a hen laid an egg in that same box! It might not work for everyone, maybe it was just dumb luck but it worked for me.
  3. tuanle
    Was you be able to train your chicken to lay their egg in the nesting boxes yet? If so, can you share the method.
  4. ruthanne
    Love your coop.
  5. ZaksGarden
    Several new photos added today, and PEEP's I PMed you the photos of the window cover.
  6. PeepsAreForMe
    Oh yes, we will have a run - the coop will be inside the run and the run will be 5' x 16'. After the wicked storm we had last night, I can't wait for their new coop to be done so I will know they will have a nice dry place to sleep in! And thanks, where can I look for pictures? You can PM to me if you want.
  7. ZaksGarden
    Peeps - Thank you very much, and I would be more than happy to take some more photos of the window cover and interior. Give me a couple of days and I will put them up sometime this weekend.
    Hmm...will your coop have a run attached? Sometimes I do feel like I have too much coop and not enough run, because the hens spend much more time out in the run than in the actual coop. That may change however in the winter when things get colder.
  8. PeepsAreForMe
    Love your coop Zaks!! Can you show more pictures of your window cover? We are building a new coop and I wanted to cover the run in the winter but did not want to use a tarp! And I would love to see more pictures of the inside as well. Our coop will be 5' x 5' x 5' and i wonder if that is too much space for just 3 hens and one big rooster. That is Mr. Big in my avatar. Thanks!
  9. ZaksGarden
    coolcanoechic - I love your coop as well! It gave me some more ideas to add to mine. =)
    jet tail - Thank you! You won't regret hanging up your food & water. It is well worth it!
  10. jet tail
    five star accomodation - stunning -well done will pinch the idea of hanging water and food on a chain ty
  11. coolcanoechic
    Your coop is very beautiful and I'm sure your neighbors will appreciate the effort you made to make it pleasing to the eye. Your girls are quite lovely as well. You did a fine job with your page. I enjoyed reading it!
  12. ZaksGarden
    Thank you for the kind words!
  13. Froggiesmom
    What a great city-escape in your own backyard. Well played.
  14. Whittni
    Nice coop.
  15. joan1708
    Outstanding and very pretty!
  16. chicksbunsdog
    Very nice coop and such a lovely garden, doesn't look like you live in a city at all!

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