Chicken Coop Project

Old Philosopher

Songster
Jan 13, 2016
250
162
137
Rocky Mountain Trench
When we moved to our Homestead 16 years ago, there was an existing old potting shed on the property, unused for many years. The flock we brought with us moved right in, and that was their "coop" for the first 5 years.
They endured -35F temperatures in the winter, and 105F in the summer. They never complained. But I felt guilty.
Where I live, building permits are not an issue unless you're building a new human residence. But depending upon where you live, even if keeping chickens and building a coop is permissible, a lot of times a local building permit is required for "new construction". However, "modifying an existing structure" usually doesn't require any official paperwork.
So my "modification" of my potting shed resulted in none of the orgiinal structure remaining, and the chickens got a palace.
I've always been a fan of Popular Science's "Wordless Workshop", so I'm going to post these basic construction photos, and any questions are welcome. I have lots more pictures, but these are the basic ones.
A few additional notes.
The coop has OSB exterior and 1/4" interior plywood paneling. It's insulated with fiberglass bats. Even in a sub-zero climate like mine, I've never found a need to heat the coop. The water will remain unfrozen even with outdoor temps in the mid-20's.
The doors are full sized, salvaged ones because I'm not the size of a chicken, and I wanted full access for my wheelbarrow, and other tools.
It's spacious enough I store all my feed/bedding in garbage cans (rubber) in one corner, and have shelves for chick feeders, lights and other hardware. Many times during severe winters I don't let the flock outside, and they still have enough room inside for me to scatter scratch on the floor for them.
I built it with 3 nesting boxes since my actual laying flock is always around a dozen hens, so the 5:1 hen-to-box ratio is maintained.
When the days get short, I use a dusk-to-dawn light switch (orinally made for outdoor Christmas lights) to give them a full 14 hours of light. They need that for maintaining a laying cycle, and it often prevents them from going into a winter molt.
Anyway...on with the show.






Laying out the floor joists for the expansion. 2x6 timbers on concrete piers.


Adding wall studs and 2x4 rafters.


Remains of old potting shed being disassembled.








"Nursery" gate latch


Exterior door to yard latch. (in keeping with the K.I.S.S. theory)


Exterior access to nest boxes, at my wife's request.


Railroad ties keep the chickens in and the skunks, raccoons and foxes out. The outside
shelter provides shade, And gives them a place to get out of the rain, or the threat
from aerial predators. We have 4 species of "chicken hawks" here, and the occasional
Bald Eagle looking for an easy lunch.

Hope you enjoyed the tour. Any questions, please ask.
(In Montana we have a saying: "Pretty and functional aren't necessarily synonymous.")
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beetandsteet

Songster
Aug 21, 2015
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Texas!
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I LOVE this! My favorite part is the "nursery" where the chicks can grow out with the adults.
Quote: That is so right. Makes me feel better about my *sarcasm* masterpiece chicken coops.

You may want to add this as a coop page in the coops section in the learning center. That way, people who get on here looking expressly for coop designs can see your super project. :) Thanks for sharing.
 

Cheep N Peep

Songster
Apr 9, 2015
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Castle Rock, Colorado
My Coop
My Coop
It's wonderful! Is there ventilation where the two roofs don't meet? I love the nursery and how you modified that old potting shed into a completly new structure!

I'm not sure the shade area will protect them from hawks though, as they will dive under it to grab a small chicken. If you use some tree limbs or thin PVC you can make poles to hold up bird netting draped over the entire run at your height. If the netting overlaps the fenceing so there are no holes, the chickens can't fly out and a hawk should not fly in.
 

Old Philosopher

Songster
Jan 13, 2016
250
162
137
Rocky Mountain Trench
It's wonderful! Is there ventilation where the two roofs don't meet? I love the nursery and how you modified that old potting shed into a completly new structure!

I'm not sure the shade area will protect them from hawks though, as they will dive under it to grab a small chicken. If you use some tree limbs or thin PVC you can make poles to hold up bird netting draped over the entire run at your height. If the netting overlaps the fenceing so there are no holes, the chickens can't fly out and a hawk should not fly in.

Yes, The space where the roof elevations are different has screened 2" vent holes. Also, the windows are screened. I repurposed some mobile home storm window so they can be used over the screens in the winter.Actually the windows were custom framed with these in mind. They are held in place with simple wooden toggles.
As for the "loafing shed", I've observed chicken and hawk behavior for some time. If a threat is detected, some of the chickens will immediately head for the coop. Others will duck for what ever cover is available. As for the hawks, once they loose sight of their target, they seem to loose interest. They won't dive intro a confined space hoping to find something edible. The only exception to this I ever saw was a big Red Tail who landed in the yard trying to locate the chickens he'd seen from above. The rooster, who was bigger than the hawk, and has 2 1/2" spurs changed the hawk's mind in a hurry.
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I've discounted the bird netting idea because I don't want to fool with taking it down and putting it up every year. With the amount of snow we get, it couldn't stay up year around.

Do the older birds fly into the nursery area?

Good question! Yes, they would, but I have a piece of cloth hanging as a drop curtain over the gate. Since the photo was taken, I have extended the chicken wire to the ceiling to prevent unwanted traffic.
The drop curtain hangs just below the top of the gate on the adult bird's side. This keeps them from landing/perching on the top of the gate. However, the young birds can jump up and perch on the other side of the curtain.
I had to laugh, and shake my head when I realized I had created an "automatic flock assimilation device". When the young birds are old enough to jump to the top of the gate, push past the curtain, and join the flock, they are readily accepted there.
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Old Philosopher

Songster
Jan 13, 2016
250
162
137
Rocky Mountain Trench
welcome-byc.gif

I LOVE this! My favorite part is the "nursery" where the chicks can grow out with the adults.
That is so right. Makes me feel better about my *sarcasm* masterpiece chicken coops.

You may want to add this as a coop page in the coops section in the learning center. That way, people who get on here looking expressly for coop designs can see your super project. :) Thanks for sharing.
I'd love to link it there, but after visiting the Learning Section I couldn't figure out how to post it, or submit the link for approval.
 

Old Philosopher

Songster
Jan 13, 2016
250
162
137
Rocky Mountain Trench
If they fly up and thru the curtain can they get back in....or is it a one way journey....haha?

Here's an idea you could incorporate into your nursery for chick integration:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1069595/introducing-chicks-to-adults#post_16276224

Did the potting shed get demolished, all but one wall?
One way trip, unless I catch 'em and throw 'em back into the nursery. I've yet to have a bird who joined the flock voluntarily get picked on. Like I said early on, the old birds can watch the young'us grow up, and it's almost like they're part of the flock, other than the wire between them.

Thanks! I'll check it out. Yeah, the potting shed, and anything that resembles it is long gone. The only thing that was ultimately used was the back foundation timber, buried flush with the ground.
 

Cheep N Peep

Songster
Apr 9, 2015
368
214
146
Castle Rock, Colorado
My Coop
My Coop
Ha ha, I like the chicken gate. When I introduced five pullets to my flock of two, they lived underneath the wired off poop-board for several weeks. They still aren't a single, happy integrated flock yet, but the wire is gone and the feeder is back under the poop board. How many chicks did you get?


And what kind?
 
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