Chicken House Plan, Cheap, Good Looking, Predator Proof, Not Stinky

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Sweetwater Clyde, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. Sweetwater Clyde

    Sweetwater Clyde Out Of The Brooder

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    I modeled my chicken house almost directly from this plan several years ago. I will post pictures of my actual coop in the near future. There were several problems I was trying to get around and this coop delivered me from every one of them. It is the best chicken house plan I have ever used. Very easy for the novice with a hammer and shovel to build in a couple of weekends. You could go fancy and opt for redwood siding, or cheap and go painted plywood. The only thing I would change with mine is that I used discarded telephone pole top bars (the ones that support the wires and insulators) and wish that I would have used a treated pole for TERMITES!!! I also made the roof about 10 inches too short for me a standard 8 foot green treated 4-6 inch diameter fence post would be perfect. I poured a stem wall of hand mixed concrete. I bought quikrete in bags, poured them into the form dry and wet them down. It works and is very durable, but not really needed. The entire project cost me $500. If a neighbor is tearing down a redwood fence, you could use that. I built a 30 gallon waterer from a galvanized trash can and a Plasson brooder house waterer. I added a small feed and storage room that is vermin proof that is accessed outside. I have two 30 gallon trash cans in it which store enough feed for about six months for 20 hens. I also added a nest box with four stalls that is accessed outside via a hinged lid. I do as the article suggests and throw feed directly on the floor so that the hens will scratch. Believe it or not, chicks need to be taught the art of scratching or at least forced to do it. The scratching is what keeps the hay and manure from becoming a stinky mess. I do keep a hanging feeder that I feed supplemental layer rations in, but I have it lifted beyond their reach most of the time. If you supply food in a feeder for them, they will never learn to scratch and you will have a house that has matted manure sitting directly atop the hay...and you will need to clean it out. The beauty of this system is that it never stinks, the chickens get all the bonus nutrients from the composting hay and manure, and you do not have to clean it out...just add more hay as needed. I do not allow my hens to free range and don't need to with this coop.


    Hope it helps someone.
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  2. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Very interesting article
     
  3. ima57boomer

    ima57boomer Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 23, 2011
    So your chicken house doesn't have a pop door? Do they ever get to go outside? I'm just curious. I live on a farm with good, gentle protective dogs, several barn cats, and ten chickens. Right now, they free range and live inside the upstairs of an old brick summer kitchen. I am seriously thinking of building a pole shed like the one in the article, but would modify it with a run and a pop door for those time I would need to be gone overnight. I did like the article, though. I like old-time wisdom.
     
  4. Sweetwater Clyde

    Sweetwater Clyde Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:No chicken door, hens are always 'confined'. They have plenty of room. For years I had a traditional coop with a small house with an attached run. To be quite frank, chicken yards no matter how large become a patch of bare dirt with feathers that are an eye sore. I also do not keep a rooster with the hens as fertilized eggs do not keep nearly as well. I do not see why you could not add a small chicken door, but it is not a something that is needed by the chickens, this is more for the owner I think.

    I have quail about and am satisfied watching their funny antics.


    Anyway, I am glad you liked the article.
     
  5. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    While I mostly agree with the idea about space (although if this is the only space the chickens get, I think the minimum should be more like 14-15 square feet per bird which should be enough but is hardly plenty of room), there are a couple of problems I see with this design.

    Most significant is the suggestion to use chicken wire for predator protection. That just doesn't work. I'm not sure what "turkey wire" is, but if it isn't welded, it won't work, either. And the idea of leaving a hole large enough for a cat to come in and out just seems to be inviting a predator like a fox or mink to come right in and dine on chicken dinner.

    The idea of using a clear roof doesn't work anywhere with a hot summer. I know, because I tried it myself. It got up to 120 degrees inside the coop and that was only May in Texas.

    I didn't see anywhere in this design that deals with the problem of predators digging in under the edge of the coop and up throught the dirt floor, but with chicken wire covering openings and a cat hole, I guess no predator would need to bother with digging anyway!

    The deep litter method also requires the bedding to be entirely removed and replaced once or twice a year. That's got to be a pretty nasty job. And the idea of hens having to scratch around in piles of their own manure littered bedding has never seemed to me hygienic. If you are keeping your hens only for a few years as egg producers and then replacing the flock, I suppose it doesn't matter. But if you keep your chickens long term (as I plan to do), I wonder if long term housing in these conditions would eventually produce disease.
     
  6. BoltonChicken

    BoltonChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This looks exactly like the "chicken houses" used on every farm in the south during my youth! No coddling in those days as
    chickens were strictly utilitarian. Surprisingly few were lost to wild animals (thanks to the shotgun and very aggressive roosters), cold or overheating.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2011
  7. Sweetwater Clyde

    Sweetwater Clyde Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 9, 2010
    Quote:I think that raising a cat along with the chickens is a good idea in some areas. It would not work in my area because I have a lot of racoons. This is why I OMITTED the cat door. I live in a warm area as well, this is why I ADDED more ventilation. You don't have to be the brightest bulb in the pack to realize that any plan can be altered to suit your climate, taste, etc. This is a good cheap coop, that works perfectly. There are those that will hopefully see it and realize they do not need a yuppie fancy thousand dollar coop that someone else built, they can do it themselves and have something substantial and useful.

    I have been around the farm all my life. If you need some pointers, and down on the farm wisdom, wrought from actual experience shoot me an email and I will be glad to help you out and set you straight. [​IMG]
     
  8. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Gee, if one of those pointers includes using chicken wire for predator protection, I think I'll pass on that wisdom, thanks anyway. I've seen how animals are kept and treated on some farms. It's not anything I would want to emulate.
     
  9. fifenashia

    fifenashia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for sharing this! I think it's a great article, and you are absolutely right about taking a plan and altering it to fit your personal needs, I think many of us did just that in building our own coops. Sometimes even the best laid plans need to be altered along the way. The article even mentioned hardware cloth which I liked [​IMG] I especially loved the post method as even I could nail boards to posts [​IMG] I hadn't thought about THAT when we built our coop.

    I would love to see pictures of your finished coop when it's done.
     
  10. fifenashia

    fifenashia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Gee, if one of those pointers includes using chicken wire for predator protection, I think I'll pass on that wisdom, thanks anyway. I've seen how animals are kept and treated on some farms. It's not anything I would want to emulate.

    I have used chicken wire for over a year and haven't had any problems with the coop/run. I lost some when they were attacked while free-ranging but my wire has not not breached to date (knock on wood). I agree that for a lot of people hardware cloth is better and the stories I read of raccoons are downright scary. BUT, just because not everyone agrees with someone else's design doesn't mean it can't be successful. The beauty of backyard chickens is that every coop is individual and unique and right for the owners.
     

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