First Chicken Coop Build

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Bradybones, Feb 15, 2015.

  1. Bradybones

    Bradybones New Egg

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    Feb 14, 2015
    We recently moved from Utah to Texas and buying a home with enough land to run a small hobby farm was a big part of the game plan. A coop isn't generally easy to move across several states and the one we had originally bought was somewhat of a flimsy kit to begin with, so we ended up giving it away to a very appreciative couple before we moved. This time around, I decided to try to build a coop rather than buying one like we had done when we first got our birds back home. I'm not a carpenter. This build definitely took a lot more time than it needed to. Some of it was bouts of cold and rainy weather, a lot of it was my own inexperience.

    Either way, I suppose it was a great excuse to get some power tools and I certainly learned some valuable lessons which I can incorporate into my next coop build.
    Here are some pictures of the build process. I didn't have plans or measurements drawn up. I sort of just stared for a long time until I worked out each section in my head. This drove my wife nuts since she's more of a plan of action type of girl, but I guess it worked out. :)

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    The sad part of this story is that 4 of our 6 chickens were killed by a neighbor's dog just before I got the wiring finished on the run. We live on 9 acres and the girls hadn't had any trouble free ranging around the house, which is set back from the road at least 2 acres, but of course we would shut them up in the coop at night to keep them from the prominent predators of the area. It was just an unhappy coincidence of the neighbor letting their dog out to roam the countryside, the girls being out in the yard, and my wife not being home to hear the commotion when it happened. Loss happens, but knowing it's a part of life doesn't make it any easier.

    There's no way we can replace our girls, but we're hoping that we can make new bonds with more chicks in the near future. My older sister is sending us some hatching eggs all the way from Idaho and we're looking at a few other sources to increase the size of our flock. I have a feeling there will be more coop building for us soon.

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    (Sorry for the building debris.)
     
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    That is a lovely coop and I am sorry for your losses.

    Just so you know, the best time to integrate chicks with older hens is at 16 weeks of age from my experience. So it may be best to have an all-in-all-out flock situation, or build separate quarters for your new chicks when you hatch them out.

    It never hurts to have two coops - one can be a hospital coop, broody coop (either to break a broody or to give her new chick and her some privacy/safety for the first week after hatching, etc.).
     
  3. Bradybones

    Bradybones New Egg

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    Feb 14, 2015
    Thank you, CAS. We are planning on keeping the chicks seperate until they can be integrated. One of our lost hens was about 6 years old and saw two sets of youngsters added to her flock. We'll definitely keep an eye on them. :)

    I'm hoping for a good hatch rate. To be honest, I haven't incubated eggs in probably somewhere around 25 years.
     
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    You are welcome!

    My hatch rate on shipped eggs is about 50% consistently.

    It is so much fun to hatch them. You can see candling pics here:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...g-candling-pics-progression-though-incubation


    and this link gives advice on humidity etc.:
    http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/2902/2902-1090/2902-1090.html
    virginia tech

    Enjoy your hatching!
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2015
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    33,798
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    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Good on you for just going for it....doing is the best way to learn!
    Your next coop will be better and easier due to your hard earned experience.
    Build your next coop much larger and you can use the first one to raise up chicks.
     
  6. Bradybones

    Bradybones New Egg

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    Feb 14, 2015
    Wow, those are some great links! Thank you, CAS!
    50% seems so dismal, but I've seen that ratio a lot when people talk about hatching out their shipped eggs. I suppose it will be best to keep my expectations lower so I don't find disappointment. I will start setting up the incubator and go through the manual tonight. That way we can make sure we figure out the humidity and temp settings before the eggs arrive.

    I'm so excited!!! A majority of the eggs my sister and nieces are sending are bantam cochins, which I understand to be an amazingly gentle smaller breed. I think my kids will really enjoy them! aart, my thoughts are that this smaller coop will work out great for a bantam lodge. What do you think? I guess we'll have to see.

    I really did learn a lot during this build. This coop looks cute and has the removable poop tray, which is nice, it also has a person-sized door for the run and enough room to muck out without having to bend at odd angles. The space under the coop is perfect for dust baths. Still, I think a walk-in coop design like we had when I was a child is much nicer for checking on the girls when they've roosted for the night.

    Having a plan set out from the beginning probably would have saved me a bit on lumber, but sometimes the only way to get something done is to jump in feet first and keep plowing through until it's finished. Given my low level of woodworking experience, I am happy with the end results. When I look at all the little imperfections and see things I'd like to do differently, I chalk it up to learning and I'll just have to take those lessons with me to the next build.

    Thank you for taking the time to look over my coop and leave me comments. :) I am really glad I joined this community after lurking for so long.

    -Bones
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2015
  7. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    You are welcome for the links!

    I have had bantam Cochins before and someday hope to have them again. My DH likes LF right now.

    Bantam Cochins (not the LF ones) are the sweetest little things. They are very docile and timid. They go broody a lot and are not the best layers, but as pets they are amazing.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2015

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