First Coop & Run Build - Pic Heavy!

InWrongCentury

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 24, 2014
50
0
82
SF Bay Area
We have officially begun the prep for our future feathered friends! I will be posting our progress as we go through our journey of building our first coop and run, and I am looking forward to pointers, comments, and answers to my newbie questions!

We are building the 4x4 Kennel Coop (and run), plans purchased from eBay. My plan is to augment the structure slightly: making it taller. I want to be able to stand in the high side of the run. We are planning on getting 5 hens in early May.

First, the site needs to be prepared:

Before:


After! We removed the baby redwood (it went to a good home), weeded, and removed the boards from the old garden bed. The tree suckers on the left are still left to go.


The plan is to put the coop side of the structure on the left/west (under the bay laurel tree) and the run extending over to the right/east. We'll be setting up the foundation at least 2' out from the fences.

Question time!
We live in a suburb, and an island at that - main predators are going to be coons, possums, rats, and perhaps snakes, would be my guess. The plans don't call for a specific foundation, just something to keep the bottom beams off the dirt. I was considering the following options:
A. sunk cinder blocks with 2.5" thick pavers on top for perimeter only
B. pavers for the entire footprint of the coop - a "floor" of pavers
C. combo of A and B (sunk cinder blocks, with a paver floor)

Any suggestions? Pros/cons of these solutions?

Additional notes:
- The dirt is very sandy, it doesn't pack down as hard as I'm used to.
- We will be using 1/2" hardware cloth for all screening.
- I am considering putting in gutters and collecting the runoff in cisterns. Maybe the drought this year has made me paranoid.

Thank you ahead of time!
 
Last edited:

clarkechick

Songster
8 Years
May 24, 2011
138
6
129
Welcome to chicken farming! I actually built a coop with an enclosed run a couple of years ago and was very concerned about similar predators (being in a suburban area as well). The solution that I chose was a bit different but made a lot of sense. I ran the hardware cloth over the run, and then bent it at the ground and left a 12" curtain of the material skirted around the coop. It removed the requirement to bury anything at all. I did cover the "skirt" of hardware cloth with brush and dirt a bit, but if any animal tried to dig around the edge of the coop, they would scratch into the wire and be discouraged. The idea is that predators would have to have the concept of "tunneling" or backing up away from the coop to start their digging - and they do not have that ability. I wouldn't cover the floor of the run with block, as my chickens loved dust bathing and scratching deep into the dirt that was there for them. Also, I'd mention that while more expensive, hardware cloth provides a more secure enclosure than chicken wire. I've seen both work, but heard that raccoons can reach through the larger holes of the chicken wire and I've seen large dogs rip through it as well.
Can't wait to see how you do! Good luck.

A rough outline of my coop can be seen here!
https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/clarkechicks-chicken-coop
 

InWrongCentury

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 24, 2014
50
0
82
SF Bay Area
Thank you for the tips! We are definitely going to use hardware cloth.

I'm mostly concerned with rats... They are sneaky buggers, and I'm afraid they would figure out how to tunnel underneath the HC. Does the HC skirt come up at all on the edges?
 

clarkechick

Songster
8 Years
May 24, 2011
138
6
129
Mine does not. It sticks out about a foot and lays very flat. We put pieces of fire wood on it for the first couple of weeks to get it settled flat, but then it just got covered with dirt and leaves and disappeared. You probably know your predators best though. Follow your instincts.
 

InWrongCentury

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 24, 2014
50
0
82
SF Bay Area
More progress (mostly in digging and shopping).

Initial digging for laying the foundation.



The sheer volume of supplies required for this project has boggled my mind. These are for the foundation and surrounding area.



We do the first big push of building tomorrow. More pics to come!
 

InWrongCentury

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 24, 2014
50
0
82
SF Bay Area
Today was spent working on the coop. We made some good progress, assembling the four panels that make up the walls of the coop and half of the foundation is set.

Prepping the wood by panel.


Measuring, marking, squaring, marking. Rinse, repeat.


The front panel of the coop.




 

cindy parker

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 18, 2014
293
11
83
Sylvania Georgia
We live in south Ga and just built a coop similar to the one you are building. We live out in the country and my biggest predator concerns were racoons, armadillo's, and coyote. We used patio block like the ones you have for the perimeter of the entire coop/run and put welded wire on the ground inside the entire thing. Instead of having it come out from the sides, we bent it up and used poultry staples inside of the bottom rail to hold it in place. The edges were then covered with strips of wood cut from pressure treated 2x4's. I use pine litter in the coop and run and have a "dirt bath" tub inside the run for them to dust off in. We only have 4 chickens and so far it has worked out well. I let them out to "free range" in the grass and they beat me back to the coop...so I'm guessing they are happy. I look forward to seeing your progress! I posted pics of my coop on an earlier thread if you want to go look at how we did the ground of the run.
 

InWrongCentury

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 24, 2014
50
0
82
SF Bay Area
We live in south Ga and just built a coop similar to the one you are building. We live out in the country and my biggest predator concerns were racoons, armadillo's, and coyote. We used patio block like the ones you have for the perimeter of the entire coop/run and put welded wire on the ground inside the entire thing. Instead of having it come out from the sides, we bent it up and used poultry staples inside of the bottom rail to hold it in place. The edges were then covered with strips of wood cut from pressure treated 2x4's. I use pine litter in the coop and run and have a "dirt bath" tub inside the run for them to dust off in. We only have 4 chickens and so far it has worked out well. I let them out to "free range" in the grass and they beat me back to the coop...so I'm guessing they are happy. I look forward to seeing your progress! I posted pics of my coop on an earlier thread if you want to go look at how we did the ground of the r

That's great! I will definitely check it out. I'm sure you guys get way more rain then we do; that was one of my big concerns with going with pine litter. I think I'll probably end up doing some combo of both... the floor will be hardware cloth covered with pavers, then some dirt for a few inches, and then a few inches of pine litter. We'll see if this happens once we get there. We have so much further to go!

Progress from today (I didn't take many pictures of the finished products - maybe tomorrow)

Finishing up the foundation.


Assembling the nest box.


Fitting the hardware cloth to the corners. I definitely had to use some origami/sewing thinking on this one.
 

cindy parker

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 18, 2014
293
11
83
Sylvania Georgia
Well last year we didn't get any rain...my Dad is a cattle farmer and lots lots of money due to hay drying up in the field. This year, it rains constantly...lol. I had a mess with the first rain and realized I picked a pretty low spot to put my coop. I wanted it on the back of our property so I wouldn't have to deal with cows bothering me when in out there with the chickens, but I didn't realize how low that area was until we got 5 inches of rain the day after we finished:) The pine shavings did get wet, but I just turned them over a few times when the sun came out and they dried up pretty fast. I used 2x4 welded wire in the bottom of my run because the hardware cloth was cutting me to pieces trying to get it in there...I attached the wire to the bottom rail of the run and put strips of wood over the edges to secure it as well. The patio block foundation comes out 6 inches on the outside of the coop as well all the way around, so I'm really not worried that anything will dig under them, then make it's way through very secured welded wire. I am still having a blast making my coop pretty. It's my chicken garden now. I spend more time outside planting pretty stuff for the chickens than I have ever planted for myself. I saw a coop of Facebook a fewonths ago and I was determined to have me one. I just never knew I'd actually love the chickens so much:) keep the pics coming..I love seeing them:)
 

InWrongCentury

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 24, 2014
50
0
82
SF Bay Area
Well last year we didn't get any rain...my Dad is a cattle farmer and lots lots of money due to hay drying up in the field. This year, it rains constantly...lol. I had a mess with the first rain and realized I picked a pretty low spot to put my coop. I wanted it on the back of our property so I wouldn't have to deal with cows bothering me when in out there with the chickens, but I didn't realize how low that area was until we got 5 inches of rain the day after we finished:) The pine shavings did get wet, but I just turned them over a few times when the sun came out and they dried up pretty fast. I used 2x4 welded wire in the bottom of my run because the hardware cloth was cutting me to pieces trying to get it in there...I attached the wire to the bottom rail of the run and put strips of wood over the edges to secure it as well. The patio block foundation comes out 6 inches on the outside of the coop as well all the way around, so I'm really not worried that anything will dig under them, then make it's way through very secured welded wire. I am still having a blast making my coop pretty. It's my chicken garden now. I spend more time outside planting pretty stuff for the chickens than I have ever planted for myself. I saw a coop of Facebook a fewonths ago and I was determined to have me one. I just never knew I'd actually love the chickens so much:) keep the pics coming..I love seeing them:)

Ugh, I heard about the drought last year, I'm sorry :(

Good to know about the pine shavings. I have a feeling I'm going to get into the groove of making the chicken coop really cute... the ladies need a nice home!

More progress on the foundation in the last few days. I got the hardware cloth all measured out (I wore long sleeves, jeans, and gloves throughout the process - HC bites) and went to town wiring it together to make it more secure for those over achieving digging predators. I may be going way overboard, but I really don't want to have to dig this all up later because I didn't do enough in the beginning...

The set cinderblocks and hardware cloth fitted in. It's in 3 panels, so I wired it together.


I twisted wire securing both layers every 1" to 1.5". The ends of the wire will stick down into the dirt.


A close up of the twisted wires.


This is the tool that made this process not an excruciating one. I borrowed it from my dad - very handy!


Tomorrow: installation of the hardware cloth, putting in some dirt, then the top caps are going in!
 

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