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Hooping it up!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by reptileink, Aug 24, 2014.

  1. reptileink

    reptileink Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 19, 2011
    About 2 years ago (wow, time goes fast) I put up a thread about how I was going to use an old dog pen to build a coop/yard with.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/574140/my-new-project-elevated-coop-from-dog-pen

    We kind of shelved the idea as cost was an issue and committment to the chickens, but my wife is hardcore set on getting fresh eggs, so here we go again.

    *I will supply pictures as we go, but just brainstorming ideas right now*

    Our neighbors moved away (ok, abandonded their house), and before they walked away, they told us we could take the homemade jungle gym they were leaving behind. Again, 2 years later, it was knocked over by some kids in the neighborhood and left to sit in the weeds.

    Well yesterday I went with my braun and sheer luck and literally rolled an 8 foot high pressure treated jungle gym over a 3 foot fence and into my backyard incurring a little damage but nothing major.

    So now I have a good amount of pressure treated lumber including a 4x4 platform made like a deck. I plan to skin the whole thing in plywood, but it will fit perfectly in my dog pen with only cuts made to the 8 foot 4x4s(?)

    My first question is this one: Can I run hardware cloth under the whole bottom of the pen as to deter anything digging into it from below? Will this bother the chickens to have hardware cloth on the ground (covered by something, haven't determined sand or hay. Will this bother them for scratching? It's only about 10 foot x 10 foot pen.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2014
  2. reptileink

    reptileink Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 19, 2011
    Ok, here are some pictures of the wood and area:

    Don't mind the garage, we are siding it next spring
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    So my thoughts are to build the coop a bit above the dog pen, but below the fence line, and cover the top of the pen with chicken wire/hardware cloth. My only concerns are going to be accessing the coop to clean as it will be enclosed in the pen. I thought about a flip top roof, but the coop is going to be like 4ft high x 5 ft wide. I don't want to stoop over every time I need to enter the pen (due to the top being covered). I also don't want to cut off an entire side of the pen as that seems like a waste to me.


    Open to any and all suggestions (remember, this is on a $0 budget...lol )
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2014
  3. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 28, 2013
    Northwest Hills of CT
    Looks like a good start. You can bury hardware wire and cover it with dirt or sand to prevent predators from digging under the wall. I did that in my coop, using old fencing and covering it with 6" of sand. They never get down to it so it does not bother them.

    The chain link fence will keep some larger predators out, but smaller ones can go right though it, and still others, like dogs, can rip chain link apart. So I would add another layer of 1/2" hardware wire to keep out the smaller predators.

    You are smart to think about cleaning the coop - too many people don't factor that in, and it becomes a major hassle and doesn't get done! I would give yourself as much room as possible. I am trying to picture what you are planning - is the wooden coop going to be in the middle of the dog fence? Or on one or more sides? If you put it on one of the sides, you could cut away a portion of the chain link fence so you can access the wooden wall from the outside, and then hinge that wooden wall to allow the entire wall to be a door, and give you as much room as possible. You will never say "I have too much room here, I wish I had made the door smaller!" just make sure you have a way to secure it closed so raccoons and other sneaky predators can't open the door and harm the chickens.

    Post pictures of what you end up going with!
     
  4. reptileink

    reptileink Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 19, 2011
    Thanks for the response. I was beginning to think I had the plague or something...lol.

    In any event, I was trying to refrain from cutting a side of chain link off, but luckily, they are just bracketed on, so if I ever need to sell the pen, I can put the side back on. So great idea to butt the back of the coop up against the open chain side. Then I can just seal up any holes.

    I planned on putting smaller mesh on the inside of the pen as well. I will be sure to keep everyone updated on my adventures as I am not a finish carpenter (but like to think I am...lol)
     
  5. reptileink

    reptileink Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 19, 2011
    So I broke out the sawzall today to break down the big 8ft posts and create the platform which will be my coop bottom. It's almost not worth working with recycled wood as I ran into problem after problem with stripped/rusted screws, loose boards, uneven cuts, etc.
    [​IMG]

    The platform away from the rest. I then cut two more legs giving me 12" of space underneath the coop for the chickens to hide and keep it off the ground.
    [​IMG]


    The platform is 48" x 51" hope this is big enough for 3 chickens, but I think they will be fine. I plan on re-skinning the broken piece in front and re-inforcing it from behind. I couldn't get the screws out and just said forget it.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    I removed the side of the chainlink to get acess to the back of the coop to clean and collect eggs.
    [​IMG]

    I am not going for a fit and finish coop, just something to house the chickens at night. Like I said, I am no carpenter...lol
     
  6. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Looks good! 4x4 is fine for 3 birds. How are you going to build the sides? For a cheap source of lumber, look at old pallets. I have a feed store near me that sells them for $1 each. You can get 10 or more 40" siding boards from each one. They might be perfect for your walls. Are you going to add any windows? For windows, check Craigslist. I have a collection of 15-20 windows for various projects that I picked up for free or a couple of bucks each. I like the old single pane windows with individual panes. They look good, are secure and are easy to fix if necessary.What about nesting boxes - are you going to build them within the 4x4 platform, or add them onto one side so they hang out the main wall. Make sure you make them easy to get at, as you will be collecting eggs every day.
     
  7. reptileink

    reptileink Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 19, 2011
    Thanks for the interest. I know I am not re-creating the wheel here, but there isn't much chatter here I guess.

    Anyway.

    We have postponed the getting of the hens until spring time. I will build the coop still however as I want to see how it fares over the winter.

    As for your questions; I plan on building the nest box on the outside of the base. It's actually 48x51, so not a perfect square. If you can see in the pictures, I took off one side of the chain link to accomodate builing the box on the outside for easy access. Now the only thing I am fighting with is having both nest box access AND floor access from the same side for easy cleaning AND collecting. I don't want to make the nest boxes too high though.

    My other concern is the gap in the door of the pen...not sure how to seal that and still have it be usefull. I don't plan on going in there often, but to let the girls out onto the grass might be a challenge.
     
  8. reptileink

    reptileink Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 19, 2011
    Can we not edit our posts?

    Anyway...

    I plan on scouring Craigslist for every pallet I can find...lol. Problem is I only have a family mini-van so can only fit so much at once. I plan on adding at least one window.

    What about a skylight? I don't really see many skylights out there. I thought it would be a good source of light and heat??

    EDIT: I found the "edit" button....it wasn't showing up prior...lol
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2014
  9. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 28, 2013
    Northwest Hills of CT
    Some ideas based on your pictures... for access to the nesting boxes and cleaning the coop, hinge both the nesting boxes roof, and the entire wall of the coop that that nesting box is on. That way, when collecting eggs, use the roof access. When cleaning the coop, open the entire side. I love the idea of skylights. I have been looking for some online too, as I want to add them to my woodshed. It would allow more light and heat into the shed which would dry the firewood better than the solid roof I have now. The only thing to worry about is leaks, but with care, they should not leak and allow a lot of light in. I've also thought about a two tiered roof. The roof would slope up, and then at the half way point, there would be a vertical wall of windows the length of the roof, and then the roof continues from the top of the windows. I have a 4x8 trailer I bought years ago for cheap, and you can fit 20 pallets on it, stacked vertically all in a row. Its very similar to one sold at Harbor Freight for $299. I added 32" sides to it, and it is very useful for hauling all kinds of stuff!

    Let us know how it goes. I'm working on the interior of my coop now. I have a duck area that has 32" walls, and I need to add some chicken wire from the top of the walls to the ceiling so I can allow the pekins to go out into the run. This will allow the chickens access to the duck area, and they could easily get over the walls, so I have to add the chicken wire. Please note never use chicken wire on the outside wall of a coop. Predators can rip through it too easily. Only use it to keep chickens and ducks in, not predators out. Since this is located on the inside of the coop building, I am not relying on the chicken wire for predator protection.

    Here's my coop. I've made numerous changes to it over the past 3 years, each time improving it after realizing I did it wrong the first (or second) time.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. reptileink

    reptileink Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 19, 2011
    Wow, looks great! Sadly, mine will be a shanty compared to some of the coops I have seen on here...lol. I don't need a big elaborate coop to make me happy, just a nice backyard spot for the chickens. While it's legal to have them in my town, I really don't want the added attraction of constructing a huge coop. Trying to stay under fence line.
     

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