My coop building project (Novice at work)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by KAKBucks, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. KAKBucks

    KAKBucks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 8, 2008
    Central Ohio
    With a variety of breeds and a need for increasing coop and pen space we are in the process of adding some new structures for our flock. Multiple people have asked if I've posted photos of my latest projects, so I figure I'll just post everything in one spot and add on as I go.

    I would love suggestions for cheap ways to do things, ways to improve my set up, etc.. So unless someone objects I'll just start putting stuff on this thread and add on as I go.

    I haven't taken photos yet of my current coops. Will get those up soon, but our set up consists of:
    An indoor outdoor dog kennel - Probably 15x15 inside and 20x40 outside.
    - This is basically my juvi pen. I have brooders, various pens set up inside that I move around as needed.
    [​IMG] an inside view
    [​IMG] Shelter in the outdoor kennel run
    [​IMG] The neighboring layer pen

    A small 4x4 coop that we purchased on craigs list.
    - This is well insulated, but not well designed for chickens. We have made some changes.
    - It has a pen attached, I think about 12 x 16
    - Currently home to a broody muscovy duck (but she started hatching today and has 2 eggs left, can't wait to kick her out) and my flock of almost mature silkies that I am keeping mostly to sit on eggs for me [​IMG]
    [​IMG] The muscovy inside the coop (she pulled the "stairs" down)
    [​IMG] The attic of this coop was completely closed off. We cut a hold in the attic floor adding stairs and making the attic a nesting space. These are an attempt at wooden nesting boxes for bantams.
    [​IMG] And a cardboard nesting box on the other side of the "stairs"
    A 4x12 foot pen with 2 dog crates inside as coops.
    - Currently home to 2 pairs of breeding silkies. I need to get them in separate pens, but it's too darn hot to put them in breeding cages yet, which is the more economical way to go.
    [​IMG] The dog crates are covered in a tarp to keep out the rain. Not quite sure why both are covered. One is a crate with some ventilation holes, so we usually keep that one covered, but the other is an enclosed dog house that keep out the rain. A sheet of plywood is stretched between the two for shading. They love sitting under it so they have the shade and the breeze. We were expecting a storm last night so I guess my mother decided to try and cover everything!
    [​IMG] This is a closer view of the door to the pen. We started trying to frame it with flexible black PVC, but it wasn't sturdy enough so we ended up making wooden supports anyway. It's not pretty, but it works!
    An 8x12 foot pen (our first attempt at building) with a converted dog house as a coop.
    - I added about 10 inches in height between the top and bottom sections of the dog house for increased space, ventilation, and access. This allowed me to put a top room inside.
    - Currently home to a trio of light brahma bantams
    [​IMG] The front of the coop. The lower door is propped open with an empty paint can (use whacha got handy!) and the door on the top allows access to the upper level.
    [​IMG] Inside the lower level
    [​IMG] Inside the upper level (there is a cardboard nesting box on the left. It's occupied by a broody hen, so the other hen is just laying on the floor!
    [​IMG] The door on the left gives me access to the other side of the lower level.
    2 4x4 converted play houses from Lowe's.
    - One has a 12 x 16 run and houses my current layers. They're a little cramped in there, and I hope to move them into a larger area soon
    [​IMG] A view inside our layer coop. The cinder blocks are temporary supports for the nesting boxes, but they work! [​IMG]
    [​IMG] The birds like to sit on top of the nesting boxes, so an empty feed bag is on top to collect the poop. Someone also suggested lining nesting boxes with cardboard boxes to make for easy cleaning. I'm not sure I"m convinced, but I'm trying it out!
    - The second is still being converted and I am looking for kennel run panels for the pen.
    This is the second converted playhouse with the first (layer coop/pen) in the back. The second house is pulled out for painting, but will be backed up to the layer pen with its own pen coming out front.
    An 8x16 foot PVC pen with a dog house as a coop.
    - Temporary home for a breeding group of marans
    A 10x13 coop built our neighbor
    - This is a basic barn skeleton with one side open with a wire covering. Nothing fancy (yet [​IMG] ).
    - Currently home to our broilers and older juvenile roosters destined for the pot.
    And our original chicken coop, an old hog pen.
    - 7 1/2 by 7 1/2 (yes, quite annoying when I was trying to convert it and as I change it).
    - Currently home to my almost adult buckeyes and EE pullets.
    - It opens into the alpaca pasture for free ranging

    Our big upcoming project, besides finishing the second play house coop is to add onto the original coop to create a row of coops, all with pens for ranging.

    We will be creating an 8 x 16 platform with old fence posts. Filling the bottom with crushed concrete, putting down a plywood base and "hard framing" 2 8x8 coops on top. Then framing 3 8 foot wide pens (length TBD).

    I am bringing in some help for this project as I don't trust my framing skills! We are trying to do this as inexpensively as possible, using a lot of materials left in the barn by previous owners.

    I hope to get pictures of everything up soon, as well as our plan for the new coops.

    All of these coops/projects are very basic structures built and adapted by my mother and myself (except for the "barn"). We enjoy tools but don't have extensive building or woodworking skills. We are learning as we go! Hopefully some of you will enjoy seeing the trials and tribulations of 2 inexperienced "handy women."

    We're learning as we go. Improving as we go. Having fun! And trying to save money where we can.

    I hope you enjoy the process! Comments and suggestions are welcome and appreciated!!!!

    Pictures soon, I promise.

    Last edited: Jul 30, 2008
  2. Animallover606

    Animallover606 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2008
    please show me everything it sounds so exiting
  3. chickenfever

    chickenfever Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2008
    I love your setups, please post more pics when available. I was thinking about doing the dollhouse too.
    Loved the dog house conversion, how creative.
  4. rughooker

    rughooker Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG] Hi KAKBucks, Saw all of the pics of your coops and soon to be coops. Also saw a silkie and a brahma. Could these be the mamas of my future peeps? Did you see my homepage yet? If anyone wants to read about my "interesting" coop, click below. Then tell me what you think!! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

  5. chickenfever

    chickenfever Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2008
    I think it's really neat to have something so cute and with such history behind it!!
  6. KAKBucks

    KAKBucks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 8, 2008
    Central Ohio
    Yes, Rughooker, those are some of the parents of your upcoming babies. We had a grey one hatch 2 days ago but she didn't make it. I was quite upset. I'm waiting anxiously for the silkie and brahma hens to hatch their clutches. I've had 2 large clutches of muscovy ducklings hatch over the last couple of weeks though! So we're overrun with ducklings! [​IMG]

    It's been a busy couple of weeks for coop building. I need to try and get more pictures up. Photobucket is giving me more hassles, and my 2 year old had hidden my camera so I couldn't even take new photos. I found it today, but I was too busy working to take pictures [​IMG]

    We purchased a used Kennel Run from craigs list. I thought it was 6x10, but turned out to be 5x10. I got it all set up yesterday, and surprisingly the panels made quite a large pen for the second "playhouse chicken coop" when I used the back of the other pen and the fence from our yard for 2 sides of the pen.

    One panel end is attached to a corner of the coop using a piece of wood and tie wraps. I saw a friend use a similar technique to hold up an ex-pen for his dogs. The coop actually came with decorative boards to cover the corner seams of the coop (vertically on each corner of the coop). I hadn't bothered to put them up, but when I had to hook up the kennel run panel I painted one of the corner "beams" ran a number of tie wraps behind it, screwing them tight as I screwed in the panel. Then I just wrapped them around the end post for the kennel run.

    With the pen being so large and the walls starting out at only 5 feet I'm going to have to put some posts in the middle of the pen to hold up the roof netting. I have some large diameter PVC and a bunch of t-posts. I need to find our post pounder, but I'm just going to pound a couple of small t-posts and put 7 foot tall sections of the pvc over the posts. Picture the posts in a circus tent [​IMG]

    Once that's done I can put up the roof netting, grab a feeder and waterer and move the marans into their new home!

    I put hardware cloth over the windows of this coop, as I did with the first. As fall approaches I'm thinking more about how to winterize the coops. These play houses came with decorative shutters. Again, I didn't hang them (figured I'd get there eventually). Well, I just happened to measure them, and while they're not large enough to mount with hinges and actually close using the hinges, they are large enough to cover the window openings if screwed in. So the plan is to paint them, put them up as decorative shutters for now and I will unscrew them and remount them over the windows for the winter.

    Another thought for covering the windows is to get some plastic paneling. It would be nice for them to have the extra light in the coop, but the plastic isn't nearly as good an insulator.

    Another project was roost building. I pulled apart an old 2 seated outdoor glider that a neighbor was tossing out. The boards for the seats, seat backs, and table in between are all perfect widths for roosts, about 2 inches, and pre-cut to the same length! I sanded them down after pulling out the old nails and nailed them between 2 verticals for some great ladder style roosts! I've finished 3. The longest part is removing the old nails and sanding! I want to paint them soon, but that isn't the immediate priority.

    I put one of my new ladder roosts in the new playhouse coop. It's about 2 1/2 feet wide with 5 rungs. I leaned it from right to left instead of toward the door. This gives me about 18 inches inside the coop to stand up, which will be nice! I may put nesting boxes on either side of the door. Not sure yet.

    The biggest change I'm making to this coop (and I'm not sure why I didn't think of it with the other one!) is to put a shelf in the rafters over the roosts. It will be very easy to run a 12 or 18 inch deep piece of wood across the top and will make a great place for nesting boxes. The girls should be able to hop up to it without a problem on the roosts. I know the "ideal" height for nesting boxes is 18 inches off the ground, but I think they'll like their "rafter nesting boxes".

    OK, what else?

    I went dumpster diving and picked up and old TV stand someone had put out for the trash. It has 3 large sections and a back on it. It's painted and waiting to go into one of the new coops.

    I also put edging on the 10 cube storage unit that has been sitting around waiting to be converted into nesting boxes. It's painted and in the coop with the Buckeyes, waiting for them to start laying. I'm not sure that the holes are large enough, however. I think they're about 11 inches in each direction. I'll see if they use it. If not I may have to take it apart and remove some of the shelf dividers. Not something I'm looking forward to, but you do whacha gotta do [​IMG]

    I've decided to divide the large PVC pen that the marans are in into 3 or 4 sections for different silkie breeding pairs. This will be temporary, and I'm thinking that some snow fencing I have laying around will work well.

    I've also been working on the base for our 2 new coops. I laid out a bunch of old 8 foot long fence posts, leveled them (as well as can be done with warped old fence posts) and linked them together with metal brackets. Doesn't sound like a lot of work, but it was!!! we're talking about trying to level about 15 warped beams on a very uneven packed gravel surface [​IMG]

    I need to remove some t-posts and brush that have grown up in the path of the tractor, but I will soon be filling the spaces in between the fence post base with crushed concrete/gravel. Thank goodness for a front loader! Once that's as level as possible I will cover it with plastic (clear painter's dropcloths) and then plywood. Voila, a base for my new coops!

    The posts are about 4 inches wide. I laid them out without cutting any. 16 feet long and about 8 feet wide/deep. With the width of the posts included this will make the base 8 inches wider than we need, but we'll just use it as a step into the coop. Makes things a lot easier than trying to cut 8 inches off of 7 posts!

    The most exciting thing over the past week was my pallet find! The local tractor dealership had big, about 6 x 7 feet, pallets out for the taking. I picked up about 15 that they had out there. They had more out yesterday but I want to use these before I get more! It's nice to know that I can get more if I need them though!

    They're not the typical pallet with wooden cross pieces across the entire top. They're more of a big wooden frame. I'm going to use them to frame the row of pens for my row of (soon to be) 3 8x8 coops. I'm planning to brace them together with scrap wood from other pallets, and they should make nice sturdy frames for my new pens!

    It will probably take a while until I get to that project, gotta build the other 2 coops first, but I'm very excited! Maybe I'll get the pen built for the coop that's already up sometime soon. They're heavy as heck, so it's not something I can do without help!

    Well, that's a synopsis of the past week or so of my chicken coop projects. Pictures soon, I promise!

    Please let me know if you continue to find this interesting and/or helpful. It takes a while to get all this up. I'm more than happy to do it if it's helpful, but if no one's interested . . . [​IMG]

    Thanks for looking!

  7. KAKBucks

    KAKBucks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 8, 2008
    Central Ohio
    OK, some pictures for you, get ready [​IMG]

    This is our purchased coop. Painting has not been a priority [​IMG]

    Here's the big PVC pen.
  8. nautical_bouy

    nautical_bouy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 23, 2008
    Beaver PA
    I would gladly trade building materials for hens,,,, you would have a heart attack if you knew what I have tossed and burned in the last month.

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