My dad made me an awesome Hen House.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by JurassicBawk, Oct 18, 2016.

  1. JurassicBawk

    JurassicBawk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 23, 2016
    Hixson, TN
    This spring I finally found myself at Tractor Supply when they had chicks, and somehow came home with 4 little "Americana" sexed female chicks. I've had quail for years and have been wanting chickens, and finally had 2 acres where I could hide them. Technically I'm in a neighborhood, but since we are in a cul-de-sac and back up to protected woods, nobody can see them anyway. I just had to make sure to get girls, since although I can hear roosters from the neighboring farms, I wasn't going to chance it.

    I originally built the coop behind my greenhouse in a corner of the fence, and it was mesh covered chainlink dog panels and wooden fence giving them about 15x25 feet of play area. Then one day 2 of my quail and 1 of my chickens were ripped to shreds in the coop, despite it being as protected as I could possibly make it except for the top netting, so I rebuilt my coop literally attached to my house under my deck. This way they were protected not only by location but by my 5 dogs. For anything from the woods to get them now meant crossing a 6' wooden fence, a 6' chainlink fence, passing through the dogs, and busting into the predator-proof coop at my house, and by that point I would have heard the commotion and been able to stop it. Sadly this meant the chickens had a smaller coop, but at least they'd be safe.

    Of course one of my 'girls' turned out to be a boy. He's now living on a nice farm as a pet, and I replaced him and the killed chicken with pullets from the semi-local Mennonite farm. Now with 4 almost-grown girls ready to lay eggs at any time, and because their former house wouldn't work in the new coop, my dad got to work building me the ultimate chicken house. There's new construction near him, so he recycled scraps to keep costs down but also to make sure it was "new house quality" materials. It is built just like a mini house with studs, Tyvek house wrap, insulation, agricultural roof shingles, the works. He built it completely with screws and took it apart many times to get everything just right, with hours of study online, including BYC. The rafters were ground down and rounded so they don't hit their head, the roost bar is rounded for their comfort, the nest box and doorways are ideal size (per the internet,) and everything is triple painted for outside protection. They have a real pivot-to-clean window that's nicer than the ones in my house, a screen door that has a winter door covering for cold weather, adjustable vents and cross ventilation, and 16 sq ft of living space for 4 chickens. It's raised on a sturdy base with hooks for their food and supplements to hang below, and they can play under it, inside it, or on top of it to maximize coop space for them. I love it and they love it. I've decorated the interior (and they de-decorated) and will eventually get them a custom sign once I decide what I want it to say. :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016
  2. JurassicBawk

    JurassicBawk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 23, 2016
    Hixson, TN
    The base is super sturdy.
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    Getting the 2x4 studs and framing done.
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    Making sure the roost bar is just right.
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    Three levels of plywood and insulation.
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    Painted and with a new heavy-duty screen door.
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    Trying out the nest box and window.
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    Curtain rod and shaving barrier for the nest box.
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    Winter door built onto the screen door.
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  3. IdyllwildAcres

    IdyllwildAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Pictures! ? Oh, duh there they are
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016
  4. JurassicBawk

    JurassicBawk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 23, 2016
    Hixson, TN
    Install day. This is my coop, with the barrier around the bottom to keep my 5 dogs from aggravating the birds too much. The netting was changed from bird netting across the top to a heavier plastic wire that attaches up to the deck to give them/me lots of headroom.
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    The coop and base were so heavy that we brought everything over in sections and put it together on site.
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    New curtains.
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    Girls inspecting their new nest box.
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    Cute interior design that lasted 1 day.
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    Not being able to find a chicken almost gave me a heart attack. Seeing a head pop up and realizing they could get on top of it made me slightly better. Brats.
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    Everything in the coop finally.

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    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016
  5. JurassicBawk

    JurassicBawk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 23, 2016
    Hixson, TN
    Yeah, the upload speeds were taking awhile with the amount I was trying to do, so I broke it up into different posts. :)

    Sadly the interior destruction is on a video and not a photo that I can post. The pink contact paper came up in one corner, and they decided it had to go. They ripped it out in little pieces, so I came home to the sounds of little beaks pecking on plywood and a pile of shredded pink paper. Dad brought them some straw to play in, so now they have straw inside the house to encourage them to play in there, since mostly they like getting on top and looking out over the yard.

    They've got a sand box under the coop, a dirt bath area beside it, shavings in the other half, natural branch ladders to climb on, daily treats, and a very nice house. I think they're a little spoiled. I'd love to be able to free-range them, but between my dogs and the owls/hawks that surround my backyard, I know they'd never be safe. Hopefully next year I can set up a chicken tunnel/chunnel for them to be able to play in the grass some, but I think they're pretty happy for now.

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    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016

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