My first chicken coop build with pics. suggestions, advice, critique requested please.

scorpiovette

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 23, 2013
32
0
22
Wisconsin
So here's what I got so far. (this is going to be for 16 chicken. 5 hampshire reds or something like that, and 11 bantams)

This is our garden shed. (and my 2 baby ducks and 1 of my 6 cats)


The entire upstairs was unfinished, but based on the "ledge" around the wall, and the 2 "antique" 4x4's already there, it seems there used to be a floor or something up there at one time. So I started laying some additional support for flooring.The overall dimensions of the coop would end up with roughly 12foot x10foot floor space with roughly 8foot at it's tallest point to the roof.




Then I started laying down some 3/4" plywood


then I added a couple spots for lighting


(the pull strings will be removed/shortened once the coop is finished) I also installed a master switch down in the garden shed, so the lights can be turned on/off from downstairs.


then I build a door for us to get in. now I just have to build a ladder (playing around with ideas ranging from old school barn ladders, to an idea of a vanishing ladder that would tuck up inside the floor), and find a cool way to prop the door open (I tried using a lift strut off of my cars trunk, but the door isn't nearly heavy enough. so I need to either find a smaller/weaker lift strut, or a different but cool way to hold the door open)


the door comes up roughly in the middle of the chicken coop. so to the left of the door in the picture, would be the roosting and nesting box area. to the right would be the "dining room" and "living room". LOL also somewhere to the right is where I still have to figure out how to build a small trap door and ramp system for the chicken to get in and out to free range during the day.


The garden shed isn't in the best shape since it's between 100-150years old. the walls have slightly pulled apart, causing the roof to shift slightly. basically the roof needs to be redone in the next few years. and the walls need to be re-mortared. I'm also unfortunately on a budget, which is why I chose this as the platform for my chicken coop, because as best as I could figure, this was the LARGEST and yet "cheapest" chicken coop I could build since all I really needed was the floor. So far all I've had to buy was the wood and the hinges for the door. Everything else I had laying around or scavenged from other places that were no longer in use. I would say I'm into this build for roughly $200. I did buy some thin plywood to cover the sides to keep the rain and some of the direct wind out since some of those boards had upwards to 1" gap between them. (obviously I started getting the hang of the proper measurements by the second wall. LOL) There is still airflow in the triangles above the top plywood (where you can see the light coming through the vertical gap). And then at the bottom where the roof ends and attaches to the walls of the garden shed, that is all open between the beams. (you can see in the picture of the door where there is light coming up between the roof and the walls)



There are also gaps where the roof meets the 2 side walls that go all the way from the top of the roof down to the bottom. you can see where the light is coming through those 4 "holes" to the right side of the plywood.those gaps are on both sides and both ends of the roof. So even with the plywood covering the majority of those walls, I think there is still plenty of ventilation. I was also planning to install a full length ridge vent across the roof when I replace the shingles/rebuild the roof.


There is also this "hole" in the wall where somebody at some point had put in a make shift window. I just used some scrap wood and chicken wire to close it off against predators, while still allowing air flow and light to come through. That "window" goes all the way down into the garden shed (shown in following picture). Somewhere in that area I also want to build a trap door with drop down ramp so the chicken can walk down the ramp, climb out of the window and do their free ranging during the day, and then at night I can close/lock the trap door so no predators can get in the coop.




I was thinking about building the roosting area above the smokehouse (the brick structure on the right), and the nesting boxes to the left (I'm roughly standing on the door in this picture.




Sooo.......what do ya think so far??? thoughts, suggestions, ideas, etc???


I'm hoping to have it done in the next 1-2 weeks and the chicken fully moved out.
 

4 the Birds

Songster
9 Years
Oct 15, 2010
1,490
104
163
Westfield, Indiana
Looks like a huge and great shed/building for a coop! I am confused as to whether the coop is both on the lower lever and also up in the attic? The first floor would be the ideal location for the chickens. Up in the attic will be a pain to access and clean. I would not want to climb a ladder daily not to mention having to carry feed or water up there! Any bedding and dust will often drop down through the access door(s). The attic area will be VERY warm even with vents.
 

scorpiovette

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 23, 2013
32
0
22
Wisconsin
No the coop is only the upstairs. Downstairs is where we keep all our gardening tools and supplies, and that's also where the ducks and geese are going to live. Plus our 6 cats currently live in the smokehouse and the garden shed.

Yeah climbing the ladder is the only real downside (for me) with this setup. But I was on a budget, and so far I'm into this build for roughly about $200. I couldn't even come close to a coop this big for more than double that much money I think. I wanted to try and get the biggest and nicest coop I could within the budget that I had available, while not crowding the birds, and having room for a few more if needed. I did however make the opening big enough to be able to climb in and out while carrying loads without having to squeeze. As far as cleaning, I figured I could just put a large wheel barrow under the door and drop everything down. sorta like the old hay lofts from when I was a kid.
 

4 the Birds

Songster
9 Years
Oct 15, 2010
1,490
104
163
Westfield, Indiana
No the coop is only the upstairs. Downstairs is where we keep all our gardening tools and supplies, and that's also where the ducks and geese are going to live. Plus our 6 cats currently live in the smokehouse and the garden shed.

Yeah climbing the ladder is the only real downside (for me) with this setup. But I was on a budget, and so far I'm into this build for roughly about $200. I couldn't even come close to a coop this big for more than double that much money I think. I wanted to try and get the biggest and nicest coop I could within the budget that I had available, while not crowding the birds, and having room for a few more if needed. I did however make the opening big enough to be able to climb in and out while carrying loads without having to squeeze. As far as cleaning, I figured I could just put a large wheel barrow under the door and drop everything down. sorta like the old hay lofts from when I was a kid.
OK... You can give it a shot but I think that you will get tired of the "up and down thing". If the chickens have access to the lower area then they may hangout down below. I would consider building a three sided structure up against one of the shed walls to serve as the coop and use the attic to store seasonal or seldom used items. The tool or supply area will need to be closed off to keep the birds out and making a mess. A lot of places have free wood pallets that you can have and use the wood if you are on a budget. If you decide to give the attic coop a shot then for sure wear a dust mask when cleaning. The ducks/geese are best kept in separate housing from the chickens. Hope this Helps!
 

scorpiovette

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 23, 2013
32
0
22
Wisconsin
Do the chickens only live upstairs? Or do they get to go outside, and if so, how?
Yes the Chicken will only be upstairs, but have full free-range during the day..............still working on the how part. but if you look through the pictures above, I posted 2 pictures with the "window" that I closed off on top with scrap wood and chicken wire, and then posted a second picture that (on the right side of the picture) shows the lower part of the window that is in the garden shed below the coop. The idea is that I will have a ramp going from a hole in the floor out through that window, and I'll be able to close that hole in the floor at night so no predators can get in............still working on the design of that.
OK... You can give it a shot but I think that you will get tired of the "up and down thing". If the chickens have access to the lower area then they may hangout down below. I would consider building a three sided structure up against one of the shed walls to serve as the coop and use the attic to store seasonal or seldom used items. The tool or supply area will need to be closed off to keep the birds out and making a mess. A lot of places have free wood pallets that you can have and use the wood if you are on a budget. If you decide to give the attic coop a shot then for sure wear a dust mask when cleaning. The ducks/geese are best kept in separate housing from the chickens. Hope this Helps!
In "theory" the chicken will have access to the lower area when we are using the garden shed and the door is open. otherwise, they won't.....in theory.

Not sure if I mentioned in my story above, but this may also just be a temporary coop. I didn't want to "ugly" up the yard to bad, and we didn't have the budget to build a nice and at the same time LARGE chicken coop that we actually want. this will allow us to still have the chicken, and buy us time over the next year or two, to gather the materials needed to build one of the nice looking chicken coops.

I will however be using the pallet building method for various other things such as a compost bin (already finished), and was thinking about building a set of duck and geese house behind the garden shed using the pallets as "structure", and then finishing them with thin plywood so it at least "looks" like a little house, while still saving on cost.

Now when you say "....ducks/geese are best kept separate from the chicken", do you mean separate buildings all together??? Because I didn't mean that the ducks and geese would share the upstairs coop with the chicken. I meant that we were planning on building little box houses for the ducks and geese in the downstairs portion of the garden shed. can you explain what you mean a bit incase I'm overlooking or unaware of something???


As I said, This is our first time raising birds, so I still have A LOT to learn, and since I'm also trying to do as much as possible "natures way", there will be quite a bit of trial and error I'm sure.
 

01ChickenGranny

Chirping
8 Years
Aug 18, 2011
11
4
78
San Marcos, TX
Where are you? Looks like in PA..or the NE. Coop looks like adequate size for the chickens you are planning on housing. I don't know if you have looked into this, but have you checked your local 'craigslist' for some lumber/supplies? Sometimes people have stuff posted..for free with your pickup. Also Lowe's and Home depot sometimes have scrap lumber in their dumpsters behind their stores, since you are on a budget. That is what i'd do. I'm on a budget as well. Be ready for the mice. They will be there. Looks like a great place for them to hang out, if you know what I mean.
 

chachabella

Hatching
6 Years
Mar 31, 2013
8
0
7
Yes the Chicken will only be upstairs, but have full free-range during the day..............still working on the how part.

The idea is that I will have a ramp going from a hole in the floor out through that window, and I'll be able to close that hole in the floor at night so no predators can get in
The chickens are going to climb an entire story on a ramp?
 

scorpiovette

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 23, 2013
32
0
22
Wisconsin
Where are you? Looks like in PA..or the NE. Coop looks like adequate size for the chickens you are planning on housing. I don't know if you have looked into this, but have you checked your local 'craigslist' for some lumber/supplies? Sometimes people have stuff posted..for free with your pickup. Also Lowe's and Home depot sometimes have scrap lumber in their dumpsters behind their stores, since you are on a budget. That is what i'd do. I'm on a budget as well. Be ready for the mice. They will be there. Looks like a great place for them to hang out, if you know what I mean.
Wisconsin. I haven't looked on craigslist for lumber. I do look on craigslist for just about everything "usually". but living out in the country, most of the stuff I find that I either need or want is in the next 2 largest cities, which are roughly 1 hour in either direction. however menards is only 5 minutes from my house. so between gas savings, and waiting to buy the bulk of stuff until they have their "11% rebate on anything in the store sale", it often ends up being cheaper to do it that way for certain things.
The chickens are going to climb an entire story on a ramp?
uumm.....not sure if asking me wondering if that's my plan, or if you're trying to tell me that they won't do that.

However, I haven't quite decided if they're going to climb the whole way, or fly part of the way yet. I keep thinking about this place I stayed on vacation when I was a kid, and it was so old school country, that they had NO chicken coop or anything. the chicken free-ranged all day, in the morning and evening the lady went and threw a couple hands full of chicken feed out while calling the chicken, and when night time came, the chicken all flew up into the trees to roost..........SSssoooo........I've been wondering if I could put a shelf at approximately 4 feet off the ground as a "landing", and then a small ramp to go the remaining couple feet. BUT.......I haven't yet figured out if the chicken nowadays are still that capable, or if that's been bread out of them too like everything else that humans touch nowadays (sorry. I get a little annoyed with how nature is taken out of everything nowadays. Even keeping pets and feed animals seems to have become so commercialized nowadays that the animals can't even be raised the way the grow up in the wild because they're often physically incapable due to years of breeding it out of them.......like my wife always says; I'm a cavemen)

So I guess the short answer is.....I'm not sure how they're getting up and down yet. LOL
 

4 the Birds

Songster
9 Years
Oct 15, 2010
1,490
104
163
Westfield, Indiana
Now when you say "....ducks/geese are best kept separate from the chicken", do you mean separate buildings all together??? Because I didn't mean that the ducks and geese would share the upstairs coop with the chicken. I meant that we were planning on building little box houses for the ducks and geese in the downstairs portion of the garden shed. can you explain what you mean a bit incase I'm overlooking or unaware of something???
Ducks/Geese can be messy compared to chickens and not ideally housed with chickens. They can have separate areas within the same building/shed but if the ducks have access to the chicken area then the feed and water will pretty much be a mess. I suppose that they would not climb up to the attic. I still think that you would be better served to design a chicken area on the ground floor somehow and scrap the attic coop. If you are intent on the attic coop then a constructed zigzag ladder structure for the chickens may be the best way for them to get up and down. You will want to minimize any flying and flapping since that produces dust and other problems. Good Luck!

 

MANNA-PRO

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