In the fall of 2013, I sadly made the decision to rehome all of my chickens because they were being picked off one by one by a hungry bobcat in the area. The coop I had at the time did not have an enclosed run, so unless I wanted to keep them locked up all the time, there was no way I could keep them safe. However, I have missed having chickens ever since, and have wanted to build a new, more secure coop and run so that I could once again enjoy keeping chickens. This spring I set about designing and building our new coop. I knew the coop had to have several features; It needed to have an attached run, not only to keep the chickens safe from predators when we were not around to keep a close eye on them, but also to give them an area in the winter to hang-out when there are several feet of snow on the ground. In the past, the chickens always hung out in the horse barn in the winter, which resulted in chicken poop covering everything. This did not make for a happy husband. It needed to be predator-proof. We live in an extremely rural area, literally surrounded by hundred of acres of state and federal forest land, which means there are alot of critters. Bobcat, coyote, bears, raccoon, possums, weasels, not to mention predators from above like hawks, eagles, and owls. I'm sure there are others I have not covered, these are all predators we have personally seen and/or had issues with on our property. It needed to have character. The spot it sits is next to my horse barn; which when we built that one of main prerequisites was it needed to have character; thus the coop needed to meet the same requirements. I see the coop and barn from my kitchen window, so I wanted to look out and see them both and smile. Here is a picture of my horse barn to give you an idea of what the coop was going to sit next to (you can see a couple of my older chicken coops sitting in front): After several ideas and designs were eliminated for one reason or another, I finally settled on this design. As you can see, the coop itself is only 6' x 10'; the attached run is 16' x 12', The coop is actually divided into two sections, a 6x6 area for the chickens indoor area and a 4' x 6' area that serves as a storage area for food, shavings, etc. I can also access the nest boxes from the inside of the shed portion. I chose not to have a larger chicken area, simply because I know myself too well, and I know the dangers of "chicken math" - if I had a bigger coop I would no doubt fill it to capacity. I wanted to stay right around the 10 chicken mark; this is a good number for us and keeps the hubby happy As soon as the snow melted away and the ground thawed enough to start digging, we began construction on the coop. The first posts started going in the beginning of April. The entire coop structure is built using the pole barn building concept. This picture shows most of the posts in the ground (there are a few more that were non-essential to the building process which will go in later). This also shows the headers starting to go in. All of the posts are approx. 3’ into the ground and concreted in for stability. Another view. The posts for the front right side of the actual coop building have not been put in yet here, as they were not essential to building the main roof of the structure. And here is the main roof structure going up. This next picture shows the entire roof completed, including the bump out portion for the coop building. The roofing has started going on, as you can see the drip edge has been installed and tar paper is down. Here is the roof completed, we used black architectural shingles which match our barn and our house. Now that the roof was complete, it was time to start the framing of the coop itself. In this picture, we have already built the floor of the coop, and have started framing the first couple walls. We had two sets of old barn sash type windows that came out of the old cottage that is on our property that I wanted to use in the coop. We also picked up several more new barn sash windows from Menards to use in the coop as well. I may have gone overboard with windows in the coop; but I wanted it light, bright, and well ventilated. Not to mention I thought the windows added to the character. A couple more pics of the framing going in. And here we have started putting the siding on the coop. We chose HardiBoard cement fiber siding to use on the coop for it's durability. This is the rear view of the coop; it backs up to my horse pasture fence so you can see that in the foreground. Next we painted the run portion of the coop white, and then started putting up the hardware cloth. We chose to use 1/2" x 1/2" x 48" wide welded wire cloth. The cloth was tacked up with staples just to hold it in place temporarily. Here you can see we installed 2"x6" boards over the top of the hardware cloth where it was attached on the inside. The cloth is attached to the inside of the run at the top of the openings, but attached to the outside of the run posts down the two sides and the bottom of the run. We did this so that we could install trim boards over the top of the hardware cloth on the outside; which serves to securely fasten the cloth as well as give it a nice finished look. On the sides of the run where the headers are, we added 2x6s in between the headers which also serves to securely fasten the wire. Nothing is going to be able to pull this wire off! Around the entire perimeter of the run and coop, we dug a trench and installed the hardware cloth extending out 12-14" underground to deter digging. Although hard to see in the picture, the hardware cloth skirt was attached using screws with large washers every 6" or so. Here you can also see the hardware cloth attached just with the staples on the sides of the run. Later we would add the trim boards to cover all of the posts on top of the wire; thus securely attaching all of the wire cloth to the run posts. We painted the inside of the coop white, added sheet linoleum to the floor to make cleanup easier, and here you can see all of the windows have had hardware cloth installed on the inside. Once again, we tacked the hardware cloth up using staples, then went back and used screws and washers to securely fasten everything. On the right side of the picture you can also see the next boxes installed. You can also see the automatic chicken coop door installed; we opted to use an Ador1 Automatic Chicken Coop Door that opens/closes at dawn/dusk using a light sensor. Even though the sensor is located inside of the run, it still gets enough light to have it work flawlessly since we installed it. So far, we love this door. Another pic of the nextboxes from inside the coop. Below is a picture of the top of the coop wall that adjoins the run. As you can see, because the siding was only 8', the top foot or so of the wall remains open at the top for ventilation. We installed hardware cloth to keep out any predators just in case they make it into the run somehow. I have contemplated adding hinged "doors" to these openings that would be able to be closed in the winter to keep more heat in, but as these openings are protected from wind by the enclosed gables of the run, they should not provide a draft on the hens; they are also a good 2 feet above their uppermost roost; so for now I have opted to leave them completely open as I think the ventilation is more important. Here is a picture of the rear of the nestboxes from inside the shed portion of the building. Each row has a hinged door that drops down to access the eggs. I added pieces of the linoleum flooring on the bottom of each box to aid in cleanup. And finally, here are some pictures of the finished coop! We chose to paint it red to match the horse barn. All of the windows hinge open and can be held open using hook & eye screws, or can be closed and latched. We made the entry door to the coop using tongue and groove boards, and added a window for character. The below pic shows the shed/storage portion of the coop, and the interior coop entry door. We started putting the posts in the ground in April, and had the entire coup almost completely done by mid-July. It was just my husband and myself working on it after work in the evenings or on the weekends, and there were several weeks in there where no work was completed at all. The girls arrived the week of May 2nd from MPC, so our goal was to have the coop ready for them by mid July - thankfully we made it! They moved in before all of the finishing touches were done, but after it had been made safe for them. Here are a few pics of the girls taken sometime in late July. Still waiting for their first egg - hopefully we will see that sometime soon!