Plans for a coop.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by n3kms, Jul 6, 2010.

  1. n3kms

    n3kms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 28, 2010
    Middle Tennessee
    I have been studying this site for a while. Also, studying a lot of the links that many of you have posted (love it). This is a lot more informative than the books I have. This is my first post.
    I have drawn very amateur plans and I would like some opinions. My DH is not a great fan of the (chicken idea) but I think he likes it better than the (move and buy a cow idea). He hates to be limited by all the animals when he wants to go somewhere. His only viable objection would be the initial cost. So.....I have been searching craig's list and I have found some 24"x24" squares of one inch thick plywood. I was so excited. The drawback is that they each have a 6" round hole in the middle. The plus was the guy had hundreds of them at 20 cents each. As I pondered how I could use them I decided that the holes could make great added ventilation.
    My plan is to cover each hole with an 8" square of the same or thinner plywood. The ones on the top row will have hardware cloth covered by a hinged flap of plywood so it can be closed as needed in the winter. The bottom 2-3 rows may also have the squares placed on the inside of the coop with insulation added between. The windows will be hardware cloth. Will add plexiglass in winter as needed. Some winters in Tennessee are colder than others. The floor will be dirt (which leads to other questions for the dirt floor/deep litter method folks). I want a pop door on either side but with the squares situation I am not sure what to do. Do chickens care about the size of the pop door? The run will be large and probably divided in two. I drew the holes and little squares on the front but not sides of the plans. Also thought it would be cute to have the coop one color and the little squares another.
    Thanks for any input you folks have.[​IMG]

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  2. dogdollar

    dogdollar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2010
    First, I truly admire your spirit and your creativity....I think you are going a long way to examine cutting costs and still winding up with something uniquely "yours" as you embark upon the world of raising chookies.

    However, let me tell you I just finished building a relatively small coop, and it was a LOT more work than I ever thought it would be, and much more expensive. Those plywood squares are a good deal at 20 cents, but keep in mind that if you're going to use 24" x 24" squares then there is going to have to be some element of the frame to nail or screw each side of each square to....that's going to make your frame pretty busy and in the end, may offset your savings and double or triple your labor. On the subject of labor, I think a lot of people don't even consider it, because, of course, they will be doing the work. But..........these days, to a lot of people, TIME is our most valuable asset - especially if you work, have a family with kids, and other animals to care for. Then there's tools. I was actually naive enough to think I could do it all with a skilsaw and one old cordless screwdriver. By the time I was done I had an electric miter saw, a new drill, a sander, tin snips, etc. None of that was in my original budget.

    So....if I had to do it all over again, I would seriously consider getting one of the better "portable buildings". It doesn't have to be a big one, but would be of decent quality. Then, I would set about tweaking it to make it suitable as a coop - adding vents, nest boxes, a pop door, roosts........maybe some insulation. You could have the initial structure up in a day and start ordering chickens. A couple of weekends later you should have it fixed up just like you want it, and it will be fully functional. In my case, I got my chickens too early and they lived for weeks in crates, which was miserable for me (cleaning them every day, keeping food and water available and sanitary), and for the chickens too. I figured I would have everything built in two weeks. It took eight, including time off I had to take from blowing out a knee and ripping open a hand with hardware cloth.

    I know the initial investment seems challenging, but trust me, you'll get over it.....and I guarantee if you do it from scratch you will eventually spend as much or more anyway.

    Whatever you decide, good luck!!

    DD
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2010
  3. joletabey

    joletabey SDWD!!!!

    Apr 9, 2009
    western NC
    WELCOME!!!! I think you are being creative - and I like the idea of different colors for the squares. See if you can get framing lumber off Craigslist, too. Is there an Iwanna in your area? This is going to take you a lot of time, but in the end you will have a very unique coop that YOU designed and made.
    dogcollar is right about time being a valuable asset, so you have to weigh the pros and cons, but I am killing myself making my own coop- the first thing of this nature I have ever built, and I am PROUD of myself for doing it. It's a 4 x 8 that I can walk into, and I am doing it with my sawsall and a drill. It is VERY difficult for me, but I am figuring things out as I go. I have it framed, and it is standing!!!! It didn't fall over! So go for it!!!!
     
  4. n3kms

    n3kms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the support.[​IMG] My father, who can build anything, is hopefully going to help me. He lives an hour and a half away but he will bring tools. When I told him that I was planning to build a chicken coop he told me that the first thing he ever built was a chicken brooder. I had not known that. And when it comes down to it my husband, who can certainly drive a nail, will not be left out. Also, two teenagers who are so excited about the chickens.

    I'm trying to get most of the planning done ahead of time, though. I check craig's list several times a day(off work due to a broken wrist). Plan to build this fall and get chicks in the spring.
    I also bought these boxes from the same fellow with the squares. I thought it would be perfect for a brooder. It's very solid. 44" x 44" x 24"H and is made for a forklift so sits up off the floor.
    Do you think that will be big enough for a dozen chicks till they go to the coop. I got two boxes for $20 each. Not sure yet what I'll do with the other, maybe nest boxes .

    For the coop, do you think I would be able to just put one 2x4 every 24" and nail the right side of one square and the left side of the next to the same 2x4? Or would I need to place two 2x4's beside each other and nailed together? Trying to plan how many I will need. I have looked inside some of those storage buildings at Lowes and Home Depot and they look pretty flimsy and don't even use 2x4's and what they do use is pretty spaced. I figure I can do at least as good as those and hopefully better. And for the base, if I have a dirt floor, what do I put around the edges. I really don't want to use treated wood. Should I use concrete under the edges? Not read anything about how that works. But I really like what I have read about the dirt floor and the deep litter method.

    Joletabey, I haven't heard of Iwanna but I will check it out. Thanks.

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  5. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    standard building for spacing of 2x4s is 16" 'on center', which means from the center of one 2x4 (on the two inch side) to the center of the next one. (they aren't really 2 inches wide by the way, it's one of those cute carpenter expressions that means nothing anymore but they keep saying it anyway *shifty eyes*)

    SO ... I suggest you ask your dad how he wants to do it, and plan according to that since he's coming to help. I know my brother came from about 6 hours away to help, and he had definite ideas about how he wanted to do it... we compromised on a few things, but since he came so far to help, and his muscle and ability was so very needed, I tried to go along with him on what he thought was really important, and he with me. Not much of it was a conflict, his was building standard stuff, mine was 'chicken application' stuff!

    My advice is, decide how big you'd LIKE it to be, and then ask HIM how many 2x4s you'll need, then decide how big you can afford to make it. You may have trouble making it a dirt floor too, honestly the really best way to do that from my research is to dig a footer and use cement blocks a couple runs up, then put a lintel and build up from that. that's quite a bit of work, I've helped do it for a carport... though you can often find free cement blocks and cement is cheap. the good thing is, the frost line isn't very deep in TN I'll bet! that should help.

    Most other ways of building to have a dirt floor and using the deep litter method would mean leaving the building vulnerable to critters being able to dig underneath. I bet there really are other good ways to do it though so lets hope more people comment with suggestions. I did research it but I'm no expert!
     
  6. n3kms

    n3kms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks PortageGirl. I did sort of figure concrete blocks would probably be the answer and digging would probably be involved. I hope to hear from some others who use the deep litter method. Had to look up the word "lintel". How do they usually attach the wood to the concrete. I'm sure my father knows all this but I would like to not appear too ignorant and would like to have a good bit a preparation done before he gets too involved. And if I know what I need I can be looking for sales and other less expensive sources. I will ask him to figure out the 2x4's though.
     
  7. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    LOL I was corrected n3kns!! A lintel is above a door or window, what I'm talking about is a SILL!!!! (and I was called silly for my mistake too!)

    When we built the car port, we had these 'anchor bolts' that you sink the one end into the concrete in the cement blocks, and then you drill holes in the treated 2x6 or whatever size you are using for a sill to accept the bolts sticking up, and then put big washers and nuts on the bolts so the sill board is held down. (I know you guys who think this is all just common sense are laughing at us, so anyone that can explain it better please do! I for one would welcome someone who knows better to help!) I know it's not great to use treated wood in a coop, but in at least this one case for the sill I think you should. I really doubt the chickens will find that board, and if they do, you can cover it somehow I'm sure!

    I learned a lot with helping build that carport AND the coop, but I'm no kind of expert, so I hope someone jumps in here to help soon!!!!! [​IMG]
     
  8. countrychix

    countrychix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Cute idea but I would suggest that you put more of a pitch on the roof for run-off and snow load, though I don't know how much you actually get.
     
  9. mgw

    mgw Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2010
    Eastern Wa.
    You would be just fine to frame stud walls 24" o/c. sheds built at home centers sometimes are framed 48"o/c. just looked at one yesterday, not buying it. 1" ply will add more strength to your walls than will need for the size coop your gonna build. sounds like you are planning way ahead so you will be fine. check free section on craigs list daily if possible I alwats find lots of building materials on there.
     
  10. n3kms

    n3kms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Middle Tennessee
    PortageGirl, you know more about it than me. I looked it up and still didn't know you made an error.[​IMG]
    Countrychix, I was wondering about that. I noticed most roofs that I have seen on here do have more pitch. But, we get almost no snow and I figured that water would run off reguardless. My experience though, is nill.
     

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