Show your coop... Then and Now

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MicMoo, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. MicMoo

    MicMoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 6, 2008
    Tacoma, WA
    There are always lots of great topics about people's coops when they are new, but I'd like to start one about how things are going several years later... after the 'honeymoon' has ended.

    Here's my banty tractor/coop when it was completed in July, 2008. The bottom area measures 4' x 7' x 2' and the upper area is 2' x 4' x 2' (plus a few extra cubic feet in roof gable area).


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    Originally, I had designed it to be lightweight and with handles on each end so that my wife and I could simply pick up and move it every day or two. However, that quickly grew to be inconvenient as we weren't always both available and it was pretty much impossible to move by yourself.

    Another issue was in-out access for the hens. Originally we thought we'd just leave them inside all the time (and we did for the first year) but we really enjoyed having them running around the yard and since it's a completely fenced yard we decided to let them free-range during the day but there wasn't an easy way for them to get in and out.

    But the biggest issue we've had is water. We live in the Pacific Northwest so this thing spends much of the year being drenched. As a result I've had to battle moisture getting in from several vectors.



    So, here's how it looks today. I took these photos while it was still propped up from being painted -- I've had to paint this coop every year and I think that's going a long way toward keeping it going.

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    The wheels are not permanently attached, instead they are bolted into the ends of a 2x4 axle. When I want to move the coop, I just pick up the heavy end and kick the axle underneath, then use the handles on the other side to 'drive' it around the yard.

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    From this side, you can see a few places where the plywood has buckled due to water infiltration.


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    We added a lower door on this side which we open each morning to let them out. To keep the door from blowing shut, we have a small tent pole that we just stick into the grass to block it open.


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    This is my roll-away nesting box. Obviously this has been one area where I've had some serious moisture issues. This is actually the second box, the first one also had water issues and had to be replaced last year. This one made it through the winter but it turns out that the plywood I used for the roof wasn't outdoor grade. I'll be replacing the roof board later in the week with something more water tolerant.


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    The gable ends have been the other serious water issue. My design is flawed as this flat shelf allows water to gather and slowly seep inside.

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    Here's the other gable end and it too has had water issues. Annual applications of caulk seem to help but it still comes down to a design flaw.

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    Here's another water seepage area. When I built it, there was this 8" wide strip where I should have put hardware cloth but didn't have any more so I used an extra strip of the siding. For the first couple of years I had no problem, but now water is pooling and then seeping into the bottom of the hutch from here. This year, I bought a can of that spray sealant that they advertise on TV and hopefully it will keep the water at bay. Again, this is a design flaw as I should have used hardware cloth to let the water run through or at least pitched it so the water flowed away. Instead, this is just a flat spot where the water gathers.

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    Here's a close-up of the wheels. Again, they're not attached, I just kick this axle in and out as needed to move it around the yard.



    So, what do you think?

    Please share your successes and challenges and let's see how your coop looks both then and now.
     
  2. Queen Bee

    Queen Bee Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 2, 2012
    North Carolina
    I can't wait to read other's thoughts and see the 'then and now' coops..
     
  3. MicMoo

    MicMoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 6, 2008
    Tacoma, WA
    It's been a while, anyone else have "then and now" pics/stories to share?
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2013
  4. MicMoo

    MicMoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 6, 2008
    Tacoma, WA
    Time for another update. My coop has finally reached a point of decay requiring replacement so I thought I'd summarize it's history:

    July 2008 - Originally completed.

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    January 2011 - In the Pacific Northwest, it rains more often than not so moisture was the enemy. However, we do occasionally get some interesting weather. Here is it's first snow storm (just a few inches) and it weathered it quite well.

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    January 2012 - Hit with another snow storm. It was a double-whammy... 10" of snow which was then covered the next day by an ice storm. The hens were trapped inside, but comfortable and safe.

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    September 2012 - Posted the above update with pics of its yearly coat of paint, but showing signs of water damage:

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    October 2013 - Tragedy strikes when a raccoon ripped off the roof of the nesting box and got inside, killing 2 of the 4 hens. This was the 3rd roof put on that nesting box. After the "incident", the box was eliminated and the hens laid eggs on the floor in the coop.

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    December 2014 - Water damage is getting worse and it's becoming obvious that it will need to be replaced as soon as the weather cooperates. Here's the cat, who has a habit of sneaking into the coop during the daytime and sleeping with the hens. The nesting box hole is plugged. Trim is falling off, the top of the run area is rotten to the point that the hinges on top have separated so logs are on top to deter curious raccoons.

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    June 2015 - New coop has been built and it's time to tear down the old one.

    Here you can see the frame of the new coop, the size of the hutch is the same but the run is quite larger:

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    I didn't start taking pictures until after I'd started demolishing the old coop. In these pics, the hutch roof and hardware cloth on the top of the run has been removed and used on part of the new coop, but you can see the state of decay in the wood:

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    The ridge vent of the roof worked really well for ventilation. Also, the best preserved wood in the entire coop were the ridge/rafter boards in the roof.
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    Water damage so bad that you (or a raccoon) could just poke a hand right through.

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    The wood was so decayed that the yearly coats of paint on the outside were stronger than the wood. Once it was all busted up, it all fit into a garbage can.

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    Here's video showing just how bad the wood was... after removing a few screws holding the top and side together, I was able to push over the wall with just a couple of fingers. It was so rotten that breaking it up was a piece of cake.

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    Here's the replacement.

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    Lessons learned:

    - Metal roof instead of wood because, even with waterproofing and paint treatments, the wood just didn't hold up to our moist weather.
    - Larger wheels on the wooden axle to make it easier to move around the yard. The other wheels were too small and would get caught in the smallest depressions.
    - Designed the roof to have more overhang in hopes of better protecting the lower wooden sections from the weather
    - More thought was given into how to get a person into the coop for maintenance, cleanup, etc.


    So, I'd still love to see other people's then and now pictures of their coops. Please share.
     
  5. Birdlover 13

    Birdlover 13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 13, 2015
    South Africa
    Wow I really like your improved coop! Your chickens are going to be really happy! I plan on getting chickens and maybe I'll post some photos on what the garden looks like with and without the chicken run.[​IMG]
     
  6. MicMoo

    MicMoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 6, 2008
    Tacoma, WA
    Thanks Birdlover 13... How many chickens are you planning to have?
     
  7. Birdlover 13

    Birdlover 13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 13, 2015
    South Africa
    I know it's not much, but I'd like to get 3 chickens just for a few eggs a week. Anyway we live in a suburb and I don't think we are allowed to have more than 8-10 chickens.
     
  8. Trio

    Trio Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 25, 2015
    I can't believe it all fit into the wheelie bin! And that raccoon attack, glad we don't have those guys here. You will love the metal roof! I really enjoyed reading your coop story.
     

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