Useful coop designing tool

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by lisebarb, Nov 9, 2008.

  1. lisebarb

    lisebarb Songster

    Hello everybody,
    We built the Catawba coop. When you buy the Catawba coop plans you also get a file of the plans made with a free program called Google Sketch Up. Because I'm a geeky girl I downloaded the program and started to play with it.

    We love the original coop but now after having our girls for a couple of months we decided we'd like to extend their run. So yesterday, I sat down a the computer and used that Sketch Up program to design the extension.

    At first we thought we'd simply build a 2 foot high frame and cover it in hardware cloth but then, after looking at some of the other coops you folks have made, and realizing that chickens do like to hop up to tall places, we decided to build essentially, a tall box that can be placed at one end of the coop.

    I don't know if you can see much detail of what I drew with that Sketch Up program but it's going to be 4 feet wide, 5 feet long and 6 feet tall.


    After I had it drawn I decided I might as well put a door on it so I changed that too.

    What was so much fun about planning this with that program was that (as I changed my mind and decided to make a solid roof rather than a wire roof, I realized that I should slope the roof slightly), I could make those changes really simply. Sure beats using a pencil, eraser and a ream of graft paper.

    Anybody else have experience using this program?
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2008
  2. trulyviolet

    trulyviolet In the Brooder

    Aug 5, 2008
    that is a great rendering you should be proud
    what is sketch up?


    edited to add that vi is a ditz and should read the posts AFTER coffee

    never mind i found the sketch up
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2008
  3. lisebarb

    lisebarb Songster

    Thanks. I guess that time I spent learning to be a welder-fitter paid off.

    Sketch Up is a free program you can get from Google.
    Here's the link -

    brother told me about it last fall but I hadn't seen it used until I bought and downloaded the Catawba coop plans.

    Apparently people do some pretty amazing drawing with it.

  4. mountaintopchicken

    mountaintopchicken Songster

    May 23, 2007
    I used it to design the coop I am building now. It's a great program and free! It helps somewhat that I had some autocad experience, or I would have been totally unused to trying to design on a computer.
  5. Barbara-
    We're going to build the Catawba Coop, and I also downloaded Sketchup and have been playing around with it for the same reason you have - I want to build a run extension to give my chooks a little more room. I like what you've come up with. I was thinking of an A-frame extension that could be attached to the coop, but I like the idea of being able to walk into the run without ducking, so I am going to rethink where I'm going to go with this.
    - Dorothy
  6. lisebarb

    lisebarb Songster

    I was looking at my drawing again and realized that I have the roof slope going the wrong way - oops.

    An a-frame extension was my first thought too but I'd like to give the girls a couple of higher branches where they can climb up. They are cutting down all of the ash trees in my area so getting branches is easy.

    I want to keep this contraption as light as possible so I'm planning on using 1x2 for the framing, 2x4s on either side of the door and 1x4 for the horizontal supports.
    I'd like to do the roof in that translucent corrugated plastic they use on awnings.

    I've already rigged up a wheel system to move the coop around (it's really heavier than you think and per the original plans you need 2 people to move it) so if I can keep this extension fairly light I can move it with the coop. Mind you know that we have the girls we're starting to think about one day building a stationary coop and getting more chickens.

    I just may have to sign myself into Betty Ford to get over my chicken jones. [​IMG]

  7. BabyGirls

    BabyGirls In the Brooder

    May 24, 2007
    Concord, NC
    We have used Sketch-up for our garage design and it is an amazing program. It takes a bit to get used to but once you start it's hard to stop. Very neat.

  8. rebbetzin

    rebbetzin Songster

    Apr 4, 2008
    Tucson AZ
    That looks like a really fun program!! Does it caluclate the materials you will need?
  9. chicken_angler

    chicken_angler Coop Constructist

    Jun 23, 2008
    a house
    I am going to download it tomorrow.
  10. a57californiachick

    a57californiachick In the Brooder

    Jun 7, 2008

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