You had me at "FINISHED COOP" or "Mama learned how to use a skill saw"

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Wink, May 1, 2011.

  1. Wink

    Wink Chillin' With My Peeps

    248
    4
    101
    Aug 24, 2010
    Texas
    I learned how to use a skill saw, but I haven't figured out to build my BYC page.

    ****finished coop pic, post # 11 ***

    But here ya go, typing off an iPad! Slow typing!

    Sometime in 2010, my husband said, "It'll be good for the kids. Let's get some chickens.". Afterall, he himself never raised them, although his grandparents and parents did. He just assumed that we would snag up some chickens and let them roam happily throughout our garden...with no thought of predator protection or a coop. Thank goodness one of us likes to research things!

    So I spent months upon months researching...we live in Texas, so I knew we would have hot weather to contend with. I read nearly every page of the "Coop Building section" here in BYC, I made notes, I came up with different design strategies, I changed dimensions, etc. Afterall, we live in a suburban neighborhood with and HOA, and yes, these chickens were illegal with a capital "I". That being said, we are lucky that our property butts up against the woods....neighbors on two sides, woods behind. 100 yards from our gate, there is a nice winding creek....no one ever goes back there. We considered it our duty to be good stewards and take over that property (well, 15 ft of it to put in a coop) with good faith in mind. Our neighbors (with whom we are good terms) were not thrilled with the idea of the coop and kept saying that there are critters that will eat them....blah blah, YES, but I read BYC and my design, while not faultless, addressed these concerns! I think they thought it would be an ugly eyesore.

    My husband pretty much nodded his head at whatever I had to say (although he put his foot down concerning an 8X8 coop, citing it was just too big).

    Months pass. I gather up materials slowly that come our way via Habitat for Humanity, looking for the best deals (3/4" plywood, already cut into 1 x 4 ft rectangles, $1 each. Perfect for loading into a Prius) I knew that if we bought the chicks in February, we would have to start the coop in January, at least. Of course it doesn't work that way. Our girls and boys arrive February 9; all 25 bantams are happy and warm. I panick because we have not broken ground. At this point, my husband just still nods his head...he is unconcerned about the timeline.

    Its cold outside. But I'm not scared of work. I cut away brush; my husband gets to whip out the chainsaw and take out a few smaller trees. My husband starts working overtime. I borrow his truck; I haul 1/2 ton 1" gravel to the chicken site. But at leasts its cold. I lay leftover welded wire over the gravel and cover it with landscaping cloth.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2011
  2. Wink

    Wink Chillin' With My Peeps

    248
    4
    101
    Aug 24, 2010
    Texas
    WAIT! I'm not done yet!

    So I wait for husband to have a free weekend to help me really break ground. It doesn't happen. In fact, he starts working nights, AND weekends. So I convince him to to show me how to use a skill saw.

    I cut the tip of a finger off immediately.

    Just kidding.

    It's initially slow going. I had the ideas in my head, I had the general plan on paper. It was putting it into reality that W's gonna be the test. I find out that sometimes "measure twice and cut once" sometimes meant cut more times if the skill saw didn't cut right through the line I drew and instead was on one side or the other.

    Fast forward past my base building and general framing:

    [​IMG]

    One of the (many) problems I ran into included not dealing with the slope off the land right off the bat. I should've built my playhouse style coop as one big rectangle....instead, I followed the idea of building the coop first and attaching the run later, which made the slope of the ground difficult to deal with.

    The coop itself is 4x6, the run is 6x12.

    I liked the shaded site I chose, but in our attempt to leave a tree that would provide some summer shade, I made a huge error and built the frame too close to the tree, not accounting for the roof sticking out. I shouldve moved the coop over, but uh, it was a little heavy at that point.

    In the fall days of 2010, my husband used to go wood cutting on some private property. He had brought back the top half of a door from a Dutch door. He knows that I love recycling and up cycling materials. It had three panes of glass, so I popped out the middle one (for the pop door), and turned the door sideways and incorporated it into the coop:

    [​IMG]

    I'm skipping lots of photos, but finished framing. The roof was the hardest part, as I was still running a solo build with three kids to attend to. And the chicks were growing faaaast!

    Back to the roof: stubbornly, I started the frame by using the tree next to the coop. I tied rope around a branch and used it for leverage for the roof spine and corresponding pieces of wood. After all, I couldn't hold up the 12 ft. Roof spine by myself while drilling, but the tree could. As far as the pitch of the roof went, I just made my own. I cut the angle I thought would work (45 degree was waaaaay too steep), kept that piece of wood as my master piece, and just used it to replicate the angle over and over again.

    Using the tree branch for leverage while framing the roof:

    [​IMG]

    Coop with that blue board styrofoam so the metal t-panel roof wouldn't drip condensation on my ladies! Note about roofing: got lucky on Craigslist for the roofing....I got the seconds! Brand new, cosmetic defects, but exactly what I wanted.


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2011
  3. Connorrm

    Connorrm Chillin' With My Peeps

    467
    2
    121
    Apr 27, 2011
    Capital District, NY
    I'm totally interrupting this thread as it goes....but I like what I see so far! Also, you're a great story teller! ^_^
     
  4. Wink

    Wink Chillin' With My Peeps

    248
    4
    101
    Aug 24, 2010
    Texas
    I hate the fact that I didn't upload all my photos. But on I forge!

    I went to Habitat for humanity for most of my supplies. I thought I did pretty well, but their windows are still pretty pricey (to me). The first window I bought was from a storm window. I thought I'd be clever and try to make my own frame, but managed to crack the glass with the attempt of securing the frame. The windows I eventually put in were double paned, and matching. I had to figure out how to mount them so they would swing open from the top. Ended up drilling into the plastic frame and inserting a metal rod through each window with rod as a pivot. Then framing the window in, with the ends of the rod secured into the surrounding 2x4's allowing the window to swing.

    At this point, my husband had a single free weekend. He helped me install the t panel roofing. But can i say, I am SO thankful he was gone for most of this coop building project. Because he had not a clue about my design, the reasons why I chose X Y and Z over A B and C for the predator proofing. Even the building process was slowed down because he just wasn't up to speed with what I needed. He didn't pick up the roofing from the company, he didn't know how to install it. He kept trying to override some of my more important facets for the coop, so I while I was grateful for his height (for reaching up on the coop), I was glad to be solo again!

    At this point, my older brother and mom came to live with us (thats a different story). my brother kept asking "you really want the slope like that on the roof?" "your door needs cross bracing, that's why it's drooping" (it didn't, it needed those corner metal brackets) all I could think about was "just watch my kids, please! Leave the building and designing to me!"

    My husband did cut the roofing around the tree next to the coop, so that was nice! And it was a good thing he was working that OT : by this point, I was running to lowes and HFH quite frequently!

    Roof on, baby!

    [​IMG]

    Had to slap on some barn red paint to see my progress! Habitat for humanity, $8.99 a gallon! I also picked up that vent from HFH....figured that more ventilation, the better, especially in texas!

    You can also see on the left one of my swinging doors that's mostly window. That was crazy. I installed and framed in another window, then the whole side of the south side of the coop would swing open, so I could access the food and water. I picked up the heavy duty hinges from HFH, but at one point, I was thinking my design was too big for my limited skills.

    [​IMG]

    The front coop door. One of the pinnacles of my experience. Once again, frame in the window. Ok, got that down. Ok, design and build nest box. Ok, now frame the door in which the nest box and window will reside in. The whole door (with the nest box and window) would open up on the east side, so I can clean the coop.

    Everything went according to plan, but in order for me to mount the door with the hinges, I had to build the whole door (window, nest box, 3/4 "plywood, trim) because I figured I had to install the hinges through the trim and exterior plywood, then mount the door to the coop. Knowing I would have to LIFT the massive front door (4x4) UP onto the lip of the coop so I could install the door to the coop I thought I'd be so smart and make it so the nest boxes could slide in for installation AFTER I mounted the door, to lessen the weight.

    So I framed around the nest boxes, and installed the exterior plywood, etc. I went to pull the nest boxes out and of course they didn't budge. It was wedged in tight. So I sighed, cursed, screwed them in officially. And tried to lift the beast of a door.

    Ok, husband still not available. Brother asleep. Grew impatient. Dragged it, then huffed it over to the coop. Called my 69 yr old mom to help me. I'm stubborn and irritable at this point. I think based on this, we managed to lift it three feet up and I popped the 4x4 door into the 3'11" x 3'11" opening. Oh my goodness, it fit by the scraping in! Woohoo!

    [​IMG]

    This is the door open:

    [​IMG]

    Note that all the windows have been covered with 1/2" hardware cloth on the inside.
     
  5. MamaChic21

    MamaChic21 Chillin' With My Peeps

    844
    2
    121
    Dec 2, 2010
    Jackson, NJ
    looks awesome [​IMG]
     
  6. klf73

    klf73 Mad Scientist

    Jun 1, 2008
    Maine
    nice [​IMG]
     
  7. Wink

    Wink Chillin' With My Peeps

    248
    4
    101
    Aug 24, 2010
    Texas
    And the amazing thing was, this massively heavily door actually swung open correctly! Score! Even though I measured ahead of time, I would've cried and screamed if after all that work it was too big or too small. And yeah, I'm sure there was an easier way, but I didn't think of it at the time.

    I nearly gave up trying to waterproof the hinged lid of the nest box. I tried the rubber hose method, I cut up pieces of plastic from a flexible cutting board. Finally, I gave in to the rubber bicycle tire method, but I had to couple it with the piano hinge for it to work.

    [​IMG]

    Next pic is just the freshly applied linoleum, which, oddly enough, I found in the attic of our house, as leftover remnants from the builder. Funny thing is, we never had linoleum in our house. And you know what size it was? A little over 4x6.....the same size as our coop. Must be a sign that we were destined to have a coop this size!

    [​IMG]

    At this point, I had already installed the hardware cloth around the coop. Can I just say that I hated initially using What my husband called the most dangerous tool in our collection, what he calls the metal grinder. Is that what it is? Round diamond tipped blade, rips through metal? No safety switch? That one? Ok, I really did use eye and ear protection using the skill saw and the grinder. But man,the grinder cut through the HC like a hot knife through butter.

    To deal with holding up the HC cloth during installation, I used someone else's BYC tip (Elmo?) and put up a single screw on the 2x4 at
    the highest point of installation, slipped the HC on the mounted screw to hold it up like a cloth hanging from a hook. Best simple tip to hold it up temporarily! I also used 1/4" fender washers. A lot of them. Like hundreds. Buy in bulk.

    In fact, buy in bulk with screws. And make sure that you pick the same dang drill head pattern. "star" or "plus". Cuz otherwise if you get a mix of them (one box this, one box that) you inevitably keep needing to switch your dang drill bit back and forth. And forth and back. Continuously.

    So, the west side of the coop, I thought I'd leave it mostly HC cloth for max ventilation. I thought I'd even leave that pop door open always open. But after reading people's opinions about run security vs Coop security, I thought, hell, I'm being lazy. Build a pop door.

    Guillotine style! I can open and close it of course from the outside. The door is that 3/4" plywood, pretty heavy, slides about 5 inches past the door opening, the bottom is sealed. Got scared thinking of the dang coons getting into the run, then running up the ramp, trying the pop door, failing, but then trying the window panes, which are pretty thin. So I HC the inside of those windows.

    Unpainted:
    [​IMG]
     
  8. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,942
    4,190
    461
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Great job! I'm mechanically impaired, so I admire anyone who can just up and build something. When DH sees me near the toolbox, he warily asks, "What are you going to do with that?" Sometimes he'll help me, and other times just waits till I get in a bind and have to ask for help....
     
  9. puredelite

    puredelite Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hello Wink, You are doing a great job! You have every right to be proud of your project and the fact that you didn't let anyone or anything discourage you from meeting the challenge head-on. Looks good, can't wait to see it finished and your chicks moved in. BTW, I am a licensed building contractor so I do have an "eye" for what looks good( and what doesn't) Git 'er done!
     
  10. Wink

    Wink Chillin' With My Peeps

    248
    4
    101
    Aug 24, 2010
    Texas
    My husband in wondering why I'm typing a novel....

    A chicken In the pic! That's what you were waiting for, huh? That's the pop door painted, and that's my lovely bantam Betsy (Japanese mottled? I dunno, she was part of my mixed bag from ideal), who just happens to my most favorite girl. She's my super friendly girl!

    [​IMG]

    I didn't get the pic uploaded, but I didn't like my single door to the run. So I took it off the hinges, and turned it into a Dutch door. Bothe doors are double secured top and bottom (like, each door has two security latches so a predator can't get leverage from the corner of the door). All doors for the most part have key-with-lock scenario.

    Fast forward through the literal ton of sand being shoveled from the back of the truck to the coop and run. nearly solo. Brother and hubby helped a little! I could trust them with that! ;-)

    I came up with my own fancy schmancy watering and food system. Meaning, I used the PVC pipe system (4", majority of the connectors and pipes came fro HFH), but attached the medium size pet mate le bistro food canister thing to the top for more storage (garage sale, $3. But then bought another le bistro canister thing for 12 bucks to replicate it on the other side) Screwed up royally by not sealing the water
    PVC pipe attachments. My brilliant idea was this (read the sarcasm): water up top via nipple system, tube from top THROUGH the coop floor to the outdoor water system. So I cut my circle out of the plywood floor, first using a 2" drill bit attachment, then roughly cutting a 4" diameter circle with the the saw zaw (is that what it's called?) Worked 4" PVC pipes in. Filled with water. Leaks galore. Cuz I didn't seal initially.( Bought nipples from BYC member Neil Grassbaugh, excellent price and service!)

    [​IMG]

    Could've killed hubby because he "helped" with this part. I drill and screw in the nipples, he's in charge of sealing the PVC pipe for the lower water section. He glues it in UPSIDE DOWN, with the nipples on top (UGH! The chicks had a nipple waterer in their brooder, so he knew the design). I nearly cry. I end up having to take the nipples out, running to lowes and getting compatible sized bolts, slapping plumbers tape around them, putting gasket seal on them. It works. So far.

    On my back under the coop, under the PVC pipe, drill in hand, drill out the holes for the nipples on the correct side. Plumbers tape. gasket seal. Fill with water. More gasket seal Where the LE Bistro meets the PVC pipe....aaaaah, I need more seal, but at least we have water upstairs and downstairs.

    Can you see my double decker water system? ******POST 32 for updated water and feeder pics with more explanation******

    [​IMG]

    I'm getting tired.....so here's a pic of the interior of the coop. Oh, but I thought I'd build a swing out poop board. I did. Used a half piece of thick plastic from one of those office mats you use to put your chair on? (HFH). But then I found out I could lean forward and just scrape the poop off without needing to swing the poop board out. There goes my great idea!

    A very uninspiring pic of the roosts. My 9 bantam girls all use and squish on top of the 6 ft roost. Frizzle Mcnizzle, my unable-to-fly rooster , sleeps below. In case you're wondering, I've got 10 bantams total...most likely, once Frizzle Mcnizzle opens his beak to crow, I've got to move him on.....and I think the rest of my girls are girls. You know how that goes. Fro. 25 to 10!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2011

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by