yippee! we finally started our chicken coop this weekend!
the kids have been waiting well over a year since they asked to have their own chickens for their birthdays last winter. silas’ class hatched a few chickens and we are adopting 2 of them and his teacher helped purchase another one for us during her last chicken shopping spree.
they are super cute and are chillin’ out in her livingroom and coop while we work on ours.
now, i’m a novice chicken keeper so i started reading online. http://www.backyardchickens.com is a wonderful website and there are a bazillion blogs written by gardeners and chicken coopers that offer lots of information for a beginner family like us.
designing a coop initially was a bit challenging until i came upon the blog, http://www.thetanglednest.com. their coop is not only cute and well-designed, their tips on construction and predator-proofing guided the direction of our coop.
the tangled nest was an inspiration but we finally found the design shared by the feather factory on http://www.backyardchickens.com under their coop design section. this coop encompassed all our needs.
we decided to place the chicken coop along the side fence of our backyard and move our boxed garden to the back fence where it is now getting the much needed sunshine it has been lacking since the trees have filled out from the spring. the coop will now get the warmth from occasional sun, shade for comfort, and a nice breeze from the trees above (hopefully this will help keep it from getting stinky).
our coop is going to be covering a space of 5′x10′- the coop itself will be 5′x4′, 2′ off the ground and the chicken run will extend an additional 6′. the entire coop will be enclosed with a combination of chicken wire and hardware cloth.
we excavated the plot where the garden was a couple of inches below the grass with an additional 8″ around the coop to lay the chicken wire down. it was suggested to lay all sides of the wire about 12″ into the ground to prevent predators from digging. the thought of digging down that far on all sides even before framing was too overwhelming for me to wrap my brain around so instead, we extended the base of chicken wire 8″ all around and will cover it all with mulch…hopefully that will keep critters from digging (i hope so otherwise pokes will give me that ‘i told you so’ lecture).
once the coop is complete, the walls will be covered with hardware cloth and will be tied to the wired floor, ensuring that there are no gaps all around. a combination of mulch, dirt, and yard trimmings will cover the entire floor over the chicken wire.
pokes purchased pretreated 2x4s for the base and untreated 2x4s for the frame of the entire coop. we will upcycle old flooring from our house for the coop siding and the entire thing will be primed and painted using exterior paint.
the front wall of the coop is 7′ and it slopes back to 6′. this will allow rain and fallen leaves to fall to the backside along the fence where there is mulch to keep from puddling.
the door into the coop will swing in and is framed 4″ off the ground for clearance. pokes also framed for 2 wide windows for ventilation, an opening for 2 protruding nesting boxes, a door to clean out the coop and a little slide door for the chickies to come out to play.
coop floor installation
nesting boxes construction
windows and doors