We badly needed a new chicken coop. The chicken tractor we built this spring proved to be not the best for larger chickens. And mine are large. Woo hoo, believe me. They are large. Red Wyandotte's are a dual purpose breed, meaning we can eat the eggs but also the chickens so they tend to be a meaty bird. But we won't be doing that to any of ours any time soon. Unless they still aren't laying by Christmas!!
So I looked at tons of coop plans on line. Looked at folk's finished coop pictures, bought some plans, bought a book and finally made a decision. I would go on my own for the entire thing!! But the book helped. The book is called, "The Art of the Chicken Coop" by Chris Gleason. It does not give blow by blow construction details or cutting plans. But talks you thru some good basic design elements adding in the ability to make the coop your own artistically.
So I used the book to get me started. And changed a lot to suite the materials I had on hand and the abilities I had as a very novice carpenter. I also don't have a lot of power tools and feel more comfortable being able to use a hand saw as much as possible. I even went and bought a cordless drill which helped out tremendously with the location for the new coop being pretty far away from a power source.
So now here are the pics. With as much commentary as I can figure out how to work in between. I have never really figured this Blogger thing totally out so I am going to just do the best I can.
This is the decking and 6 very strong sturdy legs. These puppies were hard to cut with just a hand saw
But I got it done and moved on to frame out the rest of the inside.
Including the roofThese translucent panels will let more light in during the winter. Better for egg laying
I wanted to cover the gap with a trim board. Makes it better when the wood all swells during the hot humid summers we have here.
Now after reading "Art of the Chicken Coop" I just had to add some interesting details. These are vintage cast iron and I spray painted them with Rustoleum for protection.
Close up of Iron Rooster. I have a bid on ebay for some cast iron sunflowers, probably from the same time period. I will add those, if I win, to the centers of the doors.
Here we go with the run. I know it does not show but my only really big mistake happens here. The 2 long boards attached to the coop to support the run are not attached at the same level and later on that proves to cause a bit of frustration when attaching the wire to the run. But it worked out and after all, it is just a chicken coop.More of the run done.
After a hilarious evening of trying to get the chickens from the run to the coop, the night passed by uneventfully. But in the morning no one was brave enough to go down the ladder. I finally opened the coop front doors and gently convinced on of the roosters to go down the ladder. The rest followed within a few minutes. But it did take some real concentration and bravery on the hens part
All in all, I am terribly proud of this project. Yes, there are mistakes. And things I just could have planned better. If it had not been close to 100 degrees for the first 10 days of the build I would have totally excavated the site and got it all totally leveled out. And put in concrete footers. And so on and so forth. But it was close to 100 and I just didn't have it in me. So where it sits it is very very happy. But a bit on the sloped side. It slopes to the front which i figure will make it easier to clean out when i need to. But it also makes the water dish inside want to leak out so I need to find a better way to deal with that. I am also now having to carry concrete blocks over from the garden to surround the outside bottom of the run. I figure even tho I buried some of the wire fencing, this will help discourage raccoons. I haven't had any problem with them yet but they are in the area and could try to dig under. I will eventually replace the cinder blocks with big flat square paving stones. But I have other things to do first. To include walking 60 miles in 3 days.
I am not totally happy with the roofing. The translucent panels were tough to cut straight and did not screw down over the trim pieces just right. Oh well. It is probably because the 3 panels overlapped properly were meant to cover 72" and I forced them to cover about 73.5" That is another thing that I never gave a thought to when I cut the very first piece of plywood that became the floor to the coop. I guess that is why I worked in medicine for over 30 years and did not take up carpentry for a living!!
I am going to get this posted and then do a separate post for my other summer projects. Neither of them involve nearly so much work. Ok, the pond did come close.