Thursday, February 2, 2017

Building & Designing the Chicken Coop

After having 2 different chicken coops, we knew if we were going to raise more chickens there had to be more efficient ways to clean the coop, store chicken related items, keep straw and bedding, predator proofing, feeding the hens and limiting their exposure to wild birds and the possible diseases they carry while keeping a healthy, productive, happy and active flock of hens.

Over a period of six months or so, we started a list of all of the things that we felt needed to be improved upon.  We wrote down what we disliked about our current coop set-up and included ways we thought we could "fix" the issues we were having.  We looked at literally hundreds of chicken coops online, in books, on Youtube, and at local farms.

From our observations and notes, we came up with over sixty things we wanted to correct, address, improve upon, eliminate, or add to our new hen house!

                              We had quite a list of features we wanted to incorporate which included: 

  • the new coop had to be tall enough for us to stand up in, 
  • located in a well drained area with both sun and shade 
  • easy to clean,
  • accessible for the yard tractor and trailer 
  • an exercise or play area for the hens
  • a dust bath area
  • egg collection out of the wind, rain and snow, 
  • an enclosed run area with protection from the elements and predators, 
  • ample storage for feed and supplies, 
  • an area for a "hospital" in case of an injured hen, a lot of natural light, plenty of ventilation, 
  • it had to be more predator proof  
  • include a lot of storage areas for treats, first aid, feed, straw, wood chips, extra dishes, cleaning supplies, 
  • the walls bright and easy to clean and wipe down (poly walls)
  • the floors waterproof and easy to clean (lined with polycarbonate) 
  • Draft free and insulated for the hens comfort in winter and summer
  • raised roost area with poo board for easier cleaning
  • an area to mix feed or medications 
  • exterior lighting
  • security features
  • and of course, we wanted it to be "cute".
Armed with a plan and a design in mind, our next steps were to find the new site for the coop and due to the limited time we have, we had a couple of bids given to have the coop built.  We quickly realized we would have to make the time to build it ourselves so we started pricing materials out.

We decided that it may be easier just to customize a garden shed. We thought buying a kit would actually take us less time to build since everything would be pre-cut.  We looked at a lot of sheds and shed kits. We found at Costco on sale we thought we could make work. Here is the 8' x 14' garden shed we customized:

On the exterior we added a 2 foot overhang on the front, added a 36" pedestrian door with a window, at the rear, we added an 8' x 28' run.  We used steel roofing and added 3 additional and operational windows.  We covered every window with hardware cloth on the exterior.  

Here's how it turned out on the exterior:

As you can see, our new coop hardly resembles the original coop we purchased.  As soon as I am able, I will be posting a walk through on the new coop.  

If you built a new coop or are planning on building a new coop, we'd love to hear what things you incorporated or want to incorporate into your new coop.  We'd love to have you send us photo's of your coop for a future post on coops!  

Soon, we will have the interior photos up for you to see.  
As always, thanks for stopping by! 


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