I don't know about you, but I love seeing other peoples chicken coops. And gardens, and workshops... I guess I'm basically copping to being very curious. When I first started dreaming of chickens and imagining my future coop I was a bit unrealistic. You see so many chicken coops on the internet today that look so smart and fancy. Some are even decorated inside! Truth is, chickens are pretty messy, and predator proofing is more valuable than looks. When we first started out we made a hoop coop. We didn't think we would be able to just let the chickens free range because of our dogs, and predators. The hoop coop allowed us to give them access to the outdoors with protection. The downside was it ended up being super heavy.
We had no problems keeping predators out with this hoop coop, in fact we came home one night to dogs circling it and one managed (somehow) to get on top. No chickens were harmed! Last fall we had our first losses. A very smart raccoon was reaching through the tarp at the top and killing chickens. We added an extra layer of wire panels and it solved the issue. About this same time we started free ranging the chickens. Before long I knew I would want more chickens, and we started dreaming up a new, stationary coop.
This is what we ended up with. Not at all what I'd envisioned, but it is large and predator proof! In true farmer fashion we utilized some things we had lying around. Two sides are made of garage doors, which let in a wonderful amount of light. The rest of the wood/tin we purchased. The coop measures 12x12 which gives us enough inside space for about 30 chickens. (We only have 8 presently due to a dog attack).
We made three windows total, two on one end and one on the other. We added weather stripping and latches to keep them closed. It is hard to tell in the picture but all windows are covered in hard wire cloth. This way in the heat of the summer we can leave all windows open, keep predators out, and get a nice little breeze.
We again used recycled products for their roost. Old swingset ladders worked perfectly both for the chickens to use to get up to the roost and to roost on. The other part of the plan was to install a poop board under the roost to keep things cleaner. We ran out of time so that will be a spring 2015 project! I also think I'll move the nest boxes over under the roost as well.
Their nest boxes are a little larger than we had originally anticipated. We just needed to get something together quickly and this is what we came up with. It took them awhile to start using it, as you can see they had made a nest and laid eggs in the left corner! It took a few days, but they got used to it and use it consistently now. It is sitting up on cinder blocks so it isn't just resting on the floor.
This was both my husband and I's very first building project. We didn't use any plans, but it ended up coming together wonderfully. Although it is not pictured here on the wall with two windows we ended up putting in a little chicken door. It is what I keep open as the goats were having WAY too much fun barging in and making a mess of things. We also added a small run for chicks that were brooded in the coop along with a removable brooder pen. The only downside to building this coop was the time involved. It took a lot longer than we anticipated. That being said, it was 110% worth it! The chickens love it, and it has kept them sheltered and warm so far this winter.
Do you raise chickens? Have a coop tour of your own? Share it in the comments!
My name is Monica, I'm passionate about farming, food, and the humane treatment of livestock.