Weekends are the only time we get things accomplished in large-scale. Hubby had to leave for two weeks so we needed to get the laying hens’ coop built in a hurry.
I found a book at Farm and Fleet which was really helpful, Reinventing the Chicken Coop by Kevin McElroy and Matthew Wolpe. A great reason to get this book if you are building a chicken coop, (and don’t have a lot of experience building things) is that this book gives you the entire shopping list of building materials and tools you will need for each version of coop. It also gives you instructions.
Some of the designs had great features that we will like to apply to a future chicken coop, but with the time crunch we had we needed to stick with the original plans. We decided one of the easy coops was the ice box version. It seemed easy to clean out, and it was tall enough to put our already made watering system inside the coop.
(Picture of waterer)
Hubby is such a wiz with getting things done that he got the main coop cut and built in about a day.
(Bar to support the nesting boxes and provide a roost)
We will need to install another board on top of the nesting boxes to make them darker so the chickens feel more comfortable laying eggs.
(supports for the nesting box walls)
We used an oil base outdoor paint on the coop to protect the wood, and it is water-resistant!
(The front door and window)
They recommend using hardware cloth, which is tiny squares, but we happened to have the chicken wire left over from the meat bird coop. The hardware cloth is more durable, providing ventilation and protection from predators.
Since I am home, my girls usually go out in this run during the day. They can hunt for bugs to supplement their feed, and eventually they will be able to get in the yard and garden.
We do have a hawk in residence near by- happened to see it on the garage this morning. I took some fishing line and tied it to the posts across the run. I am hoping this will prevent the hawk from coming in and carrying off one of my chickens. In the future I would like to plant some shrubs and bushes that the girls can hide in when the hawk is around. We have some wild birds that chase the hawk, and I have read that martins are great at keeping hawks at bay. So I will be looking for plans to build a martin house next to my coop.
Update: Upon further reflection and actual use of the coop, helpful additions to the icebox coop are:
Paint the inside of the drop down door- my ladies poop on it frequently so the oil-based paint will help keep the wood from getting damaged faster.
Buy a small brush and mount it on the side of the coop- I filled the inside of the coop with pine shavings and the girls drag heaps of shavings out with them during the day. The brush is handy for removing those shavings to prevent damage to the hinges of the drop down door.
Original post published on June 29, 2016