Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Building the Chicken Coop
The chicks have been growing in leaps and bounds. This recently occurred and the chicks were clearly getting too big for their box. I had been researching different types of coops, trying to figure out which kind to build for our chicks. In the end, we sketched some ideas and put together our plans.
The first part we built was the actual coop portion of the structure. It is a 4x4 foot square, elevated 18 inches off the ground. It is 4 feet tall at the highest point and the roof slopes down to 40 inches at the lower side. Trying to save some money, we were determined to find a much free wood as possible. After scrounging around, we came up with some lumber for the frame and plywood for the walls. Starting with 4x4 inch posts as the corners, my husband cut cleats out of 2x4s as the mounting method for the frame. Once the cleats were nailed in, we attached 2x4 boards in between each post. The result was a suspended box.
On this box we attached plywood walls and some chicken wire at the top for ventilation. Two of the walls are hinged so we can access the coop for feeding, cleaning and hopefully eggs. A third wall has the chicken pop door with a hinge and a very high tech string to pull it open. In our scrounging we also came across some roofing shingles. We attached them to a piece of plywood for the roof. The last step for this part was to attach chicken wire around the bottom three sides of the coop so it is enclosed to the ground. We left the side with the pop door open because it will match up with the run.
Building the run was fairly straightforward. We basically made another box using 2x4s and chicken wire. It is enclosed on three sides and the roof. The only thing we forgot to install on the run was a gate. This would make accessing the chickens a little easier, but we have been able to move the run away from the coop on one side to reach in when necessary. I bought hardware to attach the coop to the run, but after building both of them it was no longer needed. The coop turned out much heavier than planned and the run has enough weight not to move. Adding a ramp was the last step. I made it out of a 1x6 and some stakes.
The chickens have been enjoying life in their new home for over 2 weeks now. The next step is to add wheels to the coop so it is easier to move around.