The chicken coop is… functional!
I won’t quite declare it done because it needs a roof that’s a bit more weatherproof. We’re also going to dig in a mesh apron around the base to discourage digging predators, and I’ll probably paint it and add trim to pretty it up at some point. But the chickens are moved in and doing great, so yes, it’s quite functional. To refresh your memory, here’s my post with my original plans. Picking up from there, I got the frame for the coop built and moved it into place in our back yard:
I made the nesting box by just gluing some OSB together:
And then I started adding the old fence slats to the sides. You can actually see the pile of slats that we inherited when we bought this house in the background of some of these outdoor photos. It turns out we had 4(!) different varieties in that pile… some had lapped sides instead of tongue and groove, some had V-shaped grooves, some had U-shaped grooves, and some were a good 1/4″ thinner than the rest. Sigh. It was an adventure finding enough pieces in good enough condition that actual fit together for each side.
For the sides that sloped at the top, I cut the slats longer than needed and attached them, then had Dave come through with a portable circular saw to cut the diagonal line all the way across:
Then I attached the boards to support the roof directly onto the siding, thus avoiding having to figure out any angles for miter cuts:
The roof for both the main part of the coop and the nesting box is just OSB for the moment. I’m going to add some sort of vinyl roofing or something eventually, but it rains so rarely here that it isn’t much of a priority at the moment. Although it is actually raining as I type this, so I guess the joke’s on me… Anyway, here is the coop with the siding completed, roof attached, and even the doors in place:
Here’s the inside as seen from the main door. That’s the nesting box in the back, and the roost overhead. For the roost I used a big wooden closet rod from when we re-did our closet, but I may need to rethink it since I don’t think the chickens are actually using it currently. I’m pretty sure they’re both just sitting in the nesting box to sleep at the moment. Well maybe the rod won’t be too high once they’re a little bigger. And they won’t be laying until July so I guess it’s not a big deal if they sleep in the nesting box for now…
After finishing the coop, it was on to the run! I ran 2×4’s along the ground (we’ll see how long they last…) And even unrolled the hardware cloth around the 2x4s so the chickens could get some sun while I worked:
Unfortunately I was way too focused on the getting the run put together to take progress pictures, but I attached 2x3s to make a frame and then painted them with some white exterior paint I had. Since they aren’t treated I’m hoping the paint will help them last a little longer…
I did get this one picture of Dave helping me attach the last of the hardware cloth. It was a bit of a pain, though we found that screws and washers worked quite well to get it attached, and hopefully they’ll keep raccoons out…
Here’s a shot from the end of the run looking back towards the coop:
The entire end is actually a door so I can get into the run if needed:
I put hasps and twist-lock carabiners on all 4 of the outside doors to the run and the coop. The twist carabiners are pretty stiff, I have to work at it a little to get them open, so I hope they’ll stump the raccoons.
Here’s the other run door, it’s to access the food and water, which hang underneath the coop:
And here’s the “pop door” which allows the chickens access to the run from the coop:
Hopefully you can see there’s a string running from an eyebolt in the door to a bolt high up on the coop to keep it open. This allows me to open the pop door without having to actually go into the run. Here’s the pop door when it’s closed:
I drilled a hole through the frame and added another hole in a board on the other side of the door. The plan was to have some way to secure the dowel in place, (perhaps yet another hasp that closed over the outside hole?) but for now I give the dowel a good twist and it’s actually quite a tight fit.
So that’s it! Yes, we still need to do the anti-digging apron, a better roof, a window for more ventilation, and perhaps some paint, but for now I’m taking a break. Whew! Here’s how it looks from across the yard:
Maybe I shouldn’t paint it, it blends so nicely! In person the white run with the unpainted coop looks a little weird though. Hmmm.
For posterity and anyone else trying to figure out if this is something they want to try, here’s a breakdown of costs:
- 6 Pressure treated 2x4s – $28 (3 for the coop platform, 3 for the base of the run)
- 16 regular 2x3s – $26 (8 for the coop walls/roof, 8 for the framing for the run)
- 1 4′ x 8′ sheet 7/16″ x OSB – $9
- 2 25′ rolls of 2′ wide 1/2″ hardware cloth and 1 10′ roll – $70
- 4 hasps, 4 carabiners – $25
- 5 sets of exterior grade hinges of various sizes – $30
- washers for securing the hardware cloth – $9
- Exterior grade screws of various sizes – maybe $10?
- Fence slats, paint, primer, closet rod – already owned
The hardware cloth total includes enough for a two foot wide apron around the whole thing, which adds a lot to the cost. Hopefully nothing will eat my chickens though!