Finished Chicken Coop

I never posted the final pics of the finished chicken coop!  Well, I’m getting to it now, and seeing the coop in the warm summer sun makes me feel happy since it doesn’t look like these pics out there right now.

We got the idea for our coop from a photo on the backyard chickens website, it was called “Wichita Cabin Coop” on that site.  We made a few changes, but mostly followed it.  102_8726

In this photo of the interior you can see the two nest boxes are to the right side and are exterior boxes.  There are two roosts across the back.  To the left back (hidden by the waterer in this photo) is the door out to the pen.  It slides up via a rope that goes all the way outside so we can pull the door up and down easily from the outside.  This is before the coop was insulated.

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This is the west side – the pen side.  You can see where the little sliding chicken door is into the pen, with the ramp down.  The whole thing is covered and stays pretty darn dry as long as the wind isn’t blowing the rain and snow around.

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This is the south side of the coop.  You can see there is a man-door into the pen for cleaning and accessing the pen.  There is the big door into the coop for cleaning and doing the feed and water.  In between the two doors you can see the rope we use to lift and lower the small chicken door from the coop to the pen.  And on the right are the nest boxes.

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This is the East side of the coop.  You can see the nest boxes that are easily accessible from the outside.  You can also see the power outlet box my husband installed to make it easy to light the inside and have a heat lamp in there as well.  We have a light inside that is on a timer to give the chickens a 14-hour day.  There is also a heat lamp that is on a thermostat so that it doesn’t allow it to get below 40 degrees inside (although in the very cold weather we have found this to not be true as the water has been freezing).  Very convenient!  Eventually we will be installing a window on this side to give them natural lighting.  It will go right where my signs are.

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The last coop we built had exterior nest boxes like these as well.  However, the last one had a roof lid that lifted upward to access the boxes and we found it was heavy, awkward, and inconvenient.  Since we really wanted the kids to be able to participate in the egg collecting we made this nest box open up on the side.  My 4-year-old can easily open and close it and reach the eggs.

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The safety features that we have included to help protect from predators are that every door latch has an additional clip that can’t be unhooked by raccoons.  We have heard of raccoons in our area opening up simple latches on coops and getting in.  Also, the entire pen has chicken wire that runs out about a foot under the dirt all the way around, with additional rocks on it, to prevent any digging into the pen by foxes, coyotes, weasels, rats, etc.  It is also as secure as we can get it from bears, though in our area the bears are very adept at breaking and entering and I’m not sure there is such thing as a totally bear-proof coop.  However, when our friend’s coop was broken into by a bear he was busily eating the chicken feed, not the chickens or eggs, when they found him.  Which I thought was interesting.

Lastly, just for fun and artistic reasons, I found some old wood shingles in a scrap pile on the property and decided to make signs for the coop with the chickens’ names on them.  I love the old-fashioned farm feel of it.

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So far it has been an excellent coop and we are really happy with the design.

6 thoughts on “Finished Chicken Coop

  1. Love the coop! I am hoping we will be able to make one like this out by our “barn” and garage this summer. We’ve missed our chickens for the last 10 years or so and would love to have some again. Only problem is hen we travel. Being gone for 2 weeks or more may be a problem, we may need to rethink. 😦 sigh
    But I was wondering what you use for inside the coop for ‘litter’. I was reading an article about using clean ‘pool’ sand.
    Comments?
    Thank you for all your posts. I know it takes time, and you are so busy, so, thank you again. 😀
    Karen from northwestern Massachusetts
    (yup, I’m a New England girl… well ‘older woman’…lol)

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    • We use pine shavings inside our coops. In the small coop they are about 6 inches deep and it has to be cleaned out completely every 2-3 months. In our previous big coop I put them 9-12 inches deep and only had to clean it about twice a year. I am hoping that will hold true for our new big coop too, we just recently moved the pullets up there so I don’t know yet. As for our outdoor pens, we just leave them dirt. The hens dig it up and dust bathe a bunch and the droppings seem to dry out and get worked into the dirt pretty well. When I clean out the coop I also do a thorough raking of the pen to get whatever is in there out. At our old house the pen wasn’t covered and we had some issues with slick mud-poo mix when it rained or snow melted, so I would sometimes pull the old, used shavings out of the coop and spread them around the pen to soak up the muck for a few hours or a couple days (and I would put new fresh shavings inside the coop). Then I would scoop them all out and take most of the muck with them. With the pen we currently have having a roof we haven’t had issues with that and it has been very nice. We are planning a covered pen for the new big coop as well for this reason. I think it’s worth it.

      I have heard of people using sand, I’ve never tried it.

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      • Well now… isn’t this a long time from getting back to you? lol Since then we have chickens we hatched and also lost several (long stories). We now have three, a rooster we rescued with 16 other chickens, one hen we incubated, her name is ‘Tweed Jacket’. Her Mom was ‘Christmas’, and Dad was ‘Foghorn, I say Two Feathers Leghorn’. Really crazy name for him, huh? well, Christmas was taken by a fox, but he couldn’t drag her as she was so big, but we found her dead 10 feet into the woods. Foghorn we put in the freezer as he attacked husband Bill and he had to go to ER for 11 stitches. Hence the freezer. Back to the ones we have is the last one, Dale (as in Chip and Dale)…. Chip was killed by a fisher cat, in front of me. He grabbed her tail, spun her around, bit into her chest (hit lungs), and she came crawling over to me, and I held her. So only three right
        Now .back to the rescues. Two winters in a row, people have dumped their chickens in the woods about 50 feet from us. No food, shelter, water (is next to a pond and lake.. but frozen). What is wrong with people?! Anyway, each time they were dumped, they were a mess. Bony, weak, feathers were bad, and you could see they had been picking each other bloody. So I opened the med kit we have, fixed’em up and started to give them food, building up the amount each day… they got better…. AND started laying eggs! One of my fellow Nurses who has 200 plus acres and a FULL farm, took them. 😀

        We have until this year, been getting meat birds and growing them from 11 to 18 pounds! We do mix them (slowly) with the other chickens we have had. They seem to get along ok and exercise more then they would just in a pen. Oh, and if a turkey or two stroll though the back near the woods, they somehow end up in the freezer as well. 🙂

        As far as chicken buildings go, we had one made 10 X 12 with chicken door, people door, two opening and fenced in windows, and what we call, “The Take Out”, which is 2 1/2 feet by 10 inches, opens up from the outside with lifting up, has hardwire cloth for the opening. Haven’t had trouble with critters, but flies…. We keep thinking of putting screen on the inside for that problem.
        We should be moving the chicken barn closer to the house (cuz of mud, snow, etc.), so need a backhoe, and new lolly columns placed for it. We do have a Chicken Tractor we use for when we have extra chickens, cleaning the barn, and so we can move the chickens around (if not right in sight) safely. When not in use for chickens, we use it for storage and place on cinder blocks.

        And this reminds me of something else I was going to tell you…. I know you are way up in cold country, but we heat our chicken barn with a light bulb! We started out with heating lamps, then went to one of those large cans that has Danish cookies in them, with a light bulb rigged inside. Now we have been using one of those ‘hollowed out’ cinder blocks that is used for planting flowers and placing on a cinder block wall….. we use a 60 or 75 watt bulb (depending on the coldness) inside. Drill a hole in the bottom, scrape out a ‘trench’ for the wire to go under it, then up to the outlet. On top we use a flat cinder slab (to fit to the edges or a little over), and plug it in as needed. If real cold…. we put the water feeder on top! Have to say, we are pleased with that. If we get some meat chickens in the cooler/colder weather, we will raise up a dog crate (never used for our dog), and put one of the “heaters” under it for the chicks….. that is when they have feathers going on.

        sorry about the book! lol hope all is well.

        P.S. I posted another note to your email today. And, our gardens have gone crazy this year! you have the same raised beds, too. Bill made them and we have the trickle water hoses in them, too…… not that we needed them much this year…

        (From Northwestern Massachusetts

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  2. Pingback: coop building : part 1: foundation | vuchickens

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