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