Monday, June 11, 2012

Building a Chicken Coop, Part 4

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

The interior of the coop is divided into a coop and storage side, and both have a linoleum floor to make cleaning easier. The linoleum was a remnant so was not expensive and was simple to install.  The coop side has the nesting boxes for egg laying, they have a steeply sloped roof to prevent the chickens from roosting on top of them.

Also the chickens can exit the coop via the chicken door which leads to the run, the door is made from a plastic cutting board to prevent it from warping or rotting. The divider between the two sections has chicken wire to keep the chickens on the coop side. In the coop a long painted 2x2 serves as the roost for the chickens. It is important that the roost is not over anything that is difficult to clean, as they will poop from it all night :)

On the storage side the food is stored in rubbermaid stackable containers, along with food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) for the bedding, which is pine shavings. We use the deep litter method, so the coop is stirred and more shavings/ DE added on a weekly basis, and its cleaned out every 6 months, and goes on our compost pile.

 The eggs can be collected from the storage side using a latching door. Most eggs are generally laid in the same box, with one or two here and there in the others.

The door opening/closing mechanism uses some inexpensive metal pulleys, rope, and a wooden handle. It hooks under a couple of screws as shown here to keep the door open during the day.

Shingling the roof was a pretty simple task, we used ordinary 3-tab asphalt shingles over 15-lb tar paper. I had never done any roofing up to this point, so it was a learning experience. I capped the ridge by cutting the shingles in thirds and went in the direction of the prevailing wind. I used an ordinary claw hammer and found the hook-type box cutter blades to work great for cutting the shingles.

I decided to go with ordinary panel siding for the coop as it was simpler and quicker than other siding options, as well as being the cheapest. I trimmed the corners, doors, and windows with 1x4 pine which was painted white. The window, gable vents, and door are all hand-built from pine. The door is a z-brace style built from shiplapped 2x6s and coated with spar urethane - its is far more solid than required. The window is a custom built frame with an old sash that hinges from the top. This keeps out rain but allows ventilation to be adjusted.

The coop has a 200-square foot run fully enclosed with welded wire (even the roof) to protect against hawks and climbing predators. This is easily large enough for 8 chickens if they are kept in the run instead of pastured. However we keep the run door open and let them run pastured in our back yard, which is roughly 3/4 an acre.  The run has its own door to let the chickens out into the yard. This can be handy in case we would like to eat outside and don't want a chicken invasion on our hands :)

We installed this little sign that a friend made for the coop, and it is complete!

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