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Wild About Chickens — and most other barnyard animals — Page 3
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April 14 2009 we started the construction of our new chicken coop. The original plans for this coop were featured in a previous blog. I mention them now because we have been modifying our plans as we go along and I am not sure how close to my original idea we will be in the end. Gerald, my husband has been coming home from work as early as he can to work on the coop. The first day he constructed a base on two pressures treated 4” x 4”s. The base is a rectangle 4” x 12” made out of 2” x 4” boards with 2” x 4” boards running across the rectangle covered by 1 and ½ pieces of 4’ x 8’ sheets of plywood. So far this matches the original plans. My sister-in-law Cindy recently had a chicken palace build by a carpenter. She had her floor covered in linoleum. I had read about using linoleum for the floors. It is supposed to make cleaning the floor easier so we went to Endwell Rug in Endwell NY and bought a 12’ x 4 ½’ remnant for $25.00. This is the first change to our plans.

Base of coop.

Base of coop.

Base leveled and covered with linoleum

Base leveled and covered with linoleum

On April 17th our Friend and neighbor Brad Meyer (Meyer Mountain Farms) came down to help with the construction. He has much more experience than we do and very nicely made some suggestions which resulted in some improvements to our coop plans. Instead of framing out two big openings for two nesting boxes, we decided that the openings to the individual boxes will be between the 2” x 4” studs in the walls. We will hang the nesting boxes off of the outside of the coop wall with the openings in the boxes lined up with the spaces between the studs. Brad says that the walls will be stronger this way and it will be easier to construct.
The next change is in the height of the coop. My original plan was for 4’ high walls on one side and 6’ high walls on the other expecting to have to crouch some when I step into the coop to clean it. Now the walls are going to be 6’ on the short side and 8’ on the tall side. No crouching and fewer cuts in the lumber.  

Short wall standing on the base

Short wall standing on the base

Standing the tall wall up on the base

Standing the tall wall up on the base

Once the walls were framed up we stood them up and screwed them to the base. With all of the walls up we put siding on the walls and then the rafters for the roof.

Putting Siding on the Frame

Putting Siding on the Frame

Gerald Peeking over the top of the tall wall as the rafters were being put up

Gerald Peeking over the top of the tall wall as the rafters were being put up

Gerald and Brad placing 2' x 4' boards across the rafters

Gerald and Brad placing 2' x 4' boards across the rafters

Brad Meyer putting boards across the rafters

Brad Meyer putting boards across the rafters

It took 8 hours to get this far. The base built on the 14th, the walls built on the 16th and the siding and rafters put up today the 19th.
We plan to get together again after work on Tuesday the 21st to continue working on the project.

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Some time back I wrote about wanting to design a new coop that would have the nesting boxes off the floor and set up in a way that might help to keep the eggs cleaner. Well it is spring now and time to start building the coop. In order to figure out roughly what materials to order I drew up some rough plans for the new coop.
I originally planned to put this coop on stilts of pressure treated 4’ x 4’s sunk in the ground below the frost line and this is how I made my drawing but every book I read on the subject of building sheds and animal shelters suggests building on 4’ x 4’ s long ways on the ground like skids. So this is what we plan to do instead of what I have drawn here.

Box Platform forms the base of the coop. This will be covered with plywood and the walls will be built on top.

Box Platform forms the base of the coop. This will be covered with plywood and the walls will be built on top.

The basic box platform on which the rest of the structure will be built will be on top of the 4’ x 4’ s on the ground instead of on top of the ends of the 4″ x 4″ posts sticking out of the ground.

One and a half sheets of ply wood will be needed to cover the base of the coop

One and a half sheets of ply wood will be needed to cover the base of the coop

On top of this box platform the walls will be built. On the back wall of the coop we plan to frame in openings from which the laying boxes will be hung/attached.

Frame for back wall with openings for nesting boxes.

Frame for back wall with openings for nesting boxes.

Since we are buying some Bard Rock hens for our Bard Rock rooster and Rhode Island Red Rooster for our Rhode Island Red Hens we will essentially have two flocks. They will need to be kept separate in the coop so there will be a dividing wall inside the coop.

There will also have to be two doors one on each side of the coop to let the two flocks out into their separate yards.

The Front wall with framed openings for chicken doors and center wall to divide coop in half.

The Front wall with framed openings for chicken doors and center wall to divide coop in half.

I will need a way to get into each side of the coop to clean so there will have to be two human size doors hung one on each end of the coop.

Frame for side doors. One on each end of coop to allow the pooper scooper to get in and do her job.

Frame for side doors. One on each end of coop to allow the pooper scooper to get in and do her job.

The roof will be slanted not peaked. I did not draw the short wall that will raise the height of one side of the coop or the framing for the roof. We will cover the roof with ply wood and then metal roofing. Here is a side view of the plans for the coop showing the slanted roof and a cross section of the nesting boxes sticking out.

A simple drawing of the nesting box I have in minde for the new coop

A simple drawing of the nesting box I have in minde for the new coop

From these plans Gerald and I came up with a lumber order (we do not build many things so there isn’t a supply of scrap lumber to work with) which includes the following:

12 - 2″ x 4″ x 12′ boards
46 - 2″ x 4″ x 8′ boards
2 - 4″ x 4″ x 8′ boards
2 - 4″ x 4″ x 12′ boards
2 - 4′ x 8′ x 5/8″ sheets plywood
4 - 4′ x 8′ x 7/16″ sheets plywood
8 - 4′ x 8′ x 1/4″ sheet Lauan plywood
5 - sheet 12′ long galvanized steel roofing
40 - 1″ x 3″ x 8′ furring strips
200 - 1-1/2″ galvanized roofing screws
2 lbs 2 -1/2″ deck screws
3 lbs 1-1/4″ dry wall screws
20′ hardware clothe 48″ wide with 1/4″ openings (to cover vents and prevent predators from geting into coop)

Total cost = $667.78 (Oh Boy! this is not cheep!)

I am sure that we will find that we do not have enough of something or we will not measure something correctly and ruin some materials and have to go back to the lumber yard for more stuff but I think that is part of the adventure.

We bought the materials from a local lumber yard even though it is likely to be more expensive than going to Lowe’s or Home Depot. Our reasoning is that it saves us gas and wear and tear on our vehicle and it gives the business to our local community. With the current economy we want to resist the drive to save pennies if it means that jobs in our back yard would be a risk. Besides when we go into Bisbee’s Lumber in Hancock NY and tell them about our hair brained ideas they never laugh at us and they always give us good advice on how to do what we want better.

They will be delivering our materials on Wed. of next week and I can hardly wait to get started.

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