When I set out on this endeavor I didn't really know what to expect. Sure, I built my small coop, the dog house, the garden bench, compost enclosure and did the remodel of my coop...but this is on a whole different level.
It all started before we even moved out here to Snohomish, I sat down at my desk and put my little model farm set's chicken coop in front of me and started to sketch out the rough plans.
I originally planned on having the foot print of the coop to be 8' x 12', and I chose to stick with 4' increments because of the siding that I wanted to use, it came in 8' x 4' pieces. ;-) I like to think I'm smart, but heaven knows I'm just lazy and didn't want to have to rip a bunch of siding! But I digress.
Once I drew up the plans I talked to Michael about having a concrete slab poured, in doing this I had to go to him with all the reasons I felt it was necessary. Okay, that just made him sound like he controls everything...lol...but that isn't the case. I knew that a slab was going to cost quite a bit of money so I was trying to justify it to myself more so than to him. But we both agreed that it was the right thing to do. I decided on having a slab poured for two main reasons: 1) If I built my coop on a slab I wouldn't have to make the attached run like Fort Knox...my chickens would be safely locked inside at night and I wouldn't have to worry about anything digging in and getting them. 2) With as much rain as we get here in the Pacific Northwest I didn't want any wood touching the ground which would speed up the rotting.
I hired a local contractor and he came out and met with me and gave me a bid for the slab. Between the original sketching of plans and when I had the contractor come out, I decided to increase my coop to 8' x 16' to incorporate a grow out area inside the coop. So after the bid was made he came out and set the forms and had a truck come out to pour the slab. I was thoroughly impressed with the work he did and I can't even being to tell you how long it would have taken me to do the same job! I know when to step back and let others do their jobs!
|He is prepping the site for the slab.|
|This truck was cool! It mixed the concrete on site and the guy controlled it from some levers at the back of the truck! Even drove it forwards and backwards using those levers!|
|The finished slab, as seen from our deck!|
Once the slab was poured it was then up to me to get my butt in gear and buy the 2 x 4s and siding to get things started. I don't know about you, but the hardest part of a big project is starting it. I hemmed and hawed for a few weeks before I rented the U-Haul to go to Home Depot to pick up my supplies. Once I had them here I figured it'd take me about a week to build the coop and paint it. Oh how silly I am! LOL. Little did I know that for most of the construction time it would be in the mid to high 80s. And if you know anything about me, you know that the good Lord built me for colder weather...NOT the heat.
I started out by building the walls. I had the contractor install anchors to bolt the walls to so it would be more secure. I used pressure treated cedar 2 x 4s for the bottoms off all the walls since this would be the place that if water was to get in, it would touch these boards.
Once I got going, it actually wasn't that bad, I did the rough framing, and then stood them up, bolted them in place and screwed the corner studs to each other.
After the main walls were up I added support beams from the front wall to the back wall while I built and installed the upper front wall.
After installing that I made a post to support it in the center and removed the support beams.
With all the framing done, it was time man handle the 8' x 4' sheets of siding! What a job! But I managed to get them all cut and in place!
This side of the coop is where my door is going to go, so I purposefully left this panel off to tackle at a later date.
Time for the roof supports. Fun times! You can also see that on the top of the back wall I installed 2 x 4s with holes cut in them for "soffit venting" I covered the holes with hardware cloth.
With the siding up and the roof supports in, it was now time to tackle the windows. **Gulp** I purchased the windows from Shed Windows and More, a company on the east coast. I ordered 12 windows total, with shipping it was about $400. Spendy for a coop, but I wanted windows that opened and had screens on them. BEST THING I DID! :)
Here's what they look like from the inside. I still need to frame them out with studs in the inside.
After installing all the lower windows, I put in the upper ones. It was much easier than I anticipated!
Now on to the door. I built the door jams, and then built the frame in the shop. I used some scrap pieces of wood to hold the frame in place with screws while I screwed the paneling to it, then drew my lines and cut it out. Worked well!
Once the door was finished I then moved on to framing out the insides of the windows with studs to support them. Both on the lower and upper windows.
With all the big work done...it was time to start getting things painted. I'm not going to lie...I HATE painting. But I decided to just jump right in. I started by painting all the trim for the outside of the coop. I used cedar trim pieces because they hold up better and resist bugs and rot.
Then it was time to start painting the coop red!
I used a roller to paint the siding and after I was done it looked like I just completed a scene in Dexter! Mind you, this was ALL OVER ME! LOL
I removed the windows so I could paint the coop red, smart move on my part! No taping! hahaha.
Once the painting was complete, it was time to put the windows back it. Man I kept standing back and looking at the coop and I would just smile!
Not bad, eh? :)
Once it was painted and the windows installed it was time to add the white trim. I also decided to add window boxes under the front windows.
Time to roof!
I even installed some roof vents to help on the hot days.
With the roofing in place, I trimmed out the door and I added gutters to the front and back of the coop. I scrambled to get the roof on and gutters in place in one day because we were expecting a ton of rain. And lucky that I did it!
With the majority of the work done I moved on to cutting out the chicken doors. In the near future I'm going to have electric run to the coop and the chicken doors will be hooked up to motors that will open and close them automatically at sun up and sun down, respectively.
If you recall, I increased the floor space in my coop because I wanted to incorporate a grow out area for chicks. The reason for this is to make the integration of chicks into the flock easier. In this area they can be seen by the older birds but not harmed. I put in the studs, built the door and covered it in chicken wire on the top and hardware cloth on the bottom part.
Here is the inside of the chicken door for the main part of the coop. I framed it out large so I can install the motor.
You can see the chicken door for the grow out area on the other side of the coop.
For roosting I decided to build a "ladder style" roost, and I hooked it to the wall with bolts that way I can be lifted up from the bottom to clean under it.
I added my first four nest boxes across from the roosts.
Here is an outside view of the chicken door on the grow out side of the coop.
Here is the finished exterior with herbs and marigolds planted in the flower boxes. :)
After getting the roosting ladder installed I put an edge around the bottom to keep bedding out of it. This will make it easier to shovel out the chicken manure to go right into the compost bin.
After moving out here I built 8 foot panels with horse fencing and 1 x 2s. This is my temporary run, I will eventually put in 4 x 4 posts and hardware cloth for a permanent run.
This is my roo, Sweetums. He was the first one in to check out the new digs.
I had to toss all the ladies in and lock them in there for a while because they were terrified of the coop and the pellet bedding that is on the floor. HAHA :)
When it comes to chicken keeping, for me its all about stream lining. I built this hopper style feeder out of scrap siding and it holds about 160 lbs of food. I also use the Avian Aqua Miser EZ Miser bucket waterers for my chickens. Love them!
This is the mini version I built for the grow out area. By mini I mean it holds 80 lbs of food haha.
My little nugglets finally reached 6 weeks old and were able to be moved out to the coop. They aren't sure what to think so they decided just to huddle in the corner hahaha. They have their own roosting bars. :)
For the big girls, I added a supplement station. I offer my girls Crushed Egg Shells, Grit and Oyster Shells at all times. I built these with PVC pipes and fittings, and made the wall hanging frame out of 2 x 4s.
This is Phyllis my White Crested Black Polish and Sweetums. The caption is. "Are you my daddy?"
The latest thing I've built/installed was this hardware cloth screened door that opens to the inside and I can hang a box fan on for air movement on hot days. These chickens are living in style!
After it's all said and done, the coop took me about a month to build, and I'm still making adjustments and adding things to it. And I can't really give you a firm price on how much it cost to build because of the materials I used. I spent extra because of our climate as well as adding the slab. This coop cost us a little over 3,000 to build(that includes the price of pouring the slab). Yes, it was spendy, but this coop will be standing for a long time. And I added everything that I could think of that I needed now or might need in the future.
I have to say, that even now when I look at the coop or go into it, I can't believe that I built this. I can't believe that I took my farm set model, sketched plans and then built it by figuring it out as I went.
When I built my first coop a few years ago, it was cute. It was what I thought I wanted and needed. But its amazing how quickly you realize that you want more room, and you need more ventilation. An area to lock off a bully hen is also nice. These are all things I had to add to the old coop. And they are things that I incorporated into the new coop. It's been a wonderful journey having chickens, and I look forward to the road ahead.
Here are some flash back pictures to what I started with, to what I have now.
My first coop. Cute, but not big enough or practical.
I added on to the run, so I could separate a bully hen if need be.
I realized that the garden bed was cute, but not practical, so I remodeled the upper part of the coop giving myself more floor space and the ability to section off 1/2 to use as a grow out area.
And now to my coop:
I hope you enjoyed this walk through of my building of the coop! Let me know what you think! :)
Until next time...Keep Cluckin'...I mean Cookin'! :)