We had five growing chicks and no place to put them. My husband had looked online at many different pictures of coops and decided what he wanted the coop to look like. It was going to be grand. With a limit of eight chickens allowed in town we planned to build it big enough for eight in case we ever decided to add more to our flock.
With the plans drawn up we cleared a space in the back corner of our backyard for the coop, run, and yard for our chickens. We dug down and buried 12" by 12" pavers vertically to create a barrier to deter any predators hoping to dig their way in. We laid paving blocks on top of that barrier to create a place for the frame of the coop to sit on, up out of the dirt.
The lumber was purchased and my husband got to work framing it out.
The actual coop would be elevated, with the run extending below it.
The roof is slanted to allow for the rain to run off the back.
He closed up the coop and made a window covered with chicken wire, to allow for ventilation. With the two nest boxes on the end, it allows for easy access to collect the eggs.
A large door on the coop helps when cleaning it out. My husband really was thinking when he made these plans. We put two perching bars across the width of the coop. They slide into a casing on either side so that they can be removed for cleaning as well.
The full-sized door on the run allows us to get right in there to be able to fill and hang the chickens' food and water containers. It also helps when we happen to have hens laying eggs in weird places. We have easy access to the entire space. With latches on the big doors and the nest box, our chickens are kept safe as well. The rest of the run was covered in chicken wire from the inside. Our oldest son helped my husband build the ladder for the chickens to get in and out of the coop.
We painted the outside of coop to match the trim of the house and moved our (not so) little chicks in.
This coop has been great over the last few years. We've closed in a chicken yard for the hens and laid sand in the run of the coop for cleanliness and ease. Our boys can care for the chickens almost completely on their own. They can check the nest boxes and open the door to let them out into the yard. They can even refill and rehang the food and water. They love playing with their chickens and feeding them kitchen scraps. The older boys have learned how to clean the coop and nest boxes and replace the bedding as well.
There are many choices of chicken coops that are premade. If building your own coop seems daunting, take a look around at your local farm co-op or online. For us, this was a great family project and we love how the coop just seems to fit with our house and yard.
Do you have a chicken coop that you've built? We'd love to hear about it and see pictures.