Thursday, June 25, 2020

Chicken Coop Building Part 1 - The Coop

A little time before Mother's Day we decided it would be a good idea to get chickens, lol. Actually it was a God whisper during one of my yoga sessions, haha! We had purchased all this stuff for a garden and well the garden was a big fat FAIL because there was literally no sun to the area once the trees filled out. So we had all this fencing that wasn't cheap and decided to repurpose it on a coop. So with that, then the idea of having yummy fresh eggs, AND giving the kids a fun experience we did some research, held a family meeting with powerpoint presentation and all and decided we were going to venture into owning chickens. 

We did lots and LOTS of research on plans, care, clean up, etc: 

Then made plans of our own: 

And visited a few local farm stores in the process of making our decision:

Had a good laugh that our chicken breed research list was right next to our chicken dinner order, LOL. Funny not funny haha. 


The incubator arrived in the mail from my brother in California and it was time to get supplies for the coop building. First of a bazillion trips to Home Depot. We decided to only get the supplies for the immediate part of the project instead of getting everything at once. Since we knew from being previous house fixer uppers that a project is never complete in one shopping trip. First up was the base and two walls. 

Took us the weekend but we managed to reach our goal of phase 1. 

The base: We used 24" 4 x 4s and notched out a corner to lay the 2 x 4s. All of this part is pressure treated wood. 



Base complete! It is 4' x 4' so it would be easiest for materials. They sell 4x4 pieces of plywood as well as our siding pieces were 4 feet wide. Kept it simple. Our original plan was 4' x 5' but we dropped it back. This size coop is good for 4 chickens.


Two walls assembled: 

And a good stopping point for one weekend of work (May 16th)

That week, I spent a sweaty afternoon preparing the ground. We wanted to dig down just a bit so the base would be buried and prevent predators from digging under and gaining access into the run. This was a LOT of work.... unfortunately for nothing as you'll see further in the post. 

We got a LOT of work done on the coop while my brother was visiting. 

The first day we worked on the nesting box wall and nesting boxes. 



Nesting boxes complete!

We also discovered that the location we had originally planned for the coop and run was a flood zone. So back to the drawing board for location. 

That evening the guys got started on cutting the braces for the roof


The next day we got moved to the new site, behind the house, dug a little to get set up for the base and started to assemble the coop walls. 

Better showing the flood zone after the rain that night. 


Attaching the hardwire cloth to the base, the chickens will be able to utilize the space under the coop for exporting as well when they are in their chicken run. 

We got the base placed and leveled out. 

Trip to Menards to find some cheap vinyl tiles for the flooring of the coop. I wanted that on BEFORE the walls went up so they'd be secured down at the edges. Mind you throughout these two days we had a bazillion trips to Home Depot, Ace Hardware, and one trip to menards. HAHA.

Time to assemble the coop walls!! 

Once the walls were up it was time to get the roof joists finalized. Took a few times of assembling, taking apart, resembling to land where we wanted them to be. 

The work they put in the night before was just ground work as they all measured a bit differently. The joy and process of projects is learning as you go. 


We got the roof joists in... long enough for a photo haha. 


Then realized we wanted them OFF to put the north and south siding on the coop. So we took them back down and put up the two side walls that sit under the joists. Oh but before this we did get the roost sticks in the coop. These are what the chickens sleep on at night. We wanted to use some of the logs we had from getting our trees trimmed. 

Oh and at some point within the second day the buys ran to Harbor Freight and Josh bought us a new saw, lol. Tired of the other battery dying and just making crappy cuts. So now we had a corded saw that made much faster, smoother, cuts. 


Alright sides on and NOW it was time for the roof. These two sides required minimal cutting only that for the doors, they were already 4x4 pieces. Working into dark here. More call for rain so we wanted to get the top on. 


Third day of Josh's visit and back to work! This was actually the last big chunk of work we did while Josh was visiting. The kids were desperate for attention and we had made the bulk of the progress to a nice stopping point. 

We started with getting the other two walls up. These were 4x8 pieces which we had to cut a peek off for the top. 

View of the roosts and the inside of the coop: 


Kyle did some sanding to flatten out the edges before putting the shingles on

Time to get the shingles on, last item on our current check list. We started by putting a metal flashing around all the edges. While the guys worked on the top shingles I pieced together the nesting box roof. 


Isaac took this photo of us all working: 

WOO HOO! First experience with shingling and it's looking GREAT! This was basically our stopping point. 

A couple days later, before Josh left, we got the coop's run door on with a pulley so we could open it from outside the coop. This will allow the chickens to walk out into their run each morning. There will be a ramp down from this door. 


We took a few days break from the coop work, well until the next weekend anyway. 

We needed to get the trim on so we could get it pained before putting the doors and hardware on. 

I got some hardware cloth on the openings under the roof and the two windows that will allow for air flow. We've kept those pieces for the windows so we can put them back in when it gets cold in the winter. 


Here's another view of the roosts inside. One we made a shelf so it can actually be changed out if the branch gets bad. The other one we screwed into the side wall framing so will just have to remove it if needed. 

View of the nesting box door just sitting there, lots to do before it can be put in. Got the cleanup door framed around the inside to give the door something to bump onto. That was a Saturday's work. 


Sunday was trim day. Found these pieces and decided it'd be MUCH easier for the corners than trying to trim it out with flat pieces. 

While we had the nail gun I also secured this piece inside giving a little reinforcements above the nesting box where there was a gap. 

Trimmed out and ready for paint later that week! 


Painting was a week day project just me and the kids. We started with a layer of Kilz on any bare wood and backs of the doors to protect from the weather. 

Once the kilz layer was on it was time to paint the whole thing. 

Pretty ironic that while we were putting on these finishing touches one evening after work our FIRST CHICK was hatching! We went back in to see Beep Beep had emerged from it's egg! 

Hinges, latches, and handles. The coop is complete! 

I'll start a new blog post for the chicken run. So almost complete but we needed to make the outdoor part next. Stay Tuned! 

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