Chicken Coop - Construction begins

Discussion in 'Blogs' started by ditch witch, Mar 24, 2012.


  1. ditch witch

    ditch witch resident bacon hoarder Site Supporter+

    Our original coop was a 4'x8' chicken tractor, and while it was plenty large enough for our original 2 hens, it was a pain in the butt to constantly move about the yard. It didn't help that I brought home 2 more hens, packing it beyond it's capacity. The result was that the hens were given the freedom to roam the backyard at will.

    Having hens loose in the yard can be charming, but stepping in warm chicken poo at 6 am while trying to feed the dog is not. Watching your obese hens gorge themselves on two rows worth of grapes you had earmarked for some homemade wine doesn't add to the love either.

    The new coop will be 8'x24', with a 5'x8' night roost and two sets of nesting boxes. Having raised urban chickens on and off for most of my life, I've learned a few tricks and a few no nos along the way, and this coop should be the end all be all of townie hen houses. We also entertain a bit in our back yard so the Mr demanded it look nice so I had to snottify its appearance a bit. ;) I'm attaching a pic of my original drawing for this so you can see where it's going.

    The base is made of 4"x8"x16' concrete blocks to keep the wood frame well out of the dirt. We need to tamp the blocks down to get them level but our yard is soup right now and I'm already sunburned so this is probably it for the day.

    The area past the coop where the IBC tote is sitting is where the greenhouse will be going up after the coop is finished. Our aquaponics system (also on the list of projects-to-finish) will go in the greenhouse.

    *******

    Between his knees and my back we are the slowest framers ever. We are also using screws instead of nails so that adds to the time. Believe me it's hard to keep driving screws when we have an air compressor and a nail gun, but with our high winds I want this thing to be pretty stout.

    Took us forever to get the first section done, but at least it's the worst one so the rest should go fast. This will be the part where the door going into the coop is, as well as where the exterior accessible nestboxes will connect on. The 2x6 horizontal sticks out 2" to hang over the siding that will go beneath. The night box will begin on it.

    As a side note, it's Sunday, and I've already been reminded by code enforcement that I have to get a permit for this. :rolleyes:

    ****

    Tueday and the permit has been approved. Not like I thought it wouldn't. I know everyone at city hall.... and more importantly they know what a massive pain in the butt I can be when I don't get my way. [beer]
    Will get another section done tonight.

    ****

    Got the left side up. This is the end that will have the door and the nestboxes that can be accessed from the outside. I also have a huge 10 hole galvanized nestbox that I'll hang in the run but I'm hoping most of them will make use of the ones that open into the roost box.

    The bricks are SO not level, heh.

    ****

    All walls and rafters are up now. The rafters are 2x6x12s sitting on a 2x6 on the back end which allows for slight slope. While it does snow here, the winds tend to blow it off of roofs and into drifts so I'm not really worried about a snow load. We'll run a gutter along the front side that will feed through a sand & charcoal filter down into a catchment system, that will in turn supply a gravity fed watering system for the birds.
     
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  2. Troy brownrigg

    Troy brownrigg How my next home will be constructed!

    If you have plenty of time, lots of land, and don't want to spend alot of cash, consider making animal pens from adobe brick. Reseach how large protions of the great wall of China were built, It isn't all cut stone. Large areas of it was constructed with vegitation native to the area and mud. I've built horse stalls from tumble weeds and dirt, they are indestructable even to horses. The insulation valve is extremely high, totally wind resistant. and can be reinforced with barded wire (acts just like rebar).
     
    kellory likes this.
  3. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

    Did you put heat in this or a way to heat if needed? I saw a small barn that had solar panels and I thing this would be better then running electric.

    Also, did you pen them in and how deep did you bury the fence to keep out critters?
     
    pearlselby likes this.
  4. ditch witch

    ditch witch resident bacon hoarder Site Supporter+

    Moto, I don't heat it. There is power running to it for lights and a water de-icer but I don't provide heat for the hens. They have a draft free roost box inside and do just fine, even when it was 0F here a few weeks back. The biggest thing is keeping them dry and making sure they can get out of the wind. The wind will give them frostbite on their combs and wattles fast. The roost box is deep litter using shavings on the bottom, wheat straw on top, and a bag of used Starbucks coffee grounds every week or so to sweeten the smell.

    Did not bury the fence. It's already inside a 6' fence and the only critter problem I have is the neighbor's ten thousand cats, who are only interested in killing the dove that roost in my trees. Actually I don't ever bury fence. Dogs and whatnot dig down at the edge of the barrier. They're not tricky enough to back up a few feet to start digging, so the times I've built a coop that needed additional protection, I just laid old cyclone fence down flat on the ground and built the coop on top of it so that the fence extended 2-3 ft out in all directions. Put dirt over it, let the grass grow. Anything that tries to dig hits that and gets nowhere... and I don't have to dig in hard packed caliche.

    They do have a yard that's about 10'x20' and I'm about to run another fence off its far corner to enclose my berry patch, fruit trees, and grapevines so the dogs won't be able to crap on them any more. I'll set it up so their yard can be opened into that area during the fall and winter after the fruit has all been picked... those girls can strip my grapevines clean in a half an hour, ugh.

    Coop 1. Coop 2. Coop Pallet Fence. Nestboxes.
     
  5. Troy brownrigg

    Troy brownrigg How my next home will be constructed!

    I live in Arizona it's 29 Jan and it's 74 degrees. Adobe walls are 16" thick, and I use them for the goat pens with a metal roof. Skunks and Racoons are a problem for chickhens here. I currently do not have any chickhens. But if I did I would use abode material to make the wall system , and make extra sure those critters are kept from the hen house.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 29, 2014
    Motomom34 likes this.
  6. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Just a NOTE, here: Both Skunks, and Raccoons, can dig thru, and breach, an Earthen Wall, UNLESS it has a Chicken Wire Core.....
    .
     
    Tully Mars likes this.
  7. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

    I never thought of an adobe hen house. I am in CO and I am sure my neighbor would have a comment or to.
     
    pearlselby likes this.
  8. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

    Good idea. Never thought to do that. Now you got me thinking.
     
  9. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

    So I guess adobe wouldn't be good. I have bear, fox, Mt. lion plus skunks & coons. Gosh looking at the list I typed I may want to reconsider chickens.
     
  10. ditch witch

    ditch witch resident bacon hoarder Site Supporter+

    Before this coop, and before we got the fence around the back yard built, I had a little chicken tractor with 4 hens in it. As I should have known would happen, one day someone's unrestrained dogs came over and the Labrador clawed and chewed his way through the wooden sides. They were made from 1"x6". After I replaced the side he'd eaten through, I attached carpet tack strips all over the outside walls running horizontally so anything that tried to scratch the sides would get a nasty surprise. Dog was back a few days later, watched him from the kitchen window. He got his nasty surprise, left some bloody pawprints behind, and never came back.
     
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  11. ClovisMan

    ClovisMan Monkey

    I just had 15 pullets delivered and all seem to be alive and kicking well. How big of Hen House will I need assuming all live through the terror of my children?
     
  12. ditch witch

    ditch witch resident bacon hoarder Site Supporter+

    You're supposed to allow a minimum of 2-3 square foot per bird. For roost space I allow 1 linear foot per bird. Chickens are walking, clucking poop machines so while the night roosting area doesn't need to be huge, the more daytime running room you can give them the better.
     
  13. ClovisMan

    ClovisMan Monkey

    They will be free ranging during day, so they should have plenty of room for that. The Hen House I had planned was an 8x8 wood shed type building with 8 nesting boxes in it. Big enough you think?
     
  14. ditch witch

    ditch witch resident bacon hoarder Site Supporter+

    Sounds plenty big enough to me!
     
  15. Pineknot

    Pineknot Concrete Monkey Site Supporter+++

    Just make sure you put them up at night and definitely consider predators from above and below, lost 11 in one night, my fault but learned a lesson
     
  16. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey Site Supporter+

    Like BT said, just use chicken wire or chain link fencing at the core of your adobe walls.
     
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  17. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey Site Supporter+

    I'm going to either take over or duplicate the one that my wife's uncle and my worthless POS BiL built a few years back.
    Long rant, which I'll spare you from.. Anyways, the "Chicken Ranch" as I dubbed it one weekend is about 12'x12' I think with a yard that's maybe 12'x 25'. I'm guessing as its been awhile since I've been to that section of his property. I did help with the construction a bit when I was on days off. We poured footings around the entire perimeter to keep the critters from digging under. Yard is fenced 8' high with hog wire with 3' or 4' high(can't remember which) chicken wire all along the lower portion. Yard area was rototilled before construction was started with oyster shell mixed in. Inside the coop are laying beds and roosting areas. Doors in the back allow access to beds. Coop has cross ventilation and extra fine crushed stone as the floor. The yard area was to be covered with chicken wire with a cammo netting to help with shade. But BiL couldn't wait and put all the chickens in place before he and uncle could finish.. Result was a POed uncle and a 85% kill rate on said chickens. Uncle wrote the rest off and its been sitting unused ever since. It's in a nice spot on his property, except for the water issue. No real way to plumb water all the way over there. Since I can get used 500 gal food grade totes I figure to get one and build a small trailer to fit. Fill the tote at the house and tow it to the chicken ranch with a quad.
     
    chelloveck likes this.
  18. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Better yet, why not rig your totes for a rainfall cistern at the site?
     
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  19. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey Site Supporter+

    Excellent idea and very doable for the fall thru spring. This area as a rule doesn't seem to get that much rain during the summer months, but well worth the labor for the rest of the year!
     
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