New Chooks = New Digs

Back in February we acquired a new flock of 23 red sex-linked hens (in addition to the 18 chickens we already had). We had many people from far and wide very interested in buying our eggs on a regular, standing order basis, so deciding to honor the rule of supply and demand, we more than doubled our flock. This meant I needed to get busy building a new coop.

I have built two coops in the past: one for a small flock of 6 (though it could be modified to fit plenty more), and another (the duck house) that could accommodate about 12 – 15 birds. This most recent coop is definitely the best of my designs. When building coops I like to use as many “found materials” as I possibly can. In addition, due to the fact that our flocks our mobile (rotated with moveable electric fence throughout our land), in the woods, and we have no tractor to pull have coops, we need to have semi-lightweight coops (light enough to be pulled by one strong individual). This is why I turn to pallets for my foundations–they are very strong, but light enough to move quite easily once wheels are attached.

 

Thin and light plywood siding

With this coop, I did purchase some 2×3’s, hardware cloth, and fencing tacks to be used in conjunction with old scrap 2×4’s, plywood, nails, screws, hinges, clasps and Ondura roofing pieces that I had from a previous project. Judah was a big helper on this project and we were able to get it done in only a couple afternoons (along with all the other regular farm chores).

Judah tacking down the hardware cloth

The coop design has a large door for relatively easy access for cleaning, a hardware cloth floor to prevent sneaky critters from breaking and entering, and a vent on either side near the roof for good air flow.

The coop is coming together

The pre-used roofing is layered for proper watershed and could have a gutter piece added to gather drinking water for the girls.

February 2014 (Josh's Phone) 156

There is a large nesting box door for easy access to those yummy eggs.

Exterior view of nesting box door (+ Judah)

And three nesting boxes to accommodate the nesting needs of up to 24 birds!

Nesting boxes

There are 4 primary roosts and a 5th lower roost to be utilized as an assist up to the other roosts or as overflow if it is needed (I prefer to use actual branches for their roosts, as chickens in the wild would not typically perch on 2×2’s).

Roosts to accomodate 25 chickens

The girls were easily able to fit 6 on a roost, especially during the colder months. I call this my best coop design because it is mobile, it can comfortably hold 24 birds in a 3’x4′ space, while also keeping them completely secure from predation–I haven’t seen anything that comes close to this. It is efficient, inexpensive, and super easy to build as long as you have the proper tools. The most expensive part of the coop is the flat-free tires and axle–very important for woodland raised, mobile chickens!

Let me know if you have any questions about this coop project and remember to be safe and have fun during all building projects.

Talk to you again soon!