Lost in Chicken Coop World

May 7th, 2010

A recap of building the chicken coop this week.   It took a while to clean up the area and add soil and gravel for a base.  Well maybe more than a little while!

Little surprises always pop up that you don’t plan for.  I needed to cut and replace a rotted end piece of the old shed where I intended to join the new coop.

Grading and setting the base and floor foundation was more than I planned or expected. After all, how much do ten chickens weigh?  I started wondering if I was “in over my head” so to speak.  Maybe I am…   But maybe that’s the challenge for now.  I could have reviewed some decent chicken coop plans first of course… and there’s a lot out there to look at…  but I didn’t do that – I just plunged ahead trying my best to figure things out along the way. Which is both fun… and quite frustrating at times.

So I pressed ahead using the references I had on hand… my son started to wonder what his father was doing?!  We fiddled with the drawings for the chicken coop, and adjusted our planning along the way.

But then I thought we might need to get inside, or it would help to stand on during construction, etc. So I used some leftover concrete blocks and broken pieces to serve as supports on a gravel base,  and spaced the floor joists for strength.

I wasn’t sure if that was enough support across the flooring, and I added another set near the front doors.

Build Your Own Chicken Coop
So I needed to add an additional section of osb flooring, and the joining ends needed to be reinforced for strength, especially at the planned cleanout door to the coop.  Overall it worked out okay, but I was honestly making it up as I went along, and looking up references where I could.

At least now the floor is really strong. More than the chickens need, but we’ll be walking around in there as well.

Today I’m trying to finish the framing to get the roof on (with rain in the forecast), and maybe this weekend to put the sides on. I’ll probably use osb sheathing all the way around… and I’d love to use horizontal planks of some kind for finished siding. Matching the older shed siding would be too expensive, but maybe boards made from cedar or something would work?

Another trip to the lumber store… I was inside the store a few days ago and met a guy who was a carpenter. He was kind enough to answer a few of my questions. He said, “What are you building anyway?” “Oh, it’s a chicken coop,” I reply. “Wow,” he says, “everybody is building a chicken coop! I hope you have some plans…”   Ha!  No, I only had a pencil sketch on paper.  I do think the better chicken coop plans you can buy are very nice out there.  But you have to decide which is better for your home.  So I guess chickens are the big thing these days…

The chickens are only five weeks old but really growing.

They are now living inside the old shed.  Which was painted with really cute designs for a granchild, and has a linoleum floor.  They seem to be enjoying themselves and are living in style I tell you.  But don’t get used to it chickies!  Besides, your new home will be nicer, with about twice as much inside room.    The things we do…

11 Responses to “Lost in Chicken Coop World”

  1. Vincent

    My oh my but those hen have grown in a very few weeks, are they the same ones ?.

    If I were you I would hinge the outside wall, so that when you open it and you can clean the floor without killing yourself with chook-shit fumes. It will have the added advantage of allowing you to replace the floor without much fuss. For there is nothing like that chicken feces to melt anything it comes near as the amount of phosphate in it is unbelievable. And the extra cost could not amount to mush more than a few battens and two or three house-door hinges.

  2. R. Sherman

    It looks good. If this were my post, there’d be photos of my hammer-smashed digits and/or rotary saw, traumatically amputated limbs, as well.


  3. Ed

    “everybody is building a chicken coop!”

    Next, we will all be calling our gardens “Victory Gardens.” Funny how some things come full circle.

  4. Beautiful chickens! Are you covering the OSB flooring? Why flooring and not leaving it ground level.

  5. Vincent- They are the same little chickens… incredible how fast they grow. Your idea is great… although I already framed the side (I like the thought of easy floor replacement). I’m going to put a big door in front to accomplish that goal. Downside is I will clean out from inside the run, but on the side I plan to have a nest box door. Hopefully my flooring will last. Re. your odor comments… I want to build in a lot of ventilation! :)
    Ed- That’s so true. And people really are gardening a lot more. I didn’t realize chickens had become so popular, but it makes sense with the movement towards sustainability, local foods, etc.
    Sage- I plan to paint the flooring with a sealer. There’s a few reasons to raise it up, especially if you desire a fixed/dedicated location for your chickens, and mostly involving security from predators (and our dogs and cats) with a snug enclosure. If you don’t use a floor, you should bury wire at least on the sides all around, etc. to keep things out. Cleanliness also factors in, with rain, mud, etc. This way I can ensure the bedding and the chickens will stay dry.
    I also like the notion that putting gravel down and raising the base up extends the lifespan of the wood/flooring tremendously with good air circulation underneath. The chickens will have a large run, but one of these days I may build one of those portable “chicken tractors” and roll it around the fields a little.

  6. We use the deep litter method, which essentially just means some sawdust on top of soil. The composting action of the manure actually suppresses diseases that way, the coop never smells, and we rarely (if ever) have to clean it. We did bury hardware cloth around the perimeter.

    For the raised floor though, maybe see if you can find yourself some scrap linoleum. Lay it down and turn up the sides an inch or so. That will prevent the floor from rotting out.


  7. I just realized you said you were going to use a sealer. So if you don’t have linoleum laying around begging for a use, just ignore that.


  8. Ron- Thanks! I’ve been thinking the deep litter method would work well, or at least I would like to try it! Linoleum actually sounds good, but I might try that sealer first… I am probably underestimating the potential for the wood to rot.

  9. I have GOT to get some chickens. After seeing your project I may speed mine up!

  10. are you done yet? cuz i got coop envy. :0

  11. Annie- Well I’m sure you could do it a lot better, goodness I’m appreciating carpenters this week. I’m sure a coop is probably an afterthought when you’re building a house! :)

    Chook- Ha! Funny, I know what you mean. I see these amazing coops everywhere on line. But I’m not done yet…

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