• Jen

Building a Coop - Part 1- The Building

Jon and I built our chicken coop six years ago when we got our first flock. Keep in mind when we built this coop, we had no idea what we were doing. I must emphasize we are not carpenters and our building is not necessarily square. However, it keeps the birds dry, warm and happy, so it gets the job done.

Building regulations in our Township allow us to build a 120 square foot building without a building permit. So we decided on a ten by ten foot building. This was one of the better decisions, the square footage is great for the size of flock we generally want on hand. Chickens need 3 square feet per bird. Our building allows us to keep 30 birds comfortably.

We did a raised floor full of insulation. The building is on wood skids so that its easy to move (We moved it 3 times before we found a good spot). I’m torn over whether a ground floor would have been better. I like that the coop is on skids because we can move it but a wood floor has been difficult to keep clean along with other complications. We’re actually in the process of ripping out and replacing the original floor as it rotted out from spilt water (see my next coop post about our water issues).

The roof is my favourite part! It’s a slanted roof rather than a peaked roof. We have gutters along the one side to collect water and have it fill our rain barrel. We use this barrel to water the birds and the gardens. We opted for a higher ceiling in case we decided to use it as a shed one day rather than a coop. It makes sense but it is a little difficult to keep warm in the winter. We had scrap sheets of tin which we used for the exterior roof.

We have a man door on one side of the coop for cleaning and egg gathering. The chicken door is on the opposite side for the birds to access the fenced yard. We open and shut the door every day for them. It’s a simple board that we place in front of the door.

We have 2 windows on the coop directly across from each other. We get a great cross breeze from them when they are open. We have chicken wire fencing covering the windows to keep the birds in and the predators out.

I have a couple tips to add when we were building that have turned out to be great. First, we installed a couple hooks into the ceiling beams, these have been great for hanging waterers and heat lamps. The other thing we did was feed an outdoor extension cord through the wall so we have access to power inside the coop without the stress of wiring. Other than a heat lamp (for chicks and winter heating on extra cold nights) we don’t have lighting in the coop. Our coop is located directly behind Jon’s tool shed. He installed a flood light that points directly into the coop for lighting when we attend the coop in the evenings. And last tip. Never ever buy your chicks until you are prepared to house them. We did and had to rush with building the coop. It was a lot of stress and pressure we did not need.

I will be writing about our coops interior and our fenced bird yard in later posts. I have some projects in both areas I want to accomplish there so hopefully that gives me some motivation!

Until next time!

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