May 2, 2016

Our DIY Chicken Coop

Our DIY Chicken Coop. How we built and set up our coop

Since we got chickens we knew we would need to build them a coop (Of course, by "we" I mean, "my amazing husband"). We live in Pensacola, Florida which gets very hot and humid summers with mild winters. So we knew we needed an open air coop to keep air moving. We took the chicken class from East Hill Edible Gardening we learned that we didn't need a coop and a run, that we could build them together. 

We wanted a fairly simple design. So we went with an A-frame roof going from roughly 6 feet tall in the middle and 3 feet tall on the sides. That's so we can easily stand in the middle and easily reach all corners of the coop. Here is the base of the coop with 3 sides built.

Base of our Chicken Coop
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Hubby put on corrugated metal flashing for the roof. We tested the roof to make sure the seams were water tight and to see where the water would drip off at with the hose. I was worried because it was really loud. I was afraid it would be annoying to hear or scare the chickens. However, during a rainstorm you couldn't hear it and the chickens did just fine. Besides, our coop is under a tree so it won't get too much direct rain.  We added some extra flashing on the bottom of the roof to ensure rain runs off the edge of the coop and doesn't just flow back inside to the birds. 

Roof and Sides of the Coop

Next the door was framed in and hardware cloth was applied to all sections of it. Hubby dug a trench around the bottom of the coop to bury the hardware cloth. This helps stabilize the coop, but primarily is so would-be predators would have to dig down quite a ways to get into the coop.

We went with hardware cloth rather than chicken wire for a number of reasons. First the holes are smaller which would make it more difficult for predators to get in. Second, because of the smaller holes and thicker wire, the hardware cloth is much sturdier. This has come in handy because our dog takes a fancy to the chickens. Occasionally she has butted and nipped at the wire and it doesn't budge.

Door of the Coop

Finally we put a lock on the door to keep predators out. It is a typical fence lock with a pull so we don't close ourselves in the coop and a carbiners to lock it shut. You have to be careful because apparently raccoons are tricky characters and can open simple fasteners.

Lock for the Coop

These are the happy chicks hanging out in their coop. We started out by just letting them spend the days in the coop and taking them back inside at night. However as it has gotten a little warmer and their head feathers are coming in we have left them in overnight. We keep the lamp out there because it can still get quite chilly. 

This photo shows their roost (the bar the lamp wire is wound over in the front of the picture), their feeder and waterer. Their feeder is a standard 12 pound feeder. There is a large whole on the top where you can easily refill the feeder. Some people have made or purchased all sorts of contraptions to cover the whole, but right now we are happy with 2 pieces of scrap lumber. We will also be feeding them scraps from our garden. Their waterer is made of plastic (boo!), but it is AMAZING! Most other chicken waterers (also known as founts) are made with a vacuum seal. This means the bucket basically needs to be empty or you have to open up and unscrew the entire thing to refill the water. This waterer uses a float to prevent water from overflowing the moat. I can at any time remove the lid and add more water. It also has a trash plug to prevent leaves or dirty water from getting into the basin of water. If you looking for a chicken waterer I highly recommend this one. I just wish they made a version that was less plastic! 

Chickens in Coop




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7 comments:

  1. What a pretty coop for the chickens. I am going to send this to my husband and hope he can make a house for our chickens.

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  2. I love this coop! If I had chickens I would definitely use this, but maybe someday!

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  3. Up here in Canada, we need to build them a wee bit less breezy. :) NOT that that's a criticism - it would be very silly for you to build the kind we do since chickens mind the heat much more than they mind cold. I think it's an absolutely lovely coop for your hot weather and I want to thank you for sharing it with our readers at #SustainableSundays

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    1. True, this is very much a warm weather coop. Although we do get some cold snaps since I am in northern Florida. During that time we will probably hang tarps to keep more of the heat in, but our friends who have chickens have a similarly open layout and said they were fine with the tarps while there was snow on the ground (which is a rarity around here).

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  4. We finally are building our own coop! I'm so excited. But ours is closed because we have colder weather up here. Is the hardware cloth you buried attached to the coop or did you install it separately? I'm so confused about that part.

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  5. The hardware cloth comes in 4 ft rolls. So we buried it underground 6 inches and then it comes up the sides of the coop 3 and a half feet. On the front and back which have the peaks closer to 7 and a half feet, we put a second 4 ft piece on top.

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    1. Hmm thanks. I guess I'm having a hard time picturing this all but I bet my husband will figure it out, hah ;)

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