My Chicken Coop build

GomerPile

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Out of work and the end of the world is here so I decided to build a new chicken coop 😀. I have had two flocks of chickens that ended badly due to predators. This time I would like the chickens to actually live so I have decided to build a chicken fortress! I have very large owls, hawks, racoons, weasels (whatever they are called), coyote, and foxes that will want to eat my chickens.

Anyone notices anything I am screwing up or has good ideas....please post!

Coop area is 12x8. I sunk 6 PT 4x4's and dug a foot deep trench around the perimeter with my tractor. Installed 12 inches of hardware cloth around the perimeter to discourage the little bastards from building a chicken smuggling tunnel.
IMG_0365_res (1).jpg

Here is the coop with the roof installed. The roof consists of 1.5 inches of foam insulation covered with 2x3 inch wire fencing screwed down along the edges. The roof panels are green polycarbonate held down with special screws that have little rubber seals. The siding is some old fencing that I am recycling. In fact all the materials except for some 2x3's are recycled from past projects.
IMG_0368_res (2).jpg

Custom coop door that can be opened and closed from outside the coop. The orange push rod (fiberglass snow markers) closes the door and there is a latch to lock it. The entire right side is hinged for access.
IMG_0382_res (5).jpg

Nest box details. Nests are 12x12x12. One side is nest boxes, the other for feed access maybe. I used scraps of the polycarbonate roofing to keep water out of the nest boxes (see how it works).
IMG_0383_res (4).jpg

Inside view. Walls have R7.5 insulation the floor will be pine shavings. I have a ton of 2 part epoxy I think I will mix up a batch to coat the floor. Not sure if the chickens will attack the foam. Its only held in with plywood blocks I can armor it if needed. In winter I will run a 100W bulb and heated water dish hopefully with the insulation they will be ok.
IMG_0384_res (3).jpg


Chickens arrived at the Agway last fri....waiting for me to finish. Next steps 1) coat of paint, 2) dig 100ft trench for electricity, 3) install chicken wire to outside run.
IMG_0373.JPG
 

Jason m

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The chickens will def eat the foam or at least pick at it. I don't heat my coop at all, they just huddle together and they have been fine. One cold ass winter I added a heat lamp as it was cold as crap out, but 90% of the time they are fine.
Very rugged birds, but the foam I can see being a problem. Maybe just put some wood over the first two feet as they wont get the stuff higher than that.
 
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Vermonster

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If you live anywhere that has bears, get an electric fence. Usually hot wire setup is enough, especially if you wrap a few pieces of bacon on the wire. But if you have a real persistent critter you can Google "Bear Unwelcome Mat" and see another design that works well. I have a friend that had to go that route with his bee hives.
 

EddieA

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Don't use chicken wire, raccoons can reach through and grab the chix.
I used half inch hardware cloth, works great.
On really cold nights I had a drop light in a big tin can hanging from the ceiling. A bit of heat (you don't need much), but no light.
Make sure you put in some perching poles, I used sections of sapling, both in the run and in the house.
A good resource is www.backyardchickens.com
 
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Chickens don’t need heat. In fact too much insulation in the winter can lead to too much moisture and frostbite on their combs and wattles.
 
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From experience you should remove the insulation. They will destroy/eat it. Other wise looks good the hardware cloth is a good idea. I put rocks in the trench I dug for the screen below the ground. And then filled it back in. 10 years and nothing has ever got in the coop run. Except some rats.
 

EddieA

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From experience you should remove the insulation. They will destroy/eat it. Other wise looks good the hardware cloth is a good idea. I put rocks in the trench I dug for the screen below the ground. And then filled it back in. 10 years and nothing has ever got in the coop run. Except some rats.
Rocks are a good idea. I went full paranoid and put in very coarse gravel, and a hardware cloth floor, fastened to the 8x8 sills, then plenty of dirt.
 

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Looks great. As others have said in my experience they will eat the insulation inside. Cover it if you can.
 
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Choctaw

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We put the water container on a block of blue styrofoam. The chickens ate it. We had blue eggs for a while. As others have mentioned you need good air flow through the coop to prevent diseases. Also I would suggest augmenting the screen door type latches on the nesting boxes. Raccoons are extremely smart and can figure out most latches. Even if it is just an added latch with a spring loaded carabiner holding it closed.

I read somewhere when we first started that you should block off the nesting boxes until they actually start laying eggs. Otherwise they will learn to just hang out and shit in the nesting boxes. When we opened ours up for use they climbed in laid their egg and climbed out. The boxes stayed pretty clean.

Ours had free reign in the yard during the daytime. We didn't know they were laying eggs for a while until I looked inside an old gas grill that didn't have a propane tank in it. The hole where the tank goes had about three dozen eggs in it.

Nice job on the whole project. It looks very substantial. I love the sliding door that you can open and close without having to get in the run area.
 
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EddieA

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gearing up for ground prep to start a coop. would it be general consensus to omit the insulation? that was in my plans as the elevations where i live throw some crazy winters.
I used rigid insulation and covered it with cheap paneling.
For ventilation I drilled a couple rows of 2" holes, covered them in hardware cloth, and made them coverable by a hinged board to close up the house on the coldest nights.
Also put in an old window that could be propped open, also protected by hardware cloth.
The latches with carabiners is a very good idea.
 

Choctaw

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gearing up for ground prep to start a coop. would it be general consensus to omit the insulation? that was in my plans as the elevations where i live throw some crazy winters.
If you think it is a concern I would think the main area that would provide the most benefit would be the roosting area. You could insulate the top and three sides with covered insulation to hold some heat in.
 
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Built it bigger than what you need. Coops fill up quickly. Kind of like gun safes.
No insulation needed.
Well ventilated. Moisture means sick birds and smelly coops
Hang food and water near the door so you don't have to go into the coop to refill them.
Chicken nipples are so much cleaner and have a lot less water waist.
Leave 4-5 inches at the bottom of any door openings. It will hold in shavings.
Heating the coop is not needed but plan on a water heater for the winter also a light will get you more eggs in the spring, fall, and winter.
Chicken wire is useless unless reinforced by other stronger fencing material. The more fencing the better. Everything wants to kill your birds.
Get extra eye hooks. One set to hold the door open when free ranging. One set so you can lock the door from the inside if needed.

  • No matter what they say you will eventually end up with a rooster or two.
  • Old chickens basically don't lay enough eggs and are terrible pets. Keep a crock pot in your arsenal and don't be afraid to use it.
  • Buy extra birds. You will loose some. Don't be the people who take $1.50 chickens for 80.00 vet visits.
  • Be proactive about mites. All flocks get them.
 

hv55maxx

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Built it bigger than what you need. Coops fill up quickly. Kind of like gun safes.
No insulation needed.
Well ventilated. Moisture means sick birds and smelly coops
Hang food and water near the door so you don't have to go into the coop to refill them.
Chicken nipples are so much cleaner and have a lot less water waist.
Leave 4-5 inches at the bottom of any door openings. It will hold in shavings.
Heating the coop is not needed but plan on a water heater for the winter also a light will get you more eggs in the spring, fall, and winter.
Chicken wire is useless unless reinforced by other stronger fencing material. The more fencing the better. Everything wants to kill your birds.
Get extra eye hooks. One set to hold the door open when free ranging. One set so you can lock the door from the inside if needed.

  • No matter what they say you will eventually end up with a rooster or two.
  • Old chickens basically don't lay enough eggs and are terrible pets. Keep a crock pot in your arsenal and don't be afraid to use it.
  • Buy extra birds. You will loose some. Don't be the people who take $1.50 chickens for 80.00 vet visits.
  • Be proactive about mites. All flocks get them.
I plan on leaning towards a meat bird ordeal with eggs as a benefit. we go through a lot of chicken in my house and with three small(er) kids right now (5,4,1) it will only get worse. been pheasant hunting since i was 15 so cleaning birds is a quick shake these days. thank you for the info
 

dwarven1

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The chickens will def eat the foam or at least pick at it. I don't heat my coop at all, they just huddle together and they have been fine.
Cover the foam. Ours eat it, too.

Chickens don’t need heat. In fact too much insulation in the winter can lead to too much moisture and frostbite on their combs and wattles.
What he said. It gets below zero up here in the Green Mountains on a regular basis - the birds just huddle together. Problem is that it they get used to the warmth and then go out into sub-zero temps, it will definitely affect their health badly. Or so says my wife, who is the chicken expert.

The latches with carabiners is a very good idea.
That's how my wife built her coop, too, using carabiners for "locks". So far, the coyotes haven't figured them out. [smile]
 

Cowgirlup

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+1 on covering the foam. When we built ours we ran the hardware cloth down like you did but also put a layer of big rocks over it before covering it with dirt so it would be harder for something to dig it up.
 

yanquidog

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From experience you should remove the insulation. They will destroy/eat it. Other wise looks good the hardware cloth is a good idea. I put rocks in the trench I dug for the screen below the ground. And then filled it back in. 10 years and nothing has ever got in the coop run. Except some rats.
I hate those friggen rats.
Why you can't circumsise a rat?



Because there's no end to those pricks!
 
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I'll add my cackling to the chorus, insulation is not really needed, and they eat it if they can get to it. Good ventilation is more important.
 

CrackPot

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Just to pile on to what others said. no insulation. it is actually bad, not good. well ventilated. It needs to leak, not be sealed up like your house. One 60W incandescent bulb in the living area will keep the water from freezing and provide more than enough heat. Let them out every day even in the dead of winter when its 20 below. They are far more hardy then we are (well, at least to weather)

my chickens are in an uninsulated space with air flow. door open in the morning, door closed in the evening. 60W bulb on 24x7. uninsulated. unheated. multiple sides open to the outside world. no issues with frozen water or chickens getting cold. They get pissed if they are not let outside even when its damn cold.

20+ years with chickens. While many have been killed by various predators, none would I say died from the elements.
 

GomerPile

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Installed chickens in the finished coop today....some pics
IMG_0404.JPG
I would have preferred to use hardware cloth but I already had the fencing and a 50ft roll of chicken wire was only $30 or so. Hardware cloth for this would have been well over $100....maybe $150. The fencing is an inner layer of chicken wire with a covering of wire fencing.
IMG_0402_res (3).jpg
I would have made a wire door but I ran out of scrap pressure treated materials...so I went with some 2x8's and painted them. I was also pretty sick of this project and just wanted something fast and easy.
IMG_0401_res (4).jpg
Chickens are a little freaked out with all the space. Per suggestions in this thread, I added plywood so the chickens would not eat the foam. I have the nest boxes covered with cardboard until they get older. A comment on the insulation....the boards I used for the walls are very leaky and I was afraid the wind would blow right thru in winter. The floor is not insulated and I think there is plenty of airflow.....see how it goes.

IMG_0403_res (2).jpg
 
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dlarge

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Looks good. Everything I could think of was covered. In the summer I plant grass and build a little box with 2x4s and chicken wire on top. Grass grows in, chickens eat it, but it doesn't get completely destroyed.

Cleaning the coop in the winter sucks. The next coop we get (taking a break from chickens) will be one that I can walk into. Nipple waterers work well in the summer but I found that the tips froze up in the dead of winter.
 
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Then I used a 5 gal bucket and this set up has worked great for the past 3 years. I would put the chicken nipples as low to the bottom as possible. I put them a little to high.
Sorry the links are jumbled. Not sure why that happened. You can probably get the lid on amazon too.
 
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