Monday, January 24, 2011

Coop D'Jour

A few weeks ago I started a fairly big project. With the addition of fourteen new chickens the lovely A-frame portable chicken tractor we built last fall wasn't going to cut it anymore. I downloaded some instructions that were really more technique guides (which I also paid for -grrrr). There were no measurements, scale drawings or even just a set of instructions which you could modify based on the size coop you needed.

Needless to say, I was quite disappointed and not at a point where I wanted to invest any additional money into plans. So, armed with a few tens and an overall idea of what I wanted, me and the kids headed to the hardware store. I was just about knocked over with lumber prices and for some reason the Lowe's in our area up here only sell cull lumber by the truck load (also including warped and bent bits metals and other non-lumber items. Really people.) so I couldn't use scraps to build it. I headed out to the garden center and the guy out there said he'd sell the broken fence replacement panels half price. Bingo! We have a lumber winner!

I want to take a moment just to clarify how difficult it actual is piecing together a fairly large wooden project with no actual directions or measurements and odd scraps of wood while trying to work in the cold and/or rain and making sure the kids don't kill themselves in the house alone or walking through a construction zone. It's really difficult.

It took three hauls from two different lumber stores to get all the materials I needed at the best possible price. I did have to purchase some things new -a pretreated board for the bottom, straight framing timbers, screws and the roof. Overall, I made a 4x4' coop with 4 to 6' walls and an attached 4x1.5' seperate nest box with hinged lid for roughly $100.

Before hubby helped me level it and fix the door. Not terrible.

Nice and level, rooves are on and lock for the door has been placed.

We used chicken wire that was given to us by my mom with the chicks for the vents and tree limbs harvested from the forest for the perches.

The roof is made of corrugated plexiglass to maximize the light inside the coop. More light = longer laying days.

I used mistinted exterior paint for the coop and chose a light color to help reduce the heat build up inside. Regular price was $27, markdown made it only $5. It took 3/4 of the gallon since the fence panels suck it up tremendously. After these photos were taken I painted the floor, inside of the nest box and about 12" up the sides to repel water and be able to see pests easier.

Overall, I'm pleased with the coop and hope it makes the girls happy enough to give us lots more eggs!


  1. Fantastic! I want to add a couple more chickens this summer but I need to build a coop for them. Currently they all live in a tractor I bought premade but I'm not willing to shell out big bucks for a larger one.

  2. We also built a coop last fall from recycled materials. Old wood floors, to be more precise. No plans other than the one in my head... It took us forever to build but we are very happy with the outcome. We live in QC so the walls are all double with air space acting as insulation. It is a good, solid coop, but it did take much more time and money than planned and while the recycled floor planks give it a certain country charm, to work with wood that has a slight curve is really hard...

  3. Might want to park it under a shade tree with that clear roof!!!! Looks good! Something to be right proud of!!!

  4. Good for you-can't beat that price! I like the roof and I'm sure the girls will enjoy the added light :)

  5. The triangular roof pieces were scraps that were already cut (roughly), hence the gap on the corner.