I built this chicken coop for Tammy for mothers day. I had no idea what I had signed myself up for as it turned out. I spent close to 100 hours building this on weekends, evenings, and days off from work. I learned that chicken coops have lot’s of moving parts, and they have to be VERY secure to keep racoons out – the most clever and determined suburban predator there is.
I was able to use a lot of reclaimed materials, mainly a bunch of used redwood fence boards that we saved when our fence was replaced. I also re-used some door hinges, locks and other hardware that we had left over from our home renovation. It felt good to re-use these materials, both in the pocketbook and the conscious.
I took lot’s of pictures along the way hoping that sharing them here will help some other lucky fellow out there with their research. We relied heavily on the similar plans, suggestions, and stories that we found on www.backyardchickens.com, a highly recommended resource.
I’m happy with how it turned out, and more importantly, so is Tammy.
The pictures below tell most of the story, and I’ve added a few captions for clarity. Feel free to ask questions in the comments below. I hope this helps you with your chicken coop construction research process.
Edit: We added an automatic, programmable, solar/battery powered, pop-door that opens in the morning and closes at night so we don’t have to remember to do it. Also a nice feature for when we go out of town. It lets the flock out into the run. We purchased it from the nice folks over at www.chickendoors.com for $225. It is the highest-rated such accessory, and our experience with it has been fantastic so far. I added pictures of the set up to the end of the gallery below.
Prepared the site by leveling the dirt as much as possible.
Used post hole digger to set PT 4x4's in the corners.
Once all the corner posts are in place and attached to a level frame, I used the handle end of my pick axe to pack the dirt back in the holes around the corner posts. This worked really well and removed the need for cement.
Added a layer of hardware cloth underneath the frame to guard against digging predators. There has to be an easier way to do this, it was a real bear to get in place and secured. I recommend stiching it together with wire, but I used zip ties.
nest box floor
external nest box frame completed
Tin shears and a fence board worked together well to make cutting the hardware cloth a managable task.
I was fortunate that we replaced our fence the same week that I was building our coop, so I had the fence crew save a portion of the fence boards for me. I milled them down to useable boards with a table saw and chop saw.
Applying the fence boards over the hardware cloth edges made it very easy to attach it, and eliminates the pokey edges of hardware cloth completely.
I tacked the hardware cloth to the outside of my 2x4 frame with sheetrock screws that I had left over (any screws or nails would work) - then I screwed the fence boards over the top of the edges, with deck screws about 8 inches apart so that the mesh is held on very securely.
nest box completed
attaching the corrugated roofing. I made sure the entire perimeter is secure against predators with screws in every valley.
Added an overhang to protect the nest box from rain.
Considering adding plywood sub-roof over the run for added security.
The coop has a plywood roof for insulation and security.
strong cross bar to hang food/water from.
pop door track
The floor for the coop was the last thing to go in to minimize having to crawl around on my knees while I worked on all the other areas.
nylon string for the pop door - will replace with heavier gauge at some point.
had to add shims to the back side of the pop door to make make it fit the chase just right. ended up replacing these with thicker peices of fence board in the end. final result was a very thick/heavy pop door - slides up and down nicely.
added coop floor and ledge for removable poop board to sit on. painted all poop surfaces with thick coat of kitchen/bath paint.
finished coop interior. these are redwood 1x1" roost boards with slightly rounded corners.
pop door that goes up and down with a string pully system from outside of coop
Automatic pop door. it opens like a regular door instead of up and down like the old one.
I built a little shelf in the corner for the battery that runs the door. It is trickle-charged by a small solar panel on the roof.
the chicken door solar panel trickle charges the battery. as long as it gets a few hours of direct sun each day, it will charge the battery enough. they said we could use two solar panels if there wasn't enough sunlignt..
here is the little solar panel that comes with the automatic chicken door. It is glued to the board with caulk.