Free ranging chickens are great – some of the time. On the postive side, you save on feed and get to enjoy the joyful sight of beautiful little birds waddling around the farm. On the negative side you end up hunting for eggs and with chicken doo in the carport. I'd like my chickens to do some free-ranging, I think it adds to their life. But I'd also like to be able to contain them when necessary, like when I'm out of town.
The chickens technically have a coop already, you know, the little red one in the pictures in the post about the new chickens we added last winter. They never go in there these days, it has sat empty for many months and they've now decided to roost and sleep in my wood storage area so I have excrement all over my stored lumber and my push mower. UNACCEPTABLE at Crushlife Acres.
In order to solve this problem I've planned on combining the current un-used coop with a bigger enclosure to give them a home big enough to fit all 4 chickens, a place to feel protected and perhaps most importantly, a designated area in which to lay eggs. With the basement barn door done, the fireplace removed and the basement wet bar cabinets removed and the wall ready for paint, I took a couple Saturday's and chipped away on the coop below.
The best part about this particular project is how much existing materials I used to build it. The amazing guy I bought the farm from had saved a good amount of ever-valuable treated 2X6's and his lovely wife had multiple cylinders of hog wire put together to protect her plants. The combination of these materials was all I needed to get started.
I began by building 2 basic walls that matched the length of the hog wire. I made one wall shorter than the other so I could create an angle for a roof on a hinge that will give me access to the coop from the top. For the shorter wall I cut the height wire by wire with my angle grinder.
After getting the walls completed I connected them with what will be the basic rafters to support the hinged roof.
I also built a cool little door that matches the shape of the coop, this will allow the birds to go in and out and when we choose.
With the main structure completed I grabbed 2 pieces of OSB plywood that came with the farm and attached them to the structure using 4 hinges. Having the ability to open the roof is great when I need to clean the coop, get eggs, feed or water the chickens.
The metal roofing was purchased at Home Depot for around $20, cut with snips and attached with self-tapping screws. I also threw some silicone around the screw heads to protect the OSB from the Oregon rain.
There are many ways to go about building a chicken coop. All things considered, with the materials I had, I am very happy with the way this one came out. We still let the chickens free range from time, but with this structure they are out of the weather, have a nice place to lay and, most importantly, their excrement is contained.
It took a few weeks to get our 4 ladies into their new routine. I had to drive them out of the wood storage repeatedly, walk them down, give them food, those who have chickens understand the song n' dance. I finally decided to just leave them in there for a full weekend. Since then, they've called it home voluntarily. It's so nice to let them out when I choose and know that they'll be in there, cuddling and chatting together by sundown.
I hope these pictures and this post give you some ideas for how you might be able to build a simple, functional and good looking coop.