The Coop

Instead of buying a pre-fabricated chicken coop (there are plenty of great ones available) we decided to re-purpose

Original play structure was cedar and at least 10 years old.

Original play structure was cedar and at least 10 years old.

an old play set that was left behind by the previous owners of our house. The playset was full of splinters and dilapidated, but had the “bones” to become a fabulous chicken coop. It was decided that we needed an enclosed “coop” for the chickens to sleep in at night, and an open air (but predator proof) run for them to have access to the outdoors while its unsafe to free-range.

The landing at the top of the slide was the best place for the coop, so we enclosed it on all four sides and put louvered gable end vents at the top on the front side and the back side. Chicken s needs A LOT of ventilation even in the winter time. In addition to the gables, we installed 2 shed size windows on opposite sides of the coop. The windows were installed backwards so they could be opened and closed from the outside by a human. Obviously, no one wants to crawl into the coop and open the windows. This gave us more control over the temperature and air flow in the coop as the seasons changed.

Outside facing nesting boxes mean you don't have to walk through the run to get your eggs.

Outside facing nesting boxes mean you don’t have to walk through the run to get your eggs.

One thing I knew I wanted were nesting boxes that faced the outside so eggs could be collected without going into the run. We cut a whole in one side of the coop and fashioned four 12″x12″ nesting boxes with a slanted roof and latched door. The only issue here is that since the coop is high off the ground my children need a stool to reach the nesting box door so the next step is to build a permanent “bench” for them to stand on.

A ramp was fashioned to let the ladies walk into and out of the coop each day. It’s a bit on the steep side, but they got used to it really quickly. The old ladder and monkey bars from the original playset were left in place and act as a chicken jungle gym and outdoor roosts in the summertime.

Framing and roofing complete.

Framing and roofing complete.

The run was secured with chicken wire that is buried 18″ deep into the ground. We have had several foxes attempts to dig their way in with no success. The roof is slanted and has a clear hard plastic material on top to let the sun shine through in the winter and keep the run dry from rain.

My favorite part of the coop is my solar chicken door that automatically opens at dawn to let the ladies into the run. At dusk it closes automatically as well. Now, if I could only keep their water from freezing I’d be down to almost zero maintenance!

Mission Completion

Mission Completion

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Joan
    Dec 03, 2013 @ 12:08:33

    JJ — they have warmers for water at the bird store. You can use them in bird baths so wild birds can drink all winter long. Maybe you could use that for the coop water?

    Reply

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