March 11, 2014

Evolution of a Chicken Coop

This is where we left off in my last chicken coop post, The Master 
Plan and The Chicken Coop. You can see the floor plan there too.

Have you ever measured twice and cut once only to discover you've still made a mistake? Such was the case recently for Dan and me, when we realized that the 15 foot by 10 foot chicken coop we'd designed on paper was actually 14 foot by 10 foot. Wot happened?

Second wall up

Third wall up

4th wall and roof rafters. The windows are old storm windows we took
from the house during the kitchen remodel. They'll go into that 4th wall.

It was only a one foot difference, but the last thing I wanted to do was short change my chickens. Not that we have that many (17 at the moment), but I don't like the idea of overcrowding.  If we didn't want to make the chicken area smaller, the other option was to make the storage area narrower. My original storage was to be 4 by 7 feet. This would enable me to line up three feed containers (heavy duty trash cans) along the wall with enough room to get to them easily. I contemplated making it 3' by 7', but losing that one foot would make things tight in there.

It was Dan who came up with the idea of extending the roof out over the people door.

It will create a porch-like overhang where I can store extra containers of chicken feed or anything else that could benefit from not getting rained or snowed on.

New "porch" area measures 4 feet by 10 feet

Also accomplished -

Bridging stiffens up the roof.

This is how one supports the roof when using scraps. Lumber prices have
gone up and quality has gone down to the point we hate to buy it anymore.

We eventually figured out that when we staked out the coop, we did it right after measuring the old coop and storage area, which is 10' by 14'. We just repeated that without looking at the new plans(!) The new coop, then, will be the same size as the old. Because we're going to rearrange the coop area we will actually have more room for the chickens. With that mystery solved, we went ahead with the 4' by 7' storage area.

Close up of the beginnings of my storage area, dug out & ready for a floor.

When we first set ourselves the goal of feeding our animals from our land, we didn't realize how much space we'd need to do that. It's not just the growing of it, but you need someplace to cure it, process it, and store it. And not just a week's worth, but a year's worth. With only a few small outbuildings, difficult! Because of our error, I will have both an enclosed storage area and a wide overhang as well. Happy Providence indeed.

What do the chickens think so far?

I wish I could tell you they are admiring the new coop.
The truth of it is that they're eyeballing the pile of dirt
Dan made when he dug out to level the storage area. 

Next in this series -  Coop Roof

Evolution of a Chicken Coop © March 2014 


Anonymous said...

Wonderful shelter for the chickens. It is has so much of space and ventilation too. Chickens will really love them and enjoy their life in this new place.

Carolyn said...

LOVE the chicken porch idea (even if it was only because of a "mistake"). You going to put out some rocking charis and a BBQ grill? Wait a sec...the chickens may not appreciate a grill :)

When we built our chicken coop we should have put a large overhang on at least the front and back for lounging areas and shade. Our next one will have overhangs and maybe even a "porch".

Admittedly, a bit jealous of your new coop in progress :)

Farmer Barb said...

OOh, LA LA!!! So many ideas for my next structure! Thank you Teacher Dan!

Anonymous said...

Boy, that was a happy mistake! Love when that happens :) Can't wait to see how the progress comes.

Leigh said...

Weekend-Windup, thanks! Yes, good ventilation is extremely important. I'll have photos of that too, when we get to it.

Carolyn, thanks! We did talk about chicken size rocking chairs, LOL Dan is also going to make the overhang in back of wide as he can. It will be a good place to keep the rainwater collection tank and filter.

Barb, isn't the internet fun? We get to pick one another's brains with very little effort!

Stephanie, we went from "Oh no!" to "Oh yes!" LOL

Woolly Bits said...

haha, in one of the photos I see the cat inspector in it - they might appreciate a rain-free porch, too:) I think I have to get my chicken coop inspiration elsewhere though - yours is way bigger than our intended one:)

Scott said...

The porch area looks great and will provide lots of room to hang things. It reminds me of a potting station and you can expand that idea with a workbench under the front window. Any thoughts on ground-cover for that area?

Nina said...

It's lovely. The chickens will be happy and so will you, with that nice, clean, useable space.

Renee Nefe said...

Well that's chickens for you! ;)

The coop is coming along nicely even reusing the wood. I hear you about wood quality. We dug through the entire pile of 2x2's at the store (which are only 1.5x1.5!) to find one that had minimal bowing and knots for our window "header". Even then once we got it home and set it in the room it cracked...luckily we could cut the cracked end off and could glue it if we need it later.

Susan said...

i cringe at some of the coops i've seen. We've inherited a well built chicken house, comfortable for the chickens but not great for storage or cleaning out. We have to add a run. I like the deep foundations you put in and I think I'll use them for the run. I also want to make a temporary pen I can move around the property. Any ideas how I can fit it sturdily to the ground in a non permanent way? I need the chickens to clean up an area on the other side of the property and being so far from the house I want to provide as much security as possible.

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

D. built an overhang into our first"specially-made-for-chickens-not-converted-barn" house. It is SO useful for so many reasons and will be included in our next build.
I like that you have trees nearby too.

Chris said...

Glad you thought of storage. That's one thing which didn't occur to us when we built our chicken coops, several years ago. Live and learn.

Is that wooden post on the extension, lumber from your own land? We're thinking of felling a few saplings for this purpose too. We want to build a few shade structures and hate the thought of having to buy wood, transport, etc.

We just have to find a place to store it so it can age. It's all about the storage on acreage! ;)

Leigh said...

Bettina, of course everything around here is cat inspected! :p

Scott, it does look like it would make a good potting station, doesn't it. Someday we hope to put up a greenhouse so we'll have to remember that idea for that. The front "porch" will probably have a brick floor area. One thing we've considered is expanding the chicken yard to around the new coop. So if it's chickens, the ground cover will be dirt. :)

Nina, I hope so. I tried to think through every problem we've had with the old!

Renee, we find the same at our lumber store. It amazes me that folks buy it anyway. I figure if we'd stop buying junk they'd quit offering it. But when there's no other game in town....

Susan, sounds like you've done a good job thinking your chicken problems through. Depending on the type of predators you have, your pen may do best with something to protect your chickens from things jumping or flying in(?) We've not had a digging problem, but it seems most of that occurs at night. Perhaps someone with experience will pipe in here.

Gill, hurray for overhangs! If it hadn't been for our "mistake" in sizing it wouldn't have been so spacious!

The trees around the chicken area are pecans. Doubly useful! I do love my trees and shade!

Chris, none of the lumber is from our land, sadly. We do have plenty of large, mature pines down the hill, but no way to haul them up and turn them into lumber! Dan has used saplings and small trees for other projects, including the posts and beams in the kitchen. I so agree it's all about storage. There never seems to be enough of it!

Mama Pea said...

That last picture looks like the inspection committee the rest of the chickens sent out to see if all was going according to their desires!

I've been lusting after a garden shed/potting shed for a long time. Each time dear husband and I talk about it, I realize his idea of the size is much smaller than mine. I want to show him your chicken house framing ("porch" and all) and say, "That's the size I want!" Actually, our chickens would be thrilled to have an upgrade such as yours are getting!

Seeking Serenity said...

I thought the title said 'evolution of chicken soup' :D
Beautiful coop!!

Quinn said...

Sorry that foot got away from you, Leigh! Sneaky foot.
I've taken the same approach to some of my feed storage, with a simple "shed roof" built out from the gable end of my little goat barn. Makes such a difference, especially as I hate to give up the precious indoor space to feed instead of critters. I plan to build another shed roof off the 12' wall of my workshop this year, but that requires moving a fence, which first requires fencing another area...well, you know how it goes!

Leigh said...

Mama Pea, I'm so glad we mismeasured and changed the plan. It made us rethink. I hope you get the garden shed of your dreams!

Peaceful, LOL. At least you didn't think it was "chicken poop."

Quinn, that's always how it goes! The chicken shed is actually a prerequisite to the goat barn. One thing leads to another!