Our Finished Chicken Coop

Granary turned #ChickenCoop with photos and details - WholeIntentions.com
These past few days had us outside enjoying the beautiful weather. One of the jobs I crossed off the list was to clean out our new chicken coop.

Because of our diet changes over the past year or so, our family was going through several dozen eggs a week. (I can’t help it – I’m hooked on Candida Diet, Sugar-Free Ice Cream!)

So last summer we quit “planning” to get our own chickens, and actually did it. The whole family pitched in to build a little abode for our egg-laying beauties. And because we were first-time chicken owners and newbies in all chicken-related topics, we joined BackYard Chickens and gleaned months worth of ideas, do’s and don’ts, and building plans. (I can’t recommend this site highly enough! If you have the slightest inclination of doing chicken anything, go here and read to your heart’s content.)

It was so helpful to see photos and designs when we were in the planning stages, I thought I’d share pictures of our coop and the hows and whys of what we did.

The chicken coop

granary before remodeling into chicken coopInstead of starting from scratch, we bought a small granary from my brother-in-law; about 9’x7′ inside measurements. This gave us about 3 sq. ft. per bird. The coop is nothing fancy really. It isn’t visible from the road and we don’t live in town with neighbors to care about the view from their back window, so we used as much scrap material as possible. Plus we didn’t think the chickens would mind.

So far they haven’t rebelled. 🙂

creating vents in chicken coopWe re-tinned the roof (that’s my honey!) and I got to use the saw sawl to make holes for the windows and vents. 🙂 You can call me Mrs. Handyman. . .

Inside the chicken coop

vapor barrier on chicken coop wallsFraming the windows and vents was the most time consuming part since the building wasn’t square. We used insulation and vapor barrier for the walls for added moisture protection and warmth because the windchill can get -40 below or more in the winter.

chicken coop roosting boardsWe made the roosting boards parallel and the same height because apparently hens will act like old biddies and fight for the top most board. (Some people’s kids. . .)

rounded edges of roosting boardsWe rounded the edges of the roosting boards so it’s easier on the hens’ feet. The boards can be removed for ease of cleaning the poop boards underneath.

Poop boards seemed quite popular among chicken peoples and we’ve quickly learned why. First, chickens poop more when roosting, so the roosting boards are placed above the poop board. This makes clean up as simple as buying a wide sheetrock mudding tool and scraping the droppings into a bucket each day. We then add the droppings to our compost pile.

rollaway nesting box

nesting boxes in chicken coopWe originally built a rollaway community nesting box directly underneath the poop board, but the chickens ended up laying eggs everywhere but there. Eventually we added a ‘normal’ set of 12″x12″x12″ nesting boxes and they’re happy campers again. 🙂

gravity feed chicken feederWe decided to use the deep litter method. We spread a bag of wood chips on the floor and because the hens leave most of their droppings on the poop boards, there’s minimal waste on the floor. The chickens like to scratch and fluff the wood chips so it gets stirred up and aerated. This means the coop is less smelly, and there’s only a few minutes of daily cleaning of the boards. If needed, you can add more wood chips throughout the year.

We clean the coop out fully in the spring and fall. So far it’s worked wonderfully.

chicken coop doorwayWe nailed a board across the doorway to prevent the rising litter from falling out every time we opened the door.

gravity fed feeders made of PVC pipeThe feeders are gravity fed. They’re made of PVC pipe with a 90 degree corner and a cap at the end. We like that we can leave for several days at a time and don’t have to worry about having someone come out to do chicken chores for us.

chicken coop watering stand with 5 gallon pailsThis water stand was Travis’s idea. The hens have a platform to stand on so no matter how high the litter gets, they can reach the water comfortably.

water nipples underneath pails for chickensThe chicken nipples underneath are another idea shared by BYC that I LOVE. The water doesn’t drip, there is no poop or mud to worry about, and our full grown hens figured it out within 24 hrs. The pails are covered with lids to prevent the water from getting dirty and it lasts for at least a week (we add apple cider vinegar).

When we’re home, we clean them out and give them fresh water every few days.

chicken water pails with slanted coverThere’s electricity on the wall above the waterers with a timed light switch. We use bird bath heaters to keep the water from freezing during the winter. We had to add the slanted plywood because the hens were roosting on the pails. (I told you they fought for highest roosting privileges.)

sliding pop door for chickens to come and goThe pop door is a simple design, and it works great. It slides up and down, held in by L shaped boards.

closed pop door so raccoons can't get in chicken coopWhen in the closed position, the hook and eye on the right prevent racoons (or children!) from trying to lift the door from the outside.

1/2 inch hardware cloth on chicken coop windowsWe used 1/2″ x 1/2″ hardware cloth to cover the insides of the windows and vents. . .

plexiglass windows on chicken coop windows. . .and plexiglass for the actual windows.

chicken coop ventilation

chicken coop ventilation along back

strings to hold vents openWe made sure to have plenty of vents (thanks to sage advice from Pat’s Ventilation Page) and used eyes and rope to open and close them at different heights.

chicken coop lean-to protectionFinally, we added a small lean-to to the side so the hens could come out in the winter. This helps block snow drifts right in front of the pop door, and they can still come out for fresh air and sunshine when they get cabin fever.

front view of chicken coop

It might not win a beauty contest – but there’s something to be said for function-ability 🙂 Hope this gave you some ideas!

What have you done to your chicken coop? We’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions!

 

 

Our finished chicken coop

shared with: Flour Me With Love, The Prairie Homestead, The Modest Mom, Real Food Forager, Growing Home, Rook No. 17, Far Above Rubies, Vintage Wannabee, Women Living Well, Frugally Sustainable, Our Simple Farm, Deep Roots at Home, Raising Homemakers, Raising Homemakers, This Chick Cooks, Raising Mighty Arrows, Our Simple Country Life, The Greenbacks Gal, GNOWFGLINS, Real Food Freaks, Comfy in the Kitchen, Chef In Training,

Paula
Hi, I’m Paula - Certified Health Specialist and Level 3 Metabolic Nutritional Coach. Like many of you, I wear several hats. Child of God, wife of 21 years, homeschooling mom of 6, reluctant cook, and chocolate-snatcher. Various family health issues including Lyme disease and candida created a passion for understanding how our God-created bodies thrive or deteriorate based on what we put in it. I developed the Kicking Candida Program to help women like me who struggle with food cravings and candida heal their gut and drop the weight.
Paula
Paula
Paula

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About The Author

Paula

Hi, I’m Paula - Certified Health Specialist and Level 3 Metabolic Nutritional Coach. Like many of you, I wear several hats. Child of God, wife of 21 years, homeschooling mom of 6, reluctant cook, and chocolate-snatcher. Various family health issues including Lyme disease and candida created a passion for understanding how our God-created bodies thrive or deteriorate based on what we put in it. I developed the Kicking Candida Program to help women like me who struggle with food cravings and candida heal their gut and drop the weight.

31 Comments

  • Ryan and Carly

    Reply Reply April 9, 2012

    wow this coop is fantastic!! great job!! my husband and i are getting chickens next season and we are definitely inspired by this coop! love following your blog, specifically how action oriented you are against candida.

    thanks for your writing!!

    ryancar.blogspot.com

  • Cristy

    Reply Reply April 9, 2012

    That looks great! Can't wait to come over there and see it first hand!

  • Gail M. Quistorff

    Reply Reply April 10, 2012

    Are you taking reservations for other chickens that want to come to your chicken hotel? I have to laugh, because we are the same way for the puppy kennel we build. Although when I was over there last time and saw it, I was quite impressed. A lot different from the old chicken coops I have seen. But anyway to keep it cleaner and more maintenance free is good for me!

  • Paula

    Reply Reply April 10, 2012

    I'm sorry dear sister, reservations have been filled. We're getting more chicks in May. . . 🙂

    Ditto on the keeping clean part. I love how maintenance free our coop is. Now to keep the house that way!

    Oh, about the 'last time I was over there' part. You do owe me a visit. . .

  • Gwendolyn

    Reply Reply May 7, 2012

    Just popped over from your link to the Modest mom blog…thank you for the detailed explanation and so many pictures of your coop! So timely…we are going to build a coop for our 17 chickens (that are in a temporary pen in our garage right now!) in the next few weeks and you have some great ideas here! 🙂

  • CrankyPuppy

    Reply Reply May 8, 2012

    Stopping by from the hop. That's a really well thought-out coop you have there. I'm sure your ladies are very happy, and happy hens = more eggs!

  • Kim

    Reply Reply May 8, 2012

    The rollaway nesting box is GENIUS! GENIUS!!!

    (here from the Barn Hop)

  • Monica Tillery

    Reply Reply May 9, 2012

    You have a very lovely coop! We just got our first chickens this year and ended up making a hoop house for them that we move to fresh grass as needed. We wanted to let them free range but we have lots of predators around most notably our own dogs! I am also a member of Back Yard Chickens and LOVE their forum! Thanks for sharing!

  • Danielle

    Reply Reply May 9, 2012

    Wow! That's one nice chicken coop! My hubby is building one this very moment for future chicks. It's not as spacious and lovely, but we only plan on three chickens-we only have a quarter of an acre. How exciting, I plan on reading up more for tips and such. Thanks for sharing!

  • Katie @ This Chick Cooks

    Reply Reply May 9, 2012

    How cool! What a nice coop.

  • LauraC

    Reply Reply May 9, 2012

    Great Job! I am not handy so I am having a coop made. Can't wait! Thanks for sharing your cool ideas

  • Shannon

    Reply Reply May 9, 2012

    GREAT job! We've tried so many different styles of both coops and tractors, and we all prefer this one. 🙂
    Stopping by via the Raising Homemakers link-up! 🙂

    Have a *wonderful* day and God bless,
    Shannon

    { Blog: http://gabby-marie.blogspot.com }

  • Allison Preiss

    Reply Reply May 10, 2012

    WOW This is great! Thanks for sharing! Hubby & I have our very first set of pullets for eggs and they just moved out to their coop. You have given a lot of great ideas!

  • Jen

    Reply Reply May 11, 2012

    If I was a chicken, I would like to live here! 🙂 Seriously though, I am taking notes for when I have my own farm. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jenn "Rook No. 17"

    Reply Reply May 14, 2012

    Paula, your coop turned out beautifully! Featuring your post on my FB page today. Thank you for always having such wonderful ideas, recipes and whole-living inspirations to share at Rook No. 17!

    Jenn

  • Thanks designed for sharing such a good thought, article is pleasant, thats why i have
    read it fully

  • Sandra

    Reply Reply April 8, 2013

    This is awesome! You thought of everything. Just wondering how you are doing with the free range aspect. We let our girls have the entire 15 acres of farmland but they insisted on staying right by our house, decimating my flower beds. We loved having them under foot (they are so comical) but my flowers are ruined. We are now looking for a different option, perhaps paddocks or tunnels.

  • Colleen

    Reply Reply April 22, 2013

    Love your photos and we are using some of your ideas in our coop. We do have a question about the nipples you used in your water buckets. 1) where did you get them? 2) do they leak after a period of time?

    • Paula

      Reply Reply April 23, 2013

      Hi Colleen,

      We got our water nipples from FarmTek.com, and no, we’ve never had a problem with them leaking – we absolutely love them!

      • Colleen

        Reply Reply April 23, 2013

        Thanks Paula

      • David

        Reply Reply December 26, 2013

        I live in North MN and with the -30 temps lately have found the nipples freeze. I have a bird bath heater in the bucket. Just curious if you have had this same issue.

        • Paula Miller

          Reply Reply December 27, 2013

          Hmm. For several weeks we had highs of -11. Not sure if it got down to -30 those evenings or not, but we haven’t had any issues with the nipples freezing. We use bird bath heaters too. Maybe it’s a difference in quality? Here’s a link to the ones we bought.

  • Gayle

    Reply Reply June 3, 2015

    How high up are your bucket? Just love your coop ideas.

    • Paula

      Reply Reply July 11, 2015

      Gayle, I’m sorry for taking so long to reply! The bottoms of the buckets are 27″ from the wooden floor, but there is a good 1 1/2 – 2″ of wood shavings on the floor as well that you might want to take into consideration. So glad this gives you ideas! We had so much fun planning and building it!

  • Lisa willis

    Reply Reply November 15, 2015

    Love the ideas. Thank you

  • Hi there! We live in Eastern Canada (New Brunswick – right beside Maine). Can you tell me does your water in the buckets with the chicken nipple freeze in the winter? Does the nipple ever freeze? How cold does it get where you are? We are just finishing our coop and want to make sure it is winterized for the chickens (we got our chicks about 3 wks ago and they are growing fast).

    • Paula

      Reply Reply April 19, 2017

      So sorry for the VERY late reply! We put deicers in the buckets during the winter months because it can occasionally get between 20-30 below and with wind, close to 40 below. With the deicers, the nipples have never frozen.

  • Travis Vanzant

    Reply Reply April 10, 2017

    Paula, how much space is there from the standing platform to the bottom of your buckets. I love this idea for a watering system and I would like to use it in my coop. You guys have done a great job. you obviously have put a lot of time and thought into your coop. I’m impressed!

    • Paula

      Reply Reply April 19, 2017

      It’s about 16 inches. It’s worked great for us – you’ll love it!

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