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bennelson 05-22-12 02:47 PM

New Chicken Coop
My Dad has been working on a chicken coop.

He got a dozen hen chicks a little while back, and had them in a wire box, under heatlamps in the garage while he built the coop.

By trade, he is in residential remodeling and construction, so you might notice that this chicken coop is a little nicer than most. Also, it is in plain sight from the neighbor's house and the road.

Almost the entire project is made from recycled, salvaged, and used materials, although it doesn't look it. (The chicken wire was new.) He really cleared out all sorts of old materials and items from his warehouse for the project.

Interesting highlights of the project are that it is on stilts AND has a full attic!

It has electric for light and heat (a timer still to be added....) I think there is some possibility of playing around with an Arduino or something similar for automated temperature control in the future as well.

Because the chickens come and go through a trap-door, the heat stays in and we don't have to close them up at night! It is penned-in, to keep predators out. Nope, these are NOT free-range chickens. It is a suburban residential neighborhood and there are dogs and other troublemakers out there.

Take a look at the video for the tour!

Chicken Coop construction and tour - YouTube

Last night, we moved the chickens in. So far, they LOVE it!

I'll get a video of "moving day" up for you to see soon as well!

sunspot 05-22-12 10:09 PM

Well done!

Exalta-STA 05-23-12 12:58 AM

I like it!:thumbup:

basjoos 06-10-12 07:05 AM

The main concern I have with this coop is with the amount of ventilation when the windows are closed. Chickens, like other birds, need good air quality to thrive (remember the canary in the coal mine) and, if not well ventilated, can die if there is too much ammonia being released from the litter or if the moisture from their breath starts condensing on all the surfaces in cold weather. Google "open air chicken coop" or "fresh air chicken coop" for more info. All of my coops have at least one wall that is completely open with chicken wire.

Also, you might want to set up more than one chicken run so you can let the unused runs(s) recover and regrow plant life while the chickens tear up the other one. Otherwise the chickens will turn that one run into a plant-less dusty (in dry weather) or muddy (din wet weather) mess. I made all of my chicken coop and runs mobile so I can move them onto fresh grass wherever the chickens have trashed their current location. Also multiple runs helps with parasite control.

bennelson 06-10-12 03:42 PM

Today was 95 and sunny.

I visited the chickens, and saw that half of them were UNDER the coop in the shade, and the other half were in the coop. The coop thermometer said 80 degrees, but it felt cooler than that.

The small far end window has a heavy screen over it, and the window is left open.

The chicken trap door is always open as well. On top of the coop is an old-fashioned "tubrine" air vent. Those types that look like a metal chef's hat, and spin, one of those.

The large front window on the coop is actually a pretty nice energy saving window. It reflects out high-angle summer sun, but lets in the more straight on winter sun. There's just a tiny overhang on the front, but it is enough to act as a passive solar summer shade.

The chickens seem to be cool and happy, with plenty of air circulation.

As for the chicken run. I just don't know. They haven't been there all that long, so I have no idea how the vegetation there will hold up. Most of what's there is woody, invasive plants. I'll keep an eye on the long term of the turf under the chicken run and keep you updated.

PaleMelanesian 07-27-12 09:12 AM

The raised coop with run space underneath is how I built mine. That's their favorite space when it's 100+ degrees out. (often the case here in Texas)

basjoos is right, they will strip out all the vegetation from that run. I'd plan a way to put a roof over the run to keep precipitation out and minimize the mud.

Good job using real wire to secure the run and not just "chicken wire". That stuff is useless against predators. I would do something more secure to latch the doors against clever-fingered coons.

Oh, and is great, if you can wade through the ladies' chatter of "oh, it's so cute and cuddly". There's a lot of excellent information there.

PaleMelanesian 07-27-12 11:09 AM

Saw this is a couple months old. How are things going with it/them today?

bennelson 07-27-12 03:03 PM

Been great so far.

Two of the twelve hens turned out to be roosters, so we got rid of them.

The combination of the low-e front window and cross-ventilation has kept the coop nice and cool. In the 100+ degrees heat-wave we had, it was always 80 degrees in the coop (which is what my house is at, but only by running the central AC!)

Chickens are getting nice and full size, but aren't quite old enough to start laying eggs yet.

Exalta-STA 07-29-12 03:14 AM

Wow good job! Now let's wait and see for the first eggs to come out. Keep us posted buddy!

PaleMelanesian 07-30-12 08:33 AM

What breeds?

I've got:
1 game
1 orpington
1 barred rock
1 Marans (rooster :/ )
several mixed breed, some part ameraucana so they lay green eggs.

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