The Chicken Coop aka The Palace
Planning the Chicken Coop
I spent a year thinking about the chicken coop I wanted and what it would look like. Going through hundreds of images on Pinterest and searching the internet for any and all articles, images, books on chicken coops. I have to admit it was pretty daunting at first. I ended up joining a group called Backyardchickens and they had so much information. The site has tons of pictures, articles and everyone is really nice. I ended up using one of the coop designs on that site as my template and then added some additional features. The final design was a 12×16 coop with storage and a 12×60 run.
Preparing the Ground
Our property is in Central Oregon (Powell Butte to be exact) and on a slight hill filled with sage brush, bushes and ROCKS. So first order of business is to flatten the area and remove the brush. Lucky for us our neighbor came over with his big tractor and flattened the ground and removed the bushes in about 10 minutes! He was nice enough to flatten the entire garden, chicken run and coop area. It would have taken us a month of solid work to get it done so we were soooo grateful! Now we are ready to start laying out the floor.
Building the Base and the Floor
Once the ground was cleared Dylon setup up the footing for the coop….after he googled and watched You-tube videos on how to do it. Neither of us had a clue but I think the results were impressive. Once we put the plywood flooring down I started to realize how friggin big this coop was going to be?! My ability to imagine the full size of the building was definitely lacking. 🙂
I wanted a vinyl floor for ease of cleaning so we bought some cheap sheet vinyl from Home Depot and put that down over the plywood. This will make it much easier to control the dirt, pests and help keep the floor dry. Plus I just liked how it looked.
Putting up the Walls
We had to put together a strategy to get the walls up since it was just the two of us and I didn’t think we could carry and lift a 16 foot wall. (OMG!) So we decided to build two 8 foot walls which seemed more manageable. The 12 foot walls at the end would be one one piece which we figured would be ok for us to manage. Dylon did an amazing job building the frames. Remember, he has never built anything like this before…You-Tube was definitely his best friend.
We also decided to insulate the walls to help keep the coop cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The temperature can be so extreme here that I didn’t want to worry that the chickens would get too cold or hot.
It was now looking like something that we could rent out! LOL The chickens are going to love the new chicken coop aka the Palace!
Framing and Building the Roof
Framing the roof we started to realize we might be a bit above our expertise even with all of the You-Tube videos. Neither one of us is a fan of heights so the thought of crawling around up there with metal roofing was not appealing to either of us. We broke down and hired someone to do the roof. Dylon framed it so we just needed someone to attach the roof and finish it. We had decided on a metal roof for the durability and the fact that it looked really cool! Here in Central Oregon we can get all kinds of weather and we wanted to make sure the roof would last. To help with airflow we put two round vents in the roof and around both sides where the roof meets the walls we have a 3 inch opening. All are covered in hardware cloth for safety.
I also bought a cute weathervane for the top that really added to the design. We had now reached the point where I felt we were close to finishing the coop!
So, now the chicks were getting pretty big. I was starting to get a bit stressed that they were going to outgrow the brooder before we finished the coop and the run. There was some pressure to finish and we were both feeling it.
For the interior I knew that I wanted a section for the chickens with their nest boxes and roosts and I also wanted a storage section for food, first aid, treats, supplements and bedding. The plan was to split the coop and put up a wall with a door to separate the two sections. The wall will be covered with hardware cloth to keep the open feel of the inside. I also wanted to the nesting boxes to be accessible from the storage side so I could collect the eggs without going into the coop.
I decided on 8 nesting boxes for my 17 chickens. Based on all of the research I did I figured that would be plenty. They will probably all want to be in the same box anyway but I still wanted to give them options. We built them 6 inches above the ground with roosts across the front and curtains for privacy.
We went back and forth on the roosts and finally decided to go with one big roost that I could remove to clean and would give the chickens plenty of room. I also wanted to make sure that it was comfortable so we used 2×4’s so they would have enough room to lay on their feet and keep warm. They are also easy to keep clean with a putty knife and some organic cleaner. I can remove the whole thing which will allow me to clean out the coop easily.
The interior wall will have white sheeting attached to keep the insulation away from the chickens and to make it easier to wipe clean.
To make the windows critter-proof Dylon built a window frame with hardware cloth to put over the windows on the inside. He put them on with hinges and a latch so I can still clean the windows.
I bought 2 doors for the coop; one for the outside (obviously) and another for the coop side to the run. I got both from the Restore and just sanded and painted them blue.
The automatic chicken door we bought is the BEST! I initially thought I wanted a sliding door but after a ton of research decided on this one. It opens like a regular door and I can program the open and close times. I don’t have to worry about it not working since it works on battery and solar. It is all metal so it is very sturdy and won’t warp. I love it and would definitely recommend it.
The chicken coop for the most part is now complete. We could put the chickens in if we had to….and we are getting close!
Because our dogs have never been around any farm animals I wanted to make sure my chickens were safe so we built a big run next to the garden. Not to mention the coyotes, hawks and owls that regularly patrol the area.
The run is 12’x60′ and is covered in hardware cloth with poultry netting for the top. The roof is slanted slightly to accommodate the slope of the ground as well as any snow or rain. In addition to the poultry netting we added a sail cloth roof for cover from the rain, snow and sun. We extended the hardware cloth out about 2 feet from the sides and buried it to prevent any digging. Our property (like most everyone) is mostly rock so that helps with the diggers too. We have also added an electric fence to keep the dogs from bugging the chickens and as added protection against other predators.
Our chickens have a very safe, solid and beautiful home (aka the Palace.) As with anything this is just the start. I will post updates as I add additional touches.
If you want to see the little chicks here is a post about them.
I would love to see your coop and I am happy to answer any questions you have about ours.