The chicken coop is finally done and the chicks (now pullets) have moved outdoors into their new home! I’m going to give you a little tour of our little coop. I love it and I’m so proud of it, though the only credit I can claim is that I researched what type of coop would be best for us and I chose the plans. After that, it was all Matt’s hard work. He did such an awesome job that chicken coop contractor might be his next calling. Don’t tell the B.
We used the plans from The Garden Coop site, for the smaller coop, The Garden Ark. Our backyard is dinky so we had a very small area to build it. This coop fit the size requirements perfectly. The Garden Coop is based in Portland, so I felt confident that the coops are designed with our PNW weather in mind (wet, wet, and also wet). There were tons of examples of other customer’s coops and really positive reviews. Matt said the plans were meticulous and included many details he wouldn’t have thought of himself, he was really impressed. From start to finish, it took him about two months to build. I suppose if you don’t have a full-time job, two young kids, or a needy wife, you could maybe do it in less time.
Matt’s top priority was to ensure the coop would be predator-proof, especially against rats (his personal nemeses). First he built a frame to set the coop on, lined with hardware cloth so nothing can dig underneath. This wasn’t part of the Garden Ark plans but we found some other similar examples online.
The front door from the coop to the run is an automatic door, triggered by a light sensor. It opens when the sun comes up and closes shortly after dusk. It wasn’t cheep (see what I did there?) but we’re already really glad we installed. I know in the winter months, when it’s already dark by the time we get home from work, we’ll be even more relieved to have it. The door fit perfectly on coop, we didn’t have to make any modifications to it. You can get a solar-powered version, though we opted for the trickle charger. It’s from Chickendoors.com. Matt attached a weather-proof electrical box to the back of the coop for the cords.
We used PVC pipe and nipple waterers for the watering system. The water bucket hangs from the roof joists then connects to the pipe in the run (under the coop) with a hose. It’s really easy to fill the bucket with the nearby hose without having to get into the coop, and the nipple watering system prevents the chickens from making a big muddy mess or pooping in their water.
The feeders are pipes that we can easily cap. The mouth of the pipes are big enough for the chickens to stick their heads in but they can’t scratch the feed out and make a big mess. We can cap the feeders on both ends at night if we get concerned that rats are tempted by them. I’m using one feeder for the feed and the other for the grit, and I’ll have to find a little bowl or something for their oyster shell supplement in a few months.
We painted the interior of the coop white to help reduce pests and make it easier to clean. The floor of the coop is covered in vinyl flooring, again for easy clean-up.
The ladder from the run up to the coop was a very last-minute addition, we realized the first night that maybe they couldn’t get back up to the coop on their own. Once they’re bigger they’ll be able to hop onto the roost.
Another change we made was to add a pop door on the side under the egg door, as we plan to attach an additional run.
So far the chickens seem to be loving their new home! They treat themselves to dust baths in the run, peck around for bugs and treats, and canoodle on the roost.