DIY Minimalist Chicken Coop

10.22.2017

I have learned so much more from hands-on experience caring for chickens than I ever did from reading a book or a website. There are just some things that need to be right there in front of you to be completely understood… like hens and their home.ย ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ”

To begin with, not every coop is built to withstand every temperature across the world. Modifications need to be made depending on where you live. For example, I live a hair to the right of smack dab in the middle of the Midwest. Our temperatures can get above 100 degrees and below 0 degrees on any given year. And the wind! That is in a category all its own. Tornadoes are not common here but HAVE occurred.

With all that said, I’m not pleased with the material I used to build my coop nor the size. So while I will include this information, I will also include the size and what I should have used instead.


– east side –

Right now I have 27 laying hens and have read extensively on the size of the coop necessary for healthy chickens. I have come to discover that this size is simply too large. Hens like to sleep right next to each other, even in the blistering heat. In the winter they snuggle even closer together. So here I have a 64 sq ft coop (8×8) and all my 27 hens sleep in one quarter of it.

What would I have done differently? A LOT! ๐Ÿ˜Š

THE COOP FRAME


– north side –

I selected the wood I did for two reasons. 1) Because I read that I shouldn’t use treated wood and 2) Because I liked the log cabin look and tried to replicate that with the 1×4’s. Although the coop turned out aesthetically pleasing, the reality of it all is that strong winds blow right through it and you’ll need some sort of super sealant to prevent mold occurring in the wood.

Instead I should have used one solid piece of treated wood and coated it with a layer of sealant. We plan on making these modifications next spring but to get the coop through the winter, I plan on using a solid piece of treated wood to cover the north side of the coop. The west side is already covered with solid wood because of the nesting box doors.

THE COOP SIZE


– east side –

I decided to go with an 8×8 size for the coop so that I wouldn’t have to cut so much since the wood is sold in sizes 8 feet long. It definitely did help but the size was just too big. I plan on reducing the size in the spring to 6×8. I’m going to reduce it on the east side of the coop so that the nesting boxes (on the west side) won’t need to be touched.

THE NESTING BOXES


– west side –

And in regards to the nesting boxes, this is one area where more is better. Many people will tell you that they have all their hens lay in one box but I haven’t always had this experience. There are many times we have gone out there and we found six hens laying all at once, in their own separate box. So I’m very happy we built 12 nesting boxes.

– west side –

THE COOP ROOF


– west side –

I’m disappointed with the corrugated PVC I purchased because of how flimsy it is. Honestly, I’ll be surprised if it makes it through a Midwest winter. Whether or not it does, I plan on replacing it with a metal roof in the spring. This might be earlier if it doesn’t make it. I’ll keep you updated!

THE LATCHES


– west side –

The latches (actually called “steel bolt“) were a decision I made on my own, not realizing how much the wood would expand and contract. Every day that was dry, the latches locked with no problem. Every day that it rained, the latches shifted over close to a quarter of an inch. I would only recommend using latches on a surface in a dry area, so definitely NOT for a coop.ย Some time this week I plan on replacing the latch for the nesting boxes and coop door with a metal snap hook.

THE COOP BOTTOM


– south side –

Joe stapled the bottom with wired mesh. The problem with the mesh is that the manure doesn’t always fall through and gets stuck in it quite often. Also, if you decide to use mesh, I strongly suggest you use nails instead of staples to secure the mesh, otherwise the mesh will fall off. Don’t ask me how I know this.ย ๐Ÿ˜Šย Because of the problems with the mesh, we plan on removing the mesh and enclosing the bottom for the winter.

– southeast side –

So even though I don’t recommend building this coop the way I did, at the request of many of you, I am including the dimensions and supplies below. Please let me know if I missed anything and I’ll do my best to answer your questions or add something I missed.

CURRENT COOP SIZE & SUPPLIES
  1. COOP SIZE
    • height = 2.4 feet
    • width = 8 feet
    • depth = 8 feet
    • height off the ground = about 2 feet
  2. COOP SUPPLIES


8 comments

  1. Stella says:

    Now I need to build my own chicken coop for my shoes!! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

  2. Ashley Olson says:

    How do you keep the nexting boxes clean? This is our biggest problem since our hens are sleeping in them.

    • Ayne Cardona says:

      I spray mine down with the water hose in the middle of the day so it has time to dry. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

  3. Joanna says:

    I think I’ll just pay you to build mine once I get my own place. Everything that could go wrong usually does when I try projects like this. ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜†

  4. Brittney Stark says:

    Thank you so much for making this post! I live in Texas near Austin and will be able to make the proper adjustments ๐Ÿ™‚ You’re awesome Darci, Love your videos!

  5. Libby says:

    You’ve given me so things to think about. I have three coops – all very different, and yet, they all bunch up together and have their own preferences in which one they sleep in and who they cozy up next to. Now I’m seriously considering getting rid of one at least one of them. Why not be minimal in the chicken yard too – right?

    I love using zeolite in my coops. It is so easy to keep the coop clean and dry. No ammonia build up and quite cost effective. I just scoop, sift and toss the droppings in my compost bin. Takes just a few minutes each morning. You can find my post about it here: https://beautifultouches.com/today-on-the-funny-farm-coop-cleaning/

    So glad to have found your blog. I’m the mom of 10 also, with 26 grandkids!

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