“Look what I got Papa!”, we coached our 5 year old to say as we were on our way home. I had stopped by Tractor Supply and brought home Chickens. The chickens my Dad “DID NOT WANT”. We started small with 3 baby chicks, adding 5 more later on. 3 orpingtons, 2 rhode islands, 2 new hampshires and 1 golden comet. I don’t remember most of their names. The one whose name I did know, lovingly referred to as “Fabio Mr. Pickle Pants” recently vanished without a trace, so it might be best the others remain nameless. We had no idea what we were doing, honestly. We bought some books and read up, keeping them indoors and under a heat lamp for the first few months. I am so glad that stage is over and we have them in their chicken coop. We planned this from scratch, getting visual ideas from pinterest but really coming up with all the structural, functional ideas on our own. I don’t have dimensions on me, but I can tell you if you plan to build anything similar to this, it needs to be built where you plan to keep it. We had to move it a few feet back when we decided to make our run a little larger then we had originally planned and that was TOUGH. We still have some painting to do on the front of the run, but functionally its working and the chickens are loving their new living quarters. Especially since they are now free ranging everyday within our moveable electric fence. Originally they were allowed to free range but they began to wander too far away and into the neighbors yard (even though we live on 5 acres), so we decided it was best to allow them to free range…but with limits. Outside of it taking awhile to build, and the fact that we still have not put on the protective edging to keep little ones from getting caught on the metal roof, this was a fun project to complete and we are pretty happy with the way it turned out.
We were obviously rookies when it came to a chicken coop. We had been watching youtube and researching so we knew that chicken coops need really good ventilation. Our ventilation was an accident, but worked out perfectly. As you can tell in the picture our ventilation is the entire space on all four sides between the metal roof and the structure itself, protected heavily by chicken wire to prevent predators from getting in. We also built the nesting box out the back of the coop and screwed in a perch using a sturdy branch. As you can tell in the pictures, we decided to put down sticky tiles we got from home depot to make clean up easier. Since then we have discovered an even easier way to clean the coop is to cut up and fit to size a tarp. When we want to clean it we just remove and dump. We have added an automatic waterer since the photos were taken and a run as well.