The first major project that had to be done upon moving into the new Little Farm was to build a new coop. Our old coop had served us well for the past two years, but it was definitely too urban for our new settings. The previous coop, a re-purposed rabbit hutch, was very open, did not have great security features, and let’s face it, was a bit of an eye sore. Since it had been kept in a small backyard, abutting a fence, and the hens had no real predators in the old neighborhood, the coop had been perfect.
In our new neighborhood, which we affectionately have named “Woodford”, there are many more potential predators lurking in the acres and acres of woods surrounding us. Since our house has many, many windows, we also wanted something that was more ascetically pleasing too.
My husband built this beautiful coop and run using an old dog house that one of his coworkers didn’t want. Between moving, work and being 9-months pregnant, I didn’t get to lend any real help to this project aside from painting the front and rear of the coop and being there to bounce ideas off of. I am still thrilled every time I look at this coop, because I think it came out so beautiful, and I know how strong it is too.
The construction of the actual coop took place at my in-laws, prior to us moving in to the new house. My husband fixed some damaged siding, made the nesting box, a ladder up into the nesting box and the front and rear doors. I love the little arch for the hens to come in and out of – so cute!
My husband created an oh-so-adorable barn-style door for the back of the coop. This door is large enough to allow him or myself to get in and out of the coop easily for cleaning, refilling food, regular maintenance and if necessary, chicken-RX! We had some gray paint lying around that just so happened to match the siding on the dog-house-turned-chicken-coop perfectly. Painting the coop was my job, which I happily did since it was one way I could contribute to the project, and it let me husband take a break and get back to other moving-related projects that we had going on at the time.
At long last, moving day had arrived. My husband and I moved in our things and spent the first few days unpacking, cleaning and getting settled in. A few days later, it was back to coop work! We had chosen the site for the future coop, off to the side of our house but not in the direct view of all the windows in our main living space…. I love my chickens, but not in a in-my-view-100%-of-the-time kind of way! 😉
My husband dug out the area for the run and coop to go, and built the base and platform that the coop would sit on. We wanted to make sure they had space underneath the coop to hang out – not only to maximize their outdoor space, but also to give them a place to hide outside when the sun is too hot, or during the rain, etc. The run is quite large, too – 8′ X 8′! I would say the girls wouldn’t know what to do with all that space, but if you have chickens you know how they are . . . always looking for more space and more greenery to eat and demolish.
With some help from brothers and cousins, we were able to bring the coop over from my in-laws and get it set up on the platform. Once that was in place, my husband set to work building the run. I love that he went with a slanted-roof design, and did extra steps to make the run look so fancy! It is open for now, with welded wire running across the top to protect from hawks and any climbing predators, but we plan to use a tarp during the winter to help keep snow out.
All around the run we buried several inches of wire to ensure nothing could dig under and make it into the coop. There is a good layer of rock on top of the wire, followed by dirt. The run was later wrapped in more wire, which made a second wire apron and our beautiful stone wall, which you will see in a few photos, is on top of that. Super secure . . . nothing will be getting at our girls!
And naturally, what hot-weather job would be complete without a nice cold one? Haha I didn’t realize the beer bottle was in the photo until I loaded these pictures up . . . ah, my novice photography skills are showing! 😉
Some final details of our coop and run . . . around the back of the coop (not visible from the house) is the door where we can enter the run for maintenance, etc. Inside the coop are two roosts and we had some extra laminate flooring which my husband put down so that cleaning the inside of the run would be easier.
One of our other ideas for the coop is to make a rain barrel waterer, so you can see the extra platform space that my husband designed with that in mind. We just have to get a gutter set up on that side of the coop (also not visible from the house!) which will then feed right into some PVC, ending with drinking nipples inside the coop. I’m really excited about this part since it will mean we won’t have to fill their 1-gallon waterer everyday in the summer, there won’t be a water tray that gets filled with dirt from their beaks, and it will save us on water since we have a well. I know, I know, a gallon of water is NOT a big deal when it comes to water preservation, but if we can save some of that beautiful rain water, why not?
And there you have it! Our stunning new coop. I have a few other little chicken projects in the works that I will share with you shortly, among all the other gardening and landscaping fun as we settle in to life on the new Little Farm!