Constructing our chicken coop

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Our three girls, happily clucking around the chicken run.

With the house renovation essentially finished, our attention has turned to the garden. The highlight so far is adding chickens to our family, an essential part of any inner-city permaculture system.

The photos in this post show key steps of the construction process. This is one massively over-engineered chicken coop, which all comes down to the mindset you have when starting the project. If you’ve come from a bit of light DIY, then you build something simple. If you’ve come from six months of building a house, as we have, then you build … a small house.

The upside is that, following the grand tradition of backyard coops, it does mean that all the left-over building materials can be recycled into the coop. It should also last for a while 🙂

A few construction notes:

  • The coop sits on a base frame of recycled hardwood, 500mm above ground level. This gives some protection against rats, termites and general rotting. It also gives the girls somewhere to shelter from the sun and rain, and they spend a lot of time napping under the coop.
  • The coop is quite high, for no real reason other than avoiding the need to crouch when cleaning it out.
  • The nesting boxes are made out of recycled eco-ply from the kitchen, and they give easy external access (for when they finally decide to start laying!).
  • An old curtain rail provides a roost, and they happy put themselves to bed each night.
  • The coop is connected to a chicken run beside the fence. By working against the boundary, only two new fences needed to be built.
  • Learning from the nuns next door, the run is built like fort knox, to protect against foxes (oh yes!), rats (heaps) and scavenging birds. This includes aviary mesh on the sides (tucked underground and weighed down with old concrete garden edging), and chicken wire across the top. Every gap has been plugged to the best of our ability.
  • The feeder and water are all suspended off the ground, again for proof against rats.
  • While we lock them up in the coop each night, the run is secure enough to leave them out if we have to go away for a week.

We now have three chickens happily clucking around. Two Isa Browns, and a “something else” (inherited from relatives). No eggs as yet, but the Isa Browns are still very young, and the older bird was moulting when we got her.

And now for the construction photos…

The base of the coop, with recycled hardwood legs and a floor of reused yellow tongue construction flooring. 1.2m x 1.2m
Framing for the walls, just like a house 🙂 Made of reused 90×45 oregon and pine.
The coop moved into place beside the fence, before it gets too heavy! The back wall has gone on, and the first window constructed.
We had left over insulation, so might as well use it!
The construction of the nesting boxes, made from eco-ply. Apparently you need one per five chickens, so we have room for the flock to grow!
The outside being clad in Weathertex watherboards, to match the house. Ok, we know that’s going overboard!
Almost there! Just the inside walls to be done, reusing some left-over plywood sheets.

2 thoughts on “Constructing our chicken coop

    Skweekah said:
    June 1, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Nice work.

    Keeping rats out of the chicken run « Lewisham House said:
    November 26, 2012 at 8:04 am

    […] we created our chicken run, we ran aviary mesh up the sides of the run, and chicken wire across the top. Old concrete garden […]

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