Our little summer project: The chicken coop is finally finished!

Last spring when Jonny suggested, “Hey, let’s get some chickens,” neither one of us imagined that “getting some chickens” would take over our entire summer. This project became the one we both loved to hate; it seemed to go on and on and on. But that is the way all projects go around here. The first step is to choose a project that isn’t on the current list of things that need to be done (and get really excited about it, completely banishing the thought of all the other things that you really should be working on), and the second is to attack it with all your perfectionistic attention deficit glory. Okay, so really those are Jonny’s steps. My job has been to mind the baby so Jonny can work, be really encouraging telling him he’s doing a great job, and to wait until the very last day and sort of blow up over how long the project is taking (does every single nail have to be hammered in with absolute perfection? can we please go on with our lives?) Now that it’s finished I can say that I am grateful to have a husband who can turn even a chicken coop into a work of art. And really, with two children who only recently joined our family, this was just what we needed, something to keep us close to home.
Jonny used a lot of reclaimed materials such as the door to the henhouse which is just an old one we already had.
The posts that hold up the run are a mixture of different woods, some cedar posts which we purchased from an independent saw mill and some black locust posts and old basic planks of lumber which we purchased from our neighbor for a case of beer.

This is the back view. The chickens get plenty of shade from the neighboring forest and the black walnut trees that grow around the coop. I should also add that the henhouse is completely insulated and that helps it stay cool in the shade, and should help the chickens stay warm in winter.

Jonny brought this screen door home from the landfill years ago, knowing that it would be useful, someday. He put hardware cloth across the opening and it gives the chickens some cross ventilation when the main door is open.

The roof panels (to keep the bald eagles out) came from a disassembled feral cat enclosure that I have had for years. It wasn’t really sturdy enough for ferals anymore, but worked perfectly for a roof.

We bought three old windows at a thrift store for five bucks apiece and Jonny hung them on hinges. He stapled hardware cloth across the windows to make the house predator proof even with the windows open.

The roosts are just branches, and the inside walls are sheet metal which was a real pain in the rear for Jonny to cut, but it came as part of the case of beer trade and it can be washed easily.

Those are the nest boxes, there are 12, and as you can see, they are covered in chicken poop.

Outside view of the nest boxes, two rows, hinged doors, so you don’t have to walk through the poop inside to get the eggs. We should get our first eggs in late October. That seems far away, but it will be here before we know it.

The chickens are only 11 weeks old, but they are already so big! We have big breeds though, so they are going to get even bigger. The two on the left in this picture are Americaunas.

Barred rock

Black Australorp rooster, with a Buff Orpington sitting in the door, and the rear end of a Golden Comet on the Right. The Golden Comets will probably be our first to start laying.

One of the roosters. We have three which I believe is two too many.

Golden Comet (red sex link), sweet girls

Harriet, the only one with a real name, barred rock

We call the Americaunas lion chickens because of the tufts of feathers on either side of their face. They are the chickens that will be laying blue/green eggs and they are also really pretty.
So that is it. Our chicken coop. Finally finished. I can’t tell you how hard Jonny has worked on this project. He always likes to read my comments when I post about something he has done. Please give him some comment love! He has really earned it.

 

Comments

  1. Great coop!
    Building a chicken coop is so much fun. I have mine and it’s mostly made of scrap materials.
    I like the way how you built your chicken coop. From the roof to your chicken nest and everything about it.

  2. Oh, Ginny. Thank you for sharing such detailed pics of your coop. We’re thinking of building a new one this year and, of course, have other projects that really need our attention first. I think that’s just the way it goes. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Karla in MN says:

    Great coop! We did a similar project this summer…aren't chickens fun? I agree, though, it is a project that seems never to end!Karla in MN

  4. I don't really have anything original to say that hasn't already been said countless times in the previous comments, but that coop is awesome. Using reclaimed materials and planning out all the necessary details BEFORE you started building is why you have an awesome coop and I have stories about trying to raise chicks in my living room in a plastic storage bin. =( Very inspiring. The Americanas are one of the breeds I was interested in. I love Silkies too. Their fluffiness is adorable. I think I will be looking mostly for bantams though instead of your big girls pictured here.

  5. Michelle P says:

    Wow that is the best chicken house that I have ever seen!

  6. Very cool idea! Thanks for posting this.Really its amazing information about Chicken CoopsAwesome job !!! well done keep it up. Chicken Coops

  7. Oh, swoon!!! I love it! Especially the reclaimed materials. We are getting Araucanas, Black Australorps and Cuckoo Marans (which lay chocolate-brown eggs). I'm so excited you're so close by!!!<3

  8. So impressed with this – I meant to comment earlier. It's, like, a chicken mansion! I actually think there is more space in there than there is in my house!Great job – and congrats on your first egg!

  9. ManyBlessings says:

    Wow…I am totally, 100% jealous!!! It's gorgeous and has such character! Can I borrow your hubby for the million projects I have here? ;)dawn

  10. I am really impressed, Jonny! When you do something you do it up good!! No kidding, this is great. Like Ginny says, it's a work of art. Everything looks square and level. Where'd you get the knowledge and experience to build a coop like this anyway? Did you draw up plans first? or, just go with the flow? I love the coop and I'd let you build one for me any day of the year. Seriously, you guys really are bringing the farm girl out in me. I do miss the chickens we had although they were just plain old laying hens with a rooster or two thrown in for good measure. No fancy breeds at all and, Ginny, I've never heard of blue-green eggs. Are the shells that color or the eggs inside? I've scrambled eggs in a cast iron skillet and had them turn rather blue-greenish. Anyway, I love your coop with it's windows and screen door and all the extras. Our coop growing up didn't have any of those and it wasn't insulated but then we didn't exactly have VA winters here either. Great job!!

  11. Wow. I don't really have many more words than that. It's gorgeous to look at, practical, functional, quality work. I'm the opposite of a perfectionist, but I can appreciate the quality of your work. So, so cool. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing.

  12. I am really really impressed! WOW! Can you come build one for us when we buy a house with land? JK Ginny ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. The Sleepy Dreamer says:

    What a great Chicken Coop! I'd say your husband thought of each piece to make it easy to get eggs out. You seem like one lucky woman to have such a GREAT husband!

  14. It is a lot of work, which is why we paid the Amish a pretty penny to build ours. I had to laugh (you may not want to tell Jonny this part) but JD built 12 nesting boxes just like yours and none of my chickens lay eggs in them. They lay in the corner on the floor! Maybe yours will be smarter! We don't have any cover on our fence and haven't lost any, but the feral cat roof is a great idea. I like how much you recycled – really smart! Our next spring project is cow pasture fencing, we are going to do raw milk shares.Jenny – who's down to one puppy!

  15. Them there is some lucky chickens. I think Jonny thought of everything: the ventilation, ease of cleaning, predator proof, room to roam, and best of all getting the eggs from the outside. Your chickens should be very happy & lay tons of eggs for you. Here's hoping! Great Job Jonny!

  16. I think that the coop looks wonderful!! I really liked looking at it, you can tell that you really took time and pride in doing this. Those are some lucky chickens, so they better lay some good eggs:)Andrea

  17. It really is beautiful. Inspiring!

  18. Essie the Accidental says:

    Wow, you make me want to have chickens! But, you guys would need to come with the package and take care of them.Cool coop, again, looks nicer than my house.

  19. wow. i am totally impressed. doeshe want to come make a coop for my kids? ๐Ÿ™‚

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