This weekend, Cage Free Dad made some big progress on our chicken coop. I’m very excited as I watch this project unfold, because I originally thought I’d have to make it myself while he was out of town for 2 months. The whole idea was so overwhelming. I just couldn’t even figure out the first step on my own! Keep in mind that my only actual building experience is the one time I built a shelf with my dad. So I was extremely grateful when Cage Free Dad came home with a plan and began working on it himself.
While he was gone, I found the plans for the free Purina Mills design, which he is using as a rough outline for his design. He’s made it twice as big, moved the nesting boxes, and made a few extra doors and openings to make life a little easier for us.
The frame is made from mostly new materials, because we wanted to be sure it would be sturdy, especially since it’s up off the ground (hindsight is telling me we could have made a coop directly on the ground for nearly free, but too late). CFD also purchased roofing panels, but then realized he didn’t buy as much as he needed. Me being Mrs. Frugal, told him to find another way, so he filled in the gaps with plywood. It’s not pretty, but it will work until new material costs are in the budget!
As you can see, the long walls are built using old fencing material. My cousin just tore down her fence and was going to toss all of the wood in her roll-off box! The hinges for the 2 doors are also from her fence, and some of the plywood is left over from other projects.
Here is a look inside the coop before we put on the final wall. The wall on the left (with a window) has a small door on the bottom half that lifts up to make cleaning easier. The right hand wall is a large door that opens all the way for easy cleaning.
Here is where the nesting boxes will sit once they are complete. We chose this spot so that we could have 2 doors on the sides, and if it’s raining, we can collect eggs without having water pour down our backs while we stand there (the roof slops the other way).
It’s not completely done, but some big progress has been made in the last 2 weekends. While building this coop design from new materials has cost chicken owners up to $700 it seems, our version made from recycled and refurbished materials has cost closer to $180 for 4×4’s, some roofing, and a bit of plywood. It might not be as pretty right now, but once we trim up the uneven ends and paint it all one color, I think it will look pretty great!
It’s in our (eventual) plans to add wheels to the legs of the coop so that we can move this coop around on the yard. I also plan to make our run out of PVC pipe and chicken wire, which I already have on hand. That way, the run is sturdy but can also be moved around. We’ll be able to confine the birds in our garden area after the harvest and we can move them so the grass doesn’t get destroyed in the meantime.
Next weekend we hope to finish the nesting boxes, roosts, run, and ramp. Then, we’ll be ready for the girls to move in! Just have to wait until they’re a little older and the weather is more consistent before I feel comfortable moving them. I’m so ready to see the ladies in their new home (and out of mine)!