The New Chicken Coop & Covered Yard

scrap wood chicken coop

Well, here’s our new chicken coop. We’ve moved the hens and one roo from the rabbit cages to their new super deluxe condo! Made completely free from scrap materials we’ve had laying around.

We had to prop one side of the coop up on blocks since it was built on a slope. We had some bags of concrete that had gotten wet and turned solid, so we used them as well as some cinder blocks and bricks to hold the corners up off the ground.Then Jerry just built the frame from 2×4’s, covered the floor with plywood, and built the walls up. The dimensions are 6’x7’x7′. For the roof we covered it with plywood and some scrap metal sheeting somebody gave us. We also made it slope so that the rain would fall off.

The walls are mostly chicken wire, as you can see. Jerry is thinking we’ll wrap it in heavy plastic over the winter. I’m not sure I like it like this,  but we’ll see. The whole front door is chicken wire as well, with a latch hook to keep it closed.

chicken coop

Here’s the backside of it. (Notice the roosters scrapping through the fence… that’s another story!) There’s a hinged door on the back side that opens into the covered yard. We’re gonna rig some contraption for opening and closing that door from the outside. For now, we crawl into the run to open the door in the mornings, and close it up at night.

chicken coop roosts

On the inside of the coop we have roosts on one side made from small tree trunks. They are staggered so that the hens roosting above don’t poop on the ones on the lower roost.

chicken coop laying nests

There are 6 laying boxes up on the other wall, 12″x12″. We put a piece of wood as a lip to hold the bedding material in because hens will scratch around a lot before laying. There’s another small tree trunk roost in front of the boxes. Most of the hens like to roost on top of the boxes at night.

chicken coop

The feeder is in the middle of the house so that they don’t poop on it. I may have to suspend it from the roof, or the bottom of the laying boxes though, if they start perching on it. I keep a big waterer out in the yard.

chicken yard run

Here’s the run, or really, “yard”. We used metal stakes around the perimeter, and attached chicken wire to them (that was a pain!). Then we ran the chicken wire over the top, and secured it by twisting the wires together or using sandwich bag twistie ties. We also used metal stakes along the bottom of the fence to keep it flush with the ground. One side was attached to the garden fence, to save on fencing materials.

We have 11 Buff Orpingtons in there, 9 Bantams, one Rhode Island Red, and two White Leghorns, and there’s plenty of room. I think they are happy with their new setup! And I love that I can let them out and know that they will be safe from predators.

13 thoughts on “The New Chicken Coop & Covered Yard”

  1. Good post. I learn something new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon everyday.
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  2. Absolutely wonderful! My husband and I are about to move our birds to a new coop. Can anyone tell me how they adjust. They have been in this old coop for years and years. A friend of my husbands gave us a security building that was about to be thrown out by some city workers, he loaded it up and brought it to us. We’ve added two levels for nesting (I’m using milk crates because they can be sanitized and they are CHEAP!) and we just built a new 3 level roost. It needs some work on the outside and a new door and that will happen next weekend. We are looking at moving them in about a month. Does anyone have any ideas about how to get them to NOT go to the old coop. My husband doesn’t want to tear it down since it was there when his grandparents owned the farm.

    • Sally,

      My suggestions for keeping them out of the old coop are:

      1. When the chickens are sleeping in their current home, move them one by one to their new home. Do it at night, so that when they wake up they’ll be in the new place.
      2. Put their food in the new coop, in an obvious place for them to find it in.
      3. Keep the door to the old coop closed.

      You’ll be amazed at how quickly they adjust. They may wander the first night trying to find a place to roost. If they are free range, you may have to get them out of trees and put them in the coop where they should go, but after about a week I’d say they’ll figure it out.

  3. Wow… really great coop. I love to see what can be done with free stuff. That is what our crazy looking coop is made from. The chickens don’t care what it’s made of as long as it is clean and warm in the winter/cool in the summer. We use a deep litter of leaves, straw, and shavings which keep it quite warm in the winter. The ducks don’t use any of the boxes but like to scratch out a little hole right in the litter to lay their eggs. The chicken love to roost up overhead in the rafters, but you have to watch out if you go in at night. An umbrella would be a good idea 🙂

    If you guys find some chicken wire at the dump sometime you may want to put some at the bottom of your fencing. Place it so that it attaches to your current fence and angles out and cover with soil. This keeps the foxes, etc from trying to dig their way under the fence. We got this tip from fellow chicken “farmers” and have found that it really works. We have seen places where animals have tried to dig under but when the encounter that chicken wire buried around they give up. It’s probably better not to use new wire for this since over time it will rust away and need to be replaced. Any type of wire fencing can be used. If the holes are a finer mesh this will also help to keep your new chicks confined. The trouble with a fence made of larger mesh is that the chicks can get out, but mom can’t and so they are out there exposed to danger. Even old hardware cloth works for this. We seem to have an over abundance of fencing we’ve collected from the scrap pile at the dump. Scrap metal recyclers don’t like wire fencing so you’re helping to recycle if you use it. Our scrap metal place won’t take fencing and that’s another reason people haul it off to the dump.

    Happy hunting 🙂

  4. Looks great! You’ve thought of everything we have, with the exception of the door. All Dad did when we built ours (much the same setup, but with plywood on all sides) was cut out a piece of board the same size as the chicken door, then run two pieces on either side, to make a “track” for the door to run inside. (He also put nails up higher as a stop, since the grandkids loved to open the door all the way out of the track). He then used twined metal wire (like clothesline wire without the insulation) and used U tacks to make a guide up the back side and across the rafters to the front. He drilled a small hole in the front side for the wire, tied a small handle to it, and popped in two nails for it to set while the door was open. At night, we just released the handle from the nails, and the gravity grabbed the door and closed it, without even opening the big door. Now that I think of it, it may be a good idea to put a groove in the board below so raccoons can’t get in by opening it with their flexible little paws. Nevermind – you have top wire.

    Also, dad built the nests on the outside, cut holes out on the inside, and used a piece of a tractor trailer back door as a lid with a slope, so all we did to collect eggs was lift the lid and grab them. Worked great for setting hens, too.

    Anyway, didn’t mean to write a novel. Let me know if any of this is not clear – I usually leave out important steps.

  5. Looks awesome!! I can’t believe you had all that as extra around your place! NICE!!!
    (also, I’m back online…computer issues!)
    ps…have you had a chance to use that tea pot w/the cooler weather?

  6. nice job – it looks great and i think they are gonna be happy and safe. yay! yes, as you already know, that pressed board will start to fall apart the first time a rain comes but i know you’re going to get that sealed. if i could just give a suggestion? i may have misunderstood but i think you said the wired area was going to be covered in heavy plastic for the winter? if i understood you correctly, just wanted to say that chickens need a lot of ventilation in their coop. their “poop” is a combo of feces and urine and creates a high level of ammonia. chickens are very prone to respiratory problems and if they don’t have good ventialation, your birds will probably get sick if you enclose the mesh. normally, you have windows up high all around and you can open or close depending upon where the wind/weather is coming from. maybe you guys can work something like that out before the cold comes? also, to help with the smell, you may try the deep litter method which keeps the ammonia smell down due to natural composting. i have a blog post on the deep litter method on my “heading for homestead” blog if you want to read about it. sorry if i gave unsolicited suggestions. your coop looks great, though adn i bet they are so happy!


  7. nice job.. our chickens also have a covered yard because of predator issues.. It is very nice knowing that we do not have to round thema up at night and close them in but in crap weather we can close it up and in winter at night closing them in keeps them plenty warm

  8. Nice job. It looks fabulous. I know your chickens are very happy. You should put a heavy coat or two of good outdoor paint on your walls and door. I have found the particle/pressed plywood doesn’t hold up real well over time without it.


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