When it comes to building and utilizing new chicken coops, we have certainly had plenty of past experiences to draw from.
Like the lessons learned from building two prior coops for the farm, three more for friends, and 2 others for DIY plans for the blog. And, to boot, 10 years of raising chickens – and witnessing firsthand what worked, and what didn’t for our hens. (See : Small Flock Chicken Coop)
And so when it came time to create a new chicken coop at the farm this spring, we were excited to have the chance to put all of those “lessons learned” to use.
That meant trying to address any issues we have had in the past. Like mice in the coop, freezing water buckets, and wasted food. All while creating a coop that was easy to clean and maintain, with ultra-easy access for feeding, watering and egg collection.
In short, we wanted to build coop that would make life easy and comfortable for the chickens, and for us too!
The New Chicken Coop
So why the new chicken coop? For starters, we wanted to downsize our flock to 8 to 10 hens. With our kids all out of the house now, we simply don’t use as many eggs. But of course, we still need that manure for our garden!
That meant a much smaller footprint than our previous 12′ x 8′ coop that could hold up to 36 hens.
But we also wanted to accomplish some additional goals. Like creating a bigger run area for free-ranging. And, even more, the ability to connect it to our fenced in garden.
That feature would allow us to let them forage and control insects and weed seeds in the fall and winter months with ease. Another important part of pest control in the garden.
So using our small-flock chicken coop plans as a template, we went to work modifying the design to work for our farm! And we thought we would share the completed coop today.
Here is a look at the farm’s new coop, along with details of many of it’s hopefully time-saving, low-maintenance features. We also included a quick video tour of the coop at the end of the article as well.
The New Coop At The Farm
The coop measures 6′ wide and 4′ deep, with a sloping roof from 6′ in the front, to 5′ in the back. With three nesting boxes and a large attached run, it has plenty of space for the 8 to 10 chickens we will be keeping.
Framing, Insulation & Floor
It was so important for us to keep this coop secure, insulated, and easy to clean.
The entire frame is built from 2 x 4’s. We sided the exterior with plywood, and then sided it with cedar to help repel insects and rot.
For the interior walls, we used galvanized metal. Not only will it be easy to clean, it will help reflect light within the coop. In between the walls, we insulated with thick foam panels and foam spray.
For the floor, we mixed and poured bagged concrete to create a 4″ thick concrete foundation. Before pouring, we also installed a center drain to help drain excess moisture – and make it easy to wash down when needed.
Hopefully, the floor and sealed walls will keep drafts and cold out. And even more – keep out mice and other pests too!
Exterior Egg Boxes
One of the features we are most excited about on the new chicken coop is the exterior egg box collection door. By simply unlocking the front hatch, we will have easy access to collect eggs from the outside.
No more having to enter the coop and battle the girls for space!
Feed and Water
We also added an access door on the side of the new chicken coop to address water and feeding. For the feed, we made two automatic gravity feeders from 4″ PVC pipe. We simply unscrew the top drain plug, pour in the food, and it drops as needed.
By having this design, the chickens can’t spill the food all over the floor. It should lead to much less waste, and a cleaner food supply.
For the watering system, we created an automatic chicken waterer from a 5 gallon bucket and screw in water nipples. For $10 in materials, it holds 5 gallons of water, and lets the chickens peck for water when needed.
A Video Tour Of The New Coop
It is way cleaner than our old gravity water system – and way less wasteful!
We also added an outlet to the exterior of the new chicken coop to plug in a water warmer through winter. It would also allow us to heat the coop if ever necessary. That addresses the old issue of frozen winter water!
Chicken Run & Automatic Chicken Door
We are really excited that the run is so much larger for the chickens. The main run is about 25′ long x 16′ wide. But when we open up the garden to them for fall and winter, it will add another 60′ x 40′ area.
The fence is 60″ tall, and will have 2 x 2 welded wire fencing to keep them safe and secure.
Last but not least, we have one final thing to install to the new chicken coop when it arrives next week – an automatic chicken door to the run. (Product Link : Automatic Chicken Door)
It is a simple design that opens a door to the run at dawn, and closes it at dusk. It works all from a simple sensor, and will be so nice to allow the chickens out when we might not be able to. And of course, keep them safe at night by closing the door from predators.
Now that it’s all complete, we can’t wait to put our new chicken coop to use next week when our new baby chicks arrive! Here is to the joys and benefits of raising chickens – Happy Chicken Raising! Jim and Mary.
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