Chicken’s First Home
Our original flock of chickens and guineas started out in a stock tank in a little-used room of our house. We drove to Carthage, TN to a place called Poultry Hollow Hatchery and bought some hens* and some guineas. We brought them home in a couple of cardboard boxes (I would recommend driving 2 and a half hours in a closed-in car with a bunch of chickens and guineas in the back). We were planning to put the chicks/keets in bigger boxes in the garage but we started to think it would be too cold. Our next stop was Tractor Supply for a 100 gallon stock tank and some pine shavings.
The “Real” Chicken House
This (somewhat crooked) chicken coop is what we came up with to house our chickens. There were some problems (besides being crooked) with the design, but it worked fairly well and made a pretty good home for our seven chickens and, occasionally some of our four guineas. The coop has four laying boxes, is ventilated, incorporates several indoor perches, and can be cleaned fairly easily.
A Safe Yard for the Chickens
We have a lot of hawks, skunks, and a couple of other predators that can be dangerous to chickens, so we decided to build a pen for the birds, where they can safely forage and get water in relative safety. The pen is framed in pressure 2x4s and 4x4s with 1/2″ hardware sides (and bottom), and sporting a corrugated clear polycarbonate roof.
Power to the Chickens
It took a little longer than expected (I say that about practically every major step in every project). We have an outside electric panel about 40 feet away so we covered the distance with 3/4″ conduit and hooked up two, two-plug outlets on the right side of the coop, right under the nest boxes.
The finished product was crooked (see the tilt of the upper roof), but solid. It includes a light, a heater for when the temperature drops, and a small fan.Enter description text here.
Moving in Day
Our (very stylish) Leghorn was the first to move in.
Here’s a picture of the interior from the big service door looking out of the front door/ramp. This picture was taken before power was run to the coop, but we ran an extension cord so we could heat the coop and run a small fan.
We got more chickens, so we needed more room…
We got some more chickens… five Black Australorps, five Barred Rocks, three Gold Laced Wyandotes, and three Buff Orpingtons.Because chickens grow up fast.
Because we were pressed for time, and because I seem to have a problem with basic carpentry and 90 degree angles, we decided to buy our next coop. Coops are kind of expensive, and they’re generally not very well-made, so we bought a shed from one of the many side-of-the-road shed dealers in East Tennessee. We thought it would be better to have a coop with covered storage that would last, and this was a great solution.
Here is the basic design. It wasn’t a trivial project, but it wasn’t like starting from scratch (chicken pun) either. The first thing we did was add those two windows for light and ventilation. The coop section is framed out with pressure treated 2 by 4s with 1/2″ hardware cloth “walls”. There is a 12″ Whirlybird wind turbine on the roof for added ventilation, and there are 2 110 Volt outlets that we can use for heat and light if needed.
The interior of the coop…
The first picture shows the (people) door to the coop. The second pictureshows the growing chickens foraging in the pine shavings under the nest boxes. The last picture shows the perches and the ladder that everyone used to get to their nightly perch.
More of the interior…
Here is a picture of the shelves, with our chicken supplies. And another picture showing the tunnel leading to the chicken run and three of the roll-out next boxes.