Coop and Run Project, 5 Years in the Making

Discussion in 'Coops, Runs and Housing' started by royrector, Jun 27, 2017.

  1. royrector

    royrector New Member

    16
    2
    3
    Coop and Run Project, 5 Years in the Making (Picture Heavy)

    It all began 5 years ago in March of 2013, when I begin replacing a row of red tip photinia bushes marking the northern property line of my place. The two previous summer droughts had killed off almost all of the trees, so I decided to pull them up and build a privacy fence in their place. While I was planning the fence, I started researching back yard chickens, and decided now is the time -- I can construct the fence as part of the chicken run and build a coop.
    ______________________________
    June 2013
    I got the picket fence built on the property line. I put up an 8 foot high fence, so it can double as the northern boundary of the chicken run. I started by installing 4x4 post -- setting them in concrete 40 inches deep and 8 feet apart:

    [​IMG]
    Once I got the top two cross members in, I used my X748 John Deere garden tractor and my tiller to dig-out in-between the post so I can bury welded wire. That should keep critters from digging under the fence and getting my chickens.

    [​IMG]
    The tiller worked pretty good. Just had to take a shovel and clean out the loose dirt:

    [​IMG]
    I installed the wire, and curved it to the outside so if a critter digs down next to the fence, they will hit the wire:

    [​IMG]
    Then I added a row of buried bricks, just to make it harder to dig under:

    [​IMG]
    The wire was installed in the last 6 sections, which was originally planned to be the chicken run:

    [​IMG]
    With the wire installed, I continued installing the pickets, to finish the privacy element of the fence:

    [​IMG]
    So the chicken run has on its north border an 8 foot high picket fence with 4 feet of welded wire on the inside:

    [​IMG]
    I installed the end posts of the chicken run's south side. This will be a welded wire fence to keep the girls safe, and allow us to watch them from the back porch. Originally, I planned on a run that is 8 foot wide by 48 foot long (384 square feet):

    [​IMG]
    I will build the coop on that end in the shade. This picture was taken at 4:30 PM, so as the day heats up the coop will have plenty of shade. Here is the "coop’s view" of where the run will be:

    [​IMG]
    I installed some solar power accent lights on each post. Kind of gives it a nice affect after dark:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    ______________________________
    August 2013
    I’m made progress on the project. After finishing the privacy fence construction, I started working on setting the post for the chicken run:

    [​IMG]
    Next came burying the lines. I am running water, electricity, Cat 5 (internet) cable and compressed air to the coop:

    [​IMG]
    Yep, my girls will have their very own internet café. And I figure 140 PSI compressed air will be handy for blowing out the coop at cleaning time.

    I then set the post for the coop. I used 4x6’s and buried them 40 inches in concrete:

    [​IMG]
    The string you see in this picture (around the post) mark where I will add fill to raise and level the ground. Since this is the lower part of the yard (and in the flood plain) I figured I better raise the coop up off of the ground and fill in underneath to redirect the rain run-off.
    I cut the post to 18 inches above the fill line, and will use the underside of the coop for more additional run area:

    [​IMG]
    I installed the hardware cloth before adding the fill, and used road base for the fill so it would pack in real tight under the coop, and if a critter gets past the hardware cloth, trying to dig though road base will be its worst nightmare:

    [​IMG]

    Darn, I hit the 20 picture limit -- see follow up post for: "the rest of the story."
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017
  2. royrector

    royrector New Member

    16
    2
    3
    Coop and Run Project, 5 Years in the Making Part 2

    Next came the floor supports. I placed them on 12 inch centers because I plan on using sand as the coop floor covering and I want to make sure it can handle the weight:

    [​IMG]
    I put it together with 4 inch TruLock framing bolts, so hopefully it will outlive me:

    [​IMG]
    Here is the view from the creek:

    [​IMG]
    And a view from the back porch:

    [​IMG]
    I set the angle of the coop so we will be able to see the birds through the coop windows from the back porch.
    I'm also working on the on the upper end of the run:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I'll use PVC roofing sheet to cover the run so the chickens can have shade and a mud free run with it rains.
    ______________________________
    October 2013
    I installed the PVC roofing on the first section of the run:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    And then I decided that would make a great shed. So I completed the next section and added a crushed granite floor:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    So the chickens will have 16 less feet of run. But if you don't tell them, they will never know. ;-)
    ______________________________
    June 2017
    Well, it has been 5 years since I started the chicken coop project. Life got in the way and I haven’t worked on it at all, until now. I plan on getting it finished this year, in time for 2018 spring chicks. The project has weathered a bit over the last four years, but I built it with treated lumber and added Thompson water seal so I’m good:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The white bundle in the background are the shingles for the coop. the black enclosure is a compost pit I built from composite railroad ties:

    [​IMG]
    It will be inside the run. I’m thinking the chickens will love scratching around in it, and with all that poop’in and scratch’in, they will be little worker bees making compost for the garden. ;-)


    I went to Home Depot and bought the lumber for framing up the coop. My RV is in the shop, so I took advantage of the empty RV shelter to frame up the walls and created the roof trusses:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    In a couple of week, I have my son come over and we’ll have a good old fashioned “barn raising" and install the wall and trusses -- getting it dried in and ready to install the shingles.

    So that is where I am at to date. Still lots of work to do, which means still a lot of pictures to come!
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017

  3. robin416

    robin416 Super Moderator Staff Member

    9,692
    296
    83
    And I thought there was a bunch of us OCD about keeping our birds safe but I think you've topped us all. Your excellent pics and explanations could help anyone new that would like to know what it takes to keep trouble out.

    The other plus is that you gave this so much thought, a few years anyway :D before you got the birds. They might not know they lost some footage in their run but they will know they've found the right home.
     
  4. dawg53

    dawg53 Well-Known Member

    2,571
    184
    63
    I've never seen anything like it...a chicken mansion in progress! I wish I had your carpentry skills.
     
  5. seminolewind

    seminolewind SuperModerator Staff Member

    7,542
    155
    63
    Wow is not a big enough word! That's just amazing! I can't wait to see more.
     
  6. chickenqueen

    chickenqueen Super Moderator Staff Member

    2,814
    206
    63
    Wow!!!Wow!!!I'm soooooo jealous!!!!That's a wonderful set-up.I need to show your pics to my hubby...
     
  7. WeeLittleChicken

    WeeLittleChicken Active Member

    1,118
    1
    36
    Wow, color me impressed! That's gorgeous! Can't wait to see how the rest goes! :)
     
  8. royrector

    royrector New Member

    16
    2
    3
    I would love to be able to free range them in the back yard, but back when I was doing all the research about runs, I learned I pretty much have to build a fort for my birds. We have the usual suspects (feral cats and loose dogs), but in this creek that runs along my property, every year I see squirrels, raccoons, hawks, owls, coyotes and red foxes. Last year we had a bob cat! :eek:
     
  9. robin416

    robin416 Super Moderator Staff Member

    9,692
    296
    83
    I've got that here but I don't live in the burbs. It's why I have hot wire around the base of my bird's pens. I do let what I have left in chickens out to free range but only under close supervision. Something chased one of my old Hamburg hens last week. Chased almost to the road but when she heard my voice she came out of hiding. I had to go meet her because she didn't want to be out in the open without backup.
     
  10. Seriph

    Seriph New Member

    22
    1
    3
    What a stunning project! I wish I had anywhere near that amount of skill to build something like that.
     
  11. royrector

    royrector New Member

    16
    2
    3
    Update - July 3, 2017

    Today we got the coop framed up. It is a 10x20 Gambrel roof structure that is much bigger in real life than it was on paper. :eek:

    After reading a lot on this forum, I'm thinking it ain't gonna be no coop. :)

    Apparently, from what I read it will be - - - - a Chicken Mansion:

    View from the back yard:

    [​IMG]

    View from the shed at the end of the run:

    [​IMG]

    View from behind the coop looking down the run area.


    [​IMG]

    Still lots of work to do, but I have a good start in getting it finished this summer. If you are interested the framing process, I had a GoPro camera running and taking a photo every 60 seconds. I made a quick little time-lapse video. It is a minute and a half long and pretty much shows the day from start to finish. Here is a link to the video:

    https://youtu.be/K6MuIIarc2I
     
  12. robin416

    robin416 Super Moderator Staff Member

    9,692
    296
    83
    Ok, here's what I want to know. How can you possibly have a complete coop and run out in your backyard and have it be empty until next Spring?
     
  13. royrector

    royrector New Member

    16
    2
    3
    I would like to get them as soon as I get the coop and run ready, but I just haven't gotten around to asking the "where to buy chicks" question. I know that the local Tractor Supply has them in them only in the spring. I was looking at the McMurray website the other day. I noted I could buy chicks almost all year, but they have a 15 min order. I only want 5. So, "how to buy less than 15 chicks when it is not springtime" is a question I have. :)
     
  14. nannypattyrn

    nannypattyrn Well-Known Member

    2,821
    73
    48
    If you have an Atwood farm store, you can buy individual chicks.
     
  15. dawg53

    dawg53 Well-Known Member

    2,571
    184
    63
    Meyer hatchery has a minimum order of 3 chicks from April to November, 15 chicks December through March. I've ordered from them before without any problems. They are in Ohio.
     
  16. chickenqueen

    chickenqueen Super Moderator Staff Member

    2,814
    206
    63
    In Ohio?I'll have to check them out.I bought my first 3 batches from Mt Healthy Hatchery because I could pick them up.I quit buying from there because they don't have many breeds to chose from.As for buying chicks,there's always Craig's list and livestock sales with no minimums to buy.You got a chicken mansion that will hold a good sized flock.A dozen is just as easy as 5 to raise,there's just a little more poop....:D
     
  17. dawg53

    dawg53 Well-Known Member

    2,571
    184
    63
    Meyer hatchery is located north of you in Polk, Ohio, CQ.
    I stopped buying chicks from Meyer because they stopped selling Black Sex links. That's when I switched to Ideal hatchery out of Texas. They dont have a minimum order per say. You have to purchase $25 worth of chicks (or more) though. The quantity and cost can vary depending on the breed you order, just as long as it's $25 or more. Since I ordered standard breeds only, it usually came out to 12 or 13 chicks.
    I ordered from Ideal once in December, big mistake on my part. In addition to the 12 chicks, they sent me 15 Leghorn male chicks for warmth purposes. I had to cull them.
    You're absolutely correct; a dozen is just as easy as 5 to raise. (I could bump that up a little more) LOL.
     
  18. royrector

    royrector New Member

    16
    2
    3
    That is good to known, Thanks! Ideal hatchery is just an hour's drive from my house, so I can order chicks and go pick them up. Hurray! :)
     
  19. seminolewind

    seminolewind SuperModerator Staff Member

    7,542
    155
    63
    I like Hoover Hatchery as well. Your coop is coming along nice!