One of the design goals with the barn was to able to care for the goats, chickens, and the livestock guardian dog from inside the structure, without necessarily tromping around outside in the often-wet Washington weather. To that end, one of the back (uphill) walls of the octagon will therefore be common with one of the walls of the coop and provide access to nest boxes for egg collection as well as food and water containers.
After a few free Craigslist lumber finds, I was ready to proceed. I sketched out the framing plans for the walls on (gasp!) paper, and got to work. I have to say that even using hand tools, framing stud walls and whacking them together with nails goes a whole lot faster than the mortise and tenon and dovetail joinery I’m used to when building boxes and furniture! After an afternoon of work, I had my skeleton:
The whole thing sits on a plywood sheet about 3-1/2’ x 6’ that was left by the previous owner when I bought the house. The next step was to cover the sides (well, three of them, at least). I didn’t want to use plywood because the rain here tends to play hell with the glue, so it was back to Craigslist. I scored a fair amount of old 1×12 cedar fence boards dating from the 19020s when the current owner replaced the original fence. They are quite rough and often significantly cupped, but hey, it’s a chicken coop, not a highboy.
Because of wood movement, and because I don’t want drafts blowing between the cracks, it’s not a good idea to just butt the planks together and nail them up. I decided to shiplap them with my moving fillister plane. I love that plane: I’m not exactly sure how old it is, but I know that the company that made it went out of business in 1874 when they lost their contract for convict labor with the New York State Penitentiary System…
Once the siding was done, I painted up the boards with a new outdoor paint (keeping with the barn red motif) and added an access door and white trim on the face of the coop that would be visible from the approach to the barn.
Then, I installed the base. Because the barn is dug into a hill, there isn’t a flat place to simply plunk the coop down. One end of the coop would be on the ground, but the end with the access door would be about 18” above the slope. One long edge of the platform is supported by the top of the retaining wall. For the other long edge and the short edge that dangles in space, I attached PT 4×4s that came together with a double half-lap joint resting on a 4×4 supported by a concrete deck footer.
After this picture was taken, I covered the floor with layer of EPDM pond liner (more on that acquisition later) to protect the plywood from the deleterious effect of chicken poop. Then I hauled up the walls from my shop to the barn site (why is everything so darned heavy?) and nailed them in place.
Here are some shots of the coop roughed in. First, the view from the barn approach:
And the view from standing inside the barn. The tool tote is sitting in the area where the nest boxes will be, and the food/water access door is to the left:
And here’s a final shot, this time looking at the “chicken access” door that will lead to their run. It has a better shot of the shiplap:
And that’s where we are for now! This blog is now up to the minute with the project, and the further updates will be in “real time”! Thanks for reading, by the way. I appreciate the comments and support!