Backyard Chicken Coop (in memory of Ted)

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Project by redsox9 posted 12-09-2014 03:06 PM 1534 views 2 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My father-in-law, who was a dairy farmer for many years, passed away earlier this year. In his memory, my wife and I decided to start raising backyard chickens for the eggs.

The first trick was to find a place for the coop. We decided to keep it close to the house and away from the edge of the woods where we have seen foxes, fisher cats, and other wild animals lurking. The most ideal location ended up being tucked between the house and the stairs to our backyard deck. As the ground was not level (seen in the one photo), I had to use a little ingenuity to build a level deck for the coop. In addition, I also used my masonry skills to build a retaining wall and make a level surface for the run.

Most of the four-by-four coop was made of salvaged material from other projects. It includes two nesting boxes for when the chickens are ready to start laying eggs, which will probably not happen until early spring when they reach six months of age. I also made a tray that sits on the bottom of the coop and slides out from under the nesting boxes to ease the cleaning process. The run is four-by-five and was built from PT lumber. For the roof, I used corrugated PVC roof material that is partially transparent so that the girls will get natural sunlight all year long.

Thanks for looking!

-- Jeff, North Andover, MA

9 comments so far

View Kali2024's profile


29 posts in 1991 days

#1 posted 12-09-2014 03:13 PM

that’s so cool! Looks like you’re in the burbs- any issues with the township or neighbors? I would love to do that and have fresh eggs but I live in a cookie cutter-no yard neighborhood and don’t think the neighbors would like chickens running around.

View moonls's profile


412 posts in 2404 days

#2 posted 12-09-2014 03:21 PM

Your project is well-documented and very well constructed! And I always appreciated putting salvaged wood to good use.

-- Lorna, Cape Cod

View ellen35's profile


2719 posts in 2850 days

#3 posted 12-09-2014 03:21 PM

How cool is that! Nice dedication and great breakfasts at your house!
The build is stellar!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Hawaiilad's profile


2884 posts in 2439 days

#4 posted 12-09-2014 07:40 PM

Great build and location for your hens. How many are you going to have? If you haven’t already installed them, don’t forget the roost for your birds. We have had 4 hens for a few years and are ordering 15 more chicks soon.

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View firefighterontheside's profile


13058 posts in 1274 days

#5 posted 12-09-2014 08:10 PM

Nicely done. It’s great having chickens and the eggs. I would get the chickens first. Ours were kept in the coop for 3 years until recently we started letting them out during the day. It’s cool having them walk around. We live in the country. The bad part is having their poop everywhere now.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View redsox9's profile


105 posts in 1704 days

#6 posted 12-09-2014 09:55 PM

Thank you for all the positive feedback!

Kali2024: Our town passed a bylaw in the spring of 2014 that allows homeowners to keep up to six chickens. So far, I have received no complaints and I don’t expect to get any since we all own one acre parcels and the coop is tucked away in our backyard. Plus, with the expected influx of fresh eggs, I’m sure that they will remain content.

Hawaiilad: We started with two chicks, then got two more a week later, then bought two more a month after that. Unfortunately, one of the last two died due to Marek’s disease a couple of weeks ago and we have her sister isolated from the other chickens to mitigate any passage of disease until she reaches 20 weeks. Lucky for us and for our chickens, we had not moved them to the coop so we should be okay. I’m not sure if and when we will get one to replace her but it won’t be until next spring at the earliest.

firefighterontheside: The town does not allow roosters so we won’t be trying to breed. If we are outside, then we will let them out into the yard to explore. So far, they are good about staying close to the house and in a cluster. Mostly they like to hang out in one of my wife’s garden, so I guess that she’s getting it fertilized for free! ;-)

-- Jeff, North Andover, MA

View a1Jim's profile


115167 posts in 2995 days

#7 posted 12-09-2014 10:10 PM

Pretty fancy chichen coop. There’s always a choice to be made about chicken coops not too far away for security but not to close to the house because of odors. It sounds like you have found a distance that works for you.

-- Custom furniture

View changeoffocus's profile


457 posts in 1035 days

#8 posted 12-09-2014 11:24 PM

Nice build and story,

View Hawaiilad's profile


2884 posts in 2439 days

#9 posted 12-10-2014 03:12 AM

As long as your hens know where the food and water are they will stay in the back yard…we have an animal rescue of dogs and cats plus care for the feral cats, which means our hens have to stay in the run…but them we live in the lava fields and don’t have grass for them anyway. Good luck with your birds

-- Larry in Hawaii,

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