Chick Coop de Gras'

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Project by jack1 posted 04-09-2009 05:34 AM 2500 views 1 time favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been wanting some laying hens for a while and got the go ahead just recently. The coop’s footprint is 8’x4’ with a front wall of 7’ and a back wall or 6’ so I don’t bump my head like I used to in other coops and I have a good 4:1 slope for the heavy rains we sometimes get.
The windows were salvaged from a lean-to renovation we did a few years ago on the shop (yeah, I put em in upside down the first time) and the roof is 72”x30” corrugated zinc/alum sheets. I pre-fabbed the walls, tipped them perpendicular and anchored them into an existing concrete pad with my trusty Remington. The corners are sealed against the weather with 90 degree flashing. I used kd pine for the frame to hang the T-111 on. This project gave me a chance to use a bunch of different Simpson ties. Lots of screws, neat stuff. Chicken wire is next on the list.
I can’t believe the cost of building materials. The T-111 was $40/sheet as an example! The Coop de Gras’ came from the cost… ;o)
We just got our first 1/2 dozen Rhode Island Reds today. Got the heat lamp, shavings, food, water and a locked door! I think we will also get some Barred Rocks and Anconas too for the green eggs and ham sam i yam…
I finished up by fencing a 25’x15’ area 6’ high with shade cloth over the top to add shade and protect from hawks, owls etc. I didn’t say it was pretty but it works! Now for the eggs…

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

17 comments so far

View ZachM's profile


83 posts in 3699 days

#1 posted 04-09-2009 05:56 AM

you gonna free range them, or are you building a run too?

View Bureaucrat's profile


18339 posts in 3646 days

#2 posted 04-09-2009 05:57 AM

this is a good looking chicken shack. No question that project stock is priced out of this world. From your last paragraph it seems you have a use for your woodworking by products now. I’m sure it doesn’t add much to the return on investment, but not having to figure out what to do with the sawdust and shavings ought to be worth something.

-- Gary D. Stoughton, WI

View jack1's profile


2107 posts in 4021 days

#3 posted 04-09-2009 06:07 AM

That’s what the chicken wire is for. I’m going to fence in about a 15’x 25’ area. I also have to cover the top of the run because of all the hawks, falcons and horned owls around here. We live near a major flyway and conservancy so there is a lot of critters to guard against in the air as well as on the ground. If they ever come up with a Rambo bird…

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View oldwoodman's profile


137 posts in 3391 days

#4 posted 04-09-2009 06:45 AM

Good looking chicken coop. It even looks raccoon proof. And not only do chickens give eggs, they also provide “free” fertilizer. Cleaning out chicken pens. That was NOT one of my favorite boyhood jobs. But I did enjoy the eggs and, eventually, the fried chicken!

If you build some chicken nests for the laying hens, let us see some pictures!

View LesB's profile


1720 posts in 3437 days

#5 posted 04-09-2009 08:44 AM

Nice looking coop.
I have one quite similar (6’X8’) that I built 3 years ago. You are missing an important element for the summer time to provide good ventilation. I have vents just under the roof on the front and back of mine. Made so I can open and close them as needed. I have a 12”X12”door opening for the birds that has a sliding door with a latch to keep the racoons out at night. I also set mine up on pressure treated timbers so I can move (slide) it to a new spot from time to time. In the winter when there is no vegetable garden for them to destroy the chickens get “free range” and yes occasionally a coyote or hawk has gotten a hen or usually a rooster who tries to defend his hens. I have heard that geese make good protectors and watch dogs. You can’t beat fresh free range eggs. We sell the extras to friends for $2.50 doz. and that pays for the commercial feed I supplement with. The demand exceeds our productions but we only have 6 birds. A 4X7 coop is going to be a bit crowded for more than about 8 – 10 chickens. You might want to retrofit with external nesting boxes that mount on the outside to save internal space.

-- Les B, Oregon

View jack1's profile


2107 posts in 4021 days

#6 posted 04-09-2009 08:44 AM

Oldwoodman, I’ve posted pictures about 3 weeks ago of some free standing nesting boxes I made for some friends last summer. I will make mine to fit in the coop and will post later. Thanks for the request. By the way, we do have raccoons, opossum, skunks, feral cats, coyotes and some weasels in the area as well as king and bull snakes which I’m sure not only taste like chicken but probably like the way chicken tastes!

Les, the coop is actually 4×8. I thought about the size you mentioned but I was going with the flow of standard mill sizes (ok, I got lazy). I think we will probably try to stay at around 6 since there is only two of us but the way I built it, it would be easy to add on to. Everything is screwed together and I have MAKITA! lol

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View ratchet's profile


1391 posts in 3780 days

#7 posted 04-09-2009 02:19 PM

So do you eat the hens and name the roosters?
Anyways nice coop.
Thx fer sharin

View BTKS's profile


1986 posts in 3458 days

#8 posted 04-09-2009 02:59 PM

Nice to see I’m not the only one getting back into the birds. Our start up costs are outrageous but between the little girls loving it and the eggs and maybe some frying pieces I think it’s well worth it. We’re starting with some barred rocks but I would like to expand into some heritage breeds.
And so the ADVENTURE begins.
Good looking coop, have lots of fun with em.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4240 days

#9 posted 04-09-2009 03:31 PM

I remember what those fresh eggs tasted like just no comparison to store bought. Actually, we have a farmer that sells his eggs here to the local IGA and we can still get them, but they know what they’re worth too.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View LesB's profile


1720 posts in 3437 days

#10 posted 04-09-2009 06:56 PM

Jack, I too used mill panels, I was going with 4X8 but it seemed a little narrow so I split a sheet to get 6X8.
My wife hates the rooster and the feeling seems to be mutual but he does keep the hens in line and is protective. Unfortunately the Plymouth Rocks I have are not particularly good brooders & mothers so they don’t replace themselves very well. I could get an electric brooder but it is just easier to get new chicks every couple of years. I have also had good success at raising the hybrid Cornish Cross chicks for meat. It takes only 6 weeks for them to reach 5 pounds. They do go through a lot of feed so you can’t compete with the market price per pound of meat. The idea of “free range” fryers is a myth. These hybrids do not like to range more than about 5 feet from the food and water unless they are hot or cold. They are still better than those fat laden commercial chickens. Minimum shipping numbers from the hatcheries is 24 chicks so that is what I usually get. (Sometimes mixed breeds) They need that many in the box to keep each other warm. I like to get them in June or July so that except for the first couple of weeks I don’t have to worry about keeping them warm. I use my 8”X12” green house as a temporary coop for them, letting them out into a grassy pen during the day.
It is easy and fun. The grand kids love to collect the eggs.

-- Les B, Oregon

View jack1's profile


2107 posts in 4021 days

#11 posted 04-10-2009 03:16 AM

Les, I hate to admit it but I have a panel saw and could have done the same thing quite easily. Like I said I got lazy and was also trying to hide it from the view out the back doors, (the concrete pad is kind of buried under a birch tree with drooping branches) 6’ wide would have stuck it way out. I’m thinking about putting an outhouse moon on the door. What do you think?

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View LesB's profile


1720 posts in 3437 days

#12 posted 04-10-2009 04:52 AM

Decorate it as you see fit the chickens won’t care (-; I have an old cow skull w/horns over my shop door; no reason I just put it there. My wife came up with a painted metal rooster that we put on the roof of the chicken coop. It doesn’t seem to fool the hawks because I haven’t seen them go after it yet.
I just try to make things as uncomplicated and low maintenance as I can. I have enough to do without fussing too much over chickens and their house.
Well, it’s dark now, got to go close them up for the night.

-- Les B, Oregon

View a1Jim's profile


117086 posts in 3571 days

#13 posted 04-10-2009 06:48 AM

A Job worth crowing about.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View jack1's profile


2107 posts in 4021 days

#14 posted 04-11-2009 04:23 AM

Thanks for all the suggestions. I still have stuff to do with the coupe’ da chicken and will use your suggestions.

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3682 days

#15 posted 05-05-2009 06:14 AM

I miss my chickens , but they tasted good while they lasted : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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