Hard to believe it has been five years since we constructed a home for our first flock. Those birds developed a taste for their own eggs, and that is a very hard habit to break in a small flock, so we were forced to start over this year with new chicks. I took this opportunity to improve upon the design of our last chicken coop and so construction has begun on a completely new and this time permanent structure. We are also going to give the deep litter method a try, so stay tuned for updates on how that works.
We started with one of those big plastic sheds they sell at Sam’s. Modifying one of these for use as a coop requires a lot of custom mods, that are time-consuming and not always optimal, but it’s hard to beat free, so we decided to roll with it. It is hard to overstate the importance of ventilation in a chicken coop, and this is not something that comes easily in a big plastic box that is designed to be waterproof. My solution was a custom-built cupola for the roof that replaced one of the factory skylights. We added a multi-level roost made of 2x2s and closet rods that is hinged to the wall so we can raise it when we need to turn the litter (which is not in that photo).
I attached 2x4s to one of the external walls with carriage bolts and then framed a large 8′ x 10′ run (which will also contain litter eventually). Then the most expensive component was a pop door from AdorStore that includes a photosensor so that it automatically opens at sunrise and closes at sunset. The run also has a hatch that folds down when we want to let the birds out to free range.