I ran out of steam on writing my last blog post on how to build a chicken coop. Mainly I ended up moving to Colorado shortly after it’s completion. Yes, I took the coop with us when we moved, the moving company was more than amicable when loading up the coop.
When I started building it I knew that we would most likely be moving. My wife was in the store manager training program and for her to get a store we would more than likely have to move to a new area. I was also out growing my shop space and it was time to search for a larger location.
With all that moving in mind I design the coop so it could be able to be disassembled and reassembled easily so it could be transported to the new location when the time came.
I started out building the nesting boxes. Chickens like to have a safe place and a little privacy to lay their eggs. A good size box is about 12” wide 12” tall by 12” deep. I built this one out of plywood; the total dimensions are 36” wide by 24” tall by 12” deep, with room for 6 nesting boxes. When figuring out how many boxes you need for your flock, a good rule of thumb is one box for every 3 birds. They do share the boxes and most of the time my chickens lay in the same box. Now I don’t think I will ever have 18 birds but you know that old saying “Bigger is always better”.
The nesting box will not be attached to the coop but sit inside against the wall. This way it is easy to slide out to be cleaned.
Cleaning the coop was one of my major concerns. When we had a cat I hated cleaning the cat box, it was totally gross. This little feature makes cleaning really easy and the coop is a lot less gross than a cat box. I lined the coop with some sheet vinyl wrapping it up the sides about 6”. On the door end I added a hinged board wrapped in vinyl as well. When it comes time to clean out the coop I just roll up the wheel borrow, flip down the board and rake out the chicken poop and old shavings. I then flip up the board, add new fresh shavings and the coop is clean.
To keep predators out of the run and coop I dug a trench about 12” deep and 12” wide and berried some wire mesh to prevent them from getting into the run. If something wants to eat my chickens it will have a lot of work to do to get in. This also helps keep mice and other rodents out so they don’t eat the chickens feed. Which is especially important if you don’t want a rodent explosion, if mice find a good food source and a place to sleep; they make babies faster than rabbits.
Well here is a picture of the completed chicken coop and run. It made it safely from Portland Oregon to Elbert Colorado in the middle of winter. I had a ton of fun reassembling it between snow storms. People often ask what we did with our chickens we had in Portland. The short answer is we brought them with us, our daughter would not have it any other way. The full story is they stayed with friends until I was able to finish reassembling the coop and then we had them shipped via the United States Postal Service. Yes the US Postal Service will ship full grown live birds. You have to have a special box with filters and cannot ship them over the weekend. When we had them shipped out local post office called us as soon as they arrived so we could go pick them up. This way they would not be stuck in the box any longer than they had to. All three chicken made it here in good health and where happy for some fresh scratch and for my daughter to give them all the hugs they could handle.