Building a Chicken Coop - Part 1

8:27 PM

Building a coop for many people is probably something they can (and do) throw together over a weekend using scraps, chicken wire, elbow grease and spit.  I should back up just one half step here and clarify that, ok, many people do not ever get to the stage where building a chicken coop ever crosses their mind.

Having established that, let me return to the reality of my life which involves 11 rapidly growing chickens and an increasingly urgent need for their own outdoor domain. So I am, in fact, building a chicken coop.

I happen to have two brothers who also have growing chicks and are in the process of having to create coops as well. And I have a neighbor across the street who converted a doghouse into a coop of sorts for his six chicks. And then there's me.

Having experienced the world's quickest chicken loss (due to a neighborhood fox), I have chosen, in typical Ashley fashion, to deal with this issue of a coop in an extremely thorough, analytical, no holds barred, "if I'm going to do this, I'm going to do it RIGHT" method.  

Which means I thoroughly researched the ins and outs of building coops, found the coolest, safest and aesthetically pleasing coop (and an amazing detailed, accompanying building plan) online through a guy in Portland, OR, purchased said plan and have since made friends with the coop designer as I have peppered him with question after question regarding his plan. I'm actually enlarging the coop, making a few changes, and adding exterior egg boxes.

I've spent hours making sure I understand every facet of this plan so as to not waste a second of our precious weekend building time, and after three weekends of driving all over town accumulating materials (roofing panels, hardware, hardware cloth, lumber), this last weekend marked the beginning of our actual building process.

I knew this coop wasn't going to be inexpensive, because it was also going to be predator proof and something that both Kyle and I wouldn't mind seeing grace our backyard. And I'd hoped it would be something we'd enjoy doing. 

So far, it has been really enjoyable! After 2 days of cutting lumber into the right sizes, my putting each piece of lumber into its respective "usage" pile and writing on each piece with a sharpie where and how it was to be used, directing Kyle where to cut, assembling the pieces into the frame and having Kyle hammer them together, and then sanding off the mill glaze so we can prime the lumber...this coop is going to happen. I can feel it!

There is something about the smell of sawdust, the feel of lumber in your hands, the knowledge that you are building something of substance from is incredibly rewarding. I know we have lots of hard work left (wrapping hardware cloth around the structure, digging a trench...) and I know Kyle may not like me very much before this is all over...but for now, our sore muscles and slight sunburn represent a family collaborating to put something together. Together. 

I'm sure our chickens will no more appreciate this effort on their behalf than they would the makeshift doghouse across the street, but I will be happy knowing they won't be dragged off by cunning foxes or snatched from the ground by preying hawks.

Call me crazy, but I love this.


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  1. Can't wait to see it! I'm sure it will be amazing.