The three-hour chicken coop!
Posted by joeabbott on April 1, 2013
If you find yourself saying, “you can’t build a chicken coop in three hours!” and are looking at me, you’re right. Sort of. But, if I have all the parts and had pre-assembled the panels … well then, you’d be incorrect! This post is about one of my better home projects.
We have chickens in our backyard and, when integrating flocks one year (and by “flocks” I mean 3-4 birds with another 3-4 birds), I built a small, triangular coop. It was a beauty but wasn’t robust enough and was only sized to hold chicks with any comfort. I then built a 4’x’8’ squarish shelter that I wrote about previously. Well, that shelter was intended to be reusable, so I’d saved all the parts (I managed to even write about that!) and now it was time to see if the grand plan paid off.
I stated by pulling out all the panels and moving them up the hill to await assembly. I then rummaged around the garage until I found all the assembly hardware (brackets and screws). Fortunately, I found all the parts except for three angle brackets and a quick trip to the local big-box hardware store remedied that rather quickly. Time to install.
The first step was the level the area on which I was going to place the temp coop. That was easier said than done: Suzy and I had put in a retaining wall/planter the year prior and all the extra dirt was shoveled over this area. It was a small mound but I found it was pretty soft compared to the hardpan clay soil that was under the retaining wall project detritus.
So, a couple of quick grooves where the walls would be and it was time to start assembling!
I began by setting the parts end-to-end and labeling them. Then I added either the flat brackets where two side panels butted up to each other, or corner brackets if the panel was going to be at a corner.
Next, Suzy joined me and held the parts straight while I screwed two panels together. In quick succession we got up two, three, and finally all four sides! Then, using a tape measure we tested the length from corner to corner against opposite sides and ensured all sides were square.
So far we were blazing through this without even trying!
After this I hunted about for pictures showing me how I’d put up the next part. I found nothing. I hadn’t taken a single picture of putting the roof on! Again, fortune was kind as I’d saved all the parts and it didn’t take long to work it out.
I had four stubby 2×4 lengths, cut with an angle on top, and four longish pieces of oak flooring; by screwing the oak slat to the angled end of the 2×4, we had a nice slope for the roof! I then screwed the 2×4/oak slat to the coop, covered the whole with a tarp, and got Suzy to help me staple the tarp on through some fir strips I’d ripped off quickly on my table saw.
And that was that: a 3-hour project if that!
I did have to return and plane down the door just a bit (all the rain had swollen the wood) and I’ll want to line the outside with paving bricks to discourage digging animals, but overall it’s done.
I have the details around here somewhere on building the parts that I’d be happy to share if anyone is interested. Just say the word and I’ll see what I can do to share the design!