I should have known my first coop wasn’t going to be big enough to suit me. It was fine for a few laying hens but a second, larger coop was needed to support my growing addiction. I spent months designing the perfect facility for my needs. It has one section for storage and collection of eggs, a main section for the laying flock, and a separate area for mating, and/or brooding of chicks.
The Specifics // I preferred the look of the saltbox style and it allowed me to create a wall of windows facing south. This provides the flock with plenty of sunlight and fresh air even in the worst of weather. There are two vents at the peaks of the east and west ends, soffit vents, and a ridge vent along the length of the structure. Plenty of ventilation, even in winter months, is essential to maintaing a healthy flock.
The Walls // The walls and ceiling are insulated, and double-paned vinyl replacement windows are used throughout. (I got a great deal on the windows on Craig’s List.) The walls are covered by shower board, the slick white waterproof material used in showers. This allows the inside to be cleaned easily and thoroughly with bleach water. I covered all of the windows from the outside with framed 1/2 inch hardware cloth panels, providing a 3rd layer of protection from nighttime predators..
The Runs // The north run is 8ft x 19 ft. and the east run is 12×19. The hardware cloth covering extends 2 ft beyond the structure (horizontally on the ground) to thwart digging predators. The chickens get access to the runs through automatic pop doors that open at first light and close a few minutes after dark.) Chickens instinctively go inside to roost before dark.) This assures my chickens get plenty of fresh air even when no one is home to let them free range.
The Inside // There are three sections inside. At the west end is a 5ft x 12ft section with a pop door to the smaller run. This area is for breeding groups, followed by an area for 2 or 3 broody hens and their chicks. The middle section is 10 ft. x 12 ft. for the main flock. It has a pop door to the larger run.
The section along the east wall is 5 ft. x 12 ft. It is used for storage of food, feeders, etc., and allows collection of eggs without entering the pen. I used many of the tools, cabinets, crocks, etc. I had saved from my gandparents and parents garages and basements. On the wall, I have an 1877 picture of my ancestors who were 77 and 81 in the photo.
Tribute to Dad // I lived in the city for 40 years. Growing up, my Dad always talked about the chickens he raised as a youngster, and how he longed to move to the country. He never made it but he was able to see and enjoy my setup before he died the summer of 2011. We loved talking about my chickens. When cleaning out his things, I found this newspaper clipping from 1943 when he (Melvin Schroeder) was 14 years old, in the hospital after hernia surgery. My love for chickens is in my genes!