What can I say, we’re a couple of geeks.
- “Beta” was the big box hardware store 10'x10' shed, delivered in a flat pack.
- Version 1.0 was the strengthening of the shed infrastructure with additional lumber, plus the initial modifications of doors, roosts, and added windows.
- Version 2.0 is the current Hen Haus as it stands.
Doors: The original shed doors are solid - well, as solid as pressboard and 2x3's (original hardware) can be. We added latches to the outer shed walls to attach & keep the outer doors open when desired. On the inside entry right is a recycled screen door; had to shorten it to 70”, then used hardware cloth instead of regular screen cloth for durability. The second screen door on the left was made from scrap lumber and various pieces of hardware cloth remnants. There’s a small entrance in the bottom middle of the left door; we’re hoping it's small enough to keep our egg-poaching dogs OUT. If not, easy enough to put in another piece of wood to make even smaller - it would still be plenty big for the chickens to get through. Anyhow, the screen doors swing outwards as well, so the sawdust litter stays in place, and we can easily sweep everything out when it’s time to clean. The inner & outer doors latch snugly together in various configurations, to guard against predators trying to squeeze into the coop from this direction.
Windows: the window covers flip down, as there’s no easy way to have the covers open & stay upright. Plus, with the strong winds we get around here, making the covers into some sort of awning is just asking for them to be ripped off the building, I kid you not. The window openings were cut open with a Sawz-All, and the cut-outs were attached and reinforced with wood, hinges and latches. The window openings, like the screen doors, are also covered by hardware cloth - more expensive than chicken wire, but much sturdier. The windows that go across the length of the back of the coop face South. The wall that has the smaller windows face East, which is the same side that has the second (main) entrance.
Main Chicken Portal: this is the entrance where we let the chickens out in the morning, facing the Eastern rising sun. Currently a manual opening system, but Spouse has plans & parts for a solar-powered automated door (which I’ll make sure he posts when the project is installed).
A skylight was cut out of the roof on the East (left) side, and covered with a piece of blue-tinted corrugated roofing. This will provide additional light in the Winter, when the girls are inclined to lay less during the shorter days. It also keeps the inside from looking gloomy. All things in beauty for the ladies!
Food & water: hung from ropes attached to the ceiling, and with the food/water containers attached to the ropes via spring hooks. Easy-peasy to remove/refill.
Feed storage: on the right of the coop is where the feed is being stored. Still trying to decide if we want to put metal cans beneath the cabinet space for open bags of feed. That same space could also be used for a chick brooder, or to store bags of pine shavings for floor litter. There's a screened door covering the feed cabinet, but there’s also still enough room on top for one particularly determined pullet to fly up & roost. We’ll need to put a wide piece of wood across the top opening to keep her from doing so.
- A flip-down cover for the front screen door opening. The more breeze we can let into the coop during the summer, the better. Or if the automatic door works out on the East entrance, perhaps make a second one for the screen door...
- Rainwater gutters, with water directed into an aboveground metal cistern. Rainwater would be used for the animals - much nicer tasting than our mineral-heavy well water. Mmmm, cloud juice!
- Pergolas/arbors on the East and South sides of the coop, with deciduous vines. This would keep the coop nice & cool in the Summer, but allow sun to warm the coop in the Winter when the vine leaves drop. The vines could be grapes, honeysuckle, or maypops/passionflowers.
[Addendum: Chickens in photos not scaled to size - except for the one Sicilian Buttercup, these are all seven-week old pullets, just introduced to the coop last night. Still too scaredy to go foraging with the big girls yet.]