I TELL you what, building your own house is exhausting work. We've been flat-out working 11-hour days for about a month now. Finally our walls are up and the trusses will be next.
What makes it even better is that we have fantastic neighbours with a massive chicken coop with about 20 chooks. That's 20 eggs a day and they taste unreal.
The benefits of having chooks around are great. They aerate your lawn and garden, provide free eggs and the kids love them.
We had a small coop at our old house in suburbia and it was fantastic. The chooks names were Spiderman, Batman and Dora but we sadly had to give them away when we moved. The coop took up no room at all and they loved a free roam daily.
It is super easy to build a chicken coop out of anything and they don't care what it looks like. Here is a simple and good-looking coop for the whole family to make together. I've even included a cutting list for all the pieces required to build it. It's like building a mini house.
Step one: Frames
We're going to start by build all the frames: the two sides, two ends, a door, shelter box floor and wall. Using a 3mm pilot drill and a phillips head screw gun, pilot hole and attach all your frame pieces together using 45 x 4.5 screws. Start with the bottom rail. I have made this from treated hardwood. This piece is going to have a hard life constantly touching the wet ground. Measure equal distances between all the studs then finish with the top rail. Now pilot hole and screw on all your midrails. You should have six complete frames. Now join one end and two side frames together remembering to pilot hole all your screws to make one big "u-shape". Now attach the shelter box floor and wall to the inside of the u-shape frame. Start with the sidewall first and make sure it is flush at the top. Now screw the last end frame on and our chicken coop is taking shape.
Step two: Cladding
We can now use the tongue and groove cladding to clad around the shelter box and back wall. Being raised off the ground and cladded means that the chooks can be outside the box but still really undercover.
Step three: Roof trusses
Now for the roof trusses. Ours are about an 18.4 degree pitch. We need to remember this because that's what you will need to set your drop saw at to cut the ridge beams. On both ends of your ridge beams cut an 18.4 degree angle with your drop saw. Make sure you only cut the waste off as theses pieces are cut to length. Now on the rafters cut one end at 18.4 degrees and the other end cut a 9.2 degree angle using the same procedure. Now we can nail all your trusses together using the gang nails and a hammer. Attach the trusses to the top of your chook house using pilot holes and 45x5 screws. Then attach the top rails to the top of the rafters using pilot holes and screws. We can now clad the roof using exterior ply by screwing from the under side of the roof into the ply using 45x5 screws. Cap the top with a zinc top cap plate and galvanised nails. At this point we can fill in any holes with the same ply by simply measuring them and jig-sawing the shapes out. It should be just the two ends at the roof pitch.
Step four: Laying box
Using the pre-cut ply, pilot hole and screw all the pieces together leaving the roof off. Now place the laying box against the cladding where you would like it to go. With a pencil, trace around the inside of the box onto the cladding. Using a jigsaw cut through the cladding and attach the box to the outside wall using pilot hole and 45x5 screws. Now attach the laying box roof using the 100mm hinges and 5 x 3/8 screws. This is where you and the kids will check for eggs.
Step five: Finish off
Attach the door using three 100mm hinges and 5x3/8 screws. Measure and cut a walkway up to the shelter box using the exterior ply. Add some perches. Seal inside and out using a paint brush and roller with a non toxic wood preserver. Unroll your chicken mesh and attach with a staple gun. Fill with chooks and wait for the eggs.
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