Yesterday we published plans for our first simple coop design. You can get the PDF of the plans on that post or in the “Low Tech Designs” page under the “Publications” tab, above. Here I’d like to share my thoughts and photos of my build of the simple coop prototype. This has slight modifications from the plans: it is larger to accommodate four birds, it has a built-in silo feeder, it has an electrical hookup, and it is insulated.
This description will make more sense if the blueprints and instructions are read first.
The first step was building the floor. I attached the joists (they go under the floor) to the headers (at the edges of the floor). I used screws and predrilled the holes to avoid splitting. I also glued the floor to the joists before screwing them in. I then used a drill to cut holes and then a jigsaw to cut out rectangles where the posts would go through to hold up the coop. In the photograph, we’re looking at the underside of the coop.
Next I inserted the posts and attached them to the adjacent joists and headers with screws. On top of the posts I attached the rafter supports. Along the centerline, I attached two more posts on top of the floor and a main beam across the top.
The next step was attaching rafters. I only attached them on one side. The other side would be left free so that the roof panel can be picked up to clean inside the coop.
The roof and side panels were coated with a rubberized weather coating. I don’t know if I’d use this material again as it did not cure and remained sticky for a long time. The roof panels were placed and attached using screws and glue.
I also insulated between the rafters with recycled cardboard. The insulation was wedged between the roof panel on the outside and an additional layer on the inside (I chose aluminum flashing to keep mice from getting into the walls). In the photo, the insulation has been placed before the inner layer was attached. The roof panel is laying with the black side (outside) down.
I then attached the front and back panels after I cut out the doors and attached them using hinges. I also attached a roof ridge, made of aluminum flashing, to the side of the roof that was able to be lifted up via the two handles, visible in the picture.
I also built a silo-style feeder out of 4-in diameter PVC. I used a 90-deg junction with an 18-in tube capped by a, well, cap. The bottom of the junction is sealed by a low-pressure plug that I glued in. I did use glue to attach the junction to the tube. Otherwise water will seep in and cause the food to clump and potentially plug up the feeder. I had to add a little wooden slat to keep the food from flowing out.
I attached this through the wall of the coop by cutting a hole the diameter of the pipe and inserting the feeder from above before attaching the side to the coop. I then stabilized the feeder by drilling through the eave supports into the collar of the junction.
I’ll report back later on the functionality of this coop as it goes through field trials.