Our Chicken Coop Design – Front Elevation (Part 2 of 3)
Okay, I lied. I had hoped to finish up writing on our chicken coop design with this post, but I ran out of time and markers…seriously – my gray marker ran out. So today I’m going to focus on the front elevation and next week I’ll wrap it up with the other 3 elevations.
Front Elevation of the Coop
When designing your coop you really need to think through ventilation for a number of reasons: respiratory health of the chickens; drying out the moisture and their manure keeps down the smells and the potential of the hens getting sick. I made ours super-ventilated by covering the entire front of our coop with hardware cloth. We may have gone overboard, but it’s better to err on the side of too much ventilation in a coop than too little…and because Atlanta has a fairly temperate climate, I think we’re good. That said, you do have to consider strong winds – particularly in the colder months. That’s why Britt and I crafted Roman shade-like curtains out of painter’s drop cloths for the front and the windows on the other 3 sides of the coop. It was quite inexpensive and fairly easy to do…particularly if you strategically use the hems already sewn in. These curtains will give our ladies a refuge from the cold winds – protecting the exposed areas of their bodies (combs, wattles, and feet).
Here are a few other things to note about the front elevation of our coop:
- Again, entire area is covered in hardware cloth. I could have used chicken wire on the top (bottom needs hardware cloth to keep out critters), but I had enough hardware cloth and I thought it looked better for the entire area to be consistent.
- The height of the walls are 6.5’…which is plenty high (for me at least) to be able to walk through the door…and there is plenty of height inside, since there is no ceiling (just the rafters and tin roof above).
- 24″ doors were constructed out of pressure-treated wood and painted the same color as the doors of our home.
- To clean things up a bit and to cover up where the pieces of hardware cloth met, I added 1″ trim on the outside of each 2×4 and painted it and the siding of the rest of the coop the same color gray as our house.
- We used gate latches as handles. If you do as well, make sure you make it so that you won’t get locked in when the doors close. To do that, I simply drilled a hole just above the latch and attached a long, thin chain that I threaded through the hole…allowing me to open the latch from inside. Don’t use string or twine…I found that out the hard way. String will wear out and break – leaving you stranded inside. Fortunately when it happened to me, one of my girls was within shouting distance.
- We were running out of hardware cloth when we were finishing the gable, so we simply filled in the middle space with a board and painted it gray. To make sense of this oddly proportioned space and to bring a little bit of character to the coop, I hung a set of antlers from a Mule Deer I shot several years ago with my dad in Wyoming.
So there’s the front elevation. We are really pleased with it…it’s done what we set out to do – make a more than livable space for our chickens (and bunny), while still being attractive. Now we may be a bit too particular, but I really think having an attractive coop in a nice setting has made raising chickens not only sustainable, but more enjoyable. So sure, you could build a coop that is purely functional, but if it looks like a hunk of junk, is that really something you want to see every day…sometimes several times? We thought not.
Next week I’ll wrap things up on our chicken coop design…but until then, please let me know if you have any other questions about our coop or raising chickens. I could perhaps work my answers into the next post.
PS: Here are the links to Part 1 and Part 3 of Our Chicken Coop Design…and the link to the video we produced to introduce our little ladies.
PPS: I’ve had several folks ask about the panels we use to keep the wind out of our chicken coop during the winter…so I thought I’d post a couple of pics of them here. They’re not the best quality pics…sorry about that. When I put them back up this winter I’ll do another post with better pictures…but I hope this helps for now. Cheers, D.
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I have major chicken coop envy!
Oh go on! But thanks…we love it and so do our girls…the pink ones and the feathered ones! Take care, D.
Thanks for sharing your wonderful chicken coop plans!
My husband and I love your blog and your homestead. Do you have a supply list or plan from building your coop available?
Hey Kelly…thanks so much for reaching out and for your encouraging words about our blog and chicken coop! Our home and blog are both a labor of love.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a supply list for our coop. As my dad always says, it probably went “where the light goes when the light goes out.” I don’t know if you noticed, but we did compile a number of our chicken-raising related posts in a handy-dandy ebook…and at the end are all the posts that spell out how we built our coop. Embedded in those posts you’ll find what materials we used. Sorry that I don’t have an easier way for you to get at what you’re looking for. (If you did miss the ebook, here’s a link where you can download one: https://redeemyourground.com/chicken.)
Please reach out if you have any other questions or need anything else. Thanks again Kelly!
We would also like to know – How do your chickens hold up during the winter months? Do you have a heat lamp or some form of insulated lodging for them?
Hey Kelly…great to hear from you again! We live in Atlanta, so our winters are too terribly cold. That said, the only time that we used a heat lamp (i.e., one of those industrial looking lights w a single bulb and clamp) for our chickens was our first winter…when they were still pullets and not fully feathered out. Since then as the weather gets colder, they will develop the feathers they need to stay warm. What you really need to look out for is making sure that they have a place to stay out of the wind…to protect their “naked” parts. For that, we crafted roman shade like panels that cover the open windows.
Below you’ll find a few posts (on RYGblog and on my friend Lisa Steele’s blog “Fresh Eggs Daily”…she’s my chicken go-to) that you might find helpful.
Again, please reach out if you need anything else.
Winter-Related Chicken Posts
Nice looking coop! I’ve raised hens myself going on 10 years and love it! I do have a question however, with all that hardware cloth don’t you get a lot of rain coming in when it rains? Do you use a dirt floor then if you do? Just curious.
Hey Meghan…I hope you’re well and thanks for kind words and chiming in. And to answer your question, yes some rain does get into our coop. But you’re right…we do have a dirt floor. But, because of where our coop is located…in our side yard, it’s somewhat guarded by our house…so really very little rain gets in.
Thanks again for checking out RYGblog and reaching out. Please come back and chime in some more with your wisdom from raising chickens.
Take care Meghan,
Forgive me if you said this already but how much did the coop cost and how many hours involved to build it? I absolutely love it!
Hey Jessica…sorry to just be getting back to you…its been a crazy week or so. But thanks for reaching out and for your kind words.
To answer your question about cost and timing, it’s actually tough to say. Although we did buy a good bit of what we used to build our coop…we also used some materials I had from previous projects. We also built the shed where we store all our chicken & bunny goodie at the same time. That said, it wasn’t cheap…I’d say we probably spent about $1.5K on the materials. As for the amount of time it took…well I had a ton of work in the way of 2 buddies who are master craftsmen (…and I am not, I just did what they told me to!). But in all it took the 3 of us (2.5 if you factor in my “all thumbs” when it comes to this kind of construction!) about 4 or 5 full days to build it. I know this isn’t very specific information, but I hope it helps some.
Thanks again for reaching out Jessica…and by the way, I love what y’all are doing over at The Story Changers (www.thestorychangers.org)…and your website is very impressive!
I have looked you up on facebook and sent you a couple of messages. I live in Blue Ridge GA and it gets a bit colder here. I have put tarps over my coop which definitely falls into the category of “not nice to look at”. It’s time for a chicken/turkey palace and I have looked at all kinds of prefabricated options. I am not impressed with most of them. Not enough ventilation. When I saw your coop in a magazine today I was thrilled!! It is exactly what I want to have built –with a couple of variations. A single door with an option to create two spaces still.
Do you have a picture you could post of the curtain rolls you mentioned?
thanks so much
Hey Catherine…thanks for reaching back out. And I wasn’t certain if when you mentioned that you’ve sent me a couple of messages that I haven’t replied. If that’s the case I am so sorry! Regardless, thanks for your kind words re: our coop..and glad you saw us in Southern Living…I’m assuming.
I think that I could probably find a picture or two of the window panels. Once I do I’ll post them or send them to you directly.
Thanks again Catherine and take care, D.
I tried you on facebook but I am easily confused–especially when I saw an article about my husband that preceded you. I can’t explain.
Yes, I was at the hairdressers and saw the article in Southern Living. They gave me the magazine because I had to have the picture of your coop. Have spent weeks looking at buildings and going online but none are right. Absolutely love your coop and your gardens. Beautiful job.
I look forward to seeing the pictures.
thanks for responding
Thanks Catherine…I just sent you an email with a pic that I found of our coop w the curtains on it. Given the weather I don’t have them up now…I’ll see about taking some more pics this fall/winter and will forward them on to you. Take care and thanks! – D.
Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful coop design! Love your blog! I would love to see a picture of the coop with the curtains up as well. We are planning to use a lot of your tips when we redo our coop this summer & I’m definitely a visual person. :0) Are they posted on the site somewhere or could you email them to me as well? Again, thanks so much for sharing!
First…I am so sorry that I’m finally getting around to reply to your email. No excuse other than being really busy. Second…thanks so much for your kind words about our coop and I’m so glad that you’ve found our blog helpful.
As for your question…no I haven’t posted a pic of our coop with the curtains up…but I’ll look for one and either send it to you directly or will upload it as a PS to this post. So look for it.
Thanks again and please reach out if you have any other questions.
Take care, D.
Do you have an over list of the materials you used??
I meant to say “overall” list of materials used!!
Hey Amy Jo…so sorry that I’m just now able to get to your question. Unfortunately I don’t have a detailed overall materials list. At the time we built our coop writing a blog wasn’t even a thought…so I didn’t think about keeping track of everything. Sorry about that. Hopefully the drawings and the blog posts will help in some way. Thanks again for reaching out and good luck with everything. Take care, D.
I love your chicken coop and want to use it as inspiration for the one we would like to build this spring. Do you by chance have an estimate on how much it might’ve cost to build it?
Hey Jillian…thanks so much for reaching out and your kind words. So glad that you like our coop and that it will inspire you when you build yours. I didn’t keep track of how much we spent (and there are a few other caveats…see my reply to Jessica’s 2/7/16 comment above), but it was probably about $1.5K in materials. Sorry i can’t be more specific. I hope this helps. And if you haven’t downloaded our Chicken eBook, you might find it helpful. It’s essentially what you find on the blog…but just all in one place/pdf. You can find it here:https://redeemyourground.com/chicken-ebook-is-here/. Please reach out if you have any questions or need anything else. Take care, D.
Hi Doug, it appears that your e-book isn’t on the site any more. Any ideas on when that could be back up or how I could get it?
Thanks again L! I looked further and hopefully made all the fixes this time! Take care, D.
No problem! I really like your coop design, and I want to modify it for my backyard. I’m thinking about using windows instead of the wire, since it gets pretty crazy windy here sometimes. And since the top isn’t used, I may add a space higher for pigeons.
Great…and modify away!!! And please send pics when you’re done…I’d love to see it. Take care, D.
After seeing your coop in Southern Living I hoped to have something at least almost as nice. Now I do!! I’d like to post a picture but am having technical problems. In any event, the new coop addition is beautiful–similar to yours. I did take your idea of using painter’s drop clothes for the curtains. I put wood rods in the top and bottom and roll them up securing them with a bungee cord. Very easy and looks great. You are such an inspiration to us all. Thank you again for posting your coop and providing input.
Thanks so much Catherine! That’s awesome…I can’t wait to see. Please send pics to my email … doug @ redeemyourground dot com. And thx so much for your kind words! Now send those pics! Thx, Doug
I was wondering if you could provide a description on how you guys made the panels to hand for the winter weather?
Hey Talia…thanks for reaching out. At the risk of seeming lazy, I’m going to send you over to a response to another question about my panels on the next post in this series: https://redeemyourground.com/chicken-coop-design-part-3-3/. Once on the post, go to Tami’s question and my reply on March 14, 2016. If you still have questions, please reach out again. I’d love to help where I can. Thanks and take care, D.
Love you coop and blog. Do you have a basic list of supplies as I am wanting to go. Start purchasing tomorrow.
Crystal, thanks so much for reaching out about our coop…and for your oh-so-kind words. So glad that you like our coop … we do too. When we built it we had no idea we’d ever be blogging about it…so we didn’t keep track of what we bought or used from what was left over from previous projects to build our coop. And by the way, if you haven’t downloaded our Chicken eBook, you might find it helpful. It’s essentially what you find on the various blog posts…but just all in one place/pdf. You can find it here: https://redeemyourground.com/chicken-ebook-is-here/. Please reach out if you have any questions or need anything else. I’d be happy to walk you through whatever I can. Take care, Doug
The chicken house of my dreams. Easy to clean, maintenance and manage. It surely rocks chicken care, guys!
Thanks Elle…and yes…our coops design that makes clean-up and maintenance easy…which means I’m more likely to do it!!! Speaking of…today’s the day to fluff things up for my girls!!! Thanks again, D.
The coop is so functional and always has been.
Oh YES it is my Littlest One!!! xo, Daddy
Love this plan… how does your rabbit make out in the summer?
Hey Susan, thanks for reaching out and great questions. Although we no longer have bunnies (and since we’ve used their side of the coop/hutch as extra space for the chickens…closing it off at times to isolate sick or injured or broody chickens) … when we did, when it got real hot for extended periods of time we would bring them inside. But most of the time they stayed pretty comfortable: 1. always shady; great ventilation; could dig in the cool dirt floor to get cooled off, etc. We also at times would put a frozen 2 liter bottle of frozen water in there … which helped them cool down. Thanks again for reaching out and I hope this was helpful. Take care, D.