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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