A few weeks ago we had some pretty bad storms here and the room in the barn where our chickens lived leaked pretty bad. So we decided one Sunday that we needed to build them a stand alone chicken coop. We skipped church to start working on this thing…lo and behold the sermon we missed was on Remember the Sabbath. Oops.
We worked on this coop every night after work and exactly 7 days after dreaming up this idea, the chickens were moved in. Boom! Talk about productive.
We decided that if we were going to build this thing, we were going to do it right. And it was going to be cute. Nothing redneck or ghetto looking over here. Also, the chickens would be moving from behind the barn and up on the hill, to the middle of the pasture. Right where we can see them. So yeah, it had to look good.
The coop stands 6′ tall on the right, down to 5′ tall on the left. Inside the first outside door, brings you into a little “mud room” of sorts.
We are so glad we built this space into the coop! The chicken food is held in a metal can and we have access to the nest boxes, solar panel controls, and then into the coop area itself. This interior door is 5′ tall, with a chicken wire “window”.
We have since switched to pine bedding in the nest boxes. They can spread that out more without laying eggs directly on the wood. Also, we painted the nest boxes black because we heard they like to lay their eggs in dark places.
The roosting bars are 2″ dowel rods secured about 2′ off the ground. The chickens hop right up, no problem. Even the baby chicks get up there easily. No need for any ramps. We read that you need about 8″ of space per chicken on the roost bars, so we can hold our 14 chickens easily, with room for a couple more.
The floor of the coops is the cheapest sand I could find at Home Depot. It’s almost gravely which is great because then I don’t need to give the chickens grit. Also, sand is great for clean up! I simply rake the poop into a pile and use a kitty litter scoop to sift it out. I do this about once a week.
The rest of the coop is all painted white and the roof is clear plastic corrugated sheets. This will let the maximum amount of daylight in, which is crucial for egg production!
You may have noticed the light in one of the above pictures. We hooked up a solar panel to one end of the coop and the cubby above the nest boxes holds a battery, charge controller, power inverter and timer. This LED light comes on in the morning and in the afternoon. We think we need a couple more solar panels though…this experiment is still a work in progress… stay tuned for more on that.
The coop also has a clear awning, which can be seen to the left in the above photo. Their food and water is hung from the rafters and the whole area underneath stays nice and dry. We have a gutter system hooked up to catch all the roof water and funnel it into a barrel. That way we always have water readily available to fill their waterers.
Finally, there is hardware cloth stapled along the entire bottom of the coop…to keep rats from chewing through the Pullet Palace. Being in a new location, we do not have rats…unfortunately I think it’s only a matter of time.
The chickens have 3 different runs they can graze in and we can rotate them through each one. Each run is approximately 14′ x45′ long and is covered on top with Bird Netting. We had a bald eagle come down and take one of our neighbors chickens, so we need to keep the birds of prey OUT. Since our chickens have been out in the open pasture, we’ve had a lot of falcons and hawks come perch nearby and scope out the situation too… I hope our bird netting works!!
So, that’s The Pullet Palace. We think we’ve incorporated all the things we’d ever want in a chicken coop. Plus it’s definitely big enough for our flock. We are SO HAPPY with how this turned out!!