We’ve been searching for some layer hens to start a readymade flock. Chicks of various kinds are available but we can’t support chicks without electricity. Our best hope is to get some hens and hope that they reproduce themselves. There are some Silkies for sale on Kijiji that we’d like to get, as they are reputed to be great brooders.
Hence, a coop.
We started a coop out of barn wood (started in a hurry, too, when the neighbour said his friend might bring us some hens, but these hens did not materialize).
This is the design result of integrating these limitations: portability, security, and using only materials at hand. And haste.
Rather than two rooflines (haste) I made one lid that lifts to access the nest boxes, and until we get wheels, we’ll pick it up and carry it like a litter.
It’s working well. The corner boards extend to the ground for legs, the boards make the secure walls (thick rough cut), and the lid will fit inside the top frame.
The lid. That’s where portability collided with materials at hand, and the design breaks down. Materials at hand won, so the lid weighs a LOT. Opening it’s like performing a snatch. Putting the (fragile, mostly for looks) shakes on necessitated the outriggers, so that you’re never lifting from the edge of the roof, and lifting the heavy roof evenly. Just the flat roll roofing would not be ok, because that would be ugly.
Fancy design lid frame before plywood. Notches (!) for outriggers. All drops over an inch into frame, giving security of lap.
Sheeting, roll roofing, then reused shakes.
Heavy roof necessitated apparatus inside to easily support the roof before your arms fail holding it.
Voila, a coop that looks like it’s already a hundred years old. Expense so far: zero. All materials already weathering on site. Just need some hardware cloth.