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The Palace Chicken Coop

When my wife brought home 5 fluffy new friends in July of last year, I knew a chicken coop was in
our future. I also wanted to design and build it myself as a fun exciting project. Little did I realize
that 5 months go by very quickly when you move into a new house!
When I first started doing research on our new coop I spent a great deal of time on BYC looking
for ideas and suggestions. I owe a great deal of credit to the following coop's as they formed the
basis of my plans.

Wichita "Cabin Coop"

Cptbahama's Chicken Coop

The Taj Mahal

The Builtmoore Coop

The Red Roost Inn Chicken Coop

All of them gave me ideas and inspiration. We are grateful for their willingness to share their
passion and work. Our girls would not have such a lovely home if it were not for the sharing of
these and other people here on BYC!

In that spirit, I wanted to create a pictorial showing how we made our coop. If you have any
questions on how something was done, please ask and I will try to answer to the best of my
ability.

Design Phase
We wanted to make sure our coop met the following requirements:
1.

It had to be aesthetically appealing as it would be highly visible.

2.

Easy cleaning and maintenance (including being able to stand inside & have easy access
to clean coop).

3.

Sturdy to handle those occasional tropical storm conditions here in Florida.

4.

Designed to use Deep Litter Method in coop and run.

5.

Resistant to Summer Rain Flooding that occurs in that part of the yard.

6.

Good ventilation and air movement.

7.

With adequate room for 5-7 hens (I figured we would be adding one or two later

).

I probably spent the better part of two weeks of late night web surfing to gather ideas and develop
a plan of attack. I checked, double checked and cross referenced everything from space per bird
requirements, DLM, nesting box sizes, roost length, building codes, roofing solutions, predator
proofing, waterproofing, drainage ideas, to working with concrete and explosive nailers. I must
admit the internet is a wonderful tool.
At this point I would like to add my *** Disclaimer ***: I am not, nor have I ever been an architect
nor structural engineer. The plans and designs I created are from my understandings of things
required to meet the objectives of my coop. They have not been approved by a certified engineer
to meet certain hurricane, earthquake, volcanic, flooding, nuclear blast or other natural disaster
sized forces. While every effort to make a safe environment for our chickens, some things may
have been overlooked as we are novice chicken coop builders. Please note that no chicken was
harmed during the making of this coop and all testing was done in very controlled manner were
no chicken was ever placed in danger.
I must admit I spent a fair amount of time looking for plans online. It seemed I was unable to
located any free plans that seemed to meet what we needed. So I decided to use Google's 3D
modelling tool SketchUp to create a working model for our coop. It allowed me to spin the
diagram in any direction and adjust it as I saw fit. It did take a while to get used to it, but the time
spent in the learning curve was more than worth it during the construction phase. I can send you
two files from SketchUp with the plans for the coop if you are interested. The first is the rough
framing, while the second is the finished framing after the hardware cloth is installed. Please
leave a comment or send me a private message and I will email them to you.
Or click here for a zipped file containing the SketchUp data files.

I decided on the following features for our coop:

5 - 7 egg laying hens (standard size)

10 sq ft of run space per bird

3 sq ft of coop space per bird

1 ft of roost rail per bird

1 nesting box per 3 birds

sloped coop and nesting box floors for water drainage during clean outs

sloped metal over wood roof that added stability as well as way to gather rain water.

minimum 6 ft height so I could stand up inside.

strength of construction to ensure durability and stability

easy access doors for cleaning as well as egg harvesting

raised foundation to help prevent flooding

1/2" hardware cloth used for screening

The entire structure is 12 ft by 6 ft. The coop measures 4 ft by 6 ft. The roof has a 1 ft overhang
on all sides which gives us a 14 ft by 8 ft roof. The coop floor is approximately 30 inches above
the run floor.

Foundation Phase
One of the biggest concerns I had was dealing with the potential flooding of the area surrounding
the chicken coop. This past summer we had so much rain that the ground in the area became
completely saturated. The ground was like a sponge and when you walked on it, you would sink
an inch and water would flow around your boots. There was a concrete pad already poured

After framing the footer I added rebar and drainage stones to help facilitate water flowing out of the chicken coop. but we wanted to use that for a future shed or work area for the garden that is part of the same area. It's important during this step to make sure everything is square and level.where we wanted to build the coop. even if the ground became completely saturated again. This would raise the coop about 6 inches higher leaving room for drainage. I made the decision to pour a footer attached to the existing pad to build the coop up on. .

If you're wondering. The 24 linear feet took over 1/2 ton of concrete. the footer was 6 feet wide by 12 feet long and 6 inches across.I mixed and poured the concrete using a mixer rented from Home Depot. . Mix it with a mixer. call a concrete company and have them deliver your required concrete premixed. or better yet. My back was sore for a few days.

.

I found the guilty party not to far away. . It seems my wife let the chickens out some time after I poured the cement and it had cured sufficiently. I noticed this in the concrete.When I went to remove the forms. Even to this day she is claiming her innocence and blames it on Chicken Little.

Before I poured the concrete I had inserted a four foot section pvc pipe on the lowest part of the coop. The holes are about 2 inches apart. I cut. drilled and assembled pvc pipe to act as a drain if a sever downpour occurred. .

.Another view of drainage system.

They were kind enough to deliver it right to my driveway much cheaper than buying a huge number of bags at the local home improvement store (not to mention the numerous trips it would have taken to carry the weight). . I used the gravel to build up the floor of the coop. Later it will be covered with weed prevention cloth and then the sand will be added. This put the "floor" of the coop at least six inches higher than the surrounding ground. Hopefully this will keep the ladies' feet dry.I ordered a 1/2 cubic yard of gravel and a cubic yard of sand from a local aggregate company.

the family pitched in to help pre-stain all the pieces. I was fortunate enough to have family help stain the wood. During this research I came across a great deal of information on basic framing. . I had a general idea on how things were supposed to go.Framing Phase Framing was new to me. I printed out images from the sketch-up and used them as a reference to cut all of the framing pieces. After cutting. We used a good water sealant stain and made sure we had good coverage on all the pieces. but no real framing experience. I did spend some time looking for nailing requirements and and how best to secure the coop to the foundation. especially the ones that would have direct contact with the concrete.

Framing took several days.The process of cutting and staining all the pieces took much longer than anticipated. Painting or staining after assembly might have been easier and faster. Keep in mind if you are working by yourself use numerous clamps and braces to keep everything where it is supposed to be. Might be something to consider. .

.

. Probably more than I needed. I used a powder activated nailer to secure the kick plates to the concrete putting a fastener about every foot. I had to vary the loads of powder if I was nailing into the concrete pad or the footer. but I was enjoying the process so a few extra fasteners never hurt.After getting the initial walls and roof beams up.

.And another view from the opposite side. From this angle it is a little easier to see the coop floor is tilted towards the side where the door will go.

I cut the coop floor from plywood and then started installing the 1/2" hardware cloth. .

It's a pretty straight forward job of measuring. Later it will be sandwiched between the framing and the finish framing piece. I used an automatic stapler to secure the cloth to the framing. . An automatic staple gun is an absolute must during this phase. cutting and then installing the hardware cloth.

I then installed the finish framing pieces that were designed to hold the cloth in place. .

.These pieces help secure the cloth on the inside of the coop.

I left some of the finish framing pieces off till after installing the walls.I also installed the roof sheathing at this time to help keep some of the rain out. .

Framed out where the hen door was going. .

but the floor of the nesting boxes is tilted towards the coop so water will flow out when cleaning.And also the nesting boxes. You can also see the sloped coop floor pretty well in this picture. . 16 inches tall and 12 inches deep. Notice the gap between floor of nesting box and the retaining board. Also note that the nesting boxes are up about 6 inches off the floor to allow for the DLM. You can't tell from the picture. The boxes themselves measure about 14 inches across.

. They were quick and easy to install and hopefully will help when cleaning out the coop.General Construction Phase I picked up some very inexpensive vinyl flooring tiles from the local home improvement store.

Here is a picture of the removable stopper blocks.

And with them removed as if we were cleaning the coop out.

Built and mounted the main access door.

.Other side.

.I also built the access ramp.

The two on the bottom of the ramp have been cut using a hack saw to make hooks. I didn't install this till after I had the walls up on the coop. The ramp can be removed and washed off with a hose. .It is secured using four eye bolts. but I wanted to show it to you here.

They are shiplap boards that have an overlapping edge on them. I decided to build the panel. I had to cut two of the finish framing pieces to install the ventilation and siding above the coop door. I choose the strip over the normal 1 x 4 boards because they were much cheaper and already had the rounded edge. I had forgotten the . install them on the coop. Surprisingly the strip boards actually very few knots and were fairly straight. Most of the trim pieces are 1 x 4 strip.Coop Phase The coop walls are built with simple siding sheets found at Lowes. trim and then stain the boards.

roof would hang down and interfere with the door opening. Using a skill saw set at the appropriate depth this wasn't a major issue. I also secured a 2x4 to act as my door stop as well as my support for the siding. The ventilation holes were created using a 2" hole saw and covered with 1/2" hardware cloth. .

Next. I built the coop door and trimmed it. .

Here is a close up of the back of the door showing the hardware cloth sandwiched between siding and trim pieces. .

Then installed it on the coop. .

.Then the same process for the rest of the sides.

.Back coop wall installed.

.Nesting box side.

Chicken ramp side wall. .

.Stained inside and out. Seems my son decided he liked to pretend he was a hen checking out the new coop.

.Here is the outside stained.

. There is also a lip on the bottom of the siding around the nesting boxes. I will also put weather sealing around the rim to help make it water tight. I used an extra trim piece that will attach to the wall to create an overhang. Hopefully this will help reduce or eliminate water leaking into the coop from the nesting boxes.Built the nesting box cover out of siding and some trim pieces I had laying around. but it might be hard to see in these pictures.

Painted and installed the nesting box lid. .

This is a good view of where the concrete pad and footing are connected. The coop height also gives the chicken's adequate headroom. . Using the pre-existing pad helped reduce the amount of concrete in this project.Installed the missing finish framing pieces under the coop.

Installed the rest of the hardware on the coop. .

Run Floor Phase I put weed block cloth down to prevent weeds from growing up through the floor and more importantly. It will also allow water to seep through into the drainage system. preventing the sand from washing down through the rocks. .

.Put sand around the edges to hold it in place.

. ..Then I moved this cubic yard of sand.

.Into the coop. In the end I think I ended up with a little less than 6 inches of base sand on top of a four inch rock base.

but it did give me reason to pick up a pop-rivet tool. I always enjoy picking up new tools! .Roof Phase Built and painted gutter. At fourteen feet. the gutter was going to be multiple pieces. It was pretty straight forward as far as assembly goes.

Installed it on the edge of the coop. I cut a piece of aluminum from the unused portion of gutter and painted it. but decided the 10 degree difference between roof and ground could be accounted for in the mounting. When I mounted the gutter to the coop I realized the lower end would be below the drip edge from the roof. I debated about building wedges to make the gutter parallel with the ground. It was installed overlapping the back of the gutter but will be under the drip edge from the roof. .

Then I papered the roof and put down the 1x4 stripping to give breathing room. .

Following a suggestion from this post on how to install a metal roof. I laid the metal roof out on the lawn to determine where the ribs would be in comparison to the edge of the roof would be. I trimmed the roof on both side to ensure I would not have a rib where the edging would be. .

Be careful and think safety. If you have never installed any type of roofing. Winds can be dangerous when handling these large metal sheets and the edges are very sharp.Then installed to roofing on the coop. plan for some extra time in this step. .

Finishing Details The final stretch was finishing the nesting boxes and installing the roost bar. No real reason why. but I liked them this way. I just liked it that way. The chickens seemed to enjoy the temporary bar I was using for their roost. so I rounded the edges a little and left it unstained. I used some trim pieces to give the nesting boxes a little more cozy feel. I also think it was easier for the chickens to see. . Seems they were having trouble accurately judging a stained one I had in there during hours of low light. I pretty sure the girls didn't care one way or the other.

My wife and kids added the fake wooden eggs to give the girls a hint of what they are supposed to do and where to do it. .Here's a view from the outside showing the trim pieces.

I used some furniture slides on the door inside the track to help it move easily.Built and installed the coop door. We leave it open most of the time. . closing it during very windy or cold nights. The rope is pulled from the front to open the door and is hooked on to a cleat to keep it open.

.Close up of the door. When the door is closed it does extend a bit below the door opening to help prevent little racoon fingers from trying to open the door (in theory at least).

.Here is the cleat for holding the door open.

Very handy! .We also hung a little child's rake on the outside and use this to help turn under the poop or spread new wood chips in the coop.

We moved the girls in and they seem very happy. .

Without catching this. Lessons Learned 1. then don't hesitating in generous use of clamps and temporary alignment guides. The chicken coop ramp's rungs are made of 1x2 on 6 inch centers. .You can read about our first egg-perience at my wife's blog . 3. 4. If you are going it alone. then build a ramp with closer rungs. 2. I'll keep an eye on this to see if it becomes an issue.Steamy Kitchen. The 12 foot and 14 foot pieces I got from the store were longer by almost two inches. Both of these methods assume that your opposite sides are equal in length for the rectangle to be square. Having an extra pair of hands makes holding things in place much easier. maybe a little closer together would have been better. The girls seem to skate down between rungs. After they mature you can swap out the ramps. And here is one of the recipes she used our fresh eggs in: Crepes with Salted Lemon Butter Caramel. They don't seem to mind and go in and out the coop all the time. the coop would not have fit on the footer. Getting help framing is always nice. especially the longer pieces. Double check length of your lumber. When squaring the footer use either the 3-4-5 triangle method or diagonal corner method. If you are moving your chickens when they are smaller.

Pre-drilling holes for nails and screws makes things much easier when you are working on top of a ladder.October 2012 It's been almost a year since we moved the girls into the coop. I am hoping to get started shortly after the soil dries out a little bit more. I ran into issues when ordering the roof for the coop. (We had a extremely we summer season here on the West Coast of Florida. It's held in place by a piece of 1x2 on each side of the coop and it slides up for removal. 8. We have since added 5 more hens to our flock doubling it to a total of 10. Update . than it is having to wait 2 more weeks to get the rest of the parts delivered. It's better to take some time and research exactly what you will need before you go to the store. Remember to factor that slope in when building your walls. 7. then top opening boxes may not be the best bet. I wouldn't lower the boxes any. Sure the sand got wet from the blowing rain. Just a thought. Don't think that because someone works at a big box home supply store they know everything you need. I'll keep you posted as we progress.5. If you have young children like we do who want to collect eggs from the nesting boxes. I quickly realized I was missing half the parts required to complete the roof they way I had explained it to the salesperson. 6. We are in the midst of planning the "in-law" expansion to the palace. Also installing the walls is another great time to ask for a little assistance. I did add a removable board across the coop door to hold the shavings in when we open the door. Here are some replies to questions in the comments: . After I picked up all the parts I went online to the manufactures web site to see if they had any special instructions. 9.) Good news is the drainage system and raised floor kept the girls feet dry and out of any standing water. After finding their installation guide. Double check all your measurements and calculations. but I might consider making a back door instead of the top opening. I am pleased to say things have been going wonderfully. I'm really happy how things are going so far. but the water would drain through the sand and dry out even when there was standing water surrounding the coop. We had to put a step stool out by the coop so the kids could open the boxes and reach the eggs. I went in and asked their special projects desk person for assistance in ordering everything I needed for an 8 x 14 foot metal roof. I love the slanting floors of the nesting boxes and the coop.

Finish Carpentry.Installing metal roof (Very Long Day) 2 Days . . I can give you some ballpark figures from what I remember: 2 . Most days were 6-8 hours of work by myself.4'x8' shipboard siding (a lot was wasted and could have been used for nesting boxes. 1 Day .Installing roof sheathing and building.gutter mounting clamps.I did cut the hardware cloth.Foundation form and concrete pouring (plus 7 days to cure). you can adjust your build plan and get the hens in sooner to an unfinished coop. but that has probably more to do with how much time I was able to put in on it consistently. 6 large hinges for doors and nesting box cover 6 small hinges for window covers. Here is the rough break out of time: 2 Days .) 1 .Building.Drainage and rock transfer. 10 . 1 Day .3/4" 4'x8' plywood for floor 4 . Hardware Installation and Painting 1/2 Day . .Putting in sand. painting and installation of outer framing pieces. We did this because we didn't have all the parts for the roof and were waiting two weeks.3/4" 16"x48" craft boards for nesting boxes. 2 metal plant hangers for feed and water 4 metal eye hooks for chicken ramp 5 larger metal eyes for door rope guides 15' small white rope Various gutter pieces to make 14' gutter with downspout and end caps. This allowed the cloth to slide inside like a tab.8' 1x4 furring strips for trim work and roof (these were had rounded edges and were cheaper. Having a second person might speed it up some. We did have the sheathing up to provide some shade. 1 roll of 3' wide 1/2" hardware cloth. 4 Days . We decided to move the hens in without the metal roof on. 4 Days .Screening.1/4" 2'x2' plywood board for door. but won't cut the time in half. installing and painting the nesting boxes. 1 Day . ~20 . I trimmed the squares so it fit well between the uprights on the top and bottom.14' 2x4's 6 . Paint (or stain) still needs time to dry. Just ensure any wood that will be in contact with the footing is properly treated. installing and painting walls.6' 1x10 for ramp 1 .8' 2x4's 9 ..8' 1x2 furring strips (cheaper than normal 1x2's) ~30 . 2 Days . 1 .) 4 . 3 rolls of 2' wide 1/2" hardware cloth.92" 2x4 wall studs for roof beams. But some time might be saved by painting or staining everything after the project is up.1/2" 4'x8' plywood for roof sheathing 6 .Painting & rough Carpentry .Building. .12' 2x4's 50 . Keep in mind that if you are rushed for time.I didn't put together a materials list for the full project yet. I removed approximately a 2" x 2" square out of each corner. painting and installing gutter. 2 heavy duty latches for doors 4 buckle hinges for window covers and nesting box latches 10' small link black chain 6 small snap latches to keep door locks closed and window covers open. 2 Days .The project took longer that I had expected.

irwinpt12@yahoo. ShanghaiedMary 2/6/12 at 1:48pm So. I'm impressed! Thank you so much for taking the time to show this. I estimate the cost around $1200 . I have a question how did you secure the wire at the top of the coop does it go inside the 2x4 at the top or did you lay it on top and cap it with finish piece? Thanks DirtyPig 2/12/12 at 7:36am Wow. especially the one about having a side door instead of a top to give kids the ability to get eggs.. I am most interested in your design. Use nails for framing as they are good against shearing and use screws where you want to pull things together tightly like out framing and walls to studs.. *** I'm sure I have overlooked some of the parts. but we felt it made the coop that much more aesthetically pleasing.$1400. Great Job.com Thank you! irwinpt12 2/8/12 at 8:32pm I also really Liked you design and would like to see the plans. But that includes 3 cubic yards of rock that was used in the garden to raise it up. Also.1/2 cubic yard of granite rock for sub floor 1 cubic yard of sand for run floor 1 role of 3' wide weed barrier cloth linoleum for coop and nesting box floor 16d Galvanized Nails for framing 10d Galvanized Nails for toe nailing framing 8d Galvanized Nails for joining 2x4's together back to back 1 3/4" Outdoor screws to join trim and plywood to 2x4's 2 1/2" Outdoor screws to join 2x4's together (eg to sandwich hardware cloth) 1 3/4" Galvanized Roofing Nails pop-rivets for gutter Gutter sealant 2 cans spray paint for gutter paint for coop roof material and parts. Would you be so kind as to send me your Google SketchUp files? shanghaiedmary@yahoo. . thank you for the links.com tonyjr67 2/9/12 at 8:37pm I love this coop and am designing one a little smaller. Only 1/2 a cubic yard was used in the coop. If your husband is proficient toe nailer then the roofing beam plates I used aren't needed. I'm still researching. after much much research. The tips. I wanted to make a metal hip roof but can't really find any information as to what you would put on the seams? As you suggested. The roof was also a major expense that wasn't totally required. The gravel was an addition $200.

any way is an improvement i'm willing to do at least in the run area :O) mkrassin 2/13/12 at 10:34am Very well thought out. I had to trim the corners to allow it to be tucked on the inside of the 2x4 on top and bottom. I also love the "Lessons Learned" part .-) tiamo 3/21/12 at 4:58pm All I can say is "Wow"!! Great details and story! Thank you for sharing! Kanh 3/23/12 at 7:24am Your wife is seriously one lucky lady in more ways than one! Wow! sluggospud 3/25/12 at 4:52pm Beautiful job! Thanks for posting so many details. zderopero 2/20/12 at 10:30am Hi.. You should be very proud of your accomplishment. Thank you for shareing. If you need a better picture. We're about to start on our own version of the Wichita / Taj Mahal coop. and as neat as a pin.hr ) ? Thx.. mkrassin MrSteamyKitchen 2/17/12 at 2:03pm @tonyjr67 The hardware cloth was secured on the top and bottom inside with a piece of 1x2.judyki2004 2/13/12 at 9:58am beautiful coop! love all the finishing details! I wish I saw the way you do the foundation before doing my coop. cblakley0531 3/10/12 at 6:30pm Thank you so much for sharing your in depth coop construction! What a great design and I love everything about your coop. and this will help fill in some of the details. I can get one for you. really nice coop! Can you send me both SketchUp plans ( zderopero@net. FlockHappy 3/26/12 at 3:27pm Beautiful coop! Something nice to show off! : ) .

If your area is not subject to seasonal flooding. A big chunk of the cost went towards the metal roof.Tikkijane 3/27/12 at 10:06am Do you have an idea on total cost? :D @Tikkijane .Cost for this project was around $1500. We choose new materials to meet the objectives of our coop. Using re-purposed materials can be another cost reduction technique. cost can be further reduced by removing this aspect of the design. A different roofing system could save you considerable money. Each situation is different. . I choose not to use any recycled building materials in this case. The footing and raised run floor also added to the expenses. Also.