Last week, before this whole RSV thing came up, we finally got our chicken coop finished!  It was our last MAJOR animal project, so that is a huge load off our shoulders!  Plus, we have very happy hens!

We still have a lot of work to do on it, but can enjoy it now nonetheless.  We plan to free-range our hens as much as possible, so we wanted the coop to be semi-portable.  Therefore, we made it as light as we could.  You will notice the hodge-podge of lumber used….we built almost the entire thing out of scraps, purchasing only 2 sheets of plywood for the roof and the hardware cloth for the bottom. 

The front has a drop-down ramp for the hens to enter and exit.

The drop-down ramp and you can just see the wire floor--that keeps out predators and still keeps the coop lightweight.

 Just inside the door is the hanging feeder and waterer.

 We used the bare minimum wood we could to keep it lighter-weight and maintain portability, while still having it fully-functional.  Time will tell how well it stands up to the abuse it will likely encounter.

The center area is a combination of diagonal support beams (to stabilize the coop when we move it) and roosts. I love multi-functional things! I was running low on scrap lumber, so I used large branches we found around the woods for the roosts. The hens seem to approve!

 To reduce weight and still have sturdy nest boxes, S set the boxes half-in and half-out of the coop, so the boxes are actually stabilized and supported by the side wall itself. 

On the opposite end of the roosts are the nest boxes.

 The part of the nest boxes that stick out the side have a roof that lifts so we can collect eggs without going in the coop.

So that’s the grand tour of the new Hen House.  We still want to paint the thing, cut out a larger people-door on the side, so we can more easily access the feeder and waterer, and we are debating whether to replace the roof with plastic roofing (lighterweight) or just put on tar paper and shingles.  Soon enough, we also plan to have a lot more hens in there, so the nest boxes will get more use.  We designed it to be 6′ by 8′, so it should comfortably house 12-14 hens for roosting at night.  Since we free-range during the day and have several roosts for night time, we can get away with a smaller floor space (all they really do in there is sleep or lay). Oh, I do love happy animals!

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