Vermont BandB Hen House DIY Project Designs
After a successful summer and fall season here at the B&B we've realized something: we go through a ton of eggs! We had always wanted to get a small flock of chickens but after going through so many eggs this year our plans have been moved up a little. While our new flock of baby chicks won't be here until early May, there is no time like the present to build them a nice and cozy home to live out their days.
After spending some time researching ideas online we came up with a pretty basic coop design consisting of a 4 foot by 8 foot main space with a few roosts, and 6 nesting boxes. 3 on either side. It took about 2 weeks to build, but it went together pretty easily. The main framing is 2x4 stock, but the wall framing is 2x3 to cut down on weight a little. The walls are covered in OSB sheathing to give it a little rigidity. The siding was salvaged from the junk pile, and the roofing material was left over from re-roofing our shed earlier this year, we were only happy to recycle for this project. The window material can be found at any big box home improvement store.
We added a fancy dutch door for air flow in the summer and some 1 inch rigid foam insulation to the roof to keep them cozy in the winter. The initial thinking was to make it mobile so that we could move it from place to place in the yard. We even made some sections of fence to fit in between the coop itself and the ground so the chickens could come through the pop door on the bottom and have a protected space to hang out in. After building the whole structure though we realized it was WAY too heavy to be completely mobile. We can still move it around but it takes hooking it to the lawnmower! Also, our neighbor graciously gave us a electrified poultry fence, so the "protected underside" isn't really necessary anymore, but alas; what's done is done. Besides, the coyote sightings are picking up around here lately so the more protection the better!
It has an electrical hook up, a few light sockets for general lighting and a heat lamp, an outlet to power the water de-icer, and some removable nesting box doors rounded out the build. I hope our chickens are as happy with their home as we are!
As you can see in the pictures, we aren't quite finished with it yet; some mesh needs to be added to cover over the lights and under the roost (so they don't hang out under it!) and we also need to punch a few more ventilation holes in the sides, but over all it's pretty move in ready. Our local hardware store (Martin's True Value in Bristol) takes chick orders up until March 31st so we will have an order in by then! We are thinking 8-10 chickens and a few ducks will suffice. Oh man! We better get started on making a duck house!