We discovered that brooding chicks in your house is risky business. Specifically, each night they were at risk of being thrown one by one out the window. My patience of having them in the house was fading fast. The little baby chicks had gotten into the habit of having mosh pit wars all night long. There would be crashing, loud peep screaming, wing flapping ninja showdowns, and incessant wood pecking sounds on the cardboard walls. It usually started around 2:30 in the morning and would continue the whole bloody night. My best friend became a pillow wrapped around my head so I couldn’t hear the cacophony.
Things were indeed becoming desperate at our house.
As tensions rose, Lee worked faster on a reconfigurable chicken house idea he had been mulling on for some time. The plan was to build a semi-portable coop that could fill many roles. We wanted it to act as a brooding house, a coop for small chicks, a roosting house for hens, and possibly as a goose hut. It needed to be light enough that we could move it around the property, and no more then 4 feet wide so it could fit through our garden gate.
First, the base was constructed.
The back wall and sides were erected.
While we debated over a few coop issues I made sure to give the inside a couple of coats of Kilz.
We decided on a removable roof so we could stand up when cleaning it out.
The red middle panel on the coop is screwed into place. If we want to use it for a goose house later, it will become the entrance. It can also be removed to facilitate easier cleaning of the deep litter.
The roof lifts off quite easily with two people. It has lag screws at each end to prevent it from flying off in windy conditions.
The windows are removable, covered with hardware cloth, and easily swing open. There is a latch on both windows. When the chicks get bigger and are let out to free range, we will just remove the windows. They will then simply jump into the coop to reach the roosts. For now, a heat lamp hangs off the center beam and there is a notch in the back for the electrical cord to exit. Since the chicks are still little we are just using a small feeder and waterer. However, the coop has C.R.A.P. compatible rails at each end from which we can suspend a larger feeder and waterer. When it becomes a hen house, we’ll suspend perches from these rails instead.
If this design works out, we have a complementary structure planned to act as a range shelter / feeder / water / nesting station. In the short term, we need to start on the transport rig so we can move the chickens out to a pen in the garden.