What did you do with your Labor Day? I did the annual coop cleaning on our chicken tractor. It was looking pretty sad. It’s been unoccupied for a few weeks now, so it was an ideal time to do a little cleaning, give it a fresh paint job, and do a few minor repairs. At the same time, I took some pictures so that I could show you some of my favorite things, as well as the things I’d do differently next time.
As you can see from this “before” picture. The paint was peeling badly. Most of that is because we went cheap and built most of the enclosed area out of OSB. It is inexpensive, and it did its job of keeping the weather out, but it is gradually weakening and will eventually need to be replaced. The coop floor has actually held up very well. The only issue inside the coop is the ladder/door which can be raised and lowered like a drawbridge. It is sagging pretty badly and Mr. Fix It is planning to stiffen it up with a board underneath before we put chickens in again. Normally I would not suggest that you build your coop out of OSB. But if you must choose between a coop made of OSB and no coop, use the OSB and get the coop built. You can always come back later and replace parts as they wear out. Once it’s got a fresh coat of paint, it doesn’t look bad at all!
The coop area is 3′ x 10′ at the floor. The run area is 6′ x 15′. This is enough room for 9 chickens if you keep them penned up, and probably 15 or so if you free range.
I think my favorite part of our coop is the removable wheels. They came from one of Josie‘s wheelchairs. Any time we want to move the coop, we use the dolly to prop up that end and pop on the wheels, then go around and pick up the other end with the dolly and pull it wherever we need it to be. This is why you should look around your house for things you can repurpose for your coop. There were actually several unused things around our house with wheels that we could have used. Those removable wheelchair wheels just happened to be perfect for the job.
One whole side of the coop opens up for easy cleaning. It’s divided into two doors to make it a little more manageable since that section is 10 feet long. There is an egg door on the end near the nest boxes, and just below that is a door into the run area. If I was building it again, I would have also put a door on the other end (the tall end of the run) to make it easier to get ahold of a chicken who doesn’t want to be caught. Crawling into the run from the short end to get them is NO FUN! (And is usually a job for J-Bear!)
There are places below the coop in the run to hang feeders and waterers. This is a great spot with easy access and some protection from the weather for the feeder. If I was doing it again I’d probably have made a small section of the run on that side out of OSB also to keep rain from blowing into the feeder in a storm.
Considering it was our first attempt at a chicken coop, I thought it turned out quite nicely. If you’d be interested in seeing more detailed plans for this coop, please email me. Mr. Fix It already agreed to help me draw some up if there was any interest.