Portable Chicken Coop
Although not precisely "Fine Woodworking," this chicken coop is included here to demonstrate the broad array of projects we take on in our woodworking studio, and our attention to detail. We designed this portable chicken coop based on traditional A-frame coops found in the United Kingdom, and we fabricated several identical units in a single production run. It's intended for "backyard use" and is typically moved from spot to spot on the property every few days.
Scope of ProjectThis coop was constructed in our workshop of cypress, and machined from rough 8/4 material. The coop is sized for up to eight chickens and can be easily moved by two people using the handles at each end. A wheel unit shown in the photos below below makes for easy transportation of the coop by a single person.
The coop weighs just under 40 pounds - which puts it in the ultra-light category thanks to the light but strong characteristics of the cypress wood and the "rib and skin" construction techniques borrowed from the small boat building craft. In addition, the unfinished cypress does not rot and stands up to weather elements on par with cedar or teak.
The design incorporates water and feed stations mounted to the inside of the two removable triangular end-panels, and an "upstairs" level with nesting spots and a night perch. The removable end panels provide access to the nesting areas for collecting the morning eggs. The design includes a retractable ramp to facilitate the chickens getting to the the nests and the perch at night. This ramp can be pulled up with a cord from outside the coop, thereby securing the chickens in a contained area when the unit is moved about.
In addition to the removable ends, the long upper wooden sections on both sides are removable for access and cleaning the nesting area. With the side panels removed, the floor for the "upstairs" section is easily removable for hosing down - a simple matter of pulling out four wedges that lock the floor in place.
Click on each image to reveal more specific information about the changes and interior design details.
This is the construction drawing of the coop with dimensioned parts list.
The basic A-frame structure being assembled in the shop.
Illustration of the ship-lap siding profile - machined from 8/4 rough-sawn cypress timbers.
The siding elements overlap to insure water tightness, while also providing room for expansion as the siding elements expand and contract with the variations in weather.
This image shows one of the four wooden wedges that secure the "upstairs" floor - loosen the wedges and the floor is completely removable for a thorough cleaning.
This illustrates the completed coop with both side-panels removed and the end-panels open. The end-panels are divided - the lower section of the panel is hinged and provides mounting for the feeder at one end and the watering station at the opposite end. the upper section of the end-panels is removable to provide access to the "upstairs" nesting area for egg collection without having to remove the side-panels.
Shown in this photo is the night perch directly over the drop-down ramp to the "upstairs" section of the coop.
This is how the coop looks with the end- and side-panels locked in place.
Shown here is the wheel platform to facilitate single-person moving the coop from one area of the yard to another. In practice, the area directly under the coop was covered with a wire mesh panel to keep the chickens from completely digging up the grass, and the mesh panel and coop relocated every few days about the yard.
The coop in use with happy chicken occupants. The watering station can be seen on the inside end-panel.
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