Having lived 30 years in Phoenix, we were really looking forward to filling our freezer and canning shelves with our own homestead grown food. While I had no desire to raise pigs or beef (did that when I was a farm kid), Donna was all up for raising and butchering chickens. Spring wasn't that far around the corner and we wanted to get the chicks in April so we could butcher in early summer, before the garden started using up more of our time. But first we needed some place to raise the chicks for about 8 weeks.
I started looking for possible solutions for a chicken coop. Basically, I needed a coop for 2 months out of the year. I wasn't interested in the style of coop that one moved around every couple of days. I also didn't want one bolted to a concrete slab. It seems that structures around here that sit on concrete slabs become taxable buildings. A wooden coop I could move with my tractor would do the job.....and I remember Dad had one like that way back when I was a kid. I started looking online for a solution and it didn't take too long to find one.
We took a trip to a home and garden store to see what was available. We found a suitable "Gambrel Roof E-Z Frame Yard Barn" measuring 8' x 8' that could easily make the transition to a chicken coop. These mini-barns were sold as kits....meaning they came with most everything you needed to build them. Joists, siding, plywood, shingles, nails, and even the door hinges. We ordered the kit and waited the requisite week for it to be delivered at the homestead.
Of course, as soon as the lumber was delivered, the weather turned cold again and snowed. Luckily we had a week or two before the chickens were due. Worst case scenario, I could keep them in the garage for a week or so if necessary. I think the fox was looking at our "soon to be chicken coop" and wondering if he was going to get any chicken dinners from it....kind of like a fast-food drive-through.
I picked up a pair of 10' long 6"X6" ground rated pressure-treated timbers to build the coop on. These would act as skids should be decide to hook up the tractor and move it to a new location. I'm not planning on doing that any time soon but having that option is handy....just in case. It didn't take too long to square up the timbers and get things level.
All of the siding and plywood came in full 4'x8' sheets. Following the included plans for the min-barn, we basically had to measure twice and cut once as we nailed the newly cut pieces together. The roof and sidewall frames were preassembled and folded in half at the factory. We unfolded them, making each one into a big horseshoe, so to speak. Once we had the front and back walls assembled, we started putting each framed section together, using some spare 2x4s to brace things until the roofing and siding could be nailed in place.
Once the roofing was cut and nailed in place, the rigidity of the coop started coming together. It didn't wobble back and forth like it did before. It is nice having the Gambrel pitched roof as it provides for adequate headroom inside the coop. A big thanks to my sister for letting me borrow her tall green step ladder! It sure made things easier.
The plywood floor took a little work to get installed. We had to cut out small sections in the floor so it would fit around the 2x4s in the side walls. Not a big problem but it was more of a measure three times and cut once since I really wanted a tight fitting floor.
With the roofing paper in place, we started with the shingles. Doing the
lower section of the roof was pretty easy. Even the roof trim was supplied
in the kit. It certainly was complete, except that it wasn't designed for
a window. That would be easy to take care of. I had no intentions of
raising chickens in the dark. LOL!
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