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Building Chicken Coops For Dummies



Building Chicken Coops For Dummies

Todd Brock, David Zook, Robert T. Ludlow

ISBN: 978-1-119-54388-6 November 2018 304 Pages

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Building Chicken Coops For Dummies (9781119543923) was previously published as Building Chicken Coops For Dummies (9780470598962). While this version features a new Dummies cover and design, the content is the same as the prior release and should not be considered a new or updated product. 

As the popularity of urban homesteading and sustainable living increases, it’s no wonder you’re in need of trusted, practical guidance on how to properly house the chickens you’re planning (or have already begun) to keep. Building Chicken Coops For Dummies gives you the information you need to build the most cost-efficient, safe, and easy-on-the-eye enclosures for your backyard flock.

This practical guide gives you easy-to-follow and customizable plans for building the backyard chicken coop that works best for you. You’ll get the basic construction know-how and key information you need to design and build a coop tailored to your flock, whether you live in a small city loft, a suburban backyard, or a small rural farm.

  • Includes detailed material lists, instructions, and schematic plans for building a host of different chicken coops
  • Step-by-step guidance on how to build a coop—or design your own
  • Accessible for every level of reader

Whether you’re just beginning to gain an interest in a back-to-basics lifestyle or looking to add more attractive and efficient coops to your current flock‘s digs, Building Chicken Coops For Dummies gives you everything you need to build a winning coop!

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

Conventions Used in This Book 2

What You’re Not to Read 2

Foolish Assumptions 3

How This Book Is Organized 3

Part 1: All Cooped Up 4

Part 2: Constructing a Coop 4

Part 3: Checking Out Coop Plans 4

Part 4: The Part of Tens 4

Icons Used in This Book 5

Beyond the Book 5

Where to Go from Here 5

Part 1: All Cooped Up 7

Chapter 1: Flocking to Your Own Chicken Coop 9

Understanding the Basics of Housing 9

Looking at the Gear You’ll Need 10

Choosing Coop Materials 11

Getting Up to Speed on Carpentry 12

Constructing a Coop: The Nuts and Bolts 13

Readying the site 14

Framing 14

Putting up walls, a roof, and more 15

Adding special touches 15

Building a run 16

Hooking up electricity 16

Checking Out a Few Coop Designs 16

Chapter 2: Beginning with Housing Basics 19

Providing Basic Benefits with Your Coop 20

Analyzing the Anatomy of a Coop 21

Making Your Coop Convenient for You 23

Selecting Your Coop’s Location and Size 23

Before you begin: Considering zoning and covenant concerns 24

Looking at proximity to houses 24

Utilizing utilities 25

Digging into drainage issues 27

Understanding that yes, size matters 27

Choosing a Coop to Fit Your Needs (and Skills) 28

A-frames and hoops 29

Chicken tractors 30

All-in-one coops 31

Walk-in coops 31

Chapter 3: Gathering Your Gear 35

Putting Safety First with Essential Equipment 36

Digging Up Dirt on Garden Tools 37

Measuring and Marking Lumber for Your Coop 37

Measuring up tape measures 38

Making your mark 38

Sizing Up Saws and Supports 39

Putting In Posts 42

Digging postholes 42

Setting the posts 43

Mixing and pouring concrete 44

Framing Your Coop 45

Honing in on hammers 45

Nailing it with a nail gun 46

Pressing a screw gun into service 47

Leveling and Squaring As You Build 48

Just level with me 48

It’s hip to be square 48

Working with Wire 49

Cutting wire 49

Fastening wire 50

Checking Out Other Miscellaneous Tools 50

Chapter 4: Deciding on Materials 53

Before You Shop: Considering Recycled Materials 53

Lumbering Through Boards for Your Build 54

Sizing boards 54

Figuring out what type of board to buy 55

Knowing what to look for in a board 56

Shopping for Sheet Goods 57

Sizing sheet goods 58

Checking out plywood and OSB 58

Steering clear of certain sheet goods 59

Getting Attached to Fasteners 60

Notes about nails 60

Stuff about screws 63

Figuring Out Flooring 67

Wondering About Walls 68

Getting to the Root of Roofing 68

Researching Your Run 70

Finding your fencing 70

Picking your posts 72

Adding It Up: Estimating the Amount of Materials You Need 73

Chapter 5: Building Your Carpentry Skills 75

Measuring and Marking Materials 76

Reading the tale of your tape 76

“V” marks the spot, and “X” marks the trash 76

Chalk it up 77

Cutting Wood Safely 78

Selecting saw blades 78

Cutting board lumber 79

Cutting sheet goods 84

Assembling Materials 85

Nailing it down 85

Screwing it in place 86

Joining Pieces at Tricky Angles 88

Toe-nailing 88

Pocket hole joinery 89

Plates 90

Using Levels and Squares 91

Carpenter’s level 91

Specialty levels 92

Speed squares 93

Part 2: Constructing A Coop 95

Chapter 6: Preparing the Site 97

First Things First: Clearing the Site 98

Checking the Level of the Ground 98

Installing Posts in the Ground 99

Digging holes for footings 99

Bracing your posts 102

Mixing and pouring concrete 103

Securing Posts Aboveground 105

Mounting posts on top of concrete footings 105

Using concrete pier blocks 106

Topping Your Posts 107

Chapter 7: Laying the Lumber: Framing 101 109

Building a Subfloor 110

Framing the joists 110

Installing the decking 113

Framing the Walls 114

Laying out studs 115

Assembling wall panels on the ground 116

Framing Doors and Windows 118

The extra parts needed to frame doors and windows 118

Walking through extra framing steps 118

Raising the Wall 120

Fastening Walls Together 122

Framing the Roof 123

Getting the pitch perfect 123

Analyzing a roof’s anatomy 124

Building a roof frame 125

Cutting and attaching rafters 126

Chapter 8: Adding Walls, Doors, Windows, and a Roof 129

Putting Up Walls 130

Fastening plywood in place 130

Cutting out openings 132

Working with other materials 133

Building a Basic Shed Door 136

Making Your Own Window 139

Topping Off Your Coop with a Roof 140

Hanging out your shingles 140

Conquering corrugated panels 145

Venting Your Coop 146

Chapter 9: Building Creature Comforts 149

Finalizing Your Flooring 149

Coming Home to (a) Roost 150

Location, location, location 150

Roost requirements: Making your roost out of different materials 152

Securing and supporting your roost 153

Feathering a Nest Box 154

Designing nest boxes 154

Building nest boxes 156

Other options: Buying or repurposing nest boxes 157

Ramping Up 157

Chapter 10: Assembling a Run 161

Framing a Simple Run 162

Working with Wire Mesh 164

Sizing up, measuring, and cutting the wire 164

Fastening the wire to your posts 165

Adding even more wire 167

Chapter 11: Plugged In: Basic Electricity for Your Coop 169

Calling a Pro to Run a Line to Your Coop 170

Buzzing About Outlets versus Switches 171

Receptacles (also known as outlets) 171

Switches 173

Letting There Be Light 173

Deciding whether to include artificial light in your coop 173

Properly placing the right amount of lighting in your coop 174

Choosing fixtures 174

Warming Up to Heaters 176

Falling for Fans 177

Part 3: Checking Out Coop Plans 179

Chapter 12: The Minimal Coop 181

Vital Stats 182

Materials List 182

Cut List 183

Shelter floor 183

Front wall 184

Back wall 184

Right and left walls 185

Roof framing 186

Nest boxes 186

Assembling the Coop 187

Chapter 13: The Alpine A-Frame 191

Vital Stats 192

Materials List 192

Cut List 193

Shelter floor 193

Gable 1 (nest box side) 194

Gable 2 (run side, interior) 195

Gable 2 (run side, exterior) with run door 196

Roof panel 1 (fixed side) 197

Roof panel 2 (hinged door) 198

Nest boxes 198

Roost 199

Run panel 1 200

Run panel 2 with door 201

Run gable 202

Assembling the Coop 202

Chapter 14: The Urban Tractor 205

Vital Stats 206

Materials List 206

Cut List 207

Tractor base and shelter floor 207

Left wall 208

Right wall 209

Front wall 210

Rear wall and chicken door 210

Run posts and framing 211

Cap plate and roof rafters 212

Roof, fascia, and gables 212

Access door 213

Nest boxes 214

Run door and chicken ramp 215

Assembling the Coop 216

Chapter 15: The All-in-One 221

Vital Stats 222

Materials List 222

Cut List 223

Skids and floor skirting 224

Shelter floor 224

Right wall framing 225

Front wall framing 226

Left wall framing 226

Back wall framing 227

Exterior wall sheathing 228

Run framing 229

Roof framing and rafters 229

Roof, gables, and fascia 230

Shelter access door and slam strips 231

Chicken door, slam strips, and ramp 232

Nest boxes and roost bar 232

Nest box door and slam strips 233

Front wall trim 234

Back wall trim 234

Right wall trim 235

Left wall trim 236

Run access door 236

Assembling the Coop 237

Chapter 16: The Walk-In 243

Vital Stats 244

Materials List 244

Cut List 245

Skids and floor 245

Front wall framing 246

Back wall framing 247

Right wall framing 247

Left wall framing 248

Front wall sheathing and trim 249

Back wall sheathing 249

Right and left wall sheathing and trim 250

Roof rafters 250

Gable ends and soffits 251

Roof, gable overhangs, and fascia 251

Access door 252

Chicken door 253

Nest box door 253

Nest boxes 254

Roost 255

Assembling the Coop 255

Part 4: The Part of Tens 261

Chapter 17: Ten or So Things Novice Coop-Builders Would Have Done Differently 263

Make the Coop Bigger 264

Make the Coop Taller 264

Consider the Location More Carefully 265

Don’t Cheap Out on Materials 265

Use Screws Rather than Nails 266

Elevate the Coop Off the Ground 266

Make the Doors Wider 266

Consider How to Clean the Coop 267

Make the Nest Box Easily Accessible 267

Paint the Coop Before Assembly 268

Reinforce the Run Underground 268

Chapter 18: Ten or So Cool Ideas to Trick Out Your Coop 269

Electricity 270

Solar Power 270

Running Water 270

Storage Space 271

A Quarantine Area 271

An Automatic Feeder and Waterer 272

A Removable Droppings Pan 273

Wheels 273

A Retractable Roof 273

“Air-Lock” Doors 274

Automatic Door Closers 274

A Wireless Weather Station 274

Index 277