July 3, 2016

How to Build a Mobile and Strong Predator Proof Chicken Coop

The chicks are growing up fast on the homestead and we needed to move them out of their little heated chick nursery.  Our coop was too small for five additional hens so we built a new and improved coop.

Our coop set-up includes an outer cage to keep the large wild animals out, like raccoons and coyotes, and an inner coop to keep the chickens safe from smaller wild animals, like weasels.   The outer cage is covered on all sides, including the roof and floor with welded wire mesh and framed with 2x6 pressure treated lumber. 

The new inner coop is custom built from plywood.  There is about 1.5 foot of space underneath the inner coop so that the entire footprint of the outer cage is open space for the hens to peck around on the sand.  There is a large area for laying eggs, with a door that swings up, with a sturdy lock.  The door is big enough that I can put there food and water through the opening for super cold days in winter when the chickens will want to stay in the inner coop.  There is enough perching space for all the hens with a window view.  There is also an air vent on either end of the coop to keep the humidity low.

The young hens love all the space to move around.  The transition for the older hens is harder.  I had to put them in the inner coop the first night myself.  The second night the hens went up the ramp on their own, but only after if was getting quite dark.  The third night they've gone into the coop at the regular time.  However they have not laid an egg in the new coop yet.  I detached the laying area from the old inner coop and inserted it in the new coop with an egg to give them a hint.