Chicken Coop

I’ve been working on a chicken coop for the better part of a week. I’ve enlisted the assistance of my brother-in-law John who has pretty much taken over from a project management point of view. If I had built it myself I would have built it in a couple days and it probably would have resembled the shack the Beverly Hillbillies lived in, before they actually struck oil. John is more of a Beverly Hills kinda guy.

I’ve bought 8 chicks. Four of them are sexed pullets, probably a northern Leghorn breed. The other four are Jersey Giants (sometimes called Black Giants); and I have no idea of their sex yet. The Giants are a calm breed who lay brown eggs and will lay in cold weather.

Okay, having chicks means I really had to get going on the chicken coop project. I’ve seen some dismal digs for chickens; and I had pretty much resolved that I’d provide a roomy coop with ample brood boxes and roosts.

I’m getting a bit of an education on basic building skills from John. Whether you’re building a chicken coop or a tool shed or, presumably, a house you have to make every effort to keep everything thing square and level from the floor/foundation into the walls and ultimately the roof.

Since the coop will be an attractive thing I’ve put it on the northeast part of my property (where it can be viewed from the road). I could have hid it on the other side of the tractor barn (the metal green building you see in the pic) had it been of my construction.

I had wanted to build the thing with recycled lumber. But it was proving too much work to trim out old oak board (like the 2×4’s you see on the roof). So I have a couple/three hundred in board and OSB paneling.

The side of the building facing you in this picture is where we’ll put the man door. It’ll just be a cutout from the OSB. Between the coop and the tractor shed I’ll put a chicken wire enclosure for the birds when they’re not out pillaging the neighborhood. I’m hoping that the structure will be very predator resistant. I’m worried more about feral dogs than anything else. In this part of the country people still dump dogs in the wilderness as though they are doing the animals some kind of Christian favor.

I’ll keep you up to date.

Meanwhile Back in the Training Center

The chicken coop thing has been tough on the body. After a days work I have to go back in and do another 8 hour work day. Mostly this has been dedicated to doing TDAA stuff, reviewing courses and so forth. The blog has fallen low on my priority scale.

Class on Wednesday night was selfishly devoted to a variety of skills I’ve wanted to work on with my own dogs. I wanted a good workout on the weave poles; I wanted to proof my discrimination skills (I do a “named obstacle” / no handling protocol); I also wanted to work with turning options.  This is the set of the floor I came up with. It’s very simple and has an interesting variety of sequencing possibilities.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston The Country Dream web store is up and running. You know… I have five volumes (over 100 pp each) of The Joker’s Notebook available on my web-store at an embarrassingly inexpensive price. These are lesson plans suitable for individual or group classes for teaching dog to work at a distance.

3 Responses to “Chicken Coop”

  1. Bernadette Says:

    I have just gotten chickens since December. I LOVE them! This week we are up to 8 chickens and yesterday for the first time I got 3 eggs in one day. Mine are all hybrids which will lay all year. 🙂 Enjoy!

  2. Pat Says:

    Piece of free advice… do NOT use chicken wire for the run. It keeps chickens in (hence the name) but is lousy at keeping predators OUT. Raccoons, dogs etc etc will rip thru it in a flash if they wish. Yeah yeah, plenty of people use chickenwire on their coops “and it works just fine around here”, right up to the random time, maybe later maybe sooner, when something hungry comes along.

    You want a heavy gauge of good-quality welded wire fencing, ideally 1×1″ although if your chickens will always always be locked securely indoors between dusk and dawn then 2×4″ mesh is ok. Proper quality mesh, too, not yard-and-garden type grade.

    Having learned so much from your blog (and gotten so much entertainment value too :)) I just wanted to pass this along so that your chickenkeeping experience, as predator kills are something you really don’t want to run into any sooner than can be avoided.


    • budhouston Says:

      Thanks Pat. You’d be proud of me… I went out and bought a four panel woven-wire dog kennel (with a man door) to be my chicken yard. I’m putting eye-bolts off the corners of the coop so that the yard can be moved at whim.

      Pictures soon.


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