The Reverse Wichita
(This post is still in progress)
I loved the “Wichita Cabin Coop” that was posted by Baldessariclan on BackyardChickens.com. It looks great and appears to be a well thought-out chicken coop design. However, I needed to reverse the original design to provide better protection for the chickens from the prevailing winds in my area.
The original author also did an outstanding job of putting this design together and documenting the entire process with pictures. While building my version of this chicken coop, I decided to document some actual construction details, as well as a materials list and cost estimates.
Here are the details for putting together “The Reverse Wichita Cabin Coop” – Chicken Coop.
(22) Concrete Solid Blocks (16in. x 8in. x 4in.) – $0.88 ea. ($19.36)
(24) Stepping Stone, Gray (16in. x 8in. x 1-5/8in.) - $0.98 ea. ($23.52)
(3) Bags 50 lb. All-Purpose Gravel – $3.10 ea. ($9.30)
(4) Bags Play Sand – $2.78 ea. ($11.12)
(20) 40 lb. Bags Top Soil – $1.19 ea.
- - (optional – for elevation for proper drainage) ($23.80)
I started out by burying the stepping stones on edge to create a stable outer edge base for the solid blocks. In addition, this should provide some protection from any predators that might attempt to dig underneath the shelter to get to our hens. I intentionally left the stones protruding several inches from the ground in order to elevate the shelter slightly due to draining problems I sometimes experience during the springtime. The pea gravel and sand was used to keep everything level and tightly in place. In addition to the sand and pea gravel, I also added some bricks as filler material on the lower side of the base to insure everything was solid and stable. When placing the solid blocks into place, I applied some construction adhesive where they came into contact with the pavers. This should insure that no predators can push them out of place.
The rough dimension of the chicken coop base is slightly larger than 10 ft. x 5 ft. keeping in mind the size of the blocks that will be placed upon this base, along with the desired wooden frame that will be exactly 10 ft. x 5 ft. Note that I did have to cut a couple of the stepping stones to get the right size.
After completing the base, I added some top soil to elevate the area and make the ground level with the blocks. This should also provide for better drainage. I applied some mulch on top of this to keep things from getting muddy whenever it rains. When I place the chickens into the coop, I will cover the mulch with sand for easier cleaning.
Initial Frame Construction
(3) 2” x 6” x 10’ pressure treated pine lumber – $5.97 ea. ($17.91)
(17) 2” x 4” x 8’ pressure treated lumber – $1.97 ea. ($33.49)
(2) 2” x 4” x 12’ pressure treated lumber – $4.57 ea. ($9.14)
(1) 2” x 4” x 10’ pressure treated lumber – $3.97 ea. ($3.97)
(4) 1 lbs. boxes – 2 ½” Deck Screws – $7.62 ea. ($30.48)
Notice the rubber chicken? It appeared one weekend while we were out of town one weekend! It gave us such a laugh that I decided to leave it in place and work around it for the rest of the project. Now if we could only convince him to lay some eggs for us…..!
Frame Construction – Continued
(29) 2” x 4” x 8’ pressure treated lumber – $1.97 ea. ($57.13)
Scraps from previously cut 2” x 4” lumber
I wanted to add some additional support for the entire chicken coop so I added cross-member braces between all of the vertical support boards. These were added 38” up from the base frame. Note that I didn’t place these in the area of the nesting box or door frame areas.
I noticed that as the pressure treated lumber began drying in the sun, some of the roof stringers were beginning to warp. To minimize this, I placed cross-member braces between these boards near the center points where most of the warping was noticed.
On the left side of the frame, trim and attach 2” x 4” lumber to form the outline for the floor of the actual coop. Attach four “stringer” boards at evenly spaced intervals to form the rest of the floor support. The outer two stringers will contact the outer floor frame boards. The top of these floor boards should sit at approximately 24” from the ground. I lowered the forward-most side of the floor by about a quarter-inch to allow for good drainage during cleaning of the coop.
Attach a short board, centered between the two left side corner posts to provide additional support beneath the floor structure.
Attach a board centered on the right side of the floor structure to attach it to the roof structure.
Attach two boards on the left side of the floor structure to attach it to the roof structure. These boards are placed 14” to each side of the center of the floor structure. Between these boards, place a board 1-½” up from the floor. From this point, measure up 16” and place another board. These boards will form the top and bottom of the nesting box area.
Frame Construction – Continued
Watersealer – 2 Gallons - $15.00 ea. ($30.00)
48” x 25’ Hardware Cloth Screening – ½” - $46.00
36” x 25’ Hardware Cloth Screening – ½” - $26.49 (Lowes)
I’ve heard horror stories from other chicken farmers about losing their flock to dogs, foxes, or coyotes. It’s my understanding that any of these animals can rip right through regular chicken wiring. Since we have all of these animals in our area, I decided to spend the extra money to purchase hardware cloth screening instead. While it’s much more expensive than traditional chicken wire screening, it offers much more protection.
Before applying the hardware cloth screening, I coated all of the surfaces with a clear water sealer. This added a little bit of color to the coop and should keep the pressure treated lumber from turning gray so quickly.
I attached the hardware cloth screening with ½” staples. The staples will only provide minimal support for the screening. Additional support will be added in the next step when all screening edges are sandwiched between the 2” x 4” lumber.
Note: I cut the hardware cloth with a pair of tin snips. Wear gloves and be careful since this stuff gets extremely sharp when cut. Also, I would highly recommend wearing a pair of safety glasses whenever handling this type of screening. Since it comes in a rolled form, it has a tendency to spring towards your face if it slips from yours hands.
After screening was in place, I attached 2” x 4” lumber to cover all edges of the screening. By sandwiching the screening, it will add extra structural support for the frame while also making the screening more secure.
The roof goes on
3 sheets OSB $5.97ea. ($17.91)
6 pieces Drip Edge $3.25ea. ($19.50)
Nails for OSB $3.89
2 box 1” nails for Roofing $2.98ea. ($5.96)
3 bundles Shingles – $40 (I bought these on Craigslist from someone that had left-overs)
This was made up with a couple 2” x 4”s.
(20) 1” x 6” x 10’ pressure treated pine lumber – $4.89
(4) 2” x 4” x 10’ pressure treated pine lumber – $3.49
(3) 2” x 2” x 8’ pressure treated pine lumber – $xx.xx
The floor and walls start going up. If doing this again, I would use regular pine lumber here instead of the pressure treated stuff. It seems that the pressure treated lumber shrinks terribly after drying for a day or two out in the open air. All of the gaps between the boards were nice and tight immediately after installing. However, after a couple days, some of the joints had gaps nearly a half inch in size. To remedy this, I waited a week or so for the wood to dry completely and then I removed all of the boards and remounted them to close up the gaps. Twice the work!
To prepare the boards as siding material, I first cut them to size and then I ran all of the long edges thru my router table using a beveling bit. I know this sounds like more work, but it was much cheaper than buying pre-made lap siding boards, panels, or tongue and groove boards. To mount the boards to the frame, I first installed 2” x 2” boards onto the corners and then used 1-1/2” finishing nails applied with an airgun.
The screen door is framed with 2” x 4” boards, then hardware cloth screening is added and sandwiched to the door frame with additional 2” x 4”s. Other wood could be used for the sandwiching process, but since 2” x 4” were still on sale, I used those.
Two roosting bars were added into the interior of the chicken shelter area. For this, I used standard closet rod dowels supported by closet rod hooks. I placed adhesive non-skid strips onto these to help the hens to get a good grip onto the rods.
A ramp was built for the chickens to climb to enter into the raised shelter area. The ramp is 10-inches wide and the steps are spaced three inches apart. The ramp is attached to the chicken entry door with hook and eye hardware.
The nesting box was enclosed on the outside with the same “siding” fashion as the rest of the shelter area. A hinged lid was added so that eggs can be collected without needing to enter into the coop. A waterproof top for the hinged lid was created by applying vinyl siding over plywood.
The nesting box was framed, again in the same fashion as the siding. I attached a removable board where the nesting box meets the coop interior. This board will help to hold the bedding material in place within the nesting boxes and can easily be removed when cleaning them out.
In front of the nesting boxes, I installed a board that will hold the nesting material in place for the chickens, but can easily be removed for cleaning out the nests. Compare the two pictures above to see this board in place and then removed.
I added a large glass window above the nesting box. This was built in the same fashion as the front door window. This can be latched closed during cold weather, propped open in the spring and fall, or completely removed during the summer.
An Update Video – March 2012
Update Video #2 – August 2012
Update Video #3 – November 2012
Here is the Dog kennel Heater mentioned in our Update #3 Video
Here is the Thermostatically Controlled Outlet Plug mentioned in our Update #3 Video
One of our viewers made some modifications to our design and submitted pictures for others to see. As you can see, Bob W. enlarged the nesting box and yard area to allow for more hens and more room to roam. Great job Bob!
(This post is still in progress)