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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.

Base Construction

Materials List

(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)

Total:  $87.19

Base for Chicken Coop
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.

Chicken Coop Base - Image 2
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.

Building the chicken coop base.
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.

Finishing the chicken coop base

Initial Frame Construction

Materials List

(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)

Total:  $94.99

Chicken Coop Frame
The Chicken Coop Frame
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

Materials List

(29) 2” x 4” x 8’ pressure treated lumber – $1.97 ea.  ($57.13)
Scraps from previously cut 2” x 4” lumber

Continuing the chicken coop frame
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.

Finishing the chicken coop frame

Frame Construction – Continued

Materials List

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)

Total: $102.90

Adding screen to the chicken coop
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.

Stapling hardware cloth to chicken coop
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.

Trimming screening for chicken coop
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.

Adding more screening
15 2x4s – $1.97 ea.  ($29.55)
1 box 2 ½” screws $7.62

Total: $37.17

The roof goes on

Materials List

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)

Total: $87.26

The roof goes onto the chicken coop.

The roof goes onto the chicken coop 2
The roof goes onto the chicken coop 3
Adding the Nesting Box frame

This was made up with a couple 2” x 4”s.

Nesting Box Frame
It seemed that it would be easier to construct this in the garage and then attach it later, so that’s exactly what I did.

Attaching the nesting box frame
Starting to enclose the shelter area

(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

Starting to enclose the chicken coop shelter
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!

Floors and Walls
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.

Attaching the chicken coop door
The door for the coop was made with 2” x 4” boards forming a frame. Next, I attached boards in the same fashion as the siding boards. I made my window 11” x 11”.

Coop Door 2
Next I added a glass window to the shelter door. This will allow us to close up the coop in the winter time to help hold in some of the heat while still allowing light for our birds.

Small Chicken Window
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.

Chicken Coop Screen Door
I added a sliding door inside of the main shelter area to allow the chickens to come and go as they please. This door can be opened or closed from outside of the coop with a rope.

Chicken Door Closed
Chicken Door Open

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.

Roosting Bars for the Chickens
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.

Chicken Ramp
I added a couple closet rod hooks in the chicken run area. These will be used to hang a feed bucket and water bucket from.

Chicken Feed Bucket Hooks
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.

Nesting Boxes - Outside
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.

Chicken Nesting Boxes
Back inside the chicken shelter, I divided the nesting box area into three nest areas. Each of these are 12-inches wide by 15-inches deep.

Nesting Boxes
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.

Break-Down Nesting Boxes
I made the nesting box divider boards so that they can also be removed for easy cleaning. Notice here the divider boards separating the middle and right-hand nests have been removed.

Large Chicken Window
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.

Chicken Coop
The finished chicken coop!
The Reverse Wichita

——–

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!

Mod1
Mod2


(This post is still in progress)

98 Responses to “Our Chicken Coop – The Reverse Wichita”

  • Ron says:

    Great Job on the coop.. I was wondering what your final cost was on the project. Looking through your materials list it seemed like you double counted some of the wood… 2” x 4” x 8’ pressure treated lumber …. anyways…. you really did a great job on it… I think I’ll use your ideas here… :)

    Ron

    • admin says:

      Yes, I sandwiched the hardware cloth between the 2x4s. This was extra cost, but will aid in the security of the chickens since predators shouldn’t be able to charge thru the screening. In addition, this added additional weight to the overall project. This should make it more durable and keep the wind from blowing it off of the base. Thanks for your comments!

  • Chris says:

    I had the same question Ron. I’m coming up with roughly 60-2x4x8′s according to the list. It looks like he used them inside and outside the main framing(over the hardware cloth). Did you use that many? If so, it’s a tank for sure. I love the coop and will be starting Saturday. Thanks for posting your build…exactly what we are looking for. I have access to rough cut lumber, so the cost will be less. If you are paying top dollar for 2×4′s Ron, you may want to use boards for the lumber over the hardware cloth. Not sure if it’s any cheaper.

    • admin says:

      Yes, I sandwiched the hardware cloth between the 2x4s. This was extra cost, but will aid in the security of the chickens since predators shouldn’t be able to charge thru the screening. In addition, this added additional weight to the overall project. This should make it more durable and keep the wind from blowing it off of the base.

      Yes, boards might have been a bit cheaper for sandwiching the hardware cloth cloth screening. The 2x4s I purchased were seconds, so they were not too terribly priced. The main reason I used 2x4s instead, was because of the poor board selection my locals stores carried. I got tired of hunting thru a huge pile of boards searching for a few straight ones…..terrible warping!

      Thanks for your comments!

  • Kmccarty says:

    Thanks I will be building this same coop in the next 3 weeks. My question was on the use of pressure treated wood, What i have read is you should not use pressure treated wood if you plan to consume the eggs. I am building mine out of cedar, mostly because of the carpenter ants we have in my area. Also I would like to get some dimensions if possible, like the size and angle of the nesting box. and any thing else you may think is helpful.

    • admin says:

      I did a lot of reading before building the coop and decided the pressure treated lumber would work fine for this application. The older type of this lumber contained arsenic. However the new type does not. Furthermore, all of the surfaces my birds come into contact with ARE NOT treated. Their roosting bars are pine and the entire floor and nesting boxes are always covered with several inches of pine shavings. Before adding the birds, all of my wood dried for several months, so they shouldn’t be exposed to any fumes either.

      I would have liked to use cedar also. However, that would triple the overall cost of the project.

      Best wishes with your build! Send photos when done!

  • Fred Pellerito says:

    Looks great and I think I’ve found my summer project. My question is how you secured the coop to the block footing?

    • admin says:

      The coop isn’t secured to the blocks at all. It simply sits on top of them. To anchor the coop, I installed ground screws on each inside corner. I then installed eye-bolts to each of the vertical corner posts. I ran 1/4″ cable between the eye-bolts and ground screws. Hopefully that will be enough to hold things down in heavy winds! Overall, the entire structure is quite heave….especially with the asphalt shingles. I wish you the best of luck with your own construction!

    • Devan says:

      Im building a slightly modified version of this coop :)
      I started today,and got the foundation finished by lunchtime! Anyway, even though the coop probably isn’t going anywhere from its sheer weight, for my peace of mind I’m going to use weather-proof liquid nail to glue the 2×6′s to the cinder blocks I used as the base.

  • Fred Pellerito says:

    Okay, base is complete and I’m ready to start framing. My problem is that no one has indicated the width spacing of the upright studs. I’m trying to figure the most practical way considering the hardware cloth comes in 36″ width.

    • admin says:

      I simply divided the size of the base into equal thirds. I used both 36″ wide and 48″ wide hardware cloth screening. You can find the 48″ wide stuff at Lowes. That was the most expensive part of the project. Best wishes with your build.

      • Fred Pellerito says:

        Thanks,
        I used 36 inch hardware cloth with staples and then used 1×4 inch boards that I screwed in over the cloth. I may extend the height of the actual enclosure and possibly put in an “attic” to store my feed.

  • James Dean says:

    Good morning,
    I live in the Baltimore county which is in Maryland and I want to get started as well, However, I really would like to have this chicken coop and I have no skills for building anything. I have shown the instructions to a couple of craftsmen but to no avail. Can you suggest how I can find some one to build one for me. I’d gladly appreciate any and all feedback.
    Thanks for your assistance and cooperation. JDean59@msn.com
    Peace,
    James

    • admin says:

      Check out Craigslist or your local paper for handyman services. This project uses basic carpentry skills; nothing special. I’m sure anyone that is handy with a saw could build this for you….hopefully for a good price too! Best wishes and good luck!

  • James says:

    Thanks for your suggestion. l looked at Craigslist as well other Handyman and carpenter sites however to no avail. But I’m still looking.

  • kris says:

    I love your chicken coop and am going to try building it on my finca in Costa Rica. Thanks for posting and sharing

  • Post writing is also a excitement, if you be familiar with then you can write or else it
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  • Doug Roberts says:

    So what was your total cost on this?

    How hard would it be to set this up on skids (like a shed) so I can relocate it as needed throughout the year?

    • admin says:

      I guess you could do this….just leave out the cinder-block base. Also, you might want to beware of other animals digging under the skids to get to your birds. Good luck with your project. If you build one on skids, I would like to see some pictures.

  • Laura says:

    Beautiful!! Just curious…what did you use as a base for your run? Was it pea gravel, covered by topsoil and then covered by mulch? Did you put a layer of sand on top of that? How’s the drainage? How do you clean it? Do you have to add sand occassionally?

    Thanks!!

    • admin says:

      Thanks for the compliment! I used pea gravel and sand to support the cinder blocks. However, the primary material I used was mulch covered with sand in the run area.

      The chickens quickly churned the mulch and sand together, so the base is no longer pretty and white. The drainage seems to be working well since the ground has stayed pretty dry since the initial build. I haven’t had to clean out the run area yet. Most of the pooping goes on out in the yard or in the sheltered coop area overnight. When things get dirty, I plan to scoop off the top layer of sand and mulch and replace with more. Thanks again!

      • Laura says:

        Hi Jim! Thanks for the reply in regard to which materials you used for the “floor” in the run area. I have pea gravel as my base now and I’m still debating as to whether I should use shavings or sand on top of that. I’ve heard sand is nicer and easier to clean out – sort of a sift the poop with a screen method :)- but I think most of it would just fall through the pea gravel unless I put a LOT, which could be costly. How’s the mulch/sand comination working for you guys? Replacing the mulch/shavings once a month could get costly too, no? I’d love to hear an update as to how everything has worked out for you!

        Thanks!!

  • Diane says:

    Hi Jim and Ginny, I came across your video on youtube! I love your design and the personal touches you put into it. I went into your web site which I now have saved to my Favorites. My question for you is on your Update Video – March 2012, You show your home made water heater for inside the coop that you found on Backyard Chicken…I can’t find it. What size is the teracota pot and wattage of the light bulb that worked for you in Ohio.
    Thanks,
    Diane
    in New Jersey

    • admin says:

      Hi. I believe the terracotta pot is 8-inches. The light bulb is a 17-watt CFL flood light.

      Here is the direct link to it on BackyardChickens:
      http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/wichita-cabin-coop

      • Fred Pellerito says:

        I have a large metal waterer that I hang from the metal closet dowel hanger. I found a larger cookie tin form Big Lots and found a cheap lamp from the local Salvation Army store. Took it apart and drilled a hole in the side of the cookie tin, installed the light fixture with a 40 watt bulb. The waterer sits directly on top of the tin and the water is always warm, even on the coldest mornings.

  • Terry says:

    Hi, Great Coop! I am confused about the nesting box measurements. When you frame for the nesting box you measure 14″ each way from the center. That adds up to 28″, but you said you divided the nesting area into three nesting sections 12″ wide, that adds up to 36″. Where did you get the extra 8″?
    Also did you add ventilation holes for the coop?

    Thanks very much for your pictures and help.

    • admin says:

      Wow! You are very observant! …. but good question anyway!

      The vertical boards are placed 14-inches from the edge of the center floor board rather than the center of it. That gives you about 3/4″ extra. Plus the vertical board (2×4) is 3.5-inches wide to the outside edge. Since this “extra” length is on both sides, this makes the outside measurements of the frame approximately 36.5 inches. Does that make sense?

      Regarding ventilation: Above the “service door” of the coop there is a ventilation area that is enclosed with hardware cloth screening. I built this in a way that can be closed off during the winter time to help keep heat in the coop. In addition, I have also added a small osculating fan that helps keep my birds cool during extremely hot weather.

      Note: I’ll add some additional pictures of the ventilation area and fan later. These were not previously included since this was more of any afterthought.

      Thanks for visiting. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask! Take care!

  • Devin says:

    I wish to build a coop like this, but I am wondering what the total cost was?

  • Wyman says:

    I was curious how many eggs do you get each day from 6 chickens and how often do you have to clean the coop?

  • admin says:

    We usually get 1 egg per bird each day. However, some days we only get 4 or 5 eggs depending on how hot it is outside.

    We shovel out the dirty wood shavings one time each month and replace them with new shavings. I also rake out the pen at the same time.

  • Chumley says:

    $650 is a small price for something that looks so well built and probably will last many years!
    The bragging rights alone and the joy giving eggs to family and friends are priceless.
    Thanks for your efforts in a great series of ideas for summer projects and beyond!

  • Fred P says:

    I switched from mulch to just sand. Just use a scoop shovel and a screen box I made (24″ by 24″) to separate the poop from the sand. Takes about 15 minutes to clean the run once a month. I then spread a little lime down to neutralize the odors and stir it up in the sand.

  • Laura says:

    Hi Jim,

    I noticed that you moved the feeder to the other side of the run area. Was there some “cross-contamination” going on between the feed and water? Really enjoy your updates. Keep us posted! :)

    ~Laura

    • admin says:

      We moved the water container to the other side of the coop because the chickens were constantly getting food in their water. Now that it’s on the other side of the coop, this doesn’t happen.

  • Melissa says:

    My Husband is almost finished building this coop for our 8 week old chicks. Just a few finishing touches left. They are spending there first night in it tonight. We love it. Thank you for posting all the building information and pictures. I enjoy your updates and hope to see more :-)

    • admin says:

      Congratulations! Your coop is looking great! I’m sure you (and your chicks) will get a lot of enjoyment out of it. Thanks for sharing your pictures! Best wishes!

  • Don Schwebel says:

    Love it plan on getting started Monday morning. Will keep u posted

  • Clau says:

    I like to much the Palace, thanks a lot for the gift you give, congratulations for the great job, I really aprecciate that.

  • Bobbers says:

    Thanks for all the info you posted. I’m using many of the construction ideas on my chicken coop. Making it slightly bigger so winging a lot of it. Was very helpful to see the framing, hardware cloth installation, and i really love the laying boxes and the way you framed it up and attached. Mine is all framed up and most hardware cloth on, and floor in for hen house. Just wanted you to know i appreciated all the ideas!!

  • Melissa says:

    How many eggs do you get a day with 5 chickens? We have 5 that are not old enough to lay yet but I can’t wait to find the first one!!

    • admin says:

      You can expect to get one egg per chicken each day. However, this time of the year, the production slows down due to less daylight hours and the chickens conserving their energy to stay warm. Right now, (December) we are getting between one and three eggs each day.

      • Fred Pellerito says:

        I have six hens born in late April. Been getting six eggs a day for the past month. I have a red heat lamp set to run from 5 am till 7 am. Don’t know if that helps but I felt they needed the extra light to keep laying on a regular basis.

  • kmccarty says:

    Hello, well I built the coop, I made my a little larger, it is 10′ x 8′ and the girls do seem to like it, somewhat. They do go upstairs to lay the eggs but that is all. Now it is getting colder, last night is was in the 20′s and I added a heat light but they seem content huddleing downstairs. My spouse is worried, they she will have chicken popciclesone morning and wants to buy them a dog house, but i put my foot down and told her NO!if they get cold enough they will go up stairs where it is a lot warmer. Any ideas i really don’t want to go in there and force them upstairs and close the door, but if i have too.

  • kmccarty says:

    Also , i do have Pictures as you requested, but I don’t see a way to post them.

  • Bill says:

    Hello there,
    do you have plans for a coop say 10 X 18. I guess I should ask if you have the adjusted dimensions for said coop. I lost my 3 girls to the neighbors dog two days ago. Would like something big enough and self contained without having an external run that can be breached. Thanx.

    Bill

    • admin says:

      Sorry, no plans! Only what I have posted here. I’m sorry for your loss! We have dogs in our area too, so we built a fence around the coop. Other than than, I’m not sure how else to keep the dogs away!

  • Fred Pellerito says:

    I’m thinking about purchasing a chain link dog run to add to my Reverse Wichita. Possibly putting a tarp or something over the top. My six ladies are tame but are tearing up my yard and I need time to reseed and get it ready for next spring. Any other ideas?

    • admin says:

      Hi Fred. We have the same problem going on here. By fencing the chickens in their own yard, it should limit the damage to their confined area. In the springtime, I plan to build some “grazing frames” to limit the grassless areas. A grazing frame is simply a rectangular frame (made with 2 x 4s) with either chicken wire or hardware cloth attached. You lay it on the ground and plant grass seed inside of it. The hens can walk on top of it and eat the grass. However, they cannot get all the way down to the roots. This keeps things green inside the frames. If you search Youtube for “Grazing Frame”, you can see what I’m referring to. Best Wishes!

  • Ben says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your endless ideas and thoughts on the chicken coop. I learned a great deal. It’s inspirational! I need to build one for myself soon. Your videos are certainly very informative and wonderful for a beginner like me.

  • Wade says:

    Regarding your issue with the wild birds eating your chicken feed, what has worked well for me was to create a very small, chicken-sized door to the outside and leave the big door shut all the time. This gives much less of a target for the other birds to aim for. In your case, it would be very simple to just frame out a door in the space directly under the coop, which would also be far away from ther food. Good luck.

  • Diane says:

    I love the chicken palace! Thank you so much for posting all of this info along with your updates. Your site is, by far, the most comprehensive site I’ve found while looking at chicken coops and raising hens.

  • Jenice Brown says:

    Hello
    I love your site and videos. I found you on you tube. I am expecting 4 pullets the end of April and would like this coup. I sent you an email but wondering if you were willing to build it for me and how much. I live in Pickerington, 3 miles west of Baltimore. I’ll do the base and have it ready. I could even pick it up if your not able to come to my house. Let me know. Thx

  • Gary Dobrinich says:

    Hi
    Just wandering if the treated lumber is safe for the chickens

    • admin says:

      Everything I’ve read about the new type of treated lumber indicates that it’s safe for chickens. In the old days, arsenic was used for wood treatment. However, now it’s done with copper.

  • Dave says:

    I am very interested in your good ideas as to I have a few also for the type of coop i am looking to build. But the only thing that worries me, is that I live in the New England area and the winters are sometimes harsh here. What would be the best kind of chicken that could withstand the winter months here?

    • admin says:

      Chickens should be able to withstand temperatures down to about 10 degrees. However, when it gets down below 20 degrees, I keep a heatlamp in the coop to take the chill off. If you decide to use a heatlamp too, be extra cautious to mount it in a way that it will not fall! Many of these devices have a simple clamping device. DO NOT TRUST THAT! It could slip off and start a fire! If you use one, attach it with extra hardware to keep it firm and secure.

  • Pam says:

    I would like to know where I can get the complete blueprint plan for the wichita cabin coop. My husband and I would like to build a coop for our yard.

    Thanks

    Pam

  • Jewel Jr. says:

    I really love your coop. I am planning to build one in two weeks and hope to build it very similar to yours using a lot of your ideas including the modifications. Thanks for posting I look forward to any new updates.

  • Graham says:

    I’ve just been looking for plans to help me build my first chicken coop ,this coop will look great at the end of my garden Im thinking of putting a hay barn look to the roof to keep feed dry and to way from rats.
    Just to give that new England look I’m going to paint it Barn red and white ,my coop is going to look great back in Devon England it brings that dream closer to Home.

  • Hildegard says:

    We just love your chicken palace! We live in Germany/Bavaria and we want to build “your” chicken coop in our yard. Is it possible to get a blueprint? We would really appreciate it.
    Have a nice day
    Hildegard

  • Mark says:

    I’m just getting started on a reverse wichita coop and since I haven’t created a “set of plans” I’ll work out the fine details as I go along. One question I have though is regarding your nesting box. You indicate the basic framing was 14″ from center. You then framed the box at basically 36 x 14 x 16 and attached it to the basic frame. It appears from the photos that you lined up the box frame with the basic frame and then finished it as the rest of the coop. So,did you abandon the use of the 1 1/2″ opening that you created for ease of cleaning the nesting boxes or did I miss something?

    Thanks so much for all of your effort in posting the information and details of your coop. It has provided me with allot of insight and motivation.

    Cheers.
    Mark

  • Ollie says:

    How many chickens can the The Reverse Wichita hold? I am thinking of putting 9 chickens in the coop. Do you think that would be to many?

    • Fred Pellerito says:

      Way too many! I have 6 Rhode Island Reds in mine and that seems terribly overcrowded. They tend to fight more when overcrowded. I would say 4-5 is the max number unless you expanded the construction of coop and run in both width and depth.

    • admin says:

      I agree with Fred! 9 would probably be too many for a coop of this size unless they will only be using it for a shelter for them to sleep within. However, you will find many times that you may need to lock up your birds for a while….and it would be way to small a space for nine.

  • Yvonne says:

    Hi, Really ovely coop and great job. However your ventilation and winter strategies do concern me. Because of the way chickens breathe, there is build up of moisture in the coop and it is essential to have in AND out ventilation both summer and winter. Some people suggest 1 square foot of ventilation for every ten square ft of floor space.

    Chickens have there own built in blankets in form of feathers so it is not necessary to heat coops. I see you on are BYC. There are people on there from Alaska who do not heat their coops. My winter went down to -1 and they were fine. No frost bite, they still came out of the run every morning.

    Also it is interesting to note as well that people find that once they ventilate properly, get rid of the heat, they no longer have problems with frost bite.

    I think you will find chickens have more of a problem with heat that with cold.
    Blocking up ventilation in not really that healthy for your chickens.

  • Kathryn Friedman says:

    Can you make your coop into a tractor? And do you have plans yet?

  • Faith says:

    I live in a cold climate… will the nesting boxes need insulation to keep the temp comfortable for the hens to continue to lay in them during the winter months?

    • Fred Pellerito says:

      I lined my nesting boxes with insulation and put a thin sheet of veneer over that. Did the same to the walls of the coop since I had all the materials on hand. I hang a red heat lamp in the coop on the really cold nights hooked up to a timer. Just make sure no insulation shows through where they could peck/eat it and make sure you have adequate ventilation all year round

  • Faith says:

    Thanks Fred, regarding the ventilation… If i leave a couple of open rafters lined with hardware cloth will that be too much air flow in the winter cold? Also, i am leaving the floor of my coop natural materials (dirt, mulch, then sand) will that maintain enough lower heat?

    • Fred Pellerito says:

      I used a 2×4 across the top of the door, drilled some holes using a drill bit for drilling out doorknobs. Covered with hardware cloth on the inside to keep out small birds. I use a piece of linoleum on the floor and cover it with pine shavings.
      Also use the shavings for the nesting boxes. When it’s time to clean it out, I pick up the linoleum and dump it in my compost pile to use on the garden. Takes about 5 minutes every other weekend.

    • admin says:

      It’s OK to leave a couple rafters open for ventilation. In the winter, you can simply install “filler boards” to close off the rafter area to hold in the heat. When I first built the coop, I planned for this ahead of time and pre-cut sections of 2x4s to fit the area. When the cold weather moves in, just loose fit the boards in place and leave for the winter. When spring arrives, simply pop them out. Good luck with your build!

  • Faith says:

    Thanks so much for the awesome ideals!

  • Wyman says:

    I have 8 chickens in my coop with a 10×10 run that attaches to the coop. The chickens are only 14 weeks old. I see a lot of feathers in the run few in the coop and nesting area. Is this normal? There does not appear to be any feathers missing from the chickens themselves. Is this a normal shedding process as they mature.

    • admin says:

      This is normal! Chickens go thru a molting period every year…sometimes 2-3 times per year. Some our chickens have really started looking pretty ragged from time to time, but they always get their feathers back and look even better afterwards.

  • Skye says:

    Hi i was wondering…. where did you get the gate around the chicken coop, is that the best to use,and how much did it cost if you dont mind me asking?

    • admin says:

      I used regular 5-foot fencing and T-posts for the fence around the coop. You can get this at either Home Depot or Lowes. I’m not sure if it’s the best, but it works well.

      Thanks for watching!

      • Fred Pellerito says:

        I used three sides of a 10 x 10 dog pen I found on craigslist.
        Fits up nicely against the coop. I did install a roof frame and used a tarp to cover part of the run.

  • Wendy says:

    Hello,
    I’m so happy to see your videos and posts as I have no carpenter skills and I’m building the wichita coop in reverse as well. I have a question on the door – I see you used 2x4s on both the inside and the outside. If I didn’t want to have such a heavy door, would it work ok to frame it using 1x4s on both sides? Will that work with the rest of the framing or end up being too thin?

    Thanks for providing all of this great, helpful information!

  • Mohamed Noor says:

    Hi.
    I’m from Singapore but residing also in Johor, Malaysia. I’m keen in building the The Reverse Wichita Chicken Coop. Is it possible to get/buy the drawing plan together with list of building materials required from you.

    Thank you.
    Noor
    email:nunwaura@singnet.com.sg

  • Mikael says:

    Hi,
    I was wondering the length and breath of the coop. I am also planning to make the one you make its fantastic.
    Best regards,
    Mikael
    Email address : mikaeldurrani@gmail.com

  • F says:

    Hey I came across your site looking for a less expensive way to do the WCC. I love your version and thanks for all the details! Do you have any more info about the enlarged one at the top? You said it was still in progress but the link isn’t working for me. I have 8 chickens and would love to do the WCC concept on a bit larger scale. Thanks again.

  • Christine says:

    I am wondering if you have instructions that include actual dimensions.
    Thank you,
    Christine

  • tim matlock says:

    hi folks. great job! im using your site exclusively for my build. question…why the 1.5 inch gap between bottom of enclosed coupe and nesting box?

  • Jeremy says:

    Do you happen to have a construction/blue print sheet for this? I do not have very good carpentry skills and any guidance would be awesome. It looks great. This is our first year with chickens. We got four and they are ready to be out side. Especially now that the weather is straightening out up here in Michigan. Thanks in advance for any pointers.

    Thanks!

    • admin says:

      Hi Jeremy – Sorry, but we do not have blueprints since this is not our original plan. However, if you look on BackyardChickens dot com, I understand that plans are available there. Best wishes!

  • steve swanson says:

    I wanted to thank Jim and Jenny for there chicken coop plan i bult one in 2 mo. it was great the eggs are so much easyer to get and i can keep the girls under control a lot easyer.I don’t know there e-mail or i would send some pictures.

  • Chris says:

    thank you for your detailed information and pictures. I just finished my coop, non-reversed Wichita, and my four Reds are enjoying it very much.

    If anyone would like an idea of cost and amounts for supplies I am happy to share. As a novice builder I learned quite a bit doing this project and am happy to share the information I learned, dimensions, tips, tricks, etc as best I can. Contact me at cmhbach@yahoo.com. I paid for the plans for the original and found them far less helpful than this particular cite.

    Maybe it was just me, but the program you must download left much to be desired. Using this cite as a basis and my own intuition, I built the coop in just over 10 days.

    C

  • I built the reverse witchita coop and love it I used to have to pick up the eggsfrom the ground where they liked to set but no more it is so convent for me and my wife they don”t like the nipples for water though they like open water from a gallon ice cream container they don”t seem to get enough water out of the nipples. but I love the ease of cleaning the coop and the walk in for feeding.

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