Automate your garden! I use a lot of drip irrigation, by setting this up I have one less thing to think about. Drip irrigation can be used to top off EarthBoxes and keep plants in pots watered as well as your in ground garden or raised beds. Put the water where it’s needed most without waste.
This video shows the items needed and procedure for putting together a basic system. I also show how easy it is to reclaim most pieces for use in other drip water projects.
Amazon referral links to products I use and recommend, using any of these links helps support my blog.
Orbit hose timers, I’ve had good luck with these and I’ve tried several other brands that didn’t hold up as well or ate batteries too quickly: https://amzn.to/36hJDpA
1/2″ pipe punch tool, this is the one I have and it works pretty well. Don’t get one of the simple punches or you will end up crushing pipe and getting frustrated: https://amzn.to/37t9KKc
At 4 weeks the Kratky system is showing progress, not as much as I’d like but there has been some challenges with the weather (this is set up outdoors). Maybe we will have some harvest by the 6th week?
This is usually a dry time of year but we have about six inches of rain over the last two weeks, this showed me a big flaw in the initial design. Since then I have added drain holes so the boxes don’t flood over. Even with this a few of the plants are doing well and a few more have now sprouted. I’m liking this setup, very easy and inexpensive once the bugs are worked out.
We are now 2 weeks in and only a few things have germinated. Several ideas on what the culprits may be – old seeds, water level too high, water temperature. I’ll attempt to correct these as I can and follow back up in another week or two.
Items used in this build:
2 inch CZ net pots – https://amzn.to/2QIGvxW
1.5 inch Grodan rock wool – https://amzn.to/34b7V3y
3 inch CZ net pots – https://amzn.to/2KO9htd
2 inch Grodan rock wool – https://amzn.to/2XJ1NNl
If you’ve followed my blog then you have seen my opinion on aquaponics, it works well but I’m not a big fan of the maintenance required. In this video I’m taking a crack at hydroponics using the Kratky method. This method doesn’t require a pump or aerator, it’s very simple and an easy way to get started. If this works well here in central Florida I may switch the aquaponic system over to hydroponic.
Gaffers tape – https://amzn.to/34dJ8f1
Gaffers tape is like duct tape on steroids. It sticks better, flexes, and holds up to the sun and weather much better. Yes, it is more expensive but for the times when you need the extra performance it is well worth it (I used it in this video to tape the plastic on the buckets).
I’ve previously blogged about building a dragon fruit support, these have worked well and I now have a total of four in the yard (one is on a palm tree trunk). I’ve also given a few to friends and relatives since building several is only a little more work than building one.
In this video I cover the materials and tools needed plus the build process itself. It’s a bit long so I sped up parts where I’m using power tools and this also reduced the noise.
The most difficult part is notching the 6×6 post, if anyone has suggestions on making this easier I’d like to hear it. In the meantime, let me know if this was useful.
A fresh coat of paint can make a room look great but over time the smudges, nicks, and scratches can take their toll. We get a lot of compliments on our house at Three Acre Paradise, one of my secret weapons to keep the house looking good is to go around and touch up the paint blemishes a couple of times a year.
Here’s a couple of ways to make this easier. First, when you paint a room always reserve a small amount of the paint in a little container and write on the container what it is. One of the best containers to use is the ones home stores sell paint samples in.
If you don’t have any of these then you can use just about any plastic container that seals good. The one below can be bought at dollar stores, they are about a dollar for a four pack.
What makes these so convenient? You don’t have to deal with a big can of paint. You can shake these before opening so you don’t have to worry about stirring, they are easy to carry around, and they are easy to reseal. They also hold enough paint for a lot of touching up, I’ve had a few that I’ve used for the last three years and haven’t had to refill.
Second touch up tip, keep a small brush with the paint samples. Don’t cheap out on the brush, I like the Purdy brand brushes and keep a 1 1/2 inch brush for this purpose. It’s small enough to be easily cleaned and dries quickly. Keep the paints and brush together in a box so you can just grab and go.
Third, use good paint. I use Sherwin Williams but any good brand will do. Quality paint is worth it, it will take less coats to get a good finish and it will resist dirt better. Take pictures of the mixing labels so if you have to have a new batch made up you will have this for reference and write on the cans what rooms they are for.
Fourth and final tip, keep a map of the paint and codes for your home. When our house was built I created this paint map and update it as we make changes. You can click on the image to zoom in.
Touch up can be quick and easy (and painless) using these tips and will keep your home looking fresh for years to come. Got any touch up tips you’d like to share? If so, please post it as a comment below.
Two important things to know about chickens: they eat a lot, and they are messy eaters. I don’t think chickens really like to eat something until they’ve dropped it in the dirt, stepped on it, then pooped on it. Store bought feeders work very well in this sense, they are easy to spill and the chickens can drop dirt right into the feeder (or poop in it) if they choose.
There’s a bunch of DIY chicken feeder plans on the internet so I used that as a starting point. A couple of other design goals of mine were to ensure the food stays dry and have enough capacity to where I could ignore them (go on vacation) for four or five days without worrying about them. I take no credit for this design, it just seemed like the right one for my application. The feeder is made from PVC pipe (easy) and is pretty easily adaptable for any coop. I made two feeders so several birds at a time could eat.
The first step is to cut a rounded taper on a four inch PVC tee joint. This was done freehand by marking a pattern with a marker, cut it out with an oscillating tool, then using a file and sandpaper to smooth it out.
Here’s another view of the curve, it doesn’t have to be perfect, this is just to keep the food dry and allow the chicken to stick their head in. The bottom of the PVC tee will be blocked off and the food will drop in from the top.
The plastic plug I made for the bottom was cut from a bucket lid, it will be held in place with a PVC reducer. It’s not shown in this post but I ended up drilling small holes in the bottom cap to allow food dust to fall through. If you don’t do that it can get a little messy over time with food dust buildup.
Here’s the plastic cap placed into the bottom of the PVC tee, it should be a pretty snug fit.
I press fit the PVC reducer to hold the plastic bottom in place. None of the feeder parts had to be glued. Once installed the feeder will be resting on this bottom part so everything will be fine just press fit together, it also allows you to make changes later which I had to do.
Here’s the bottom cap from the chickens point of view. As mentioned before, one of my revisions was to drill small holes in here to allow food dust to drop out.
Here’s a top view looking down into the PVC tee towards the bottom.
Next we are going to make a funnel, this is for the food that will drop into the bottom part we just made. This funnel will control the amount of food that is available to the chicken and may have to be modified for your feed type. I use pellet food, if you use crumbles then a smaller funnel may work better so the food doesn’t free flow too easily.
I initially used a two inch funnel. This was later changed to an inch and a half, the two inch allowed too much food into the lower area and the chickens managed to scatter it around the outside of the feeder. You want just enough dropping in so they can get to it but not so much that they can fling it around.
For a two inch funnel you need a PVC three inch to two inch adapter and a short piece of two inch pipe. To figure the pipe length just place the reducer into the top of the lower assembly and measure from the feeder bottom to the PVC reducer. Once the small pipe is cut, cut out a notch in it like the picture below ( I started with a one inch cut). This will all make sense in a minute.
Place the short piece of PVC into the reducer like shown below:
The drop the whole thing into the feeder bottom assembly:
And this is what it should look like from the chickens point of view:
Now you need to test the funnel assembly with your food type. Fill the top of the PVC tee with the type of chicken feed you use.
From the chicken point of view, the food should be available but not spilling out too much. I’d err on the side of not much food rather than too much, as long as the chicken can reach in and get a piece from the funnel that is good enough. The food does not have to spill out, the chicken will makethat happen.
My current funnel is smaller than this original one, I changed the reducer and short pipe to an inch and a half (from two inches).
With the hard part over, now all you need to do is cut an upright pipe to the height you want (mine are about forty inches) and put some sort of cap on. I used a threaded coupling to make filling easy and to keep water and bugs out.
There’s dozens of ways to mount these and you could also put a bend near the top so you can fill them from outside the coop. I went with inside coop feeding to ensure water stays out of the food.
The mounts I made were two boards in a L shape with a cutout for the pipe. The bottom mount also has a lower lip to support the feeders and I used pipe strap to secure the feeders to the mounts. Here’s the boards for the mounts after cutting and staining.
I painted the outside of the feeders green but left the inside unpainted. Here’s how they look after mounting, you can see part of the automatic watering system to the left. I’ll cover that feature in a future post.
Here’s a list of materials required (not including the mounts):
4″ PVC tee
4″ to 3″ PVC adapter (holds bottom in)
Plastic piece for bottom, I cut mine from a bucket lid
3″ to 2″ PVC reducer for funnel (later changed to 3″ to 1.5″ reducer)
short piece of 2″ PVC pipe for funnel (later changed to 1.5″ PVC pipe)
4″ PVC for upright, whatever length you want
4″ PVC threaded coupling for top
4″ threaded cap for top
I’d suggest test fitting it all together while in the store to make sure you have the right parts. I’ve had these in place now for about a year and they are working great (after the few small modifications).
Today we take a step away from the garden to install a generator transfer switch in the house. In the three years that we have lived at Three Acre Paradise we have only lost power once for an extended period of time (around 18 ours) but in previous residences I’ve been without power for up to three weeks. We do have a grid tied solar power system here but if the grid goes down the solar system also shuts down as a safety measure. There is a way to back feed a generator to the house which works fine but it is more difficult to set up and has many other disadvantages.
A generator manual transfer switch is an less expensive alternative to a whole house generator. In the future I plan on adding a battery backup to the solar system so it can run off grid so in the meantime I don’t want to spend the money on a whole house generator. The transfer switch allows me to quickly switch selected circuits over to alternative power (portable generator or battery bank & inverter) while the rest of the house is still tied to the grid. On nice thing about this is that when grid power does come back on it will be obvious (other circuits will power on) and I can switch back very easily.
Here is the panel I bought:
After a bit of research I found that Reliance panels are rated very well and for my purposes a 10 circuit 30 amp panel is needed. When sizing a panel you have to add up all the loads you would like to run (amps) and figure out how many circuit breakers these are spread across. I could actually get by with a 20 amp panel but I needed at least 9 circuits to cover all wants. All lights in the house are LED (make this your first step – it’s cheaper to conserve) so the lighting draw is very low but spread out throughout the house and a lot of circuits.
In addition to the panel, I got a flush mount kit to make the installation look clean. Here’s Amazon links to both items:
I wanted to mount the transfer switch next to the main circuit breaker panel for ease of access. Here’s a lifepro tip: if you build a home take a TON of pictures during construction. The most important ones are when all the wall framing is up, wiring is in, but insulation has not been put in yet. This gives you an x-ray view into your walls, and as you can see here it came in very handy.
This is the view behind my main breaker panel. I can’t put the transfer switch to the left of the panel due to a doorway. To the right, I can see there is a cross brace (blue) and some studs backing an interior wall (red). I’ll have to put the panel low and deal with the wall backing when I get the hole cut.
The first thing I did was cut a large hole in an area I know is clear, from here I can reach my hand in and determine where that horizontal cross brace is (blue from above).
With that in mind, I traced an outline for the box making sure it was far enough away from the circuit panel so that I could get the flush mount kit flange installed as well.
Here’s the wall after the hole was cut. This picture is actually from a few steps later where I made notches around the outside corners for the flush mount kit as you will see in the next few steps. The studs for the inside bracing can be seen here running right down the middle.
I still wasn’t sure how good the fit would be so this is the moment of truth:
Pretty good! The knockout for the wires can be seen here and it lined up between the drywall and studs. The mounting tabs for the flush mount kit stand out just a little bit due to the boards on the back, but the studs will provide a secure place to screw the box to.
Here’s a closer look at the mounting tabs, they are out just about a quarter of an inch. I need them flush with the drywall for the best fit.
The mounting tabs are not part of the main box, rather they are an “L” bracket screwed onto the side. To move the tabs back I simply extended the holes on the brackets to allow them to slide back a little further. This was nice as it did not require any modifications to the main box.
At this point I got tired of dealing with all the wires dangling in the way so I took out the switch assembly.
To get the transfer switch wiring to the main breaker panel I had to cut through a wall stud. I got lucky as the breaker panel had a knockout in the right place, if it hadn’t then I would have had to cut a hole in the metal.
Once the hole was cut I did a test fit of the conduit and cut it to length. This flex conduit was included in the Reliance Pro/Tran2 310C kit.
The transfer switch box is now ready for mounting, I screwed it directly to the studs behind the box. It is VERY secure.
Since I moved the bracket for the flush mount kit back, the trim panel now bumps into a couple of screws on the main box. A metal nibbler took care of this.
Next step is to put the switches back in and run the wiring. Easy to say, not so easy to do.
There was no way that was going to work. I’ve run plenty of wires through conduit and I tried all the tricks. I used wire lube, tried running them one at a time, tried pulling through as a bunch. That ninety degree bend is a challenge so there’s only one way I could think of to get it done:
Yup, I took everything back apart and ran the wires before putting the whole assembly back in the wall. The ninety degree bend (elbow) on the conduit could be taken apart so I ran the wires first, then bent them and assembled all the conduit pieces. A bit of a pain in the neck but in the end this was the most difficult part of the whole process.
Now the switch is back in place and all the wires are run to the breaker panel.
Here you can see a closeup of how tight the wires are coming through the conduit. One rule when working with conduit and wiring, whatever conduit you think you need go ahead and bump it up one size. Unfortunately this one came this way so I just used what they provided.
At this point I’ve got the transfer switch mount completed and I’m ready to wire the breaker panel. I had to wait until I could shut the power off at the main breaker outside the house and I had to remember to shut down the solar inverters as they also provide power to the panel.
Here’s the start of the wiring, I did the only 240v circuit first and tested it before doing the others. This circuit powers the water pump for our well. This transfer switch allows for up to two 240v circuits but I only needed one. Each 240v requires two switches, this left me with eight switches for the rest of the house.
I tried to balance the remaining circuits across the legs equally (each 120v branch is a leg, combined they make a 240v circuit). This helps get maximum use from the generator. For example, we have two refrigerators so I put each on a different leg. The rest of the circuits are pretty light draw (mostly lighting) so they were just balanced across.
Here is a picture of the panel all wired up, I took the opportunity to move a few breakers around as part of this process.
The final product all buttoned up.
I chose to put the power inlet right on the panel rather than run a power inlet box outside. My reasoning is that during a storm I can use a battery bank (a couple of deep cycle batteries or golf cart batteries) with an inverter to keep some lights, tv, and refrigerator running. Once the storm passes I just run a cord outside to a generator.
Anything I would do different? No, I’m happy with how this turned out. I run an annual test of my generators (at the start of hurricane season) and this will make that easier and more accurate as I can easily put the real load in place. If battery prices come down in the next few years than maybe a triplet of Tesla Powerwalls will make this unnecessary but it will still be there for backup in case they fail.
Installing a transfer switch is not hard but unless you are a serious DIY’er like myself then I would just hire an electrician to do it. Buy the parts yourself and it shouldn’t take them more than a couple of hours.
Welcome to part three of the chicken coop build at Three Acre Paradise. Part one of the build focused on building the foundation for the coop, part two was the main framing. This post is about finishing touches and moving the coop into place, I’ll have some follow up posts in the future with the feeders and watering system (and a chicken run when I get around to building it).
As of the last post the coop has taken shape and has been moved outside as it got too tall for the workshop. The focus now is on features and trim work. In this picture, you can see a few trim boards installed and a couple of others cut and ready for staining. The trim is simply 1×4 lumber (and a few 1×6 pieces) screwed over the stapled edges of the welded wire. For future repairs of any part of the coop it shouldn’t be too hard as most boards are screwed into place.
Inside the coop house I’ve put a divider board in to separate the chicken area from the storage area. The storage will be used for coop supplies and for the water tank for the automatic watering. This view is from the storage side which is approximately two feet deep and four feet wide.
Here is the view from the chicken side. The opening this picture is taken from is the clean out doors, the nesting boxes are on the right, and the chicken entry door is partly visible in the back.
In both previous openings you can see the lip at the top and bottom, these are for the doors to fit flush against. This will help keep rain out of the coop and give the doors something to support against. I also added some welded wire between the hen house and open area of the coop, this is to prevent the chickens from trying to roost up there and potentially get stuck. The same opening to the storage side is blocked off with wood.
The coop is being installed in the shade of some large trees so heat should not be an issue.
Next, here is the coop with trim installed. The small opening at the bottom will be a slide up automated door for the chickens to access their run during the day, more detail on that later.
Now for the nesting box. I didn’t have a real good plan for this so it was designed as I went, one thing I’d do different next time is make the opening a lot bigger. By the time it was built I lost a lot of interior space so it went from a three nest design down to two. The first thing was to build some sides, these were made from thick plywood and attached directly to the coop.
I then added some 2×2’s around the bottom to support the floor.
Then the floor was cut and test fit prior to staining and mounting.
With the nesting box floor in place, I made it so the back could be opened for cleaning. This took some trial and error but here is the result.
Here’s the back flipped open. Note all hardware I used is heavy galvanized, no zinc coated stuff for this coop.
All is going good so far, next is the top. This turned out to be pretty challenging, I wanted to be able to flip it open and latch it up out of the way but that didn’t work out. Weatherproofing took priority so the end result is it can be held up most of the way or easily removed, but it is not hinged. I may modify this at a later time to make it easier to use.
Here is the top piece after being cut and stained. Note the grooves line up with the siding, the little details count!
Here’s another view, you can see it is difficult to make it weatherproof and easy to use. To make it so the top could flip up all the way would require it to be attached to the outside but I prefer it goes up into the coop so water won’t enter.
I put a trim board above the nesting box roof to further keep water out and for aesthetics. The latch to hold the top on was also added at this point. Note all hasps on the coop are twist to lock and if needed I could add something through the lock hole if raccoons became a problem. So far they haven’t.
A shot inside the nesting box showing how the back is secured (opens for cleaning).
Here is the nesting box with the top on and secured.
You may have noticed in a couple of the other pictures that the side door is on. This was built with a 2×4 along the back edge then 2×2’s on the other 3 sides. Some shelf bracket angle pieces (galvanized) in the corners help keep it square.
The hen house clean-out doors and storage doors were made from the pieces that were cut out, that way the grooves in the wood lined right up. Here is the hen house doors mounted and partially stained.
These doors have a piece of 1×4 on the inside as a hinge backer and one door has one in the middle for support. Here you can see the middle piece clearly.
With the door opened you can see both backings.
This is the coop clean-out doors wide open, it makes things a little more clear. At the top and bottom of the doors you can see how they fall into the lip on the coop to help seal. When closed, the doors are flush against the coop sides and blend right in.
This picture was taken before the nesting box was completed so you can see it in progress as well (right side).
This inside shot is after the nesting box was completed, you can see there was a lot of space lost due to the sides and roof of the nesting box structure. Bigger next time!
Doors on, nesting box build, main door ready. We are almost ready to move the coop!
I mentioned earlier about a sliding door on the back of the coop, here is an inside shot of it. For now I can raise or lower it from the outside using a rope, in a future project this will be automated to open at dawn and close at dusk. The door will probably have to be changed quite a bit as it does not slide up and down too easily.
Now, how to move the coop. As usual, I tackled this problem when the time came so there was no real plan until then. The coop is way too large and unwieldy to pick up with just pallet forks on the tractor so the next best idea is to make a dolly.
I used some tires from Harbor Freight, the axles are just threaded rod, and these were attached with some angle iron drilled out. The dolly frame is a hodge podge of 4×4 lumber but it served it’s purpose well. I picked up the other end with the tractor and very slowly drove it to the new location.
To retain better control, the heavy side was the one lifted by the tractor.
When the coop was straddled over the foundation, a little push from the tractor put it right in place. I used some concrete anchors and angle brackets to bolt it down, unfortunately there’s no pictures of those steps. Here’s what it looked like right after the move.
You can see a few chips in the foundation from maneuvering the coop into place but none of them are too bad. This makes a good case for putting dye into the concrete, if that were done there wouldn’t be any need for touch up. All concrete projects I do now have the coloring put right in the mix.
Next step is to shingle the roof. I waited until after the move to do this to avoid damaging the roof and also reduce the total weight during the move. The shingles match the ones on our house, these are leftovers from when it was built.
Shingled installed, just need to do the ridge.
The chickens were already placed in the coop but I noticed at night they all gathered at the hen house door. The interior of the coop is very dark so as an experiment I put a small light in there, that worked as the birds went inside.
For a more permanent solution, I added a solar powered led light. Here is a link to the one I used, I cut off all but one light from the string so the battery would last longer. The solar panel was mounted by the coop door which faces west.
Mounting the panel was simple as it already had a bracket attached, a few wire clamps hold it in place.
Wires were stapled along the interior:
A final wire clamp holds the lamp in place. This has been running for a year and a half now with no problem.
In the future I’ll add a more elaborate solar power system to power an interior light, wireless video camera, door for the run, and water monitor but for now this works well.
Here is a picture inside the coop with bedding in place, note the retaining board added to the front to hold the shavings from falling out. That board is removable to make cleaning easier.
From this angle you can see how the retaining board and coop doors all line up when closed. The coop doors help hold the board in place, there is a beveled board attached on the inside to keep it from falling out.
Hangars for food and water were added to use until the permanent feeders and watering were set up, happy birds!
So there you have it – the coop is fully operational. On this last picture you can see the small rake hanging on the back, this is used for cleaning and herding the chickens around.
Most of the things I’d do different are around the foundation, it would be bigger (taller) and the whole thing would be on higher ground. It has held up well including through some of the worst flooding this area has seen but I’d feel better if it was about six inches higher up. The nesting boxes are smaller than planned but has not caused any problems for our current eight birds.
If I were to do it again, and I probably will make another coop someday, it will be made from concrete. I’d build it as a building that could be re-purposed later or divided up for multiple bird types. This coop cost around $1,500 to make, the one I’d like to have would easily be triple that. That’s a project for five years out, this coop will easily last that long and maybe ten years or more. At a year and a half old now there’s very little sign of wear.
If you are reading this and are in the Brevard County, Florida area please check our Facebook page for upcoming events. We host seed and plant exchanges at Three Acre Paradise a few times a year and also have other types of meetup events here.
Welcome to part two of the chicken coop build at Three Acre Paradise. In case you missed it, here is a link to part one where I built the foundation. This post focuses on the main framing of the coop. The third and final build post will be about finishing touches, then in the future I’ll have posts on the automated watering system and the custom built feeders.
If you find any part of this useful and grab some tips from the build I’d like to hear about it. I’m not one of those people who can plan every detail ahead of time so a lot of this is figure it out as you go but I did have an overall idea in mind. The size of the coop is for up to eight birds comfortably although it could hold more once a run is attached (future project).
Building outside in Florida can be a pain due to the heat and mosquitoes, I’m fortunate to have a workshop large enough to start the coop build inside. The final location is about 200 feet from the shop so it also saved a lot of time not having to drag tools back and forth.
Here’s the start, a batch of 2×4 pressure treated lumber ready to go.
The coop dimensions are twelve feet wide, six feet deep and six feet high. This made purchasing easy, I bought mostly twelve foot boards and cut them in half where needed. Here’s the first batch cut and coated with a redwood colored stain:
No I didn’t have a fancy plan but did have a rough idea on paper. To help avoid errors, I put blue painters tape on the floor to indicate where the uprights will go on the frame.
The base consists of two 2×4’s put together in an L shape. I used coated screws for most assembly, this gives more strength and allows for changes (corrections) as needed. The reason for the L shape is that the bottom board needs to be flat to be bolted to the concrete base and the vertical board provides supports for the uprights.
Here’s the base of the frame assembled:
A close up of a frame corner shows the L shape in more detail, plus the way the joint meets for more strength:
I’m not a carpenter so I’m sure there’s better ways to do this but it seems pretty strong. With the base now assembled I squared it up and screwed a board across the top to keep it in place while assembly continues. The frame is also kept above the floor with some scrap wood to keep it level.
When building the coop I had no idea I’d be blogging this later so there are some steps that don’t have many pictures so I’ll describe what the next steps were best I can. For the corner uprights I used a 2×4 with a 2×2 attached to it to give an L shape. I Screwed each corner upright into place (they held without assistance since they were pretty vertical). I then use clamps to carefully attach the top boards one at a time until I had all of them up. Once they were up, I worked on squaring each corner and tightening up with more screws.
In the above picture you can see the closest corner has been squared and braced. The clamps hold the top boards in place:
With this shot of the bottom bracing you can get a good idea how the uprights look. The 2×4 is flat to the front of the coop and the 2×2 is to the side.
Once the basic rectangle was braced and tightened I added all vertical uprights. These are just 2×4’s, the tape on the floor helps me make sure everything is in the right place. Measure twice, cut once. You can see some additional bracing in place to keep everything squared.
Next, I added framing for the coop floor (hen house). Another advantage of building in the shop – I could work at night.
With the floor framing in place, I put in the last uprights. These don’t go all the way to the top since there will be access doors and a nesting box for the hen house. I also put the wire cloth in the lower section now since it will be harder to get to once the hen house floor is in place.
Heavy plywood (3/4″) was used for the hen house floor. I left the top of this natural, the floor will be glued down so this will protect the wood.
Once again, a couple of steps were done with no pictures. I used commercial grade linoleum flooring squares, these are easy to cut and glue down. Once the floor was dried the openings for the nesting box, clean out door, storage door, and hen opening were braced and support was put in for a divider.
Here’s a closeup of the nesting box bracing. 2×4’s were used and a Kreg jig made for strong joints. If you are considering a project like this I highly recommend the Kreg, it’s a big time and headache saver. Here’s an Amazon link to the one I use.
Here’s a picture from inside the coop, this is the opening the chickens will use to get into the hen house. I used the Kreg here again, see how the 2×4’s are attached flush with the other framing. To the right you can see the framing for the divider, the left side is the hen house and the right will be for the water tank and storage.
A closer look at the hen door framing and how it is flush with the other frame boards.
The welded wire I used has one inch holes, I could not find a good deal locally so ended up getting it from Amazon. Here is a link to what I used. The spacing on my uprights is two feet so this was made easy by buying welded wire the right width from the start. The wire was stapled to the outside of the uprights then trimmed to fit into the backside of the top and bottom. I’ll be putting trim boards over the outside to make it look nicer, again since everything is screwed together it will be easy to replace any future damage.
Siding for the hen house is a grooved exterior plywood that I bought at Home Depot. This was easy to cut and attach with all the bracing that was placed around every opening. When I cut each opening I was careful to do it in one piece and kept the scrap, these will be just right for making the doors. With this picture you can see the results so far, plus I’ve added some trim boards by the main door. Looks good!
Nothing fancy as far as attaching the siding, just a bunch of screws and it just buts up against the top rail. The coop is nice and strong now so no need for the original temporary bracing. This opening is for the nesting box.
Here you can see the back and end opening. The end (to the right) is access to clean out the hen house, the back (left) is for the storage and water tank. Note I left an edge of framing exposed at the top and bottom of each opening. This is to give the doors something to brace against when closed and will also keep rain and wind out.
Looking from the inside, this is the hen house. The opening to the coop is to the left (hen access), nesting box to the back, and clean out opening to the right.
Well, that’s pretty much it for what I can do inside the workshop. The next step is roof framing and If I did that inside then it would be stuck in there since my garage door would be in the way. The coop is light enough to be moved with furniture dollies so I put it in the driveway and leveled it up.
The first step for the roof framing is the ridge board. If this is done straight then the rest should fall in place nicely.
The inspectors stopped by to check on progress and offer their advice.
With inspections complete, the rafters went on next. To make the rafters I used trial and error to make one good one then just copied it thirteen more times.
Each rafter is secured with an extra metal bracket. I want this thing to be hurricane proof if possible.
Even the ridge board has extra bracing.
Fast forward a few steps again, now we have roof sheathing installed, fascia boards, and most of the trim boards installed. You can see a few untreated trim boards leaning on the side, I used pressure treated wood for these too.
It looks like it is getting close but there’s still a lot to do! The roof is now covered with peel and stick and all trim boards are on. This is a good place to take a break, next post I’ll cover the finishing touches and moving the coop into place.
Again, if you have any questions or want more construction details let me know,