Having completed the external shell of Coop Knox, it was time to outfit the inside for me and my birds. First, I built an internal wall, dividing the space into a 10×10 coop and a 4×10 storage area with 2×4 framing including framing in a door. (More on the door below.) Next, I used a sheet of OSB to create a solid lower portion, and chicken wire covering the remainder. The solid lower half prevents the birds from kicking bedding through while the open upper promotes good airflow and allows me to see through. I used chicken wire here since it is cheaper and doesn’t need to be predator proof.
Dividing the Birds and the Storage
The storage area has a large plastic shelving unit at one end (visible in this picture) and metal garbage cans as feed bins at the opposite end. Having my feed and other supplies right there at the coop has been one of the best features of the coop.
What the picture doesn’t show is a) the external door 4 feet on the other side of the internal door and b) that the internal door is hinged to open into the coop area. That latter bit is a problem. My original thinking was that the storage area was already small and I’d rather have the door open the direction I’m more often carrying items. What I failed to consider was that the birds’ bedding would block the opening of the door making it, effectively, more wall. Ooops. Fixing that is on the “someday” list.
Next up was a place to lay eggs. I built nest boxes from scrap lumber and installed them by screwing the back directly into studs. The hens don’t seem to have any problem jumping directly from the ground to the top row of boxes. Each box is 14x14x14.
The very next morning my hens demonstrated that they recognized what the nest boxes were “for”:
The last internal item was to build roosts. BOF and I completed this in an hour or so using more scrap lumber. The roosts consist of 4 parallel 2×4’s that are 3′ off the coop floor (less as the deep litter bedding layer builds up). They are attached to the studs using lag bolts, allowing them to be raised up for cleaning. An eye hook in the middle of the front roost, attaches to a cord hanging from the rafters, and holds them in the up position.
The picture above shows the west-side roost. Later HWA constructed a similar roost on the east side which incorporates some lessons learned on the first roost.
1) The roosts (2x4s) are screwed into the bottom of the supports extending from the wall; this change allows the roost to be folded up flush into the wall framing.
2) Where the roost goes all the way to the wall, it is supported by a length of 2×4 nailed to the wall rather than a leg extending into the litter.
These pictures show those details and also a) how the “rounding” of the roost support rail and the lag bolt design at the “hinge” permits the roost to be folded up into the wall, b) “framing out” sections of roost to avoid interference with the nest boxes, and c) the the space and ease of working provided by folding the roost into the wall.
The final element of Coop Knox is the absolutely fantastic, so-good-I’d-ditch-my-family-and-run-away-with-it-if-it-had-a-penis, automatic door, but let’s save that for another post.