Chicken Coop Project – Part 3

My summer project slowly continues.  I have been a little behind on blog posts, but this post should catch my blog up with my actual progress in the build.  You can read the earlier posts in this series here:

I finished up my last blog post with the concrete footing completed and the forms removed.  My project also grew to include plans for a firewood storage shed.  I bought all the lumber that I would need to make the floors of both the hen-house and the wood shed.

All the pressure treated lumber that I will need to build the floor of both structures.

All the pressure treated lumber that I will need to build the floor of both structures.

Finally, back to working in my medium of choice, Wood! (well minus the whole pressure treated chemical thing).  I must beg your forgiveness here.  I was having so much fun framing that I forgot to take any pictures until I had the joist system assembled.  I used 2x6s laid flat on top of the concrete footer as a sill.  The sills had holes drilled in them to correspond with the anchor bolts that were installed in the footers when the concrete was still wet.  Before they were installed and bolted down, each of the sills were nailed to another 2×6 that was stood on its edge to serve as a band board.  The band boards will house the joists.

After all that cement work, it's nice be be working with wood again.

After all that cement work, it’s nice to be working with wood again.

I used 2x6 joists, placed 12" on center.

I used 2×6 joists, placed 12″ on center.

For the sub-floor of the hen-house I planed to use ¾-inch OSB.  The wood-shed will likely only have three walls and a roof, so might be a little more exposed to the elements. OSB doesn’t do so well when it gets wet, so I thought of using ¾-inch plywood for the floor of the shed.  I found out that the plywood was going to cost twice the price of the OSB and came up with a better plan.

In Home Depot’s paint department, they usually have some “Oops” paint marked way down in price.  This is either stuff they mixed incorrectly or paint that customers didn’t like and returned.  The store squirts some random tint into the paint so the color you get is a one-off, but for this use it was perfect.  I looked, and sure enough, they had a one gallon can of their Behr Marquee exterior paint marked down from $46 to $9.  It was a brownish color and was perfect for my needs.  I figured that a good coat of paint would give the OSB some moisture resistance.

I rolled one coat of paint onto the under-side of the OSB and let it dry.  I then flipped the OSB over and installed it, nailing into all the joists.  Before nailing, I snapped chalk-lines to show me where the joists were.  I then rolled a heavy coat of paint onto the top of the floor and let it dry.  After all this, there was just enough paint in the can for a second coat, albeit a light one.

I painted the underside of the OSB flooring.

I painted the underside of the OSB flooring.

When dry, I flipped the OSB over and installed it.

When dry, I flipped the OSB over and installed it.

I then rolled two coats of paint onto the top side.

I then rolled two coats of paint onto the top side.

That’s as far as I’m going to take the wood-shed for now.  If I don’t hurry up and build this coop, I wont be getting chickens until next year.

I spliced the underground supplied power line onto a 6-foot length of interior romex wire. I thoroughly taped the joints and tacked both cables to the sill.  I then drilled a ½-inch hole in the OSB sub flooring and threaded the wire through before installing the OSB.  I didn’t paint this floor as it will be getting some vinyl flooring later.

I didn't paint the hen-house floor as it will get some linoleum later.

I didn’t paint the hen-house floor as it will get some linoleum later.

Ok, again my apologies for not taking enough photos.  I should have taken some shots of each wall as I stood it up, but got a little carried away.  I love framing.  This is soooo much fun!

Here is the hen-house with the first three walls up.

Here is the hen-house with the first three walls up.

The hen-house was a little challenging to design and frame.  The exterior chicken run will have 8-foot walls consisting of 4×4 pressure treated posts placed 4-feet on center.  These will later get covered with a layer of hardware cloth to form a secure enclosure.  Since the enclosure is going to have a roof over it, I wanted to keep the roof all on one level and not have a step down in it like the foundation does.  This means that I have to cut-down the walls of the hen-house so that the double top plate of the wall is all on one level.

In my initial plans, I had thought to myself, “No problem, there’s only a 6-inch difference in the foundation levels, I can cut the wall studs down by 6-inches”.  I later realized that I had forgotten to account for the floor joists and OSB on the hen-house.  In fact, I ended up with a 12 ¼-inch difference.  I then had a quick panic while I calculated if the door would still fit.  I determined that it would, but I needed to come up with a creative header as there wasn’t room for a standard one under the double top plate.  I then had to calculate if the door would open once the over-hanging eaves of the roof were installed.  The short answer is that it is all going to fit, but I’ll have to keep the eves to a minimum.

I had to do a little creative framing for the door header.

I had to do a little creative framing for the door header.

It was fun figuring out how I was going to build each wall.  None of them are straight framing with no features.  Each wall has a 3-foot by 2-foot sliding window to allow for plenty of ventilation (a must in a chicken coop).  To allow for this ventilation, but keep draughts on the floor of the coop to a minimum, I framed the window openings high in the walls.  One wall has the window and a door, one wall a window and the openings for the nesting boxes, one wall a window and an opening for a droppings pit tray, and the last wall has a window and the pop door (the door the chickens use to get out into the enclosure).

The pop door (lower right) that will let the chickens get out to the outdoor enclosure.

The pop door (lower right) that will let the chickens get out to the outdoor enclosure.

On this last wall, I drilled a ½-inch hole in the base plate, that corresponded with the hole in the OSB where the electrical wire enters the building.

The wall on the right has holes for the nesting boxes; the wall on the left has an opening for the dropings pit tray.

The wall on the right has holes for the nesting boxes; the wall on the left has an opening for the droppings pit tray.

With the hen-house framed, I turned my attention to the chicken run.  As you might recall, when I made the footer I designed it to fit the available space.  This meant that the foundations has a corner at a 113° angle instead of 90°.  To keep a neat appearance, and for a flat surface to attach the hardware cloth to later, I decided to make two custom posts to fit these two corners.  One is a 113° inside corner and the other a 113° outside corner.

At the very least, it got me back into my workshop.  I beveled the 2x4s and notched the 4x4s at the table saw.

Cutting parts for a 113° inside corner post.

Cutting parts for a 113° inside corner post.

These parts will make a 113° outside corner post.

These parts will make a 113° outside corner post.

Ok, ok…I know this is over kill, I just couldn’t help myself.  It was my inner woodworker yearning to be free.  Plenty of TiteBond III, screws, and nails, and I glued up my custom posts.

Glued, nailed, and screwed.

Glued, nailed, and screwed.

Glued up and left to dry overnight.

Glued up and left to dry overnight.

I'm happy with how these came out.

I’m happy with how these came out.

The next day, I started framing the walls of the enclosure.  These were much simpler to build and went up quite quickly.  Once again I used pressure treated 2x6s as a sill and drilled holes in them for the anchor bolts that were already installed in the concrete footer.

The first wall of the chicken run going up.

The first wall of the chicken run going up.

Each wall was raised and bolted in place.  At this point, each wall was independent of the others and not joined together.

The back walls going up.

The back walls going up.

While framing the last wall, I realized that I had miscounted the number of 4×4 posts that I needed and was short by one.  It was too late in the day to buy another, so I had to put off finishing the walls until the following day.

Framing the last wall prior to standing it up.

Framing the last wall prior to standing it up.

In the below picture you can see the double top plate that ties all the walls together into one unit.

Once all the walls were up and bolted in place, I went all around the structure and installed the double top plate.

Once all the walls were up and bolted in place, I went all around the structure and installed the double top plate.

The double top plate ties everything together and helps to straighten the walls.

The double top plate ties everything together and helps to straighten the walls.

Time to start thinking about a roof!

Time to start thinking about a roof!

Well, that’s it for now.  I’m thinking about going back later and adding some diagonal bracing where the 4×4 posts meet the top plate.  I’ll see how rigid things seem after the roof is on.

On the topic of the roof, I have come up with a truss design and started cutting the pieces, but don’t have any trusses made yet.  This is the first time in a very long time that my blog posts have been caught up with my actual progress in any given project.

Once I make the trusses and install the roof, I’ll put another post together.  That might be a little while.

 

– Jonathan White

About Jonathan

I am a woodworker and hand tool restorer / collector. I buy too many tools and don't build enough - I need help!
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4 Responses to Chicken Coop Project – Part 3

  1. Are you going to add any lateral supporting pieces to the 4×4’s? As is, they have no racking resistance at all.

    • Jonathan says:

      Hey Ralph,

      I have been thinking about that, and will likely go back later and add some bracing. I don’t know yet whether or not I will use pressure treated or regular framing lumber.

      Jonathan

  2. Interesting blog series, cant wait to see what’s next.
    Good work
    Bob

I'd love to hear your thoughts, comments, or questions.