The first animals I purchased were day old chicks; 14 Buff Orpingtons and 13 Barred Plymouth Rocks. When they arrived of course I had no coop, and it was freezing outside anyway. We set up an area in the basement with a heat lamp, some wood chips, and some hastily screwed together pieces of wood to make a rectangle shaped enclosure. Then we got to work figuring out what we wanted for the coop. I still to this day have a terrible habit of buying the animals that are part of my plan BEFORE I have their enlcosure or fencing done, but I suppose that is another post for another day.
While we were trying to get the coop finished, the birds grew to the point that we could no longer keep them in the house. We moved them out to the shop, into a big round bale holder that was out in one of the pastures when we moved in. Worked well for the teenaged birds through January and February asl ong as we kept a couple of heat lamps there for them. Toward the end of their stay in the shop the birds had all their feathers and could fly out of the trough. As a result, the shop was COVERED in poo; we couldn't get the coop done fast enough.
These are photos of the finished coop. We built it off of the ground so nothing could dig into it, and it is metal so snakes can't slither up into it. The hatch has a lock on the inside, so the raccoons and possums can't raid the joint at night. Hubby used two pieces of clear corrugated fiberglass in the roof to let light in, and made Dutch doors so that we could check on the birds without letting them out. The floor is solid plywood, with some leftover linoleum from our old house on top of the plywood, so that it wouldn't rot.
The roost is made of a big crepe myrtle that had died, and left behind it's perfectly round, smooth branches and trunks. I have a couple more single rung roosts in two of the corners, as well as a row of nesting boxes.
This coop has served us very well for the past two years. The solar system works perfectly, and is the same system as the one from Harbor Freight that I posted a while ago. Now I just need to get the broody house finished for the setting hens in the spring!