I have been helping our friends build a chicken coop so that they can start raising there own hens and producing their own eggs. The week before I helped them build a compost pile so that they could start composting their yard waist on a larger scale, now we move into coop development. After researching different designs and methods for building a coop I decided to go with one that would fit well in the tropics. Much like San Diego, you don’t have to worry about a freeze or the chickens getting to cold, however you do need to be concerned with other natural elements like predators, tropical rain storms, gusty winds and too much heat. Taking this into consideration I designed a coop that would protect the hens from the elements, yet be opened up enough to allow a breeze and shade for the hens to grow in.
The structure of the coop is 4x8x8. It is 4 ft wide by 8ft long and 8ft high at its highest point. The floor of the hen house is three feet off of the ground. There is a thatched roof covering the length of the coop to keep out the rain and sun. The roofs highest point is at 8ft (in the center) dropping down to 6ft on the front side, and 7ft on the back side. This allows for a consistent air flow throughout the coop
I designed the coop on paper, worked out the measurements and then we started putting it together after we picked up the supplies. As expected we made a few adjustments as we began to put the coop together to fit the surroundings a little better. One thing that I didn’t keep in mind was the slope that we would be working on, this eventually elevated the ‘run’ side a little more giving the hens an extra 6 inches to play around in.
After we picked a location by the mango tree, the first thing that we did was put together the frame. This would be our skeleton if you will, everything else would be built off of the frame. As mentioned before the frame of the structure is 4ft wide by 8ft long. We put 6ft posts on the front side, 7ft posts on the back side, and two 8ft posts on the ends (for the roof). Notice the cinder blocks used to give us a level playing field, not the prettiest look, this is something that we will fix up as we finish the project.
After we got the frame up we started to work on the hen house itself, this is where then hens will go to lay their many eggs in the future. We closed off the floor and the back wall first because these are permanent, no doors or latches needed. In this picture you can see that we also added a few more frame pieces for the roof, this was because of the type of roofing that we decided to go with. You will be able to see why when we finish.
Once we put in the permanent walls and floor we began building the doors that would allow us access into the hen house for cleaning and feeding. This front door section will open up giving us plenty of room to work around the hen house.
The Nesting Boxes came next on our plans. We decided to do two rows of boxes 4 boxes deep. This gives us a total of 8 nesting boxes. Each box is 12″x12″12″. We started the bottom row 6 inches off of the floor and the next row 12 inches above that. We left a 3″ over hang to give the hens something to climb up to before entering their boxes. We also put a 4.5 inch lip on the front of the boxes making the entrance to the boxes 7.5″x12″. We did this to give the hens more protection and less room to move around. This should prevent them or the other hens from eating their eggs once they began producing.
Behind the nesting boxes, on the outside of the hen house we installed two barn style doors to give us easy access to all of the boxes, thus giving us easy access to the eggs down the road. This will also make it easier for cleaning an maintenance when the time comes.
This last image is of the entrance into the hen house, this was the last thing that we finished up to this point. We still have the roof, chicken wire enclosure and last minute adjustments. As you can see the Tropical Chicken Coop is coming along just fine. We are almost there but not quite yet. Once we get some more time to work on it we should be able to wrap up this project and move the hens in. Eggs are on their way!