I’ve been fascinated with automatic chicken coop doors.   My current auto coop door closer has been working like a champ for months.  I received a lot of great replies to that thread, and one of them was from a visitor named Bob.    I was so impressed with his design and pictures I asked him if I could post his comments and pictures as an article here.   I’m SUPER glad he agreed.   So, below are his words:  Read more

ming ming duck
Rest In Peace Ming-Ming Duck

After years of thinking about this, and after 2 separate raccoon attacks I finally found some time to create a prototype / proof of concept of my auto chicken coop door closer.    You can read the details of the initial design here: http://www.nifty-stuff.com/automatic-chicken-coop-door.php.   Read more

Rest In Peace Grey Chicken

I’ve been wanting to design an automatic chicken coop door closer for years.   There are plenty of other systems out there that automatically open and close the coop door, but they are expensive and, well, not designed by me!  ;-)

Basically my idea is to create a simple system that is a “safety net” in case we don’t remember to lock our girls in at night.  I have no problems letting the girls out in the morning, but I want to ensure they are closed up safe in the evening.   I learned my lesson the hard way one night when I got home late from a party and a coon had killed my favorite hen.  Read more


When my wife and I were thinking about getting chickens one of our concerns was how difficult it would be to care for them. I’ve got friends who completely “baby” their chickens (e.g. chicken diapers, baths, cleaning their watering dishes daily with bleach, etc.). I’ve also got friends who barely even deal with their chickens other than to make sure they’ve got some food and some water (no matter how dirty). I wanted to find a good balance between these two extremes, between fanatical and neglect. Read more

An hour ago my wife and I decided to go outside to see how our girl was doing. I was horrified to see a broken egg in front of the nest. It looked like something had torn its way into the egg… but wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong. I gently lifted up my hen and to our amazement we saw two tiny little puff balls hiding under their mom’s wing. Upon even closer inspection we saw another VERY new chick that was still very wet all curled up in a ball. Read more

She’s still in the nest this morning.  Chel told me that the eggs, even if they are a few days old, won’t start to develop until they have a hen sitting on them.  This is good because we are going on a little trip and don’t want to miss the big day!

I heard quite a bit of clucking this morning and opened the window to see all my girls waiting for the buff to get out so they could lay their eggs.   Last night I put a few of their own eggs into the top nest and the new nest to encourage them to lay elsewhere, but it looks, and sounds like they aren’t interested. Read more

SATURDAY 12/11/04

Picked up our first 5 chicks from a friend. They are half RIR and half Australorp and are 3 weeks old. Hens or Roosters… we just don’t know. Here is a picture of the parent chicks and Alana with the chicks (she’s so happy).


A video of Alana sharing her Cheerios with the chicks
(notice she bites them in half first) Read more

Recently one of my chickens went broody. You can see the story here. I decided to put my egg candling experience on a separate page, so here it is! Read more

A lot has been happening over the past few days. First I got an email two days ago from the guy who took my 4 original chicks. He said they all turned out as roosters. Here’s a picture and here’s the story.

Also, yesterday my young black hen laid her first egg.. it looked almost like a duck egg, big and elongated. Look at the bottom of this page

But, the biggest news is that my Buff Orpington started to go broody. My first thought was to “break” her of the broodiness, but then I thought I could get some fertile eggs and stick them under her (I don’t have a rooster). Read more

(it may be ugly, but it is raccoon proof and the parts were free)

(Here are our NEW CHICKENS! Click here for the whole story! )

Step 1:
First thing I did was to design my coop. I looked at a ton of great examples and took the ideas I liked best. Here are some of the plans if you are interested: http://www.nifty-stuff.com/gallery/coop

Step 2:
Start framing the main part of the chicken coop (hen house).

Step 3:
Build the chicken run and “frame” that the hen house will sit on / into.

Step 4:
Finish framing the hen house and add the siding to the sides that won’t be accessible once on the frame:

Step 5:
Finish adding the siding, add the floor (temporary 1×9 slats until I finish the hinged floor), add the doors (two pieces of plywood) and the roof (corrugated metal sheets)

Step 6:
Add the door locks (gate latch and homemade latch). The gate latch holds both sides closed when latched. The top homemade latch secures both doors VERY tightly, but when it is in the open position it allows both doors to open.

Step 7:
Add a guillotine style door to section off the house from the run. I created a frame that the door would slide in. Here are the pics of the door open and closed. See the string that goes to a handle that allows me to open and close the door from the front of the house. Also build the world’s most ghetto feeder (made from two different sized plastic peanut butter jars, a large plastic jar, some A/C conduit, and the chick feeder… oh, and LOTS of duct tape! This thing is ugly, but works BEAUTIFULLY!

Step 8:
Add a ramp for the chicks to go from the run to the house easily. In this picture you can see the frame I built for the door to slide in.

Here are all the happy campers… er… um chickens!

Stuff I have to build:

  • Outside nest boxes

  • Permanent roosts

  • Droppings tray

  • Hinged floor in the coop for easy cleaning

  • Rebuild roof over the run for better water drainage.


I decided to keep the nest boxes inside. I was afraid that after going to the trouble of building the boxes externally that the chickens wouldn’t use them (too high, too low, etc.) Instead I built the following two story box. This will allow them to be low or high and I can remove it if necessary. I also added a new all natural roost!

Here are our NEW CHICKENS! Click here for the whole story!

UPDATE 9/13/09:

Somebody on BYC asked that people show their eye sore chicken coops and I reluctantly posted mine.  This one was built out of scrap wood on hand and meant to be a temporary coop until I built my DREAM coop.  Well, that was 5 years ago! roll

My problem are:

1)  It “functions” fine… it’s just as ugly as all get out.
2)  With all the new chicken coop designs posted on BYC I get more and more ideas of what my coop should look like and do.   I want it to be perfect in every way, so I become paralyzed and don’t do anything.
3)  I could just buy a great looking coop or pay someone to build it, but I really want the satisfaction of doing it myself.

Some day I will build the perfect coop… some day!!!

To see over 300 chicken coops that are way better than mine, visit my site http://www.backyardchickens.com/coopdesigns.html.

You can also ask coop questions in the chicken coop section of the forum.

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