Time To Move Into The Chicken Coop | Chicken Run

How do you know when it’s time to move the chickens (pullets) from the brooder to the chicken coop? Well, they sort of let you know…

They sure do grow fast! The picture above was taken 10 days ago, the day we moved our ISA-Brown’s to the coop. They were 7 weeks old at the time. They could have gone out sooner than that. But the run wasn’t quite ready till then.

My last post was about the “dropping board” that I built, designed to catch their droppings under their roost (75% of droppings happen while they roost at night!). I also showed you how I insulated the coop since it gets pretty cold up here during the winter.

Now that they’re moved in, I thought I would show you some pictures of my progress as I built their palace…

My Dewalt miter saw and table saw. First used to help me build the shop/garage and now the coop/run. Love those tools!

I had a bunch of various 2×6, 2×8’s leftover from building the shop. So I ripped some of them with the table saw for framing the chicken run. These boards were not pressure treated so I painted them all. I did use pressure treated for the sill plate contact with the ground, atop of which I secured the framing itself.

Then I built all of the chicken run panels. And the door. The most difficult part was putting on the hardware cloth screening. What a pain to work with! It took awhile, but it came out pretty good.

Then it was time for some dirt work. Added quite a few yards of dirt to fill and level off the area for the chicken run. A good excuse to use the tractor (grin). Then I laid down some PT 2×4’s and squared the run so I could start attaching the panels.

Attaching the chicken run panels and the door. Oh, and the joists to support the 4×8 roof panels.

After awhile, that part of the project was complete. I attached the roof too. I used “Smartside” panels which are resin infused for outdoors. Painted them too. There are still a few more things to do though…

Important. Attach chicken wire to the bottom of run fence. Extend two feet all the way around the run and coop. This will discourage predators (e.g. fox, racoon) from digging their way in. First I stapled it, then covered with strips of PT which I ripped about 1/3″. Secured the strips over the chicken wire to hold nice and secure.

After securing the two-foot perimeter chicken wire, then I covered with a few inches of dirt. Planted grass seed, the roots of which will end up binding into and through the wire.

I had been planning to build a 2-port nesting box to set inside the coop. I changed my mind. Instead I’ll build it to attach external to the chicken coop. This will provide more room for the hens inside, especially during the winter when they’ll probably be inside a lot. Since it was an after-thought, I had to get out the ‘ol Milwaukee Sawzall reciprocating saw to cut the holes through the existing wall. I’m almost done with the nesting box. Hope to finish it today and attach. Though won’t be needing it till they start laying (hopefully by August).

I did install electricity into the coop. Primarily for the chicken coop heater pictured below. Though it looks like a flat screen TV for the chickens, it’s actually a infrared (safe) chicken coop heater. You can read more about it (here on amzn) if you’re interested. It will be controlled by this temperature controller, (you can see it mounted on the wall) enabling any on/off set point range. Though these hens will be cold weather tolerant, they will have heat in the coop when it gets really cold.

Here’s the chicken ramp that I built. It’s about 5 feet long and angles about 30-degrees to the ground. I cut walking strips and spaced them 4 inches apart. Seems perfect. It took a little coaxing with food, but it didn’t take long and they were up and down… Also you can see the chicken coop ramp door. I decided to splurge and get a “Chicken Guard Extreme” automatic door opener (with predator safe door). This way if we’re ever gone for a night or two, the chicken situation will be self-sustaining without human intervention. Hey, I had to spend some of the government stimulus money, right?

I recently modified the chicken coop vent (there’s one on each side). First I built a track and installed under the vent. It will enable various height 1/2″ boards (cut from sheathing) to slide in and cover some of the vent. Why? When it gets wicked cold in the winter. Never block all the vents! The hens produce moisture/humidity from breathing which could result in frostbite when very cold if not vented. However closing off some of the vent will help with the heater. I also installed baffles to block direct wind from blowing in the coop.

Happy Chickens. You can see Sampson looking in on them. He absolutely loves to be out there, running around the coop (wishing he could get in). The chickens actually play with him while running around. So funny to watch.

The leaves are finally out, the grass is green, spring is here. And the chickens like it under the maple tree.


  1. Ken, that is one excellent well-built coop and run you built, very impressive. Your chickens will be very happy and safe. Our young chickens are in an outdoor mobile coop that we move once a week to fresh grass. Our large mobile coop is within the larger chicken yard that is surrounded by Premiere 1 solar powered electric netting. Interestingly the ducks are very interested in the young chickens, rest by them, and lay their eggs right next to the mobile coop. I like that they have duck guardians.

    Fun recipe:
    3 cups frozen mango chunks
    2 chicken egg yolks (or one duck egg yolk they are huge)
    enough rice milk or coconut milk (u could use vanilla yogurt or dairy milk)
    to about 2/3 as high as the frozen mangoes
    spoonful of sugar if you like
    couple drops of organic lemon essential oil (food grade)
    1/2 tsp organic ground ginger
    mix up in blender or nutri-bullet
    Tastes like mango ice cream delicious!!

  2. Very nice! A real “Cluckingham Palace” as someone else here says. Wildly over built for my AO, but you now your winters better than I do…nice job!

    1. Hahaha! I’ve got to install the satellite dish on the coop roof first!

  3. Good Job Ken, We can only dream of such a thing. We can’t have chickens in the city.

    1. Too bad your city doesn’t allow for free entertainment in the yard … my town (18,888 pop.) doesn’t have any ordinances against them; I used to have around 8 guineas, which is who I built my coop for – high roosts, poop box under the roosts (with clay based kitty litter and a litter scoop nearby).
      I took down the roost I had up for them; Black Jersey Giant hens don’t need to to try to get up and down from that high – I’m 5’2″ and would have to tiptoe to see on top of the board. I also have a gravity feeder I made for them; I’ve stopped using it. Turns out my “assorted heavies” from Atwood’s were Cornish Cross ! One of them pretty much ate herself to death … and the two I have left are greedy guts !
      But I DO need to redo the roosts and poop-box; They’ve been facing away from the box (toward my back deck) and missing it completely – not to mention that my roo’s poo is too large to drop through the chicken wire I put over the box… back to the drawing board, I guess. I just wish it weren’t so blasted hot ! My MS doesn’t play nice with the heat, so everything has to be done in baby steps.

  4. Very Very cool!!! I like the way you showed the critter wire on the outside. Beautiful land.

  5. Nice coop!
    The birds grow pretty fast, ive got to get new accommodations set up for mine too, thinking im going to make a gambrel roofline chicken tractor and use some bird netting for most of the enclosure. Was going to use PVC pipe but it tends to be too flimsy, want to be able to drag the thing with either my S/S or tractor.
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Your choice of green paint was perfect. It matches the landscape 😊

  7. Thanks for posting this article Ken. Along with the pictures, it is a wonderful escape from the news of who is rioting and where the riots are taking place.

    There comes a point where each day, I walk the dog, feed the cat herd and put some feed in my bird feeders to forget what some people are/may be doing out there.

    Gardening, raising chickens, gathering eggs, walking your dog, mowing your grass, spending time with our loved ones…the balance in life and outlook is why I keep up with this site…along with the witty remarks from McGyver down in LaLa Land. ( Keep posting dude! You be funny!)

  8. Excellent Ken! Thanks for sharing with us. I want to look into one of those automatic doors. Many nights I’m in bed asking myself if I locked up the chickens for the night. The other morning was an obvious “No” as they were strutting around the yard in the early a.m.

  9. Wow, Ken, that is one well-thought-out and well constructed chicken palace! Complete with big screen TV, even, lol.

    Your picture with all the chickens perching on the top edges of the brooder, and the title of the article about it being time to move them made me laugh, even before reading the first sentence.

  10. Ken
    Wow nice coop!
    I wonder if TMC might show it to his wife? Could be the tiny house she wants? Lol
    Very nice πŸ‘Œ!!

  11. Ken,
    Beautiful setup for your birds. any thought about some panels for the run during the winter to keep the snow and wind out??? Also, I have often thought about running solar water heated tubing under the hutch area, to add a little heat in the winter. But maybe in your location you don’t get enough sun to make it pay out.
    Nice Tractor too! is that a 1700 series Ford??

    1. Minerjim,
      Regarding the winter, yes, I’ve been thinking about it. If I don’t provide some sort of side panels, snow will get in. And apparently chickens don’t like roaming in the snow…

      It’s a Ford 1920, from the mid 80’s. A nice little work horse.

      1. Ken

        If you use something solid for the ‘roof’ of the chicken run (I used sheet metal), you could put greenhouse plastic, or polycarbonate panels (more expensive, but more durable) on the sides. They’d have a nice little winter greenhouse, and it would provide a little heat to the coop during the day.

  12. Oh.. did you get union authorization for that job ?
    I don’t see the required minimum of three union guys standing around
    stupervising the one that is actually doing anything..
    Building permit ?

    Someone’s gonna have to report you.

      1. We have been keeping chickens for close to 15 years and have learned a few tricks. Build yourself an attached 6′ x 8′ or 8′ x 8” storage room for scratch and pellet food stored in garbage cans, bales of large pine chips for coup floor litter (deep litter in winter), about 4′ long old kitchen base cabinets with drawers and a counter top (for zip ties, wood screws, wire, diatomacious earth, calcium and granite chips ( in small plastic cups screwed to inside coup wall), etc.), pegboard with hooks for a broom, small leaf rake and a flat shovel, remote feed pipe (2″ pvc with 45 degree elbows through coup wall with 2″ x 4″ reducer and 4″ pipe with screwed cap on storage room side so you can feed without entering the coup) into hanging feeder with loose conical top so chickens don’t perch on top of food, need a light bulb, on a timer, in the coup if you want hens to keep laying in winter, insulate the floor and cover with painted plywood and sheet vinyl for easy clean out, a window on the east or south side is nice for light, sorry for run on. Good luck and fresh eggs.

  13. I wonder if painting the inside of the coop makes a difference?
    Thinking about spraying inside of my coop with a white primer to brighten it up,

    1. Paint makes it brighter and that’s good. Paint makes the wood last longer and best of all makes it easier to pressure wash in the spring to keep chicken pests down.

      1. NHM
        The clean and easier to clean is what i was thinking, i usually go with a deep litter, straw and clean cedar shavings in the two rooms of the coop as well as cedar in the nesting boxes, birds do fine with it, I dust everything with DE regularly, no bugs that i have ever noticed.
        Am going to put a solar charged light on a timer in there to get them laying again in earnest so wanted more reflective interior than just the plywood. The only thing i was thinking different was to maybe paint the inside of the nesting boxes black or a dark green, actually thinking of making a canvas curtain that reduces the opening size too, supposed to improve the use of the boxes.
        thanks for the reply, just not sure and is nice to hear some feedback. Got close to 30 hens now

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