Building my bear proof chicken coop!

Check out my new chicken coop! So far I've put on the roof and will be working on the walls next.

Almost all of the lumber was cut with my sawmill, and I used shingles on top of roofing felt with a painted galvanized drip edge.

Check out my shingles, this is the first time I've ever put shingles on anything.

They came out pretty nice! And notice the side trim boards how I left on some bark to give them a rustic look. Also, I treated the side boards with Thompson's Water Seal Plus to protect them and give them that natural look.

The main beams of the roof are made of old two by six treated lumber that I salvaged from my 16 foot car transport trailer. The lumber is strong but was really warped in places. I cut off all of the warped ends and made the roof just under 12 feet long.

All of the roofing base boards were cut on my sawmill. They are all 3/4 inch thick pine.

The main structural support beams that hold up the roof are three inches thick and ten inches wide cut on my sawmill. They are bolted to six by six beams on all four corners (also cut on the mill) with ten inch carrage bolts. I used metal brackets to hold up the roof supports as suggested by Home Depot employees (per code).

Since I finished the roof the chickens just love to hang out under the shade. A few of them follow me around as I walk around the arena.

Here's a photo from the far end of the horse arena. The whole thing is fenced with horse panels covered in six foot chain link. So far it's kept out the bears! The whole arena is about 0.45 acres, plenty of room for ten chickens to roam about.

Here are some monster logs that I will use to cut planks for the walls. I plan on making the walls three inches thick and bolted to the six by six beams with ten inch carriage bolts (bear proof for sure).

You're not gonna believe this, but my big 200 pound dog protects these chickens and keeps the hawks and other wildlife away.

It took me just two days to get him used to the chickens and to scold him when he tried to chase them around. Now he gets along with them just fine.

And best of all, the chickens don't bother him at all.

Here's a couple Rhode Island Reds that hang out together.

And here is what I get in return from such a nice bunch of chickens - eggs for breakfast every day!

OK, here's an update, I started putting on the walls, made out of 2.5 inch thick pine slabs (hopefully bear proof).

The smaller opening to the left of the side wall here will be the door.

I used ten inch lag bolts, 1/2 inch thick to secure the walls.

This is another days progress, more work done on the back wall, finished the smaller wall by the door, and started on the far wall.

To start this side wall I stacked cinder blocks up to support the board, leveled it, then secured it in place with lag bolts. To add more boards I use ratcheting straps to lift and secure the next board below to hold it in place while I secure it.

Lots of lag bolts were used. So far I've used about 50 bolts, and I probably need about 50 more. I may hide the corners and cover the lag bolts with a couple long slabs laid vertically boxing in the corners. That would give a 'finished' look to the corners.

The grey stain in the wood is from the wood sitting all winter in log form after the tree was cut. The grey stains don't affect the strength of the wood and give some beauty to the natural wood grain.

Six inch beams and two and a half inch boards, this should be for sure bear proof! I'm leaving the boards on the back long at the ends and will trim them up with my chainsaw when they are all in place.

Here's a mother hen laying my breakfast LOL.

Here's another update, I did quite a bit of work up to this point. I trimmed the sides of the walls with my chainsaw to make the boards even, added double doors with home made hinges, and sprayed the whole thing with Thompsons Waterseal which really brought out the wood grain. I still need to put some locking handles on the doors that I will fabricate myself, as well as adding some wood trim on the inside to cover the exposed ends of the bolts. A couple more days work and this chicken coop will be finished!

You'll actually notice that I didn't build this in a typical 'chicken coop' style, but rather a one stall horse barn style since we live on horse property and this was built in our horse arena.

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Page Posted on May 14, 2009
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