Coop Conversion, part 5

Chicks arrive this weekend, and although they won’t live in the coop for a few months I’m quite ready to finish up the project. Yesterday I started work on the door, certain this would be my biggest challenge yet.

20170208_coopdoor02The tree that fell on the shed warped and bent the metal into odd angles. Just the one panel was damaged to the point of removal, but the metal structure at the roof, floor, and center support beams was significant. After taking measurements I found a lucky break – a single 2′ x 4′ x 10′ beam could be used to make the frame. 5′ posts and 2′ 6″ beams were laid out and screwed together on our new sawhorses.

I ran into trouble trying to install the frame. Although the measurements were accurate, all the warps were preventing solid connections. I unscrewed the frame, then installed the two posts and bottom beam. I moved inside and nailed the metal shed wall to the wooden beam, working my way from floor to ceiling and straightening out the wall as I went. Once that was done on both sides I installed the top beam, opting to lay it 4″ side down to give a bit of overhang.

20170208_coopdoor01Next came door hanging. I stumbled upon these 2′ by 2′ foot plywood sheets at the hardware store – I had no idea they came pre-cut in this size and it saved me so much work! I hung the bottom door first, allowing a bit of clearance at the bottom for warping and installation of a chicken ladder. Today I hung the top door and added latches. I need to add a bit of wood to make up the structure difference behind the latch bolts, but I’m happy with their placement.

The weather took a turn so I didn’t quite finish the work today. Hardware cloth will be installed across the top; this serves as a ventilation point. An old screen window cover will be installed on the door’s interior panel. This will allow for ventilation while the lower door is open for the birds to move freely into the run from their roosting bars and nesting boxes…which I plan to build in the next couple weeks, along with the chicken ladders.

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