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Posted: 8/1/2011 6:40:09 PM EDT
Been wanting to build an earth-sheltered, sod-roofed cabin, and decided to start small with a "proof-of-concept" chicken coop. It's worked pretty well through four seasons so far. Cooler in summer and warmer in winter than the old above-ground coop. It was a lot of work, though. It's also remarkably quiet. The rooster used to sound like a foghorn in the old coop, now he's almost pleasant background noise.







Link Posted: 8/1/2011 6:45:21 PM EDT
[#1]




Working now on a 10' x 16' cabin built into the side of a hill by a pond using roughly the same construction.
Link Posted: 8/1/2011 6:45:41 PM EDT
[#2]
Wow dude how did you get out from under the ban hammer?  Welcome back.
Link Posted: 8/1/2011 6:51:55 PM EDT
[#3]
Don't know myself.

Banning isn't so bad, look at all the constructive things you can get done when you're not arguing on Arfcom.  
Link Posted: 8/1/2011 6:54:09 PM EDT
[#4]
That's awesome!  Do you have to enter it to get the eggs or do you have access from the outside?
Link Posted: 8/1/2011 6:54:42 PM EDT
[#5]
Here is mine!




Link Posted: 8/1/2011 7:17:02 PM EDT
[#6]
Quoted:
Here is mine!


That looks like it'll keep raccoons out. That's what I'd build if our winters weren't so cold up here.



Quoted:
... Do you have to enter it to get the eggs or do you have access from the outside?


I have to go inside, but it's not bad. The door is kind of small, but there are steps down and the ceiling is about 8 feet so it's comfortable to walk around in.




Link Posted: 8/1/2011 7:29:40 PM EDT
[#7]
Hey Rodent, great to see you back!
Link Posted: 8/1/2011 7:37:23 PM EDT
[#8]
flooding must not be an issue where you are....neat setup
Link Posted: 8/1/2011 7:39:12 PM EDT
[#9]
What breed of chickens are those?
Link Posted: 8/1/2011 7:41:54 PM EDT
[#10]
What breed of chickens are those?


They look like NH Reds to me
Link Posted: 8/1/2011 7:51:56 PM EDT
[#11]



Quoted:



What breed of chickens are those?




They look like NH Reds to me
I don't think so.



Here are my reds









 
Link Posted: 8/1/2011 9:13:44 PM EDT
[#12]
your rooster looks howlin' mad.





thats a neat design. have you noticed an increase in production during extreme weather situations due do less fluxuation of the interior temperatures?
Link Posted: 8/1/2011 11:23:30 PM EDT
[#13]
what are you protecting the wood with?  I assume that it is pressure treated lumber.  Do you have something between the wood and the soil?  Does PT lumber affect eating the chickens and eggs?  

I am liking the roof idea.  

Nice work.
Link Posted: 8/1/2011 11:31:41 PM EDT
[#14]
Very nice!   Sod is a good idea.

Your Dog is saying "Why you not build me house like dis?"
Link Posted: 8/1/2011 11:50:52 PM EDT
[#15]
How do you keep the water out?
Link Posted: 8/2/2011 12:48:06 AM EDT
[#16]
Quoted:
What breed of chickens are those?


They look like NH Reds to me


They appear to be buff orpingtons to me.
Link Posted: 8/2/2011 1:46:56 AM EDT
[#17]
How are you dealing with drainage inside?  Also curious about any treatment on the wood.
Link Posted: 8/2/2011 2:34:47 AM EDT
[#18]
Quoted:
Hey Rodent, great to see you back!


Thanks, good to be back.

Quoted:
What kind of chickens are those?


Wheaten Marans, a French breed that lays big, really dark eggs.

Quoted:
.... have you noticed an increase in production during extreme weather situations due do less fluxuation of the interior temperatures?


What I notice is that it's less work for me in the winter - the water and eggs don't freeze constantly. It also muffles the rooster's noise. And it's not an eyesore. Where it's situated, you have to look to see it. (I'm in a suburban neighborhood with small lots.)

Quoted:
what are you protecting the wood with?  I assume that it is pressure treated lumber.  Do you have something between the wood and the soil?  Does PT lumber affect eating the chickens and eggs?


On the roof there's rubber roofing membrane and a sheet of black poly just for insurance, and I put some cardboard up there to protect the other two from punctures while I was dumping dirt on it.

The walls have no additional protection. I should have used a different construction technique with them and put black poly on the outside. That's what I'm doing with the cabin I mentioned above. So this was a good learning process.

Quoted:
How do you keep the water out?


We have sandy soil that percs well, plus I put a layer of black poly just under the surface of the soil all around the sides and sloping away, like a big umbrella. There's also a perf pipe leading from the lowest side to a French drain filled with rocks, just in case.

Link Posted: 8/2/2011 3:17:01 AM EDT
[#19]
Link Posted: 8/2/2011 5:59:35 AM EDT
[#20]
Welcome  back Rodent...
Link Posted: 8/2/2011 6:24:28 AM EDT
[#21]
It took me a while but I figured out the dog is out of scale, not the coop.
Link Posted: 8/2/2011 7:08:05 AM EDT
[#22]
Welcome back.  I'm glad to see the chickens made it out from under the porch (at least that is where I remember them being).
Link Posted: 8/2/2011 7:14:56 AM EDT
[#23]
That is really awesome, if you do a cabin, I would really like to see the process.  Very cool.

I moved recently and had to give up my chickens.  I had 2 RI Reds and an Asian Silky, man was it nice having fresh eggs.  Everything tasted so much better.  Wife got very attached to them though.
Link Posted: 8/2/2011 8:45:56 AM EDT
[#24]
Quoted:
... if you do a cabin, I would really like to see the process...



It's well under way, I'll start another thread. Going out there tomorrow and will get some recent pics.

Link Posted: 8/2/2011 10:49:12 AM EDT
[#25]
Is it safe to assume that the chickens have a "strategically significant" field of fire view out their front screen windows?  

Nice job!  

Link Posted: 8/2/2011 12:44:42 PM EDT
[#26]
Cool, as long as it doesn't flood when it rains ...
Link Posted: 8/2/2011 12:59:15 PM EDT
[#27]
Seems like it'd be maybe a little hard to clean?  Maybe I'm just lazy, but scooping the litter straight out the door to a wheelbarrow at the same level is about as much as I'm willing to put up with when changing out the litter  
Link Posted: 8/2/2011 1:11:53 PM EDT
[#28]
Quoted:
Seems like it'd be maybe a little hard to clean?  Maybe I'm just lazy, but scooping the litter straight out the door to a wheelbarrow at the same level is about as much as I'm willing to put up with when changing out the litter  


Couple times a year I fork it right out the door, then up onto the roof. There are tomatoes and watermelons growing up there now.

Link Posted: 8/2/2011 1:20:04 PM EDT
[#29]


That's nice.


I can just visualize my M-60's barrel sticking out from the wire.....'armed chickens'.
Link Posted: 8/2/2011 1:22:41 PM EDT
[#30]
Looks great!

I was going to ask you if you ever built the chicken coup under the house/porch like you posted about in a former incarnation.
Link Posted: 8/2/2011 1:32:50 PM EDT
[#31]
Quoted:
Looks great!

I was going to ask you if you ever built the chicken coup under the house/porch like you posted about in a former incarnation.


Wow, you guys have good memories.

I did. It's hard to see because it's covered in grape vines, but it's behind PRB here:




Link Posted: 8/5/2011 5:52:55 PM EDT
[#32]
Rodent's fault...





Link Posted: 8/5/2011 6:38:33 PM EDT
[#33]


you might want to give some thought to adding some hardware cloth around the bottom 3' or so. i see on ''backyard chickens.com'' regularly where coons and bobcats go right through one layer of chicken wire. i even posed this question on the site, and got many replies about animals breaking in, and coons reaching through the chicken wire and pulling a chicken's head off. i have one 10' section of my coop with wire only, and i put 2 layers of chicken wire on the roof, and covered that with a 3' high 1/2''x1/2'' hardware cloth. however, i do have a 10'x16' section of the chicken yard with only one layer of chicken wire, but i am in the process of covering that with hardware cloth also.  i don't get exactly concerned about coons, as i have 2 big coon-killer dogs, that roam around the yard at night...but.. you never know...

Link Posted: 8/5/2011 7:18:26 PM EDT
[#34]





Quoted:











you might want to give some thought to adding some hardware cloth around the bottom 3' or so. i see on ''backyard chickens.com'' regularly where coons and bobcats go right through one layer of chicken wire. i even posed this question on the site, and got many replies about animals breaking in, and coons reaching through the chicken wire and pulling a chicken's head off. i have one 10' section of my coop with wire only, and i put 2 layers of chicken wire on the roof, and covered that with a 3' high 1/2''x1/2'' hardware cloth. however, i do have a 10'x16' section of the chicken yard with only one layer of chicken wire, but i am in the process of covering that with hardware cloth also.  i don't get exactly concerned about coons, as i have 2 big coon-killer dogs, that roam around the yard at night...but.. you never know...








Funny you should mention that!





here is how she looks today.









My first layer of protection:









 
Link Posted: 8/5/2011 8:32:51 PM EDT
[#35]
Quoted:
Quoted:
Seems like it'd be maybe a little hard to clean?  Maybe I'm just lazy, but scooping the litter straight out the door to a wheelbarrow at the same level is about as much as I'm willing to put up with when changing out the litter  


Couple times a year I fork it right out the door, then up onto the roof. There are tomatoes and watermelons growing up there now.



Hey Welcome back,

Using the hot floor method?  just adding straw into the poop & then cleaning out when it get thick?

I like your design
Link Posted: 8/6/2011 4:00:10 PM EDT
[#36]
Welcome back, Rodent!

How's Private Root Beer?

Great chicken project, can't think of any more questions already asked and answered above.

Thanks,
Link Posted: 8/8/2011 8:02:50 PM EDT
[#37]
Link Posted: 8/9/2011 2:38:17 AM EDT
[#38]
whos rodent????











welcome back..
Link Posted: 8/9/2011 7:17:49 AM EDT
[#39]
Welcome back Rodent. I've missed your pix and postings.
Really nice set up.
M
Link Posted: 8/9/2011 11:13:28 AM EDT
[#40]
those look like some nice coops. I am using my chicken tractor coop on my 10x10 pen. It's too small for them to hang out in but they don't roost there anyway. I've been meaning to build an open coop, kind of a lean to that's open on one side but I havn't gotten around to it yet.
Link Posted: 8/11/2011 4:05:26 PM EDT
[#41]
Quoted:

...Using the hot floor method?  just adding straw into the poop & then cleaning out when it get thick?...


Yep. I use stall muckings from the horse farm down the road. Wood shavings with some hay, grain and manure mixed in. They're glad to get rid of it, and I'm glad to get it. Sometimes I cut the nettles and weeds in our yard with a scythe and throw those in, too. The chickens love scratching around in everything. I add more periodically. Sometimes I fork out the droppings that accumulate under the roost, but I only clean out the whole thing a couple times a year. By then it's chocolate-cake compost full of nightcrawlers under the surface.

Link Posted: 8/13/2011 9:42:58 PM EDT
[#42]
Quoted:
Very nice!   Sod is a good idea.

Your Dog is saying "Why you not build me house like dis?"


He's thinking it's awesome his new house comes with a pre-stocked pantry.
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