Customer Review

101 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lessons on Carpentry, 5 Detailed Designs, September 10, 2010
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Building Chicken Coops For Dummies (Paperback)
For <$20 one gets chapters on where to build, how to build, what materials, lots of info on general carpentry and 5 coop plans. It's written by 1) a do-it-yourself writer, 2)an owner of Horizon structures and 3)the co-author of the excellent companion book, 'Raising Chickens For Dummies".

Building a chicken coop is very personal. I've scanned the internet endlessly. There are tons of plans, a few graciously offered freely, but most you have to pay for the so-called schematics. I know what I want in a 'home': 3 chickens, easy clean, well protected-weather and pest, room for me to go inside the run, easy access to nest, cute appearance. Absolutely must contain slideout drip pans for fast cleanout! That's me.

The 5 plans are at different skill levels and needs:
1)the Minimal Coop- box shaped with single, sloping roof, simple hinged door, ~4'X4'X4', no adjoining run, good it states for 4-5 birds. Price tag ~$200 for building supplies. Easy;
2)the Alpine A-frame- 4'wide X 10'long X ~4'tall,, 2 nest boxes, screened run with door, 2-4 birds, looks cute, ~$300, not too hard, but you do have to cut some simple angles;
3)the Urban Tractor- 3'X6' with peaked roof 5', 2-3 birds, 16 sq.ft. run, tow chains to pull around the yard(put wheels on!), ~$400, looks neat and tidy; will take some work to build but totally doable for a novice like me;
4)the All-in-One(my choice & a similar version pictured on the front cover)- 8'X4'X7'tall, 4-6 birds(I prefer 3-4), one can enter the shelter and the run through short doors 3 1/2- 4' tall, 3 boxes, A real sloping roof(shingle it), ~$750 cost, add wheels and removable drip pan, nice doors, a small window, it'll take a few weekends to make unless you're Joe the Builder.
5) and finally, the Walk-In- 8X8X9'tall, 30 chickens?, 10 boxes, no run given, $1000, need some skills or help.

The designs are well done, easy to follow with step by step instructions. They list the materials needed, give lots of Tips and Warnings as expected by Dummies. They also include a few chapters on doing things differently: like water supply, electicity, storage spacefeeders, removable drip pans- highly recommended, retractable roof, automatic doors, etc. These are stated with general suggestions, not actual specific plans.

The book itself is larger in size than 'Raising Chicken for Dummies' which makes it easier to lay out. Very readable.

I'm not a carpenter. I have very few building skills; however, last summer, I dove in and constructed an A-frame treehouse on stilts from Stile's 'Treehouses and Other Cool Stuff'(see my review). It was a lot of fun and hard work, and a great learning experience. The plans here are much more comprehensive than Stiles' basic but adequate diagrams/instructions.

You will need some basic tools: circular saw, jig saw, drills, level, square, etc. They mention that a table saw and miter saw sure would be great, but you don't necessarily need them. Just take your time and have fun. Even if you don't use or like their specific plans, the rest of the book is immensely helpful. If building the coop is frustrating or too bothersome, just carefully choose and buy one, and enjoy your chickens!

Update(8/2013): I've built both the All-In-One(as pictured above, modified) and recently the Urban Tractor which I really like. Lumbar gets heavy fast as you add pieces of 2X4, 2X3's, etc. and the All-In-One is quite heavy even for 2 men to try to move on a rough service(I hooked mine up to a tow chain and jeep to move it). The urban tractor is much easier, of course, but still a bit heavy trying to pull through the grass. I added 10" wheels which really help, and I or my wife can roll that around by ourselves; however, tough to go up hills alone.

I did find one error with the Urban Tractor design in the measurement of the height of the front wall/nest box. Significant if one isn't paying attention and carefully reviewing the dimensions before cutting; also there are lots of little details one learns while doing, e.g., when screwing a 1-1/4" screw through a 1X3(on the 3/4" side) to a piece of T1-11, the screw will protrude if one screws down flush with the board. They do warn about this since they want you to use this length screw, but I was surprised about how much I had to back off the screw for just 1/8".

Overall, I enjoy building the structures. They may be heavy, but they're solid, protective and cute looking. Not being a carpenter, this is a great instructive book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 

Comments


Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 8, 2010 1:49:31 AM PDT
Sooz says:
Thanks. I am in the midst of going through the Internet looking for plans. Your review of this book is very thorough and helpful.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2010 2:16:20 PM PDT
mk says:
Best of luck!

Posted on Feb 28, 2011 6:20:22 AM PST
consumer says:
I appreciate your review.
Very thorough.
I have plans to build an 8x12 coop, but I have absolutely NO carpentry skills.
So this book should help me a whole lot!!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 16, 2011 8:48:00 AM PDT
mk says:
You can do it!

Posted on Apr 1, 2011 2:30:44 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 1, 2011 2:33:11 PM PDT
A. Mahboubi says:
Your detaied review was comprehensive, especially your advice in the last paragraph. Thanks!
‹ Previous 1 Next ›

Review Details

Item

4.1 out of 5 stars (80 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (41)
4 star:
 (16)
3 star:
 (14)
2 star:
 (7)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
$19.99 $13.55
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Reviewer

mk
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   

Location: parker, CO United States

Top Reviewer Ranking: 772