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Backyard Chickens' Guide to Coops and Tractors: Planning, Building, and Real-Life Advice Paperback – August 29, 2011
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The design renderings dance on the edge of usability, but are small—making it difficult to see detail. A coop/run structure is complex enough that there really needed to be more detail views.
Related, the lumber cut lists are superficially useful, until you realize they have no clear organization. If you were trying to follow along, you'd have to go through the list manually, sort by rough size, and then figure out the raw lumber you need. Plus, the lists are small JPEGs rather than text, making them needlessly difficult to read. They should be tabular text and organized by rough sizes so you can more easily understand what you need to buy.
The descriptions by the builders are … fine. But also inadequate because just when you need detail, they get vague. The photos of the in-progress coops are the same. "Here's some wood." "Here's my chicken near a partly built structure." "Here I am drilling a screw into a 2x4." "Here are a few views into the finished coop where you can't actually see how I put it together." It's especially annoying with those where they start out with some nice photos of laying out the frame and prepping the ground, and you think, "Okay, now I will see how it's done." Then, suddenly, the photos jump to 10 steps later and the description says something like, "Then we put it all together." That's when you throw your Kindle across the room.
If you're an experienced carpenter, this is probably not a problem. But if you're the kind of person without a lot of experience but do have a few skills and a willingness to try your hand at something challenging, this book will get you just far enough to feel frustrated, but not far enough to actually get the job done.
There are no instructions on the framing, construction, or carpentry techniques needed to build the ornate coops in the book. I guess the author assumed folks who want coops are also General Contractors?
This is a great reference book for ideas on different coop designs, but the plans for each are inadequate for the amateur backyard builder.