Dog House to Automated Chicken Coop
I'm a Do It Yourself (DIY) fanatic, so of course I did the woodwork as well as the Arduino work. The coop is an old doghouse I built with my friends Dan and Jeet in 2006 using some plans from a plywood company. Another friend Rob started me on the conversion project after noting it would make a good coop. And since my dogs weren't using the house in the mild SoCal weather the conversion was started.
The house got a new paint job, "chicken porch", ramp, and egg shaped windows. I also raised the coop with some 4x4s because chickens feel safer with a high spot to roost. Plus a raised coop provides shade underneath on hot days.
And hopefully some protection from predators above. I spotted this hawk about a month after we got the pullets. I think he was sizing up Penny.
Take a closer look at the hawk's claws (zoomed in below)... those claws look pretty sharp! Take care of your young birds by providing some shelter such as a raised coop. In my case I was fortunate to have girls wise enough to stay under the coop while this guy was around. Without a place to go to hide I don't think this encounter would have ended well.
I knew I'd need a way to get into the coop to clean out chicken poop and work on stuff, so I hinged the roof.
I added nesting boxes on the right side, also with a hinged roof to easily collect eggs.
Inside the coop I put down a rubber sheet over the plywood floor to make cleaning up easy as well. I throw some dry straw down after cleaning up.
On the left side is the automatic feeder.
On the back is a box, again with a hinged roof, for the Arduino project box and wiring.
The green power cord loops in on the side. Make sure to always include a drip loop with any cords. In other words make the wire go low before going to anything that is exposed so the water drips off at the low point.
There are a lot of wires in this box. It's a mess, but all contained and dry. Wires come in from holes in the coop. The Arduino project box is suspended on a piece of wood inside the box.
Below you can see USB connector that plugs into my laptop when uploading the latest Arduino code to make adjustments to the operation of the coop.