Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The new, expanded chicken coop

When I built my chicken coop I expected to have maybe five chickens. I didn't know chickens were like potato chips, you can't have just one - or three, or five, or..well, you get the picture. So they were a bit crowded in there, and I ended up having to leave the top open so there was room for everyone to roost. Plus, when the snows came I had to open the coop to the rest of the shed to give them a little room to move around until the ice storm passed. So I knew I needed to expand to keep my 8 girls and one roo happy.

I spent quite a bit of time saving up bits and pieces, and planning it out. Finally I dug in today, planning to finish it in a day, because the chickens needed a place to sleep by evening.

I started out by pulling the old coop apart, carefully unscrewing everything to save the pieces, and shovelling out all the old cedar chips and poo.

I cleared out the shed on that end and laid down a 9 x 6 roll of floor vinyl, then screwed it to the floor with wood strips on each end.

The flock had to check out all the old pieces of their home which were now on the lawn!

I started rebuilding the nest boxes, expanding to four instead of just two - not that two hadn't been enough, just that now there was room for four. I kept a piece of the ladder for the hens to use to climb up there.

I added another roost on the wall across from the nest boxes, but I'm not happy with it, I think I'll build another one tomorrow to replace it. I also hung the feeder, which will keep them from pooping on top of it. Then built the wall between the shed and the coop and finished it with chicken wire. There's a door on the end of the wall by the nest boxes to clip in and collect eggs. I was particularly proud because I reused almost every board out of the old coop, plus a few more scraps I had around. The only thing I had to go buy was the vinyl for the floor.

The chickens moved right in to check it out, and by evening they all seemed to be finding their new spots. Except the 'wild' chickens, they were so put out that last I saw they were sleeping in the tree!

So it was a busy day, and by the end I was tired and sore, but satisfied by a job well done. Then a friend sent her son over to take away our remaining hay (I traded it for petsitting later in the year, and she needed it to feed her horses), and our herding teacher came over and took Houdini to his new home guarding her sheep. As I sat on a feed bin in the shed watching the chickens exploring their new coop, warbling and clucking as they checked out the new nest boxes, while the sky outside grew dark, I couldn't help but feel a tingling sense of peace. I miss the livestock but right now I think two dogs, two cats, and nine chickens is just the right amount of responsibility.

3 comments:

Goofy said...

Yay! What a great job you did and I'm sure your chicks will appreciate all your hard work. :)

BTW- I tagged you. See my page for instructions. http://goofiernu.blogspot.com/

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

That's a really clever coop. I like how you used what you had, too. I didn't see a human sized door. How do you get in there to clean it?
I bet your chickens are so much happier, especially if you get some snow and cold weather. They'll be so cozy inside. Wow. And you even have insulation in that shed. I wish we could have put some in our chicken house when we built it.
Are your girls using all 4 of those nice nestboxes?
My hens use all 4 of them off and on, and certain chickens choose specific nest boxes. They also sleep in them, too.

~Lisa

StefRobrts said...

The door is kind of at an angle at the nestbox end of the coop. The rubbermaid feed container is actually holding it closed until I figure out a latch for it. It's actually the piece that used to be the top of the old coop, made a perfect full size door so we can walk right in there and clean or check for eggs. It's so much easier to work around than the mini-coop was!