My back yard chicken situation...
Meet Ethyl (Buff Orp), Lulu (Ameraucana) and Gertie (Barred Rock)! 5/28/11
Now at 2 weeks...
And at 4 weeks...
Almost 5 months old, here are my big beautiful ladies!!
Gertie Lulu & Ethyl
I live in a neighborhood in Vermont.
This is the sketch I created for my husband to build the coop.
This should offer my girls plenty of room to scoot about indoors through the LONG COLD Vermont winters as well as plenty of outdoor run to scratch about when I can not be monitoring them. They will be allowed to free range while I'm home and in the yard.
First my husband framed it up out of some PT that we had from tearing down an old soccer kick board. 4x4 corner posts and the rest 2x4. I think the ply is 3/4" which adds to its HEAVY weight.
We were able to score some cedar tounge and groove siding from neighbors who had it left from a project. It is starting to look good!
The run is almost 3' tall and is enclosed with 1/2" hardware cloth. We used washers and screws to fasten it. We also attached a 10" apron that extends from the edges to discourage digging predators.
Inside we mounted a piece of ply with a large hole drilled in it to pop a nipple style feeder through. The roost is one simple 2x4 (only 3 girls so it should do at 30" wide and a nice little nest box that won't likely see action for many months! The little horizontal piece int he pitch is for me to clamp the heat lamp to while they are still little. I stapled some more hardware cloth above the nest box to keep them from roosting up there. The hatch you cant see, but it's close and to the right in the photo. Its 10x10 - which may end up being to small... but we will wait and see.
It is WAY cuter than I expected it to be.
Also, it has a pull out drawer for poop board (under the roost), linoleum floors and electrical for when winter comes. Im thinking Christmas lights?
There are two windows, each wrapped in hardware cloth (all of it attached using washers and 1 1/4 " screws) and then they have plexiglass inserts to keep the breeze out when it gets cold!
Egg door in the back ...
The coop has now made it's transition to the back yard and the girls have officially moved in! For a week or so they just hung out in the run during the day, but now I have run the heat lamp from the brooder out (since 4 weeks is still a little early) and they are out there full time! It seems to be working out VERY well. I go out at bed time to peek at them and they are all snuggled up in a line - not roosting yet - but cozy as could be snoozing away.
If only I could get them ALL using the ramp and going in on their own at night!! Poor Gertie is the only one who won't go up, but none of them head in at bedtime on their own. I figure after a week or so they will get the hang of it.
This fine wooden rooster was the last touch. He was in the $1 bin at Michaels craft store. Perfect!!