W. Upton Henville
After a short summer vacation stint of chicken sitting for a neighbor my children and I (mostly I) felt like we'd like a go at it ourselves!! I have a 8x8x8 unused playhouse in my back yard that looks like it could be converted nicely into a coop...It was just a week before that I gave the kids the "We've been here 5yrs and you've never really used the playhouse so I'm tearing it down speech"...Then we babysat the ladies two house's away and the light bulb went off. Before I knew it I found myself spending a crazy amount of time on this site looking around and reading everything I could, so the fear quickly turned into empowerment...here's where we start...any input is welcome...
The playhouse-soon to be coop
The nest box side
The run side
Looks like a great spot for some high vent windows, both sides, front and back.
I started by removing the old screens with the arrow holes in them and re-screened and installed hardware cloth,
re-caulked the window frame and re-painted...I'm still researching everything at this point, this was day one.
I then started clearing the land a bit better around the area to see how I'm going to setup the run, see where the
sun is at what point of the day, drainage...etc etc...
Being in New England I can see that clearing the rocks and granite in the ground are going to be my first hurdle.
too many of too big to move with out a backhoe or bobcat type of stuff and I really want to bury my hardware cloth at least a foot
around the run, we have plenty of small predators...foxes, racoons, possums, hawks, neighborhood dogs and cats plus my own Boston terrier and a rescued male super hunter feline.
I spoke to a local "retired" fellow with a backhoe, that might be an option I just wasn't planning on putting out that kind of cash, The
yard would have been cleared eventually but now is never a good time...so we'll see.
I also dropped 2 smallish trees yesterday to get some sun into the back portion of the property where the coop sits.
So at this point the land sits as my 1st obstacle...I've seen the hardware cloth lying on the ground photos here on the forum I'm just trying at this point to end up with a more finished look but if I have to, I might, I can always landscape around it.
She promises to help with the chickens....I'm not holding my breath on this one,
we weren't using the playhouse because of scary bugs in the first place!!
I started the nesting boxes next, I think I searched a million coops here until I found someone who broke down the construction enough for me to feel confident, I'm trying to smartly use as much of the supplies I have lying around here first (I did a kitchen remodel a year or so back) If I can reduce the Lowe's card usage until I really need it I'll be spending less time sleeping on the couch!!
That's were I am for now it was a productive week, Oh, I'm a stay at home dad with a wife in the medical field and 3 smallish children so I don't get a ton of time to sneak away, weekends mostly, a couple hours here and there. I haven't even spent a whole lot of time thinking about breeds...fortunately I know all the info I need is here when I need it...pretty cool!!
I had a few hours this week to get the nesting box roofed, ( I mixed 2 old stains I had together and dipped the shingles I bought ) today I cut the hole for it and attached it to the coop, no easy task alone, but...it's on and fairly level, I need to build a door next and maybe even trim it out, I'm running low on good scrap wood...I'm gonna have to get creative on finding ways to come up with supplies. Probably start cruising craigslist.
I'm going to repair the roof next I think, there's been some insect or water damage to the edges of the plywood, I'd love to shingle the whole roof same as the nesting box.
I added my Guillotine pop door, I thought it was going to be more difficult than it was but it went up super easy.
Now to deal with my roofing problem, it just looks like water damage to me, I thought it was going to be carpenter ants or something gross like that but it looks fairly straight forward, I'll start that tomorrow...The baby is in 4 hour a day - 2 day a week preschool starting this week so I know what I'll be doing with my spare time :)
I repaired and re-shingled the roof, also primed the inside of the coop, I really need to get a bobcat in here to move some large rocks so I can start building the run. The area here is covered in pieces of granite and monster boulders and just generally as un-level as you can want, I have moved a few rocks with an iron bar and 2x4's but its like moving stonehenge...my back just doesn't have the strength any longer. DW is on board with the bobcat idea but I hate spending that kind of money on things I used to be able to do for myself...
Since I last updated I installed a perch...twice....painted the interior walls and floor, I bought linoleum for the floor but I'm going to return it and get some blackjack roofing product that jack had suggested I "paint" the floor with, I opened the soffits for venting and covered them with bug screen and hardware cloth also cut two vent widows on the front and the back of the coop up high hoping these will help with air flow, but the biggest step forward was finding a guy on Craigslist who came in for a 2hr minimum and short money with his bobcat and did what he could with all the rocks and pieces of ledge that were scattered all over my land...that I'm most excited about, I've been here 5yrs and have been thinking about getting this done since day 1 but thought it would be an outrageous amount of money....cost me $130.00...So I'm just about ready to start thinking about the run now that I know where it can go, and of course settle on a design. I also tapped Craigslist last week for free pallets resource, DW wants me to make this coop look as rustic as possible so Ill clapboard right of the existing T-111 with old beat-up stained boards, at first I wasn't completely into the idea so much but then I sold it to myself as being another layer of insulation without actually using insulation...So here's some pics of the odds and ends...By the way...I have found myself completely possessed by this project...before staying home to rear my children I was a painting and home improvement contractor in the Boston area, so large projects don't frighten me in the least but this one is different...I'm reading on this forum day and night like a crazy person...I can't wait to get my chicks, it's like a 8yr old waiting for Christmas..Am I ok?
New vent windows
Perch and paint job
Some pics of the uncleared area, the rocks look small but once you start digging they are quite big, some car size.
After our visit from Bobcat Bob!!
My second little helper...
So onto the next...
With all this beautiful New England fall weather (60's) I was able to get a few more things done to the coop...
I installed a second perch and trimmed out the nesting boxes from the inside the coop, got all that primed...then started on the exterior siding, I put down some roofing paper and got the nest box side just about done ill still need to trim out the corners and stain and all that but its up anyway...
I just realized I'm having pop door problems now with the colder weather, I'll have to take the slide brackets off and set them back another 1/4 inch to account for changes in the door wood from season to season...I think I read that somewhere but of course ignored the warning and here I am...
This week I was able to get a few other things done...I applied the asphalt fibered roofing to the coop floor but with temps in the 40 & 30's its taking a real long time to dry, that gave me time to put some 6x6 and 4x4's under the coop to support the middle of the coop, there were only 4-4x4s holding the playhouse up and that was ok for kids to occasionally play in but wasn't going to be enough for real traffic..so that's done anyway. I also finished siding the right side and the front with the re purposed pallet wood and did some touch up painting...I still haven't fixed the pop door yet but I have 4 months before the chicks come. I haven't sided the rear yet, I'm planning next to build a Quarantine pen back there and maybe some storage under it. On to the next.
I decided to go ahead and add a storage and quarantine addition on the back, I of course went into it without any real plan and just started hacking away at it, I got pretty far, I just to need to figure out a door solution...vented for the summer, screened even but closed and solid for the winter...any ideas drop me a line.
I was able to sneak away for a couple hours today to tie up some loose ends...
I put a piece of flooring down in the coop, sured up the compost bin a bit. staked out what might be the run.
odds and ends....but nice to get off the list. Have a save and happy holiday.