SO, as some people know, earlier this year, my family decided that it was a good idea to move the chickens to a new location for many reasons. One was to relieve parasite pressure on the area (if there was any), to mix things up, and to open up our back yard for aesthetic purposes. We moved them to the side yard, a nicely shaded nook in the woods. After framing in the base of the run, deciding sand was not the solution to our drainage problems, mulching the entire thing, and re-roofing the coop, we thought our project was over.
The chicken coop is the structure in the back. When we first bought three chickens several years ago, the little front chalet suited us just fine. Chicken math happened, and we got three more. This called for an addition to the coop. So my father and I designed and built the taller box structure in the back. The entire coop was about 3x5. If you do the calculations, that is not even suitable for six chickens. But in our NH winters the chickens were often happy for the close quarters. Three chickens died of raccoon related activities, chicken math happened again, and as I mentioned at the beginning, we were now up to 10 chickens.
The problems that we began to face with the coop began to add up. As our 7 new additions have grown bigger, and the fact that our two ducks have decided that the chicken coop is warmer than their duck house, I convinced my parents yet again that the coop was too small. Not only that, but the original chalet floor was peeling (dangerous metal). The roosts were right above the door, and two of the SLWs would roost above the door and keep the younger chickens out. The roosts were also too closely spaced, so the older chickens were basically on top of the younger chickens. This lead to feather plucking and bullying. ALL IN ALL, I gave my parents an ultimatum, saying for them not to expect mountains of eggs if the chickens did not feel safe.
Because I am currently in college, I only come home on the weekends. My mother has taken up the job of primary chicken keeper (...much to my jealousy. I would have taken all of my animals with me if I could :P). My mother was also facing the problem that the chickens were laying in the back of the coop, hard to access, and because the chicks were not going to bed at night do to the tight spaces she was doing more work than originally advertised. If anyone has ever depended on people who are not in love with chickens to take care of difficult chickens, you know that this often leads to quarreling. My younger sister (15), who told me that she would put the chickens to bed at night began to leave them out (too difficult to pick them up and squash them through the pop door). Once again, for anyone who has lost a chicken(s) to predators, this is not acceptable. Sometimes at night, I think I can still here my chickens who used to live outside my bedroom window, screaming as a racoon grabbed them (not once but on TWO separate occasions).
These chickens are not just my livestock, nor my pets. They are more than that. They are my babies. Because of that, I am determined to give them the best life possible.
HENCE, this new Vinyl chicken coop project. Here we go guys, thanks for reading to the end <3 Pictures of the start of the project to come this afternoon.