Good Afternoon, Friends at BYC!
After eight very long, hot and tiring weekends, my coop and run are finally completed.
I lived on Staten Island, New York for 37 years, and moved to Ormond Beach, Florida in November 2013. Although I lived in a beautiful home there, I could not stand living in a snooty HOA with all of their rules and regulations- particularly those about keeping chickens, so four months ago, I moved to a five acre, fully fenced and gated, wooded property in Port Orange, Florida with my fiancé, Josh, and our two dogs, three cats, eleven Koi and “Elaine” and “Susie”, our two Red Star hens.
I have wanted to have pet chickens for almost 20 years- from the time I was watching an episode of a Martha Stewart TV show where she was holding a chicken in each arm! I was shocked that she was holding them, and they were so calm. I had no idea chickens could be “pets”.
So after twenty years in the making and tons and tons of reading and research, I bought two, one day old chicks from an ad on Craigslist. I am one of those overly thorough, “research something to the point of exhaustion” people, and so I decided on Red Stars for all of their great qualities. My girls are now 6 months old (hatched 6/4), and have been laying daily since they were 16 weeks. We have since added our white Peahen, “Ashley” (hatched 7/23), two Ideal 236 Leghorns, “Dolores” and “Sidra”, two Black Stars, “Sophie” and “Sue Ellen”, and two Black Stars, “Mrs. Choat” and “Estelle”, all hatched on 10/27 from Ideal Poultry. And last but not least, “Little Jerry”, the cutest little Serama Roo, hatched about four months ago from Sutton Farms in Deland, FL. Every one of them is as sweet as can be!
We are fortunate to have bought a property with many outbuildings, and the one I chose for my girls is brick veneered, wood framed with inner dimensions of 11’5”x13’3”. It has its own electric panel and a gable vent. So we had a good starting point. I decided to build a work area in the run, to store supplies, and to be able to access the feeding station, waterer and nest boxes without having to enter the actual coop. This area is 11’5”x4’, leaving me 11’5”x9’3” which is more than ample space for my nine girls, one roo and chicken math. I will eventually have running water too. I used Microsoft Visio, and this was my design:
Their run is 50’l x 12’w x 9’h. Still to be built is a person door which will be large enough to allow the UTV access (it has a dump bed which would be helpful to adding material to the run), and on the other end are barn style doors that allow the tractor access for a major cleaning. The sides were built as panels, some indoors to avoid the horrid Florida heat, and the rest were built “on site”. Each set of panels was built to 10’ tall, and were set as shallow as one foot under the ground up to three feet to accommodate the slight slope of the area. On our property we found a petrified pine that we placed inside of the coop, and will be adding a swing to the trunk which has been set in a three foot hole and wedged underneath one of the top supports. There is also a 12' long 1.5" PVC waterer with 16 nipples.
Both the coop and the run were built like Fort Knox- after being on this site for many months, I am well aware of the predator issues, and did not take any shortcuts on security regardless of whether or not we even have any predators at all. Eventually, I may add screen on the inside of the run (behind the ½”hardware mesh) to keep out flies and mosquitoes.
I wanted to do this once, and do it right, and give them the best life I could possibly give them. After all, they give me yummy eggs and lots of entertainment too! Oh, and the color of the inside is painted “Soft Boiled” by Behr, and the exterior, when I find time to paint it, will be “Sunny Side Up”, also by Behr.
And, for the record, my wonderful fiancé and I are not trained professionals in any way. We are Do-it-yourselfers with lots of ideas and motivation. Anyone can do this!
Thank you for reading!
The crew: (Elaine and Susie in chronological order)
The Second Crew: (Ashley, Dolores, Sidra, Sophie, Sue Ellen, Mrs. Choat and Estelle in chronological order)
And last but not least: (Little Jerry)