My First Chicken Coop!
For Valentines's day, my husband built me a chicken coop using plans from this website:
Honestly, it has been way more gratifying than jewelry or chocolate!
Here is how it turned out:
There are some changes he made and some more I changes I would make. He added a lower and upper access door on one side so that I could get to the nesting boxes in the upstairs part and so I could change the food and water. I wish we had the same kind of lower access door downstairs on the other end. The chickens are not so good at going up the ramp (I have only had them for a week) and you have to physically crawl in there to get them at night. I am a little neurotic (OK a lot) about them going upstairs at night since this is all new to me. I hope they can get the hang of it. I was putting food and water in the upstairs part and I think I was enabling them not to use the ramp. I am going to take the food and water out of upstairs and force them to go downstairs (downtown as I like to call it). I will do this for two days (this is day one and no luck) and then I will try to figure something else out. I am open to suggestions. I have Silkies and I know they are not the sportiest of chickens but I was really hoping they could pull this off. Also yesterday, I borrowed my 4 year old's safety scissors and trimmed the feather's around two of the chickens eyes. I think it made a HUGE difference. I can see their eyes now. Now they can't use that as an excuse. They can still play the "I have 5 toes" card but not the "I can't see" card. I inherited the chickens as adults and one is 3 years old (my geratric girl) and the other two are 12 weeks. I hope that you can teach an old chick new tricks.
Now to the coolest feature of this coop. My husband fashioned a string to the ramp and it is fed through upstairs. I can lower and raise the ramp from the outside with this string. It works great!
We are also raising 3 Silkie chicks now. I was really worried about keeping the chicks safe and warm and stumbled across a turorial from this website http://www.utm.edu/departments/ed/cece/idea/brood.shtml. It was everything I needed for a small set up. Here is what ours looks like:
Here is approximated costs:
I got the tub at Target for about $6.00.
My husband had leftover hardware cloth and that is what he used to make the top. The hardware cloth is bolted on top. The light I got in the lizzard section of Petsmart. The light is a 70W output and cost 7.99 at Petsmart. The actual fixture cost $12.99 at Petsmart and is dimmable which I thought was a cool feature for when the chicks get older and they don't need as much heat. The waterer was about 2.50 at the Agri Supply store. I had marbles in it for the first week because I was worried they would drown. I also bought some aspen and pine shavings from Petsmart (a small bag cost $2.99) and I put a couple of rows of paper towels and sprinkle the shavings on top. I read Cedar shavings are bad so I avoid them. I put a shallow bowl with chick feed (+antibiotics) in there and they like to sit in it and peck. Anyway, I am HUGE fan of this set up because I have cats and a 4 year old and this makes me feel like they are safer than they would be in a cardboard box. By the way, my daughter decorated their tub for Easter with stickers in case you were wondering what those were.