It was about 1 year ago that I suddenly realized that I live in the country now and I can have chickens. I thought about it a lot as livestock management is a responsibility and needed to be thought through. I started searching for coop designs and another realization occurred. This was making me happy! I was really certain I wanted to do this. So I continued researching and ended up here at BYC and with much excitement, found the Wichita Cabin Coop. I loved the design and emailed the Baldessari Clan to buy the plans.
My handyman and I broke ground last fall. I wanted to start earlier but he's popular. ha ha. First thing we did was prepare the foundation. With all the good advise on BYC, I knew to make certain the predator proofing started on the ground.
Here's the foundation with a layer hardware cloth started below the blocks.
(note, the river looks precariously close, but is actually a 5 feet drop from the edge of the yard)
Framing started next.
The rest of the hardware cloth arrived so we could finish the foundation and secure the frame to the concrete blocks.
Walls were built and the roofing got started. My handyman built the little chicken ramp in his workshop at home and surprised me with it one day. I was soo happy to start visualizing chickens using the space.
With framing in place we lined the run with more hardware cloth.
Look at that cute little ramp!
Here's the roomy interior. We lined the floor with some scrap linoleum for ease of cleaning, built a roosting perch and installed a poop catching shelf. When i first got chickens, I lined the shelf with newspaper, because I like things clean. I was changing the paper every other day and that got tired. So now I spread clean bedding on the shelf instead and that works a lot better. I can easily sweep the mess into a yard waste bag.
There are 2 nesting boxes for 4 hens (and 2 more planned) and the girls that are laying both use the same box. Can't wait to see what happens when there are 6 hens.
There is a pulley up top on the right next to the pop door slides. We added the door later and it works really well.
The nesting boxes are fixed to the structure but can open up completely for cleaning.
Since building the coop, we added windows to the front and back sides. I thought of adding one above the nesting boxes, but we have really cold winters here in Canada, so didn't want to compromise the structure that much.
A feature I really like are these slidey barrel bolt latches. The latch moves up or down a little channel to compensate for shifting wood. I would love to offer a link to these but can't find them online. My handyman found them at the local lumber supply.
In April of this year, I brought home 3 heritage hens.
They loved their new home and got busy being chickens. Here the Golden Lace Wyandotte enjoys a sand bath.
This is the Partridge Rock
Here they are at the drinker. The golden coloured hen in the foreground is the Aracauna.
I also have a Cochin Bantam that was soon accepted by the larger birds and became "one of the flock". Here she is free ranging with the Aracauna.
Thinking ahead for winter, I started lining the coop with reflective foil insulation. This is stapled in and covered with a clear plastic vapor barrier. I like how it went in and will wait to see if the chickens start pecking at it before completing the interior. If they do, I'll have to get some sort of paneling but want something that can easily be washed. I will provide an update on that once that all is done.
The greatest reward of keeping heritage hens is an egg basket that looks like this.
and this is pretty cool too.
Thanks so much for stopping by. Let me know what you think.
In regards to ventilation. Just like the Wichita Cabin Coop, we cut ventilation holes at the top of both side walls (these are also doors for each access).
Here is what that looks like on the front side
View from inside