After several months of building and tweaking Chartwell run is completed. My Coronation Sussex Roo is named Winston (Churchill) and Chartwell is the name of , may he rest in peace, Prime Minster Churchill's beloved home. I have, of course, named one of my Coro Hens, Clementine.
I designed the basic coop on CAD and started construction it my workshop in January. I had chicks coming from BJ's Poultry in March so I need to get a head start. It was to house 6 Coronation Sussex and 3 Birchen Marans. It started out as 5 separate panels that I could assemble in the Spring when outside construction was practical. As you can see in the next photo, some of the panels here are partially trimmed and insulated. When assembled outdoors the remaining insulation, roof trusses,roofing, siding and trim would be put on. It is a 5' x 6' Coop. Below are pictures of components in the shop.
About the end of March early April we were able to get out and my husband and I set up the base. The panels and base were heavy; 2 people were needed for set up. The legs, treated 4 x 4's, are set in concrete footings. There is about a 20 inch clearance between grade and bottom of base. The plan was to give the chickens a place to cool their heels during warm weather. We put about 2-3 inches of sand down before we attached the base of the coop. The coop base is 3 layers: chip ply, 1/2 inch rigid insulation and another layer of ply. The vertical panels were the same materials; 1/2" ply, 1/2" rigid insulation then covered by fiber cement siding. 3 sides of the perimeter around the base is enclosed with 1/2" galvanized welded wire mesh and buried 18". This is Connecticut, it difficult to bury anything 6" deep.
The panels went up. They were screwed down to the base and then the ends to each other. Everything was plumbed and squared. This took about 2 days.
After the shell was assembled the remaining trim was added and fiber cement siding was put on along with a standing seam metal roof. Additional ventilation was provided under the eaves. It wasn't in the original plan, but seemed like a good idea since everything I read talked about the importance of ventilation I made inserts (inside) for the eaves so as to close them up as I need to during the colder months. Inside we laid sheet vinyl over the ply. My husband also wired the coop with a light on a timer for Winter months. The adjacent shed has a motion detector light that faces the coop.
Here's a view of the interior. The chicks were about 4 weeks old when I got them and they were about 8 weeks when the went out to the coop. As you can see the brooder lamp is up.
I made a feed box and attached it to the door; it could go higher. Another set of smaller boxes installed between the studs hold grit and oyster shell grit. I tried to free up as much floor space I could.
The next step was to put on the run. It is 8' x 12' and partially covered. I wanted to save some money and put Ondura roofing material over a portion of the run. If I were to do it again it would be all covered. Great product, price is right, and installs easily. We painted it to match the metal roof. In the next few days we will be adding another 96 sf to the run as I feel they could use it. The location of the coop and run is at a wooded edge so during at least half the day (after noon) the area is shaded during the summer. So far it had worked out well with the addition of a tarp over the un-roofed part of the run and a fan the birds have fared well during the current heat spell. The run is fully enclosed as we have hawks and fox and such here. I put a sliding door to the run to avoid the space need for a door swing between the run and hoop house. The plan was to add a hoop house adjacent to the coop and run, which we eventually did. The chickens were to get access to it during the Spring and Fall and my vegetable garden would be protected from the chipmunks, deer and woodchucks the have been the bane of my summers. Below is the complete project - minus additional run we added recently.
In the Spring I will be figuring out how to roof the area between the coop and covered run. I currently keep a tarp over it to cut down on the heat load. The birds spend a lot of time in the adjacent run addition you will see later, or under the coop. Though it's all open in the run adddtion, there is more shade from trees. I will put up a tarp in the Fall to shed leaves.
My husband also provided a water line near the coop. It is 3/4" PVC piping that is buried about 12 deep, covered by sand and then covered by paving tiles that run the length of the hoop house. In the Fall a tile is lifted and the line is allowed to drain out to prevent the freezing of water in the line. The water line is graded to drain from both ends to a central point under the walk.
I really need to get a different color tarp.
Since these pics were taken I've had to add the 1/2" galvanized welded wire fabric 3 feet up along the long sides of the hoop house as the chipmunks were chewing through the netting. The ends are all welded wire fabric I'll feel a lot better, though, when the birds are in there in the Fall - they will be pretty well protected. I've done some more painting and we finally added the additional run. It is 8' x 12'.
A construction pic, before and after. It was a 5 day project by the time the doors got fitted.
I've got chopped straw in the original run and have left the new run as is. These birds love, love, love their dust baths. I have been dusting the runs and coop diatomacious (sp?) earth.
Dirty birds! The Birchen was purring the whole time.
Since we completed the run I have found a new home for my Birchen trio. The Coro's are becoming such large birds and I was concerned there might not be enough coop space this winter, even though they would probably be getting out some. 60 sf is not a lot of space for 9 birds to hang out for the majority of 3-4 months. Also, my Roo to Hen ratio was not good. One of the reasons to increase the run was to segregate the boys and give the girls a break. I will say the boys got along pretty well. The Birchen were very cool birds personality wise and looks; gorgeous iridescent beetle green and black. As the Cooper Marans they also lay a chocolate colored egg. I am sad about this but it will be best for all. I'll leave you with pics of the "kids". They are almost 5 months old now. The Coro's: Winston (Churchill), Clementine (Churchill, of course), Philomena, Fanny, Violet, Agatha. The Birchens: Hercule (Poirot), Josephine (Baker) and Coco (Channel).
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