This is the story of our chickens. In February 2011, we ordered 12 Barred Rocks from Ideal Poultry. By February 23, the day the chicks arrived at the post office, we had already drawn up detailed plans and scale drawings of the fabulous coop we were going to build. When we opened the box that the chicks arrived in, we found not only 12, but 13 additional cockerals of another breed. The cockerals were all yellow. Apparently, when the hatchery told us they would include some males, they meant they were going to make sure the number of chicks we received added up to 25.
Boxful of chicks
We had the brooder set up complete with pine shavings, food, water, and a heat lamp. The brooder, made from the box my dad's table saw was bought in, was about 700 square inches some of which was occupied by the feeder and waterer. An oatmeal container with one inch by two inch holes cut into it served as the feeder. We assumed the chicks would not be able to fit all they way through. However, when we came back half an hour later, there were three chicks inside it; One was eating, another was just sitting in there, and the last was asleep. One thing we realized soon after getting the chicks that they don't tell you in books is that they poop constantly. We couldn't hold a chick for more than 20 minutes without getting pooped on.
View of brooder
My dad began work on the coop in the end of February2011. My brothers and I helped out a bit, but dad did most of the work and planning. The first thing done was the foudation pads were laid out and put into place. These consisted of shallow excavations filled with 2b limestone with a 4 inch concrete block on top. Next, I began digging a trench about 8 inches deep from the basement wall of my home to the coop where I wanted the electric servie to enter the coop from below it. After a March snowfall, we installed the 12 guage cable to the coop location.
Soon when the weather warmed up a bit, my dad began purchasing the supplies needed to build our coop. Our coop would be 8 ft long and 5 ft wide. It will have a shed roof and galvanized steel roofing panels. It will also have seven nest boxes on the low side of the shed roof coop. The oposite side of the building would be the high side with a small man door and two windows one large horizontal rectangle and one smaller vertical rectangle. Since the coop is located on sloping terrain, one end is elevated much more than the other. The supplies purchased to build the coop came to well over $400.00.
Once the lumber arrived, we quickly began working on the deck of the coop. We used 4x4 post on one end and cinder blocks on the other end to support the deck. We then put up the walls. Then came the rafters and purlins. Now we began putting on the OSB sheating on the walls. We tried to wrap all the OSB in tar paper to protect it from moisture.
We put in a 12"x16" chicken door that could be open remotely from our back porch with pulley and rope. The door was counterweighted in such a way that it would close by gravity and racoons would not be strong enough to lift it open.
For more pictures of our coop building process please click the link below.