[FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Rusty Bucket Ranch in the Mojave[/FONT]I first decided to get some chickens about three years ago. We had been on our new 2.5 acre property for about two years and the place came with a large area that was professionally fenced in for animal pens about 15 foot square each. The entire pen area was about 90' x 90' so I had a lot to work with and had no idea what to put in those pens. I decided on some chickens for one and wanted to build a coop but wanted it to look somewhat like it was built around the turn of the century.
Ain't that a purdy coooop?!
I don't really have any drawings but the coop is 8'x12' with 2x4 floor frame covered by 3/4" plywood. The walls are 2x4 and cedar fencing. I know that cedar shavings are bad for chicks but this setup seems to work OK as they don't mess with the walls. I'm really into the vintage or retro look and have several out-buildings on the property that look like ghost town buildings so I'm always looking for old windows, doors, hardware and such.
My wife had visited our local Home Depot and picked up two full pallets of dog-eared cedar fencing for a $20 bill. It was the stuff that everyone threw aside inside the store when they were looking for the best stuff. This stuff was not perfect but clearly not trash either so I decided to run with it. At first it was just to use what she brought me but then this picture started to develop in my head of a little board-and-batten style shack with some old window sashes that could crank open in the summer. It has evolved now and clearly turned into a quaint little hen house holding twelve Red Stars and a Ameraucana Rooster who thinks he owns the place. I've already started on my new coop for the next batch of chickens but I'll show off this one first.
This is the coop under construction.
It actually took me an entire year to build because I never got round to getting chickens right away. This coop sat for another year until I finally ordered my Red Star's last spring. I found some real cool old hinges and door handle to use as well. Both of these windows were vertical sashes from an old house. I mounted them in a horizontal position with a piano hinge at the top. They both sport a manual crank to swing open at the bottom for breeze during the summer months. The chickens can come and go as they please through the opening at the bottom of the door. The coop now has an 8x12 screened in room with shingled roof on the front so they can come outside of the coop and still remain safe. I had no idea that we had bobcats in our area until I lost a rooster and found the cat tracks - The screen room went up the next weekend.
When I come home from work each day, I let them out of the entire pen area and they run the property eating all those ugly bugs. What a site to see 12 chickens and a rooster taking a dirt bath together and running around the place.
Here are my girls in their new home.Here are my girls in their new home eating dinner in this cool old feed troth that I found in a thrift store. As you can see below, I moved the nesting boxes up much higher with a perch in front because I think I lost a few eggs to a snake.In the picture below, you can see that on the right, is a combination area - roost above and brooder area for chicks below.This last picture shows the window system that can crank open from the inside to allow breeze through during hot weather days - which is from May through November in the Mojave desert! These windows also have the small 1/4 wire cloth on the inside to ward off pests as always.The thing I like the most about the finished product is that the "occasional" rain we get has rusted the nail heads and made a very antique looking design on the wood. I think I achieved the retro look I was after - at least my hens think so!Stay tuned for my next project!