I convinced my husband, (partially with the help of this website) that we could realistically build a coop and raise some hens that will give us healthy eggs to feed our family.
He is always such a good sport.
My initial design of 8x8 got booted pretty fast, due to the fact that they will be confined to the coop during most of the winter here- we get 4 ft of snow and temps well below zero.
and I didn't want them to feel too crowded during their confinement.
So I estimated what the cost would be, considering we already had quite a bit of lumber that we inherited when we moved in here. The estimate I initially came up with was about 1/3 of what we actually spent. :-/
We had several things given to us, that saved us quite a bit and we bought a few used items too which saved in the long run.
Then the drill broke. :-/ Then we broke the windshield on our van trying to get 12 foot boards in there. :-/ Ok, so we had some setbacks, but we plowed on!
This was our summer family project, that I thought would take a month..... hahahahaha it took 10 grueling weeks with my husband using his vacation time to be able to stay here and work on the coop! It was our first time ever building something of this magnitude (so please be kind when you see our hysterical design flaws) and there were moments when I thought this was
insane... several of those actually. But in the end, we discovered what an enriching experience this has been for all of us. The kids pitched in everywhere they could and I think we grew closer together
as a family. I hope this is will be a good memory for the kids for many years to come. I know it will be for me.
"E komo Mai, Hernando Hale Moa" (Welcome to the Hernando Chicken House) (hawaiian)
We decided on this spot next to the shop for the shelter it would provide during our harshly cold and windy winters
We finally decided on a 10' x 10' x 8 1/2' size coop
My husband Lito leveling the floor and reinforcing it Using 2"x6"x10' boards
My daughter Jessica making sure the boards were sound- My husband reinforced the boards with a lot of hardware
Lito and the kids laying the panel flooring
My oldest daughter Jasmine helping me install the wood slats.
I know I should have used something practical like linoleum... but it was a fantasy at this point!
Kids and I finishing the floor. We pre-drilled the boards so they wouldn't split and used wood or deck screws on the entire project
Our Cocker Spaniel Bentley supervising
Lito building the first wall. Wall construction boards were 2x4"s
Bringing out wall 2
putting braces up to hold the walls in place. The tarp was to keep the rain and sun off the project
building wall 3
Lito showing Jim how to use the saw
Jessica helping with the first coat. We used 2 coats of exterior paint
Lito cutting the panels where the windows will go
3 walls up, just one more to go, then the roof!
Framing the door
My daughter showing the younger kids how the hens will use their door-
hopefully the hens will do it more gracefully!
Me. Painting painting painting.
Thanks to all the posts I read and coop designs on here, I bought most of our paint in the "Oops" bins
and then I just mixed my own colors- with the exception of the red trim color.
chip board sucks a lot of paint up so we used about twice what I thought we would, using rough surface rollers
Lito putting in the rafters- again he made the frame of the roof ultra strong by using lots of hardware, to withstand the weight of the snow in winter
finished the windows (old ones that were donated by ours friends) ceiling and wall panels getting painted blue
My son Jim helping with the painting
installing the roof panels
guys taking a break
I found this wine rack sitting unused in our cellar when we moved in here 2 years ago.
I just thought it might make a good nesting box (no building required!) we cut out triangle shapes and nailed them on to use as the front board to keep bedding and eggs inside
UPDATE: This works great!
Lito nailing on the roofing sheets. These were far more expensive than the typical roofing shingles. but I think these took a lot less time to install and we were running out of time!
construction well under way, it's looking good so far
We found a construction company who gives away free insulation. Score!
Electrical done. Now we have lights and security lights outside too!
Yes, he said it... "Let there be light"
Installing the inside walls! I'm getting excited here, it's getting finished and there is an end in sight. NOT!
Gee, guess what I am doing...... uuugh
Jessie helping roll out the fencing wire. We decided to make the run 10 x 24, although I wanted it to be bigger,
our budget was strained to the limit, so maybe next spring we'll enlarge the run
The land is sloped to the left, so Lito made adjustments in the structure so it wouldn't seem too lopsided and the boards would be set straight.
We used 2x4 12 ft pressure treated on the ground boards
That is 1x2" welded wire on the bottom half and 1" poultry netting on the top half and the top to keep the girls safe from predators.
So far so good!
Our girls arrive!! I was so upset to see that the hatchery clipped their beaks. :-(
I will try to make it up to them by giving them a safe and happy life
They are adjusting well!
We named them Sadie, Nugget, Sabrina, Aloha, Lanikai, Scramble, Henny Penny, Omelette, Pumpkin and Bob
As soon as we were finished in here the girls all ran in to see what was going on. They seemed pleased.
I originally built a roost with branches of driftwood, but then seeing how easy the poo clean up would be with the poop trays below, and that they needed a wider roost for winter, be redesigned the roost area.I'm glad we did. I can clean up all the poo in there in like 5 minutes!
We bought a sheet of corrugated plastic at Home Depot and cut it to size so the clean up is easy, after scraping the board weach morning I then use a wet rag to wash the board, and then a paper towel to dry it, keeping the board relatively clean, and the coop doesn't stink at all.
See those pretty blue walls? Well they are now blue with brown spots. Blech. Can't really get the poo off the walls.... sigh...
Lito feeding chickens for the first time in his life. He loves this.
We since have bought a galvanized double wall waterer for inside and out and are using drywall trays as mash troughs which have been working well so far.
I found out they prefer wet mash, so I use 2 scoops of mash in the mornings mixed with hot water and they go crazy for it- not a lot of waste either.
They adore their treats too, brown rice, green veggies, etc... they are healthy girls
Finishing my door.
I wanted a split door and he made it happen for me Great guy.
Door was also a donation from friends!
My door is finished!
We found this beautiful piece of wood in the shop when we moved in and used it as the door ledge
Jessie giving the hens some grass. They are responding well to us, and run to us when we come in now.
I love chicken butts. They are simply the cutest things ever!
Our nesting box area- they are looking at them curiously, and two girls spent the night in the bottom one the first two nights, but now they all sleep on the roosts.
Framing our last window- so far we just have a screen and poultry netting on it. Will put a real window in soon
The girls watch everything we do! They are so curious about it all. Noises that you would think would scare them (like a drill or saw) actually bring them running to see what's going on. It's so cute!
It's pretty much finished with the exception of a few things here and there.
My daughter is offering Pumpkin a juicy worm. Boy did she like that!
Happy little chicken butt
My son Jim holding his chicken that he named Bob
We brought them a pile of rich dirt to play in, since I read they like dirt baths, however,
They chose to dig holes near the coop door to take their dirt baths in instead.
You folks were right, they do what they want where they want to do it!
Burying the wire a foot below the fence line- apparently where we live we have skunks, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, hawks, and fisher cats! WOW!
Jasmine and the girls
Trim is on, now it's done!
Our humble little coop- we just love it.
Our first egg! Three weeks after their arrival.
UPDATE: We are now getting 10 eggs a day- such good layers we have!