I started raising chickens when we bought a house in central New Jersey that had a huge yard and an old shed that was just begging to be turned into a chicken coop. Initially, my wife was against the whole thing, but once we got chicks and they started to show personalities she came around.
Of course it was a lot more work than "just altering the shed". I was lucky that some friends wanted to go in with us and two of thier boys helped me clear the run area, install all the posts for the fencing, as well as stretch the welded wire fence all the way around. They even shared the chores of scraping the poop boards, topping off the feed and water when they came to collect thier eggs, and helping with the coop clean out. All in all it was a very fullfilling experience and our 16 chickens had happy lives and gave us dozens and dozens of eggs.
Now we live in Utah and I've been able to design and build a coop exactly the way I always wanted. We were lucky that there was an existing dog run in the back of our half acre lot that was fenced with chainlink.
I initially got the coop ready enough for the chicks to move in around May then kind of dragged my feed during the summer before finally finishing all the final touches of the coop like adding the trim around the door and windows and shingling the top of the nest and feed boxes. I didn't get it painted until the middle of October.
We had a fairly major set back when a neighbor's dog dug under the fence of the run and killed all the birds. My wife was smart enough to take pictures of the dog in the run with the dead birds and the city has prosecuted the owner. Unfortunately, Animal Control let the dog go home and he came back a week later and killed all our replacement birds. We were devestated and heart broken but didn't give up. I super-fortified the fence to the run and we found replacement birds again. We have 9 girls now but only 3 of them are laying.
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