I figured I'd start a coop page to "pay it forward", so to speak. My husband and I are building a modified version of the Wichita Cabin Coop. I grew up in Wichita so it only made sense to honor my roots Plus, the coop design is amazing!
In order to accommodate this particular coop, we had overcome several obstacles. To be in compliance with city code we had to locate the coop 100 feet from any neighboring residential structure. This left us with exactly one option and that option is on a very steep hill and backs up to a wooded area full of critters that would love a belly full of chicken. Truthfully, we didn't have any area that was ideal but this particular spot is full of challenges...
Initially we got an estimate on having a retaining wall built in order to level the ground to accommodate the coop. It was ridiculously expensive so we decided to do it ourselves. We agreed on a wood retaining wall using pressure treated 3x6's for the posts and pressure treated 2x6's for the stringers.
April 11, 2016
April 16-17, 2016
Once we had the area for the retaining wall and the coop staked out, we went about digging holes for our wall posts. We tried to dig by hand but quickly decided to rent an auger. Money well spent. We set the posts in quick set concrete which was pretty easy to work with.
April 30, 2016
Long days at work and a very rainy couple of days got us really far behind schedule but we finally dried out long enough to get the stringers screwed into the posts.
May 5, 2016
We decided to paint the wall with BlackJack #57 for waterproofing. We know the wall won't last forever but we had 5 gallons of the stuff and figured "why not". So here is a quick pic of that.
May 7, 2016
The day that will be known as the "dirt debacle of 2016" started off innocently enough with installation of good drainage. Then came the backfilling. We had 5 cubic yards of dirt to work with-over 7 tons. Not nice dirt-really awful clay dirt with tons of rocks and branches. Very, very difficult to work with. 14 hours later, we had hauled 75% of it from the driveway to the wall and had done our best to break it up, hand tamp it, and level it. Not entirely done at the end of the day but JUST. CANT. DO. MORE. The extra $130 for better dirt, in hindsight, would have been the best money ever spent. Getting pretty nervous as the chicks are almost 4 weeks old, no coop in sight, and rain in the forecast the next several days.....
May 8-9, 2016
We put roughly 20 bags of topsoil/compost on top of our clay dirt mess to try to level a bit and have something less awful on top to plant grass seed. We know the chickens will destroy the area in the run but we wanted the root system for support around the coop. We waited several days for grass to sprout and......nothing. Never had this happen before and I've planted tons of grass. Bad batch? In any event, it is an unwelcome delay.
May 13, 2016
Definitely a bad batch of grass seed. Curses! Moving onto the coop, grass be ******. Here is what we accomplished on the base. Footprint is 6x10. We will be using roughly half of that space for the coop-so we should be around 30 sq ft for the coop, 60 sq feet for the run. As previously mentioned, the coop is in an area that backs to woods full of raccoons, possums, foxes, and other predators. So we reinforced the bottom with 14g galvanized fencing AND 1/4" galvanized hardware cloth. Surely this will secure the bottom from diggers-if not, I don't know what would! We tightened up all the areas were materials joined with zip ties.
Our most precocious chicken, Mabel the Dominique, **really** wants to get out of the kiddie pool and into a nicer living situation...
May 14-15, 2006
We got a decent amount of work accomplished on the coop over the weekend. We modified our original plans a little as we found the rafter situation on the Wichita coop a little cumbersome so we are planning to do something similar to the "Garden Coop" design for that part. We set some of the posts and put in the floor joists. The coop part is 50% framed in, the rest shouldn't be too hard. There are multiple obligations next week that will likely stall us a bit but we hope to find a few hours to keep working on it here and there. As long as the girls are out of the house by their 8 week birthday, we should be okay! They're ready and we are READY. Ha!
May 16-June 13
Okay, so a ton has transpired and rather than do a million updates I'm going to lump it all together and get straight to the point. We had multiple rain delays and all the construction problems you would expect when you only have a vague idea what you are doing and no real experience with a project of this scale. Of course, when has that ever stopped us! We ended up making some major modifications from our original Wichita Coop copy as you'll see below-
Basically at this point we have some minor finishing work and landscaping to make it pretty and get the yard functional again. I'm happy with it but we are waaaay over budget (I stopped adding it up) and the lack of level land really put us at a huge disadvantage with this particular design. Oh well, it's pretty much done. The neighbors are all 100% convinced we have lost our minds, my husband is convinced we will never ever be able to sell the house but the chickens seem happy and I am beyond thrilled that they're no longer in my basement