This grand adventure began as I was preparing for retirement. I asked our maintenance staff if he ever had a door he had to take to the dumpster and if so, could I have it. He said, "Oh Kay, I have a whole bunch of doors I need to get rid of!" Thus began the creation of Kay's Koop, the dimensions of which were dictated by the size of the ten hospital doors we claimed. Our grandchildren were involved as we poured a concrete slab around a drain approximately in the middle.
The ten doors became walls with two of the doors actually functioning - one is the everyday door and the other, a 48inch wide solid wood door with a small vertical window can be opened for more room to clean the coop. I left the "Oxygen in Use, No Smoking" and "Authorized Persons Only" signs attached for fun! The roof is a simple structure slanted from front to back, covered with OSB, left-over tar paper and new shingles. I added a window to one side of the triangle formed by the rise in the roof and chicken wire as ventilation to the tops of the other three walls. All but two of the doors had small vertical windows, so there is light coming from three directions. I had to build frames and insert glass in all but two of those windows - used left-over hardwood flooring for the frames.
My neighbor wired the coop for light and an outlet, for which I am very grateful. I have changed the design and location of the nesting boxes several times, as well as the roosts. It has been a learning process; the girls are my teachers! We started with an order of 25 assorted, mostly endangered, breeds from M McMurray hatchery, the chickes arriving Feb '08. I had built a brooder which was located in a finished room of our basement, situated on a table covered by a plastic tablecloth. We entertained about 60 folks at a "Meet the Peeps party when the chicks were two weeks old. Lots of our friends and neighbors were curious about the coop and the chicks. Fun!
I posted on Craig's List and found homes for all but the 11 chickens we wanted to keep; have enjoyed a wonderful friendship with two of the families who eventually got into backyard chickens. We lost three of our final eleven chickens to a stray dog attack - heartbreaking - which resulted in the enclosure of a large section of wooded area behind the coop. They are free-ranging during the day when we are at home, but penned up at night and any time we leave the house. They love to be out and we enjoy seeing them roaming free. The eggs they produce are beautiful and delicious, with golden yolks that are quite unlike anything one can buy in the store. I particularly enjoy sharing the eggs with folks who have not experienced fresh eggs.
I have been unable to post pictures on this page; hopefully, I will be able to do so eventually. I am proud of the appearance and utility of the coop and cannot express how much we enjoy the "girls" and their antics. They are so much more social than I had imagined, following us and "talking" to us as we work outside. Our grandhcildren love to gather eggs and hold the chickens briefly. They are really quite satisfactory pets - go to bed without being told, come running when called, and provide beauty and wholesome food for us to enjoy.