The Grand Sparrow Haven Lodge
We have added chickens to the menagerie that is Sparrow Haven. If you are simply interested in reading about the coop, I plan on adding pictures with summary text as I go. I hope this can be helpful to someone out there.
This is the first time we have ever had chickens. I was raised around chickens but that was in Florida, which is very different from Ontario, Canada. Not only the weather but the attitude is different. My parents let the chickens fend for themselves except for feeding once a day. The coop was a simple wood structure with an open underside roost area. There was a fenced in yard but for the most parts the chickens went in and out as they pleased. The only time we spent any time with the chickens as a kids was a butchering time.
Here and now, the chickens are working pets. We have them for eggs and for amusement. The weather gets downright frigid here in the winter time and we do not want the chickens harmed by weather, predator, or negligence. To make sure we did everything we could to protect the girls we researched long and hard before even ordering the chicks from the feed store. We found and spent a great deal of time on Back Yard Chickens, learning about every aspect of raising chickens. Then we ordered the chicks and began the building of the Lodge.
We decided the coop was going to be 4 ft x 5 ft with exterior nest boxes. The whole coop is raised off the ground by 3 ft since we usually get 3 or more feet of snow each winter. Every wall, including the roof and floor, is insulated using 2 inch hard foam giving an R value of 10. In addition we are using 3/4" OSB for the exterior cladding and 1/4" interior plywood for the interior walls. The roof is recycled white tin. The entire coop is also wrapped in wind barrier and then engineered 4' x 8' siding on top of that. A light bulb was wired into the coop for extra heat in the winter if needed. All in all this coop cost us about $1500.00 to build, including the hardware cloth used for the exterior run, all the wood used for construction and trim, and the paint we used for the interior. The storm windows are double paned glass recycled from old house windows.
We wanted the coop to be portable and thought the smaller size would make it so. We were wrong. By the time we had added all the cladding, siding, and such the coop was heavy. It took us an entire day, with lots of swearing, sweating, and pulled muscles to get it to it's final resting place. Luckily we chose the final site, once we realized it would never move again, carefully. It sits under a deciduous tree so it gets shade in the summer, which can reach 35 degrees Celsius and high humidity for several days at a time, but gets full sun in the winter.
It took us a total of 3 days to get the insulation, light fixture, and exterior cladding installed. The majority of that time was trying to cut the wood to all the correct angles for the exterior nest boxes. Did I mention that I really regret making these nest boxes? They took forever to figure out how to frame, mount, insulate, and clad.
The chicks arrived healthy and hungry. Thankfully they didn't need the coop right away. They were content with a box in the house.
The Final Results(short some trim and paint)