Finally! After working around some technical difficulties I present "Le Chic Chalet Poulet"!
Otherwise known as The Posh Chicken Coop
This was last summers project built for our first little spoiled suburban flock. It is a 12 x 16 shed
with a 5 x 8 back corner sectioned off for the coop. It has 8 ft walls and an 8 x 12 pitch roof. The attached pen is 6 x 10. Of course I would prefer larger but am bound by local ordinance restrictions.
First we needed to build a small tractored coop to have ready to accommodate our little flock of 8 who were almost ready to leave the brooder for a couple months. I wanted it to be suitable as a quarantine coop for future new birds or sick birds. The pen roof is large sheets of tinted plexi that hubby saved from the trash bin at work. The wheels are old rusty wheels we found on Craigs List
We added a tunnel off the side to expand their space a bit as they grew.
Once the birds were settled the real project began. This photo
gives you an idea how far apart they are for future quarantine purposes.
Hubby up on the ladder, hard at work.
The view from the front over our little fenced garden space.
We have a tremendous rabbit population here so fencing the veggies in a must.
Progress on the pen. The back wall is constructed from some old farm house doors an old farmer was going throw on his bonfire. I stripped them all down, painted with exterior latex, distressed, and then sealed with an exterior water base clear. An idea I got from Pinterest don't ya know.
The west/ storage side of the shed has some awesome crank out windows from the Habitat Re-sale store for cheap. Love that store! The leaded double pane glass transom window is also a Habitat find. The antique French doors are from Craigs List for $50.
The north/ back side of the shed has a huge vent in the peak and an antique leaded window into the coop space. The window is hinged at the top so it can be left opened in summer without worry of rain coming in. It is another Craigs List find.
The east side of the shed is the side the coop and pen are located on. The pen has 1/2 hardware cloth (with cloth buried 18" all around, an antique storm door from Craigs List on the front, and corrugated steel over ply on the rood I put the giant flower pot in as a temporary boredom buster but it has turned out to be a favorite dust bath for them. It was an organic herb pot over the summer. There is also a big plastic tray (meant for mixing cement) which was the intended dust bath. They make good use of both. You can see the painted door wall here.
The window in the pen is hinged on the side since it is well protected under the pen roof. The window came from the same Craigs List as the back window. They were 2/ $50! The pop door is an auto-matic, gear driven Adore Store door with photo sensor to open and close at sun up and sun down.
The habitat store provided the ladies this awesome etched office door for only $20.
It lets in a lot of extra light from the front French doors.
I found an all oak entertainment center on CraigsList for $60. We gently knocked it apart and repurposed it into wall cabinets for coop storage. All those brooder supplies and pet crates, meal worms and egg shells, and cleaners and bedding, etc etc. We used nearly every inch of that entertainment center to make these cabinets.
The best part of the coop is the roost tables covered in PDZ. All the night time droppings land in the PDZ and get scooped with a big slotted spoon each morning. Keeping the bedding on the floor clean and dry. The only trouble is, the birds! They insist on roosting on the front edge of the table which is a 3/4 inch, painted and clear coated board (for easy cleaning). Luckily they sleep with their heads facing out and the poo lands where it should. I now have a 2 x 4 mounted on top of the front edge after my Dominique got knocked to the floor and injured her leg. That was 8 days of a recovering chicken in a crate in the house. I have tried mounting jagged cut shirt cardboards on the edge. They just folded them over out of their way. I mounted a scalloped cut luan ply. They roosted on the uneven 1/8" edge. I don't know what they have against the 2 x 4 intended for them but you can bet they were not amused when I topped that edge with another 2 x 4. There was a lot of cursing in the coop that night.
I had 2 silkies in the flock so a ramp to the roost was a must. One silkie started crowing and had to go (broke my heart). The silkie hen (Baby Freckles) has demented twisty toes and she struggled with the ramp. She made her way up but refused to come down.
I built a wood crate to raise the end and make the ramp less steep. Freckles still refused to come down. I put black rubber truck box liner on it. You guessed it. She still would not go down by way of ramp. Instead, she chose to suicide leap from the top roost. I started running out in my robe and sandals each frosty morning and taking her off the roost. I knew that couldn't keep up for long. (more on that later)
The nest boxes are lined with dish pans for easy cleaning. The legs on the nest boxes are some porch spindles free from Craigs List. The giant metal laser cut rooster was a 75% off find from TSC last fall. I had my eye on him all summer long. It was a fluke that I found him while running n for something else. The metal pendant light was on clearance as well from Lowes. The walls are painted in exterior latex and clear coated with exterior clear. They clean like a dream. I take the small, hand held shop vac to them from time to time to help keep the dust down. I have also wiped down extra messes like a snap with vinegar water and paper towel. Cleanliness is next to Godliness in the coop when you like to set a stool in the coop to visit during inclement weather. You can just see the coop cam on the right side of this shot. I LOVE that thing!!!!!!! It was hubbies idea. I thought he was nuts. It is a 2 camera set, one in the coop, aimed to see the roost and 2 nest boxes. The other is on the far end of the pen so I can see most of the pen and where I can double check if the auto-matic door has gone down at night. Now that I have been spoiled I would never have chickens without a coop camera.
Both windows have a hinged frame with 1/2 hardware cloth on the inside so the windows can be left open during the summer. They are also painted, distressed, and clear coated as are all painted surfaces.
Now back to Baby freckles and her twisted toes and the ramp. This was the original which she wouldn't descend on.
and this is the final, revamped version. It s now covered with strips of traction tape and moved to the other side of the coop. Now she happily comes down it without struggle and slipping every morning. I also have an enormous Wyandotte who can no longer fly up to the roost and uses the ramp to get up and down. So it all worked out for the best. This is also a good picture of the "Koop Clean" bedding I use thanks to the recommendation by Terri Golson at Hencam. Awesome stuff! It is finely chopped hay and straw with some pdz thrown in. The girls love it too.
The new ramp sits over the pop door now
The little green summer waterer has been replaced with the awesome K&M heated waterer for winter. It also got set up much high on concrete block to help keep clean. This picture also shows the 2 x 4 no mounted on the poop table edge where they insist on roosting.
There are some leftover scrap of tinted plexi standing in the corner, protecting the cord to the waterer.
I found these on ebay for the grit and egg shell. I just love the round edges so there is nothing to catch a bird on
and they have nice sturdy hangers on the back. They are listed as waterers but obviously not big enough for use as a waterer.
I save thir egg shells as well as my daughters egg shells, bake them to sterilie, and run through the food processor. They love them! Baking them also makes them more brittle so they grind up finer.
I bring them a dish of fermented feed with other goodies like spinach, parsley, cooked lentils or split peas, soaked seeds, or fried egg mixed in. When I set a dish on the ground in the pen it always ended up with a bird standing in it, scratching it all out, tipping the dish over, etc. One day, while walking past the garden I had a brain storm. I cut the largest ring section off the top of a tomato cage. Then I dg a hole in the pen and buried the 3 spikes and the smaller bottom ring, leaving the mid size ring and 3 legs exposed. It was the perfect size to hold my 9" pie plates that I fed them in. It held the dish off the filthy ground and discourages the birds from standing in it. Still, on occasion, one rebel will hop up in the dish. So I placed a scrap of 4 x 4 under the dish to help support it. You can also see a bit of the smoked plexi (like we used on the small pen roof) here. We also screwed it up to the wired walls of the pen for winter and put down some plain old straw on the pen floor. The straw is warmer for their feet and it is great entertainment. When we have a few dry days without snow I rake the pen straw out and spread it over a shoveled snow area outside for them. Because they spend nearly the entire day in the enclosed pen, pooping on the straw, it needs replacing every few weeks anyway. Then I put down fresh straw in the pen for more scratching and foraging fun. When more snow is predicted I just rake up the old stuff from the snow and throw in the yard waste dumpster standing nearby.
I stated earlier that I had 8 birds. Well, my silkie wasn't the only one who started crowing. I also had a polish frizzle and white crested black polish who all crowed on me. My little flock is now 5. They were hatched May 5th. One Salmon Faverolle named Rosie Fluffy Bottom who turned out to be the flock bully. Luckily, thanks to a byc tip, I have cured her of that and she has settled down and gets along with everyone again. She has maintained second seat in the pecking order. Two Columbian Wyandottes Lucy and Big Momma Waddlesworth. Baby Freckles, my splash silkie with twisty toes. And Chick-a-Tree, my accident prone Dominique. She suffered shock when clumsily learning to fly (head first into something) at about 7 weeks old. She spent the night in a box on a heating pad beside my bed that night so I could check the temp in the box hourly. Then, shortly after moving into the new coop, she severely cracked her beak. Some super glue from me and filing and a moisturizing cream from the vet got her through that catastrophe. And then the latest fall from the roost. I hope chickens have as many lives as cats do because she is my #1 favorite and #1 in the pecking order. Shes a sweet gentle leader and she is the one who comes when she is called and who sits on my shoulder as I scoop the poo from the roost tables. Love that bird!
This feeder is genius! It is the peck-o-matic feeder. When you order you get the components to fit a 5 gallon bucket. I got the food grade bucket from the local bakery for $1. I won't kid you. The peck-o-matic is pricey. But it is entertaining to watch the birds rocking the suspended dish and, more importantly, it is entertainment for the birds themselves. Keeps them busy while they are getting little free range time in the winter. This is Lucy. Believe it or not, she is the bottom of the pecking order. Even below Baby Freckles the silkie. She is so sweet and mild mannered.
I hope you enjoyed your tour. Thanks for looking.
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