Welcome to "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 left 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. it will come in handy in the future for keeping the birds out as well.
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 for $20. 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 for $10, and corrugated steel over ply on the roof. The hardware cloth is attached to the framing with screws and washers. 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 also.
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 it humorous.
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. And of course a collection of crazy chicken lady figurines resides on the top shelf of the leaded door cabinet. 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 and wing. 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 (they love their 2 x 4 roost outside in the pen. 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 as they went in to roost. Yes, chickens curse when they are unhappy. Sassy girls! They have a roost with lovely view of the old farmers garden veggie garden behind me.
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 on sale right in front of the checkout while running in 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.
The security camera. 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. I just happened to be watching the girls getting comfy on the roost for the night when Chick-a-Tree (my Dominique) was knocked off by Rosie the faverolle and ran out to check on her.
The security camera has an excellent night camera. There was a mouse rustling about on the floor one night, upsetting the girls. The next night I angled the camera down to the floor and I could clearly see him and his beady little eyes. Live trap the following night took care of that. Now the feeders are kept outdoors in the pen.
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. And I won't have to run out in 3 ft of snow in my robe in the dead of winter to get her down from the roost. I also have an enormous Wyandotte (with a giant ovarian cyst) 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 now 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 feeders on ebay for the grit and egg shell. I just love the round edges so there is nothing to injure 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 their egg shells as well as my daughters egg shells and crush them for calcium. They love them! After this photo Big Momma started laying some shelless eggs. I ordered a 3rd feeder and they now have a choice of oyster shell or egg shell. They clearly prefer the eggs shell however. This is Rosie the fav and Lucy Waddlesworth the Columbian Wyandotte getting their shell.
I bring them a dish of fermented feed with other goodies like kale, 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 dug 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. Especially if I include some diced grapes. 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 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. Living along the Lake MI shoreline we get a lot of winter winds and snow.
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 - so far. Two Columbian Wyandottes, Lucy Waddlesworth 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 in the hardware cloth. 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 beautiful Lucy. Believe it or not, she is the bottom of the pecking order. Even below Baby Freckles the silkie and Rosie the salmon fav. She is so sweet and mild mannered. And the grandkids can easily pick her up and sit with her on their lap.
There are 2 things I would love to change. The saltbox angles on the pen roof for starters. I would have it high in front and lower in back. All angled in one direction. That front angle looks cuter but it dumps water in front of the pen and due to the slope lets in just a bit of water into the pen. Especially in spring when the ground is still frozen. And in winter the snow collects there and drifts down over the pen door. When I enter to clean and fill feeders the snow comes crashing down when I open the door. Or, I pull it down with the rake and then have twice as much snow to shovel away from the doorway.
The other item I would change is having the wood frame of the pen on the ground. Well, from the start I wanted concrete block as the base with the wood frame set on. But builder Bob (my husband and free labor) refused my request. The pen is built on a slight slope and having a block foundation would have allowed us to level the pen floor out. Therefore preventing water runoff from seeping in.
Some last pictures of the girls who reside at Le Chic Chalet de Poulet.
Here they are turning in for the night. Rudy the silkie is up front. He hadn't started crowing yet.
Chick-a-Tree the Dominique (a really excellent layer, very curious, and smart as whip)
Rosie Fluffy Bottoms the Salmon Faverolle
Big Momma Waddlesworth who has the enormous ovarian cyst. You can even see her cyst hanging on her tummy here. But she keeps right on laying and keeps up with the rest of the girls. She and Tree are the best of friends.
Lucy Waddlesworth, the sweet one
Baby Freckles, the blue splash silkie
Ms Frizz who turned out to be Mr Frizz, and the first to crow and had to re-homed to a lovely farm where roosters are a allowed. This broke Polly Peepers heart as they were best friends. Polly Peepers cried the entire day after Frizz left.
The next one to crow was my barred polish, Polly Peepers. Now Pauly Peepers. Peepers got to rejoin Frizzy on the farm with 30 hens to watch over
Finally, Rudy. The last one of the bunch to crow. He was an awesome little guy. He got to go to a little hobby farm which belonged to my granddaughters pre-school teacher. Every Friday during the summer her students were welcomed to come visit for "Friday's on the Farm" to visit and feed the animals, lawn games, and story book time with snacks. What an awesome teacher!!!!!!
Last but not least, Mr Bean, the chicken guard extraordinaire! We lost my Dolly Boy to heart failure last weekend.
I hope you enjoyed your tour of our little coop and meeting the gang. Thanks for stopping by.