We decided this Spring that we wanted a few chickens. At first, I thought we would get 10 - 12. But when I started looking a mail-ordering, the minimum was usually 25 (or the shipping was so much, it cost the same even if you ordered fewer). So 25 it is. As their delivery date drew closer (5/2/11) I began to get anxious -- that's a lot of chicks.
We started out with them in a large cardboard microwave box in our guest bathroom. After about 1 1/2 weeks, I moved them to a large rubbermade container I had (about the same size as the box). But as 2 weeks grew closer, I had two that could fly out of the box, and they were beginning to get too crowded...we needed our coop finished! We started on the coop/run on 4/28/11, and moved the chicks into the coop last Sunday (5/15/11) at 2 weeks and 3 days old.
I've posted pics of our progress. We still need to finish the pop-door and the run, but we still have a little time for that. We're planning to attach a rope and pulley to our pop door so we can open and close it from outside the coop/run. We're wondering if our nest boxes will need a slanted roof over them to keep the girls from roosting on them. I'm now reading that our roosts should have been higher than the nest boxes to keep them from roosting on the nest boxes, but not all of ours are higher. But I think we'll wait and see on that. The floor of the coop is hardware cloth on two sides with thick plywood in the doorway and down the middle for us to walk on to clean, etc. We also put hardware cloth on the top of the walls on two sides for ventilation. We plan to add hardware cloth over the window so we can raise it for additional ventilation when needed. It gets pretty hot here in the Summer. For now, we have most of the floor covered with plywood (not attached) with shavings over it. We normally have pretty mild winters here, so as the chickens get older, we'll take up the plywood and only put something over the wire if it gets really cold. We can put boards around the perimeter of the building, too, if necessary to prevent drafts. One thing did that I think makes a big difference is using the clear roofing. We used two sheets of it in the middle with a piece of metal roofing on each side. This adds so much more light into our coop than I would have ever imagined. Our main concern here is predators. We've seen several foxes around, and one got all 11 of our neighbor's pullets about a week ago -- so sad.
So far, so good. We're still thinking about how we'll do the run. We have the posts set and hardware cloth buried and attached to the bottom half. But that's as far as we've gotten. We're planning to add an apron (in light of recent fox events), and definitely will be covering the top as well. And after reading posts on this webite -- no chicken wire.
This has been way more of an undertaking than we ever knew it would be -- and thank goodness, b/c my DH would have never agreed to this had he known what was in store for him! But all in all, I think this has been a good experience for our whole family. We've worked together, problem-solved together, researched together, brain-stormed together...and can now all be proud of what we've accomplished TOGETHER.
We did re-use as much as we could in building our coop...siding, paint, tin, window, scraps of wood - old & new, etc. We did have to purchase the posts, some of the studs, staples, and all of the wire, though. I'll post more pics as the project progresses...