Wildflowers and Chicken Coops!
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We live in Potomac, Montana with our horses, dogs and cats. We are newbies to the chicken world. On April 24, 2010 we got our 4 EE's.
We thought we would buy a coop, but after pricing them at our local farm store ($$$!!!!) we decided to build it ourselves. My 83 year old dad is a retired engineer, so he really help out so much with the design and figuring out the snow load for the roof, etc...
We broke ground and set the posts on May 9, 2010 The spot we picked out was mostly just dirt and pretty level. We thought it would fill an empty spot of dirt and make a nice attention to our yard. The coop including the nest box is 9 X 5. The run is 16 X 8. The post height at the corners is 7 feet. We set the posts in 2 feet of concrete.
After the posts were set we started on the framing of the coop. We wanted plenty of ventilation and light in the coop, so we framed for two windows, 24" tall x 36" wide. We also will be adding a vent at the top.
Then we made the tresses ( premade them in the garage) and set them in place. I tried to keep up on the painting, but it was hard to keep up. The tresses are designed to hold a lot of snow. (no squished chickens!!!)
We also started to put up the walls of the coop so I could insulate while my husband Bill worked on the roof.
I painted the inside of the coop and installed the vinyl flooring covering to the coop floor, (all with left over paint and vinyl from our house). I painted the ceiling blue and at first painted the walls white. That seemed too boring, so I decided to paint the bigger walls and the trim yellow. The green cord you see in the bottom shot is an temporary extension cord. That is now gone and have electric. It was only in the 30's when we moved them out to their coop and we wanted to give them some heat.
We installed hardware clothe over the windows for extra security, and framed it in with some trim to match the yellow walls.
We designed the nesting box so that I could gather the eggs from the outside. We decided to go with a side access door instead of lifting the roof. We get a lot of snow here (did I say that already!!), so we wanted to seal off the nesting box roof from any possible leaks from melting snow and sideways rain. We made 2 boxes 12X 14 and left on bigger one 24 X 14. Our cat, Harry Potter thought for sure we were making it for him!
We moved the chicks into their coop area on June 4, 2010. My daughter and her boyfriend were coming to visit and we needed to get the chicks out of the bathroom!!!!
We continued to work on the run. We live on 40 acres that borders 29,000 acres of state land and a 3,000 acre ranch. We get a lot of predators passing through. Even though we shut the chickens in the coop at night we still wanted to make their run safe during the day. So we decided to use hardware cloth, 1/2 inch and a heavy gage. We attached it to the wood with washers and screws. We ran the apron out 2 1/2 feet. I covered that with dirt and planted a native grass, wildflower mix. Painted the outside of the coop to match our house (again with left over paint!!)
Just trim over the hardware, trim around the windows and dirt over the skirt left to do.
We installed the ladder with a hinge so I could lift it up easily to rake. We change the gold to a black one, had to have everything match!
5 days later we finished the run and let the chicks out. That seemed like the perfect amount of time for them to get used to the coop home. They march up their ladder every night without a problem.
Several weeks later......
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