(I will be editing as I go, so please be patient with me)
New Delaware chicks March 2009
First day in new teenage coop in the barn June 2009 Getting Crowded August 2009
Meeting the older girls
Past time to start the new coop!
The new coop will be on the right of the run, where the old 16'x12' coop was. The new one will be 16'x20', 6' tall in back and 9' tall in front (from floor). There will be 9 windows, 2 cleanouts, 2 popholes, 2 pens, brooder area and a work/storage area. There will be extra ventelation along the rafters and all openings will be covered with 1/2" welded wire and screen.
First 2 post in! Needed to be leveled a little.
I decided I would go with a pole barn type structure, with a floor, because it was going to be too expensive to put in a cement floor. We used PT 4x4"s for the supporting structure.
I wanted to add, in the left picture you can see where our pasture meets the neighbors pasture. In the right picture, you can see the neighbors trees and the property fence line. We and everyone in our "neighborhood" of 12 properties have 5 acres each. The rest around all of us is mostly farmland but close enough to town (6 miles) it only takes me 15 minutes to get to work.
My son has been doing most of the work since he has been laid off. He is no carpented, but he is doing a pretty good job. We finally got started after we got our garden in.
The roof was next because we were concerned
Floor joists in except for cross supports. about rain.
The outer part (skirt?) of the floor joist are PT 2x8" and the joist are standard boards, painted with a preservative (saved a little money). We first had to measure where the decking boards would meet to get good spacing (mostly 16"OC except for the ends). Second picture you can see the cross supports added in. We also added extra support, for the floor by nailing 2x4" pieces around the 4x4"s. The roof is a shed style with a front overhang, decking is FREE OSB board. The walls are pole-barn style because it uses a little less lumber. (I started with a $1000 budget and so far we are fine) I know we haven't done everything just right, but we are not builders and some of this has been built with some discussion before the next part was started.
Roofing is coming along nicely, except for the wind we had. Roof finished and looks good! Even though different colors.
This picture taken from NE corner.
My husband did the roofing and was not happy that it would be different colors. I bought it at the Habitat store for $6 a bunble. After he went to Menards, he decided 3 colors wouldn't be to bad, he would just make sure all the shingles on the front overhang matched. Walls up. Floor finally going down
The walls are plywood, (MUCH cheaper than siding) and you can see where the windows will be. Floor is more of the FREE OSB, side toward ground is painted with a preservative.
First coat of paint on. Now you can tell where the windows are. Rest of front wall and door up.
This is a front view (faces the barn on the west side where a lot of the winter wind will come from). The first coat of paint is on. I used oil-base barn paint to protect the wood. On the floor, I used porch paint. Problem: remember to put the smooth side of the OSB UP. I am going to need a third coat to get it smoothed out good. Inside walls and doors going up. I know it looks quite messy right now.
The left is the 2 larger pens and right is the chick pen where the brooder will go. The bottom of all the pen walls are 1x12" boards to keep chicks and bedding confined. We are not insulating at this time, I want to see how well the heat lights and ventilation work. If it has to be insulated, I can confine the hens and do one area at a time. Only 4 of the windows have been cut out so far. It was getting rather hot working in there.
This is the west facing wall where the electricty comes in.
The old hen house had electricity, so the source was already there and had been run under ground. You can see here where it has been run up through the floor. The coop has it's own breaker in the electrical box in the barn. It should be plenty since all my lights will be the energy effecient flourescent bulbs (13 and 24 watt each) Each pen will have 2 outlets, 1 overhead light on a timer, 1 waterheater in winter (15 watt) and red heat lights over the 2 roosts when needed.
Fun pics of the girls thrown in:
Cats looking for something good since the chooks are eating. King George chasing Mr Boots away from the food.
Delaware staring down the new puppy, daring him to come any closer.
The section on the right is going to be the brooding area. These 2 sections are for the bigger girls.
September inside progress. Still not done with all the windows. All the poultry netting and doors are up now. We used 1 x 12"s around the bottom of all the pens to confine bedding and any chicks.
I have always been a country girl at heart. I grew up living in town but had family living in the country. Some of my fondest memories are of the Sunday afternoons my sisters and cousins and I would spend at my Great-Aunt and Uncle's farm. We would go there after church for Sunday dinner and spend the rest of the afternoon there, the adults sitting around talking and all of us kids playing around the farm in the barn, hen house and the creek. (I swear we tried to stay out of trouble).
My aunt (great-aunt) would always let us collect the eggs for her and would warn us to stay away from the rooster. I don't remember him attacking any of us, but we were very wary of him. (I actually climed up the tree once because I thought he was chasing me, and my cousin was just standing there laughing his head off.)Her chickens free-ranged, so it was not unsual to see a few up at the barn that was about 200 yards back from the house, up on the hill (it is one of the biggest old-style barns you will see in Indiana, Sullivan County, if you are interested in the older barns). Barns were one of my Dad's favorite things to paint, besides animals.
We did have a few chickens of our own for a while, when I was about 6-7 yrs. old. We were living in a house that mom rented in Farmersburg, so she could be close to Grandma while dad was working up north and looking for us a place to live near his job. We ended up settling in Lafayette and have been here ever since. Sorry, I'm getting off track again. The house we lived in had no indoor plumbing except for a hand pump in the kitchen, so we had to take baths in a big wash tub. We had a large out-house shed combo. One end was a shed for storage of coal and other things, the 2-seater outhouse was in the middle and the other end was the hen house. We had white (don't know what kind they were) chickens that were for food and eggs. I know this sounds weird, but we always had to be out there with mom when she was getting a chicken ready for a dinner. She would use the shed door to pop the head off, and let it run around to bleed out. We thought this headless chicken was chasing us . She would have her water ready, and would let us help her pluck the feathers. Almost half the people living in this town had chickens in their back yard. A few even had ponies! We couldn't have chickens anymore when we moved here and I always missed them. The good thing was, we still got to go to the farm, but only about once a month after moving.
A couple of years ago, our last child moved out and we started seriously thinking about retirement. We had already purchased 40 acres of land in Arizona and thought about, some day, becoming snow-birds. Then we got an offer on our land for 5X what we paid for it and decided to take it. Now the ball is rolling faster and we needed to do something about the profit to avoid the big tax bill, so we needed to find replacement property fast. We found this house with 5 acres, just outside of town! It had just come on the market at the perfect time and I fell in love! It has a 3 bd ranch-style house with large family room-kitchen and large livingroom, attached garage and bonus buildings. All fenced in! A fenced 100'x100' garden area, a 5 stall barn with 2 pastures and paddock, a large FBI building workshop with 3 bays and 2 sheds that were used as chicken houses.
We did have to do a little remodeling on one of the sheds, build a run and tear the other one down. (the bigger one was in bad shape and rotting) Now we have chickens and 2 horses and I love it here!!!!!! The grandkids get to come out to visit us a lot, and they enjoy playing with the chickens and riding the horses. I'm pretty sure this is going to be our retirement home. I guess I'll just have to put up with the cold winters. But I'm HAPPY!