Our Second Coop and Run
Now that we have experience with one flock, which is aging, it's time to prepared for another in our red barn. The birds will be alongside but we are taking into account biosecurity and predator concerns. We are predator-rich at the edge of the woods in Nova Scotia, Canada. A large sturdy door will be installed in this space so that as I exit the back of the barn I can gain access and know that the barrier will keep even large predators out. The wood is wolmanized.
We're getting ready for a second flock which should arrive in the spring of 2011. If all goes to plan, it will be composed of black Australorps and will occupy the first space we created in the barn, and the older sexlink hens will be moved to this new, but smaller space alongside. The chicken runs will also be alongside though we will block with vinyl sheeting for biosecurity reasons.
At this point we have the interior of the coop, which is 8' x 8' insulated, vapor-sealed and sheathed with 1/2" plywood. We're installed two windows, one on the west wall and one on the north side, and added a predator shield in the form of an interior frame with 1/2" hardware cloth. The floor is concrete covered in old hemlock planks that will be treated with diatomacous earth and covered in wood shavings.
Outside we have framed the run, and installed the inderground predator flange, attaching it with fence staples. We will roof the run and cover the top with PalRuf clear vinyl which was perfect on the first run, alongside. We've back-filled the space and can travel between runs via a door visible in the following pic.
We framed the center between the uprights and the 1/2" gauge hardware cloth went up next. We used a 3' wide roll, fastened at first with the fence staples, then covered with batteb board fixed with screws.
The barn cats settled in nearby to watch, so did the hens.
When you buy hardware cloth, extra wire is provided to seal the bale- save it to weave into seams at edges and corners. Allow no opening larger than 1/2" and you will not have to deal with rodents, snakes or weasels.
This is the exterior door to the run- it's very strong and has backing around the frame constructed of 2x4's to discourage large predators who might use a shoulder to force it open. The flanges continues underground to deter digging, too.
Vinyl roofing isa now over the run, atached by corrugated furring strips. At one time these strips were made of wood, but now seasonally strong plastics are used. These are connected to the vinyl and the wood framing with screws made for the job- they have a waterproof gasket.
It's late Octiber now and we've moved indoors. For years we saved some glass from old sliding windows and now, with double-track from the hardware store, David has re-invented them as interior windows to the coop. This way, we maintain our biosecurity but interested visitors can see our hens.
We used a dado blade so we could drop a double-window track into a 2x4 to make the recycled windows into sliders.
Making serious progress now. We need to install the 1/2" gauge hardware cloth as both a predator barrier and to keep the birds from flying into the glass. We also found proper glass pane knobs to operate the sliders.