The Barred Rock Café
Here’s my story of the “Barred Rock Café” build. I have to blame my interest in raising chickens on my Daughter-in-law. As a project for her kids she decided to hatch eggs and have her own flock for my grandkids to enjoy. My wife and I would visit and over a couple of month’s time I decided that I wanted to have a few chickens of my own. I checked the city codes where I live (in Orange County CA) and to my surprise, learned that hens are allowed; the number you can have is determined by the size of your lot. (Roosters are not permitted.) I have four Barred Rocks which were 4-weeks old when I got them (they are now six-weeks old).
My coop and run are 4 feet by 12 feet and sits in a 4 foot wide planter area next to a 7 foot high block wall. As you can see by the progress pictures, I had to build the coop and run in the backyard next to my wood working shop as there wasn’t room to build it in its permanent location. The coop was made with 4x4 treated posts, 2x6 floor joists (over kill, I know) and 2x4 wall and roof construction. For the coop siding I used 100 year old wood that I had salvaged from an out building on my wife’s parents’ property in northwest Ohio. Since it was 1 inch thick I re-sawed the boards with the intention of leaving the weathered side out. The old siding was white swamp oak and some wormy bass wood. I used the oak on the front doors, which I book-matched, and used the basswood on the back side as it’s not as figured as the oak. I sealed everything with three coats of spar varnish.
For ease of cleanout I covered the floor with tile squares and also use a pullout tray. The walls, ceiling and floors are insulated with Insul-Board. Here in Southern CA it doesn’t get too cold, but summers can be quite warm. I didn’t need to bury the hardware cloth along the sides but I did on the ends to keep out what few predators we have (skunks, possums and the occasional cat). I used a metal roof and installed a gutter system made by cutting 2 inch PVC pipe in half and attaching it along the front and terminating into a rain collection barrel. I did a lot of internet research, especially the BYC website, and got a ton of useful tips and information. I went with the chicken nipple watering system and plumbed it into the coop as well as underneath the coop. I also used PVC pipe to fashion a feeder. I’ve read comments to the fact that you don’t need to provide water inside the coop and others that say yes, so I erred on the side of caution and did both. It’s there if needed; same with keeping food in there. The feed system was copied from a website that I discovered during my research. The feed and watering systems are easily filled and maintained. Originally I made a pop door setup but decided to purchase an automatic door from Pullet-shut doors (www.chickendoors.com/products.htm). It is designed to be activated using a magnet; however, I opted to add a photo-electric eye which is powered by a 12 volt battery that I keep recharged with a small solar panel. The photo-electric eye opens the door in the morning and closes at sunset. I must say it works very well and is very handy when we’re gone in the evening.
The front of the coop and run face west and I was concerned the afternoon sun might be too hot for the chickens so I made a shade cloth awning to keep it cooler in the late afternoon. The “girls” would stay under the coop to keep cool but now venture all over the run all day long.
In the run I have a ‘dusting box’ filled with a mixture of dirt, fire pit ashes and diatomaceous earth which is supposed to keep mites, fleas, etc., in check. This mix I also found on the BYC website. I added an old tree stump and used a couple of large tree branches for a perch, added a patch of grass and wood shavings, and the chickens seem very content in their new home.
So, that’s my chicken coop build story. Hope you enjoy reading and viewing the pictures.