My chicken situation is tricky. My home has an extremely small back yard(almost patio like) and is sandwiched between two other houses. My backyard is about 35x16. I got about 9 feet between our house and the houses on either side of me. I figured it would be a challenge and i'm always up for a good challenge so I figured what the heck, i'd give raising chickens a try.
My goal: FRESH EGGS!
First things first, I knew i would have to build a coop. My goal was to build a coop that is low maintenance, comfortable for the hens, not an eye sore and most of all I'm really trying to keep this whole thing of the "down low". I get along with my neighbors and the local city municipal code says that chickens are fine. So I'm not really worried but I also don't want to be the obnoxious black sheep in the neighborhood either. If i could paint the coop in camouflage so it couldn't be seen....i would!
Any friends or family that have learned about the project generally think i'm crazy.....
I started building the coop about mid Feb-10. It's now march 6th. I been working on it weekends only.
I've never been one for blueprints so i just kinda started from scratch. All i knew was about how big i wanted it. Here are some pics of my from start to almost end. The coop still need some finishing touches but is complete for the most part.
The coop measures 4'x3' not including the nesting boxes or downstairs. The downstairs is basically a small slice of the outdoors for weekends that i'm out of town and can't let them out in there run. Otherwise they will have access to a 5x10 run everyday.
This side of the coop will be butted up against the run, so all i need to do is slide
this door open and wha-la. They will have in and out access all day long. The run
is 5x10 and I just seeded it with wheat and barley seeds. That along with the weeds
left over from last years veggies they should stay busy for a while.
With our mild climate I figured I will give chickens access to the upstairs and
downstairs 24/7. I don't see any reason to seal off the upstairs, I think it will
stay plenty warm in there.
I actually kept the coop a little shy of 3 ft deep so I can reach the back easier. As
you can see in the pic below with all the doors open everything is pretty accessible.
The coop will have two of these feeders, there will be one in the opposing corner as well.
I made the feeder extend into the upstairs to make refilling the feed much easier on the body.
I finally lugged the coop from the garage out to the chicken garden. The chickens are fully feathered now so I relocated them too!
Painted! I wanted Barn Red but I think I got Fire truck red....oooops.
What would I do different?
1. Plan better..jumping into something like this without blueprints was fun but it ended costing me a little extra dough buying too much material or wrong material.
2. Build it bigger! My run is good for 5 hens. I shoulda built this coop big enough for 5 hens. Oh well i'll be happy with my 3.................or 4?
3. umm....so far so good
I ordered my chicks Feb 19th with a ship date from Ideal on March 10th. I ordered 3 Dominiques, 3 gold penciled hamburgs, 3 Red sex links, and 2 Danish brown leghorns. My coop is 4x3ft but that doesn't include the downstairs or the large nesting box. I'm keeping three hens for sure but contemplating keeping 4??? any suggestions??. Just not sure if i have enough room for 4. I will also allow them to hang out in a 5x10 run area during the day. I will sell or give away the remaining chicks as soon as they out grow the brooder.
All brooder supplies have been ordered and recieved along with fresh pine shavings from a local feed store. Just need my chicks. They ship this wed, i'm in the bay area so i'm hoping they are here by friday. Will post updates as time allows. Here is a pic of the brooder I threw together with supplies left over from the coop build.