Morning From MaineHi everybody! I have been obsessed with this site since I discovered it while researching chicken information and I have to say that it is absolutely great - haven't come up with a question yet that I couldn't find the answer for! I have been so thrilled to be getting ready for the chickens that I've been talking to folks I don't even know about it.
Recently moved from a rental cottage in a chicken-hating suburb on the lovely Maine coast to a house with 2 1/2 acres in the country in Raymond, Maine. Grew up on a "gentleman's" farm (that's what my dad called it anyway, he acted the gentleman and I mucked out stalls) raised horses, had some ducks, worked on a dairy farm throughout high school, but never had much exposure to chickens.
When my partner and I purchased this place last October talk of chickens was sort of a joke "Oh honey look at the chickens!" haha- he was reluctant - mess, smell, noise issues - with the help of your super site and everybodies posts and pics -and no small amount of discussion on my part - fertilizer!, they eat bugs and ticks (ticky area around here) and the promise of no roosters - he has come around!!!!
We both work for a construction co. and have managed to find most of the materials to get us started. I have purchased concrete piers, fencing and some ventilation - everything else so far has been free stuff. As beggars can't be choosers - the materials we have accumulated are enabling us to build the most rugged coop ever constructed. LVL's - 5x5's and 2 x 12's, 2x12 pine we will rip down for the rafters, 4' x 8' sheets of OSB and plywood, plexiglass, a really special door taken off an old ocean front home slated for demo including all the wrought iron hardware, laminate pieces perfect for nesting boxes, a nice size piece of leftover vinyl flooring from his Mom's kitchen remodel, even got a super neat 14" turbine vent for the top from one of my chicken friendly co-workers. The coop planned will be 10' x 6' with a 3' x 6' covered porch on the front - got to stand somewhere when you open the door.
Inside I plan on 5' x 6' area for food/ supply storage, quarantine if needed, and a spot for some gardening stuff. Half wall with slider in the middle to the coop proper. I plan on two nesting boxes with exterior access, 2-3 perches over an enclosed and fenced "roost" area with sand bottom and exterior door for cleaning, and a pop door in the back leading to a 6' x 10' run. As we have lots of space for girls to free-range in they will not need to be in their run to much (I hope). Compost pile will be conveniently placed nearby for them to access and me to fill up.
It will likely be able to withstand hurricane force winds, earthquake, and in the distant future house genetically altered 400lb chickens (probably 2). If the chicken compulsion ever goes away (highly unlikely) we can always use it to park a tank in.
Not that it hasn't been a tad difficult getting it off the ground. We have SO SO much to do outside to the yard and surrounding woods as they were all left to their own devices for two years as the house sat vacant. Also, like I see on so many other posts, when you have a partner who is in the building trades - mine is a finish carpenter - they have a REALLY hard time getting into the swing of using "recycled" materials, taking short cuts, or thinking outside their comfort zone (no you don't plan it out then get stuff - you scrounge stuff then make it work) when it comes to building something. Yesterday 5-3-09 - we got the base frame done and he was actually getting into it near the end - after repeated admonishments to SMILE -HAVE FUN - ITS FOR CHICKENS. You would think it was going to be photographed for Architectural Design or something! I will admit the transom for measuring and laying it all out was great - cause looking at it on the hillside you would swear it was uneven - but no the level did not lie.
So I will do my best to keep updating this page with pics and info. I hope to have chicks ordered for either 7-13 or 7-20 - 3 buff orps, 3 silver laced Wyandottes, 3 standard Australorps, and hoping to be able to get 3 Chantecler buffs too. I know it seems like a late start, especially for a northern climate, but I need to have the coop baby ready as I don't want them in the house - kid allergy and cats - or in the garage (no chicken dust in the tools!)
We don't have much level ground but I managed to carve out a nitch not to far from the house or garage so I can run temp power when needed. I will post progress pics as they happen.
5-4-09 - Have mondays off for now so going out to install some fencing, lattice and edging while it is more easily accessible. Where we are putting the coop - the two trees in front had to come down.
got the piers, platform ready
platform from the front
from the other side - see why I thought it was unlevel?
from the back-standing where the future run will be looking towards the house and garage
As you can tell - there is very little flat ground on our property - the driveway or way out in the woods - to far for the girls to be or me to shovel out to in the winter. We do have an abundance of very large rocks though!
Put the lattice on the front and sides - front just for looks - side to cover chicken fencing under coop for the spot under that the girlies can go for shade from their run - there will be a 3 x 6 porch on the front with steps - the door will open out.
More rocks - did I mention the rocks?
This is all I got done today! Did I say that my new best friend is an electric staple gun?
Some of the free stuff I collected -
Cool old door - other materials and foam board insulation behind it.