My birthday present this year from my amazing fiancé were three sweet chicks that I have been wanting for sometime. Quickly we realized we could not stop at just three and added two more chickens to the group. At five chickens, Penny, Piper, Peep, Pecan, and Pepper quickly outgrown the prefab coop I had also received so we began construction on the new hen house.
We knew we wanted the new coop to be something that when we were out of town, primarily for our upcoming wedding and honeymoon, if our friend watching our house did not feel comfortable letting the chicks free range, they would still be a-ok and have plenty of room to enjoy.
So construction began:
The coop itself is 6' long and 3' wide. I placed vinyl flooring down to allow for easy wipe down. There were some late nights as this came together. We also received some abnormal rains for Texas in May, so any opportunity we got to work on the coop we took it. The chicks were growing really quickly and I wanted them in their new home as soon as possible, of course.
Front view of the coop:
Back view, where the nesting box will be added:
It has double entry doors for easy clean up and windows for ventilation on both short sides. The spot in the yard where it will reside is in the shade between two trees. There is usually a nice breeze all day long, even in the hot Texas summers this area remains fairly pleasant.
Once the coop itself was completed, we placed it in its forever location in the yard then began the process of adding the run. We should have built it in place, as it was very heavy to move however, the prefab coop was still being occupied as we built this one. A little muscle and we got both coops moved and put in place.
We added the nesting box at this point but blocked it off from the chicks. They still were too young at this point to need it and I did not want it to be a sleeping area. I bought four tubs to use as nest so the nesting box itself was measured to fit these tubs comfortably with head room for the chickens.
Then began the run addition. Hardware cloth is not super easy to work with but once we figured out how we wanted the walls and door to come together, everything fell into place. We built each wall separately and then screwed each one together. Our hope it that this will provide plenty of structure to the frame work and allow solid protection for the chicks. We also put clear poly roofing on the run to allow plenty of sunlight but complete protection from predators and weather.
Run and door added:
Once the actual building structure was in place, the painting began. I love color and as you can see from the above pictures, I was painting as my fiancé would cut wood and I needed something to do. I wanted it to be a nice compliment to our backyard and our deck chair pillows are orange and magenta. So that carried over to the coop.
Front of the painted coop:
Back view of the coop and run:
Once we felt the hen house was pretty complete, we began adding small details that truly dressed it up.
I added a curtain to the nesting box. This will allow the chickens privacy and comfort to promote egg laying. In the picture you see Peep's little rear sticking out as she ventured in to explore her new area.
The placement of the nesting boxes and all ready for the big day.
My fiancé added a roost for the chickens to enjoy. It also allows them to look out the taller ventilation window which we find them enjoying often.
And the final touch was a sweet surprise from my fiancé just as I was about to wrap it all up. He made me a nice little flower planter box for the large window.
Finally, the hen house was complete. We knew it needed a sweet name, and our friends keeps commenting on its bright sunny appearance, so Sunny Side Hen House just seemed to fit.
For the most part, the house is complete. We are planning on adding a storage cabinet under the nesting box and will build Plexiglas panels for the ventilation windows in the winter but that will likely be all.
The chicks are loving their new house and egg watch 2015 officially began this week. I unblocked the nesting box and we have seen the chicks start going in and nesting. Any day now I look forward to opening the nesting box and finding our first egg!
Update 07/15/2015: We received our first egg on Friday, July 10th and are so excited! We have received an egg every day since and are just tickled that our little flock is laying and happy!