Sweetwater Farms' Chickens

  1. fried green eggs
    We are a small horse farm located just outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan. I grew up on a large farm where we had all the normal farm animals and grew crops. When my husband & I married and where able to build our own farm, everything was built for our animals comfort and ease of care. Our farm is not fancy but, we love it! I love recycling and re-purposing and giving new-life to materials as, I hate waste. We focus on gentle training methods to help the animals to be happy and to become willing partners and we give quality care to all our animals.

    We added chickens to our farm a couple years ago and that venture has been growing ever since. We started with a few TSC chicks we put in a extra large stock tank as their brooder.

    The Story of Our First Coop
    I started building our first coop in our garage, as it was still winter here and I could heat the garage. Everyday when my DH came home from work, I would show him what I got done that day. I checked and rechecked to make sure everything was square. All the walls, floor and roof frame was built like stud walls so, it was pretty easy. I bought cheap modular home trailer windows at a ReUse store and framed them to fit into the side walls. A cheap new storm-door was also framed to fit into the one sidewall.
    We backed our flatbed equipment trailer into the garage and put the floor frame on top. I added 4x4 legs and 4x4 skids on the floor frame with braces so, it could me moved. I attached the plywood to the roof frame in the garage too. When it was time to put it together it took me, my DH and two sons. We backed the trailer up next to it's new location and flipped the floor frame with it's 2' legs over and up-righted it. We the put plywood on the floor and then took the trailer back to the garage and loaded the walls & roof frame. It took less than 15 minutes to have it all together. We put the tar-paper on the roof and tarp ed the sides to protect it. The next day I started cutting foam board insulation for the walls and roof and put them in place.
    Next was the inside wall lining and floor covering. I had hit the jackpot at our Habitat Resale Store purchasing 4'x8' and 4'x10' plastic sheets of shower wall lining? I don't know what it was called but it was tough and was sure it would work and only $ 4 per sheet. I ran all the electric wiring and installed all the outlet boxes and light fixture boxes. Outside sliding windows and door where installed and top vent windows where covered with screen netting and hardware cloth. I screwed the sheets on to the walls and even over the plywood floor. Put outlets and light fixtures in and built the nesting boxes, roost and poop board frame and covered it with leftover plastic sheets. My son put free shingles on for me, while I cut starters for him. We had left over pole barn steel so, that was cut with a steel cutting blade on a circular saw for the outside. The nesting boxes on this first coop are excess-able from the outside and have side out trays. I covered the legs on the coop with hardware cloth and made gates on the rear legs so, we can let the chickens out to free range and have access. I made a interior hardware cloth door so, storm-door window can be left open when it's hot.
    The top vent windows where covered with steel and I attached pulleys so I can open and close them from outside of the coop. The pop door has a exterior door that hinges on the top so, it works as a awning that stays up with a cabinet door slide opener. The inside sliding pop door is Plexiglas as is hook-up to a D20 Add-A-Motor and timer to open and close. We buried the electric line going to the coop and put extra 6' high kennel fence we had for the run and covered it with netting.

    Our 2ND Small Coop
    I had actually gone to the lumber store to pick up material for the first coops fencing when, I spotted the frame for this coop. I will finish this story soon...

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  1. NovaAman
    would love to see pics!

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