*** My wonderful fiancé got me my first coop and three baby chicks (Penny, Piper, and Peep - While Leghorns) for my birthday in March this year. I had been wanting to raise chickens for quite sometime and he finally agreed it could be a fun adventure. Well, we have since got two more chicks (Pepper - Silver Laced Wyandotte and Pecan - Ameraucana) and are adding on to this coop / run for a third time. More pictures of the latest addition soon. ***
March 2015 : We first got a pre-fab coop from the local Tractor Supply. We really wanted something small, less invasive in our city backyard. It is not a big yard so we were limited. We needed to balance space for the chicks and space for our two large dogs to still play freely. We also do not plan on living in this house for more than a couple of years, so it did not need to be anything that would be too permanent.
It was an AWESOME kit - easy to put together and seems quite sturdy. After reading a bit about raising chicks, we decided to move the coop to the middle of the yard area. There were a couple of reasons - 1. the coop would be covered by trees and less visible to predators and 2. there is great ventilation from the tree breeze in the hot Texas summers.
We dug out a hole and leveled the coop out nicely with sand and pine shavings (more to come on the pine shavings...) We added a hanging waterier and a corner feed trough.
The chicks, Penny, Piper, and Peep, loved their new space! The dust bath area was by far the favorite space.
April 2015 : After the chicks started to grow, I felt they needed a little more room to roam while we were not home. When we were home, we let them free range but some days are longer than others. We bought the expansion pen but since our space was limited by a tree, we turned it on its side to make a L run. The chicks immediately began playing in it and started to scratch since it was dirt and not pine shavings.
Additionally, we added a feeder to the side (yellow pipe) since they are eating pretty heavily as they grow. I found old stair case rods at the Restore and made little herb planters around the coop to help with bugs and provide a nice aroma.
May 2015 : This weekend, after reading so many positive reviews, I changed out all the pine shavings in the coop and run for sand. Previously only the area under the coop was sand and the chicks loved it. We have had so much rain, the pine shavings were just a mess, wouldn't dry out, and a complete headache. The sand already is a huge hit with the chicks and in one day dried out from a nasty storm Saturday. I think I made the right choice.
Additionally this weekend, we added to our flock with Pecan (an Ameraucana) and Pepper (a Silver Lace Wyandotte) from the feed store. They will not be joining Peep, Piper, and Penny any time soon, but expansion plans are in the works. It looks like we will take the far side of the expansion run and build a coop / run for these two gals. This will be our first build so more pictures to come soon!
June 2015 : I knew our coop was sure to expand, but little did I realize we would be starting over. We decided that rather than have a hamster maze through our backyard, we would start with a shiny new coop for our hens to flourish in. The current coop is a great starter coop for two or three chickens tops but I have a feeling five is only a start for us - HA!
The building started with a frame...
We got the frame going and painted and then began the touches. We did each wall planning for the various special things I wanted to provide our flock.
The front we planned for a large door that would allow me to climb in and clean easily. I plan on using the deep litter method but put down some cheap flooring to ease the cleaning as well.
The back we planned for a long nesting box to be added for the hens to have space and privacy.
Piper seems quite interested and continues to curiously explore as each stage gets done.
I got the inside painted and we began on the nesting box. I found these tubs at Ikea and think they will be perfect for the girls to have their nest in and easy for me to pull out from the back to look for eggs.
I need to think of a colorful name for my colorful coop. I love the chalkboard doors and am so excited to get this in place tonight for the new babies to get acquainted with.
We got the coop into position last night and are now ready to start on the run tonight. More pictures to come!