We live in a mountain community, near Yosemite National Park. Most folks here seem to have some sort of livestock, and I hear about the joys of animal keeping, daily, from my co-workers. One day the bug just bit me! I must have chickens! And ducks! Now! So I purchased "Chicken Coops For Dummies" and read it cover to cover. I spent some time trying to decide which of the coops I wanted, from their plans of very small, to walk-in sizes. After reviewing my strengths: I'm a 70 year old female, working full time, with absolutely ZERO experience at building ANYTHING...of course I decided to go with the biggest and most difficult coop. Well, almost. Actually I decided to modify their 8 x 8 coop, and make it 8 x 10.And add more windows and another door. No problem! I'm a determined person! I'll whip this thing out in a few weekends!
First challenge: where to locate the coop and huge run I've planned. It turns out that the best spot (the only flat-ish piece of property), is our front yard area! Okay, fine if the coop is not an eyesore! So, off to Lowes I go with my shopping list in hand and picked up enough stuff to get started. Below is the first step, with my husband "supervising". I told him I'd accept "answers" if I had questions, but basically, I wanted to build this entirely on my own!
It's now the week after Thanksgiving, so I have plenty of time to build this before spring! I built the floor on 4x8 pressure treated "skids", leveled over gravel. Better get some walls up. I followed the general instructions in the "Dummies" book, But I wanted to use my own windows and add some more, and add a door. Framing is pretty straight-forward.
The weather is not cooperating! Rain! Snow! Freezing temperatures! Really slowing my progress! I need walls! I'll cut the window openings later! I found some great siding panels at Lowes that looks like barn wood. That's the look I'm going for. It's not as heavy-duty as T1-11, but I'll cover the inside with OSB for insulation. Now I need the roof on. This is one place in the "dummies" book that really isn't done well, as the "general instructions" are totally different than the "plan" instructions. I used a 1x6 but should have used at least a 2x6. The rafters were very difficult to attach and level to the thin board. I almost took them all down to start over, but decided I didn't have time to do the "right" thing. I should have done it!
Okay, roof! Wow! That roof is high! If I fall off, I'll break every bone in this old body! I don't like heights! Felt is on:
Time to get chicks and ducks on order. Delivery date is March 13. Then I'll still have a few more weeks until they're big enough to need their coop. Gotta get busy! Weather is not making me happy!. I wouldn't go outside in the morning until the temp was at least 40.
Okay, snow is gone, back to work, with a little help from one of the dogs. I got the shingles on, and they really look good:
The birds have arrived. These tiny babies are so cute! It'll be WEEKS before they need to be outside, I hope! Three Rouen ducks and 10 assorted chicks.
I'm using some vintage wooden sash windows, and front door. I hope I've measured correctly and that everything is going to fit. Those dang ducks are growing unbelievably fast! Chicks are outgrowing their brooder! Hurry up, old woman! I just don't have the stamina I used to have! And my day-job is taking up too much of my time!
Ta-Daaaa! Progress! The paint is supossed to resemble an old barn. I sprayed on a primer, then a coat of light grey, and dry-brushed a dark grey over that, trying to emphasize the grain in the paneling. And I just had to put pink on it somewhere, so I painted the windows and the edge of the fascia boards pink! The windows all open to the outside, with hardware cloth inside. I don't mind having this in my front yard, as it's turning out pretty much as I'd hoped. I already wish I'd made it a LITTLE larger! It's 8x10, but I should have made it 8x12, at least! I've already gone WAY over budget, and that wouldn't have cost too much more!
Okay, the chicks can go in the coop! I still have a few days to put up a temporary run, while the chicks acclimate to their new home. I'll use the dog kennel for a temporary pen! There's still tons of work to do: cosmetic additions to the outside....and the entire inside! Yikes! I've got to get the birds out of my house before day-end or I'll have to wait for my next day off, and the chicks really NEED more room! They're six weeks old now, and have outgrown their brooders! They won't need nest boxes for a while, so I'll improvise with some large wicker laundry baskets to sleep in, and I'll put up a couple of temporary roosts. The automatic chicken door hasn't arrived yet, so I haven't cut the opening, which will be to the right of where the ramp is now....or under the window around the corner from where it is, which would put it under the planned roosts. Then I'll divide off about three feet for a storage area, to be entered thru the side door. Oh, the fun things I'm going to do to the outside to make it look like a decorated old barn.
Whooppeeeee! We made it! Chicks have been released to go outside, and seem to be thrilled! The ducks just LIVE in their pool! Amazing how fast they can splash out every drop of water, then YELL at me to refill it! Just so darn cute, I can hardly stand it! The dog kennel works, but I can't wait to get the finished run in. The size will be dictated by our ability to dig fence post holes in this granite filled dirt!
So, my dream has come true! And I'm pretty proud of myself!
I'll post more pictures as progress continues. The coop interior will be started next week, and the pen should be up within a month. I didn't add electricity, as I'm planning on adding solar power (we'll see how that goes!) And I don't yet have water, but that's planned for this summer.
Meanwhile......I'm lovin' it!!
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