So here is a little look into our very first coop/run. We needed something completely enclosed to protect our chickens from our dogs, cats, feral cats and hawks when we aren't home. Our dogs will learn they are new members of the pack in time. The cats, thus far, have kept a VERY safe distance from the largest birds they have ever seen. The hens are quickly becoming accustomed to having "predators" hanging about.
OK, the construction. The framing was done with 2"x2" lumber. The run has a pitched roof with the tall side at 6 feet high and the short side at 5 feet. The first image is of the end of the run wall and door. That's Charley Rose chilling on the patio.
The Hubs measured and cut, I pre-drilled and counter sunk and then he screwed everything together. The Kiddo and I did the painting. We used a deck stain/paint that is self priming and penetrating. We selected the more opaque version. We painted every surface that could possibly come into contact with rain.
Thanks Hubs for catching me in my "grubbies" looking a mess while hard at work. The kiddo and I wanted different colors, she more beige, me more yellow, so we compromised on something in the middle, kind of a buttery pale yellow.
One of the side walls painted and dried.
The Hubs then built a base for the entire thing to rest on. This is all pressure treated 2" x 4". This is the only lumber in direct contact with the ground. This measures 6' wide and 11' long.
We didn't quite finish everything before the 6 hens arrived. But here it is in place. We chose to use hardware cloth instead of chicken wire to hopefully reduce rat/mouse and other freeloader issues. The Kiddo and I attached all the hardware cloth. We took turns cutting and stapling using the air stapler. That is the floor of the coop on the right end. The girls have the full floor space to run, they found a great patch of dirt under the coop floor for their dust baths. You can see we added a roosting bar across one corner. and the run is roofed with chip board which will eventually be roofed.
The run end and entry point. I just love the screen door. We added 2 smaller slide latches to the top and bottom of the door to make certain it would remain secured when we aren't home. At this point the coop was still unfinished, hence the wall in the back with no door.
Here it is almost complete. We had a blow out in our compressor hose which delayed our adding the hardware cloth over the ventilation holes around the coop. The Coop is 6 feet wide and 3 feet deep. the back has 2 doors secured with 2 sliding latches each. They open to give full access to the interior of the coop. We made 4 nesting boxes out of 2" x 4" that are not attached to the coop with the thinking that when it comes time to clean out the coop we can simply lift out the nesting "boxes" and sweep out the floor, no walls or hurdles to get around. We also included a roosting bar that goes from side to side. As for the color choice, the three of us agree it is the perfect color.
We have a large enough yard that we intend to put up a wire and wood fence to enclose the back corner. The area will then be transformed into our veggie garden and chicken yard. For now we are using those puppy play pens, x-pens, this keeps the dogs at a comfortable distance and encourages the flock to hang out in the area we prefer them to be when we let them out. We tried it out for the first time last night and they were just as happy as could be.
Next up, a feeder and waterer. We're liking the 5 gallon bucket ideas.
did we overlook anything?
Ok, learned we needed more ventilation so we added 3 windows that we covered in the same hardware cloth. the 2 smaller ones are 12" x 12" the larger one is 22" x 27". The Hubs will be adding weather proof coverings for the rainy days. The Girls seem quite happy with the change and we enjoy being able to peek in on them. We are just too excited to have chickens!