I’ve fancied chickens and their ways for a few years now due to the neighbor’s free ranging flock finding interest in our front yard. The fascination went so far as to inspire me to write and publish a children’s short story “Windsong Wendy”. After many months of resisting the fowl bug but spending a lot of time on Youtube U, the hubby finally encouraged me to get some fine feathered friends. So this spring we went to the local feed store and I picked out 4 little ones. We set up a couple of old dog kennels as brooders and the hubby had 6 to 8 weeks to complete a coop for our growing girls. We had no firm plans but had a vision on how it should look when it was done.
I had been advised by my uncle to put in a dirt covered paver floor in the run (this was based on his childhood memory of a muddy stinky mess in the winter), but I wanted the floor to be just the dirt ground for the girls, so we installed a French drain to run along the back of the run to alleviate any smelly muck that could ensue during our rainy season. We shall see if it works in a few months.
The framework was started on our patio but soon moved to its permanent location on the back side of our yard by my garden.
The dimensions are 9' long by 4' wide. It is 6 1/2' tall with a sloped roof to the back. The coop house is 4' x 4' with the floor height at 30" off the ground. The coop is at the right level for me to do some necessary housework or to slip under the coop for any maintenance on the water system.
I decided on white paint with green trim and painted as we moved along on the project. The roost inside the coop and a perch outside in the run are branches from our lemon tree that we had trimmed back. The hubby installed a waterer made from PVC pipe with the chicken nipples. We had a lower nipple for our little cross beak polish as well as deciding on the corner litter automatic feeder to make it easier for her. She only got to use them for one day as the stress of the change and the hot weather was too much for her ill-health. The hubby installed a mister system to cool down the hot summer CA days and I built a dust bath area surrounded by brick and rocks. The mister system keeps the temperature around 10 degrees cooler than it actually is. The large coop clean out door has a secure screen insert that we can leave open for the hot summer nights. The hubby installed a fan for further circulation in the coop and an interior light that has a outside pull to turn it on and off. There are also outside motion sensor solar lights for when I go out in the dark as well as an additional predator alert. We decided on a drop down door on the nest boxes rather than a box where the roof opens for access. It’s closed off for now until the 3 remaining girls, Olive, Dixie and Rosie are closer to laying.
I wanted to give the hen house a name and settled on “The Regal Roost”. It reminds me of the 70’s sit-com where everyone gathered at the Regal Beagle for libations. Some may know what show I am referring to. The name fits and the girls are happy in their new digs and we are looking forward to some fresh eggs daily.