"It's people!"Our chicken adventures began a year and a half ago when my mom & her boyfriend decided they were no longer going to raise chickens. They asked me if I wanted a few before they all went into the freezer. I curb-rescued a Rubbermaid mower shed that was being thrown out and with some inspiration from BYC (https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/prairiepearlss-chicken-coop), I made a functional coop. We had 6 hens for almost a year, until we moved a couple streets over. We planned to move the hens the weekend after our furniture, but during the week a raccoon wiped them out.
Disclaimer: No people were (intentionally) harmed in the making of this coop. And by harmed I mean turned into "new, delicious Soylent Green."
Well after a few months of no eggs or entertainment from chickens, we decided we HAD to get some chicks and start over. I ordered some chicks for July 8th and started designing a coop for 25. We recycled the Rubbermaid mower shed into a brooder after a thorough disinfecting and assembled it in our downstairs area, unconnected to the living area upstairs - thank goodness! Having never raised chicks we had no idea how much dust they produce! My mom told me I was nuts for brooding them indoors, but it worked out okay.
Day 1 Week 2 Week 4
Meanwhile, we got caught up in work and building the coop kept getting delayed. In hindsight, we should have started the coop BEFORE getting the chicks - life and weather will always interfere with the best laid plans. On August 5th, we laid the foundation for the coop. It had managed to not rain for a few days, but the ground wasn't exactly dry. After nearly getting the Bobcat bogged down pretty bad, we gave up on leveling the area and brought in the heavy equipment, a 20 ton crane. The perks of living at work!
With the help of some guys from work, we laid six concrete planters as the coop foundation. The planters were recycled from a parking deck our company renovated downtown about a year ago. Four were laid upside down and two were laid right side up so I could possibly grow some plants along the run fence for shade and for the chickens to snack on. I spent the next week tearing apart old molds from our workshop to frame the coop. Here's where my designs really went out the window. I had planned on assembling the frame with the studs the 'flat' way instead of the normal way. However, we had a bunch of 3" screws, so we turned all the studs the 'right' way. After we assembled the wall sections, I then remembered the foundation wasn't level. So we flipped the front and back panels upside down since the openings wouldn't line up.
More rain and two weeks later, we finally get the roof and floor in. The floor joists are 2x6's with 1/2" plywood on top, the roof is just standard corrugated sheets from Lowes, and the walls are 1/4" plywood. The coop vents and the gap between the floor and top of the footing is 1/2" hardware cloth. The coop is high enough so that the chickens have almost 2 feet clearance to go under it to get out of the sun or rain.
Roof, Sheathing, and Flooring: $250
Nearly two months from when the chicks arrived, September 2nd, we had the coop 95% finished - enough to move the chicks in. At seven weeks, the poor things really needed out of the brooder! At the last minute I decided to make the whole south wall out of hardware cloth. I painted the inside with some leftover interior paint we had and put in a sheet of vinyl flooring I bought from Surplus Warehouse. Topped the floor off with a couple bales of compressed pine flakes from TSC and hung the feeder & waterer. Couldn't decided how I wanted to do the door, so we just screwed a piece 1/4 plywood up as our temporary door.
Our dogs inspecting our handy work before the chickens moved in.
Vinyl floor, hardware cloth, and furring strips: $120
The chickens have the best view on the property. From inside the coop, you would never know that we lived on a sea of asphalt and concrete in an industrial area.
First to use the new roosts!
After battling the sheet of plywood/door for about two days, I replaced it with a piece of 3/4" plywood I found in the shop and some nifty pocket(less) door hardware I picked up from Home Depot. We also picked up a gallon of exterior paint to seal the plywood on the outside. We wanted a color that would blend in to the surroundings year-round and ended up with a gray-brown called "Wild Hawk", LOL! Eventually the block will be painted the same color.
Pocket door hardware, combination hasp, interior handle, & paint: $50.00
(Dog that I thought could NEVER be trusted around chickens behaving herself: Priceless.)
Southeast (Stairs: $32.00)
We still have to build the run, install an automatic pop door ($70 Add-A-Motor), and ramp. Hoping to get it done soon so our chickens can FINALLY get some dirt between their toes. I have ordered a mini-ceiling fan for the coop for next summer as well ($12). I have a feeling this coop will always be work in progress, but we love it!
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