Adventures in Urban Chicken Keeping on the Left Coast (aka Chooksworth)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by HighStreetCoop, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    OK, I did a "MY COOP" page, but I decided I wanted something that would be more of an ongoing chicken keeping diary. So I'm starting a thread over here.

    It's been quite an adventure getting a coop ... originally I ordered a custom coop from a local builder who specializes in them. It was supposed to be delivered the last week of October. A couple months and waaaaay too much drama later, he totally flaked and left me in the lurch with a brooder full of 10-12 week old chicks! It was Christmas week and I was in a panic. After making more than a few calls (to a lot of businesses that were closed for the holidays), I ended up on the phone with the guys from THE CHICKEN GARDENER and they were horrified at my situation and gave me the last slot in their upcoming delivery to the Bay Area. They came through like CHAMPS!

    I have rather strange yard. At some point in the 1930s, the owner added a swimming pool. A homemade swimming pool. It's a small yard, and when I bought the house, there was a rickety deck built over the pool (that we dubbed Mansquito's Lair). There was almost no dirt in the whole yard. Just brick, cement, an that deathtrap of a deck, with a small maybe 3'x5' raised planter attached. I had the deck removed and the pool filled in and was left with a 10' x 25' bare patch of (very expensive) dirt:

    Bare Dirt Patch

    The orange corrugated metal is my "poodle guard"; hastily nailed up to keep the neighbor's stupid dog from walking along the top of the fence--which is 8' high on their side!!!!--and taunting my Mastiff; that was going to end BADLY for the poodle.


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    Alternate view of the dirt patch.


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    Original yard plan

    The original idea was for the custom coop to slot into the brick surround so it would only be vulnerable to raccoons on one side.

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    Obviously that didn't work out ... the actual coop sits atop the brick on two sides and rests on redwood 4x4s (so, still only vulnerable on the front edge, and that one has 12" of hardware cloth under pavers).

    Before I realized I should turn the board over

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    Correctly positioned (yes, that is a wall of evil morning glory):

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    The coop going up

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    Don't like the position of the roosts. They're going to get moved.

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    Finished Coop, Day One

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    Inside with bottom tray in place and bedding.

    At the moment I'm trying out rice hulls. We'll see how that goes ... I wanted to do DLM, but this coop won't accommodate that.

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  2. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 28, 2014
    Oakland, CA
    My Coop
    The Chooks

    Backtracking a bit here. In mid October, I got a peeping shipment of Imported English bloodline BBS Orptingtons from @Papa Brooder .

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    Little buggers grew quite quickly, and soon I had to expand their brooder from a wardrobe box to a pumpkin box.

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    They continued to expand like mushrooms while I fretted about their MIA coop.

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    One pullet quickly became my favorite (Venetia)

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    The cockerels began to be obvious (six out of thirteen chicks) and I began rehoming them. The blue boy in this pic and two of my extra pullets when to a friend's farm up in Petaluma.

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    This boy, Sylvester, is still with me.

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    The coop finally arrives, I'm down to five pullets and one cockerel. This is Venetia (the favorite) staring down my Mastiff, Clancy. She is taking no crap.

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    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
  3. matt44644

    matt44644 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 14, 2014
    Sanilac County,Michigan
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  4. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oakland, CA
    My Coop
    All the chooks out in the coop for the first time. The blue cockerel on the bottom left when home with my gardener later this same day.


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  5. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Next up, I'll be adding external nesting boxes to the backside of the hen house and reconfiguring the roosts. This will maximize space, give me better access to them when they're roosting, and hopefully minimize the amount of poo on the eggs. My dad and I cut out all the parts of the nesting boxes last weekend. This coming weekend I'll start put them together and then once the singles I ordered arrive and I can finish them, I'll see about opening up the backside of the coop and getting them attached.




    Redesign plan
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    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
  6. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oakland, CA
    My Coop
    I didn't end up with any black pullets, so I swapped a splash and a blue with @TheKeeper for a black and a mottled (which I'll pick next month when she's older).

    So this is Phoebe, who's been slowly integrating into the flock:

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  7. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Got a small Omlet fence so they can free range a bit in the yard but still be contained a bit. Working out quite nicely so far. I come home from work and they get an hour or so to run about before dusk when they put themselves to bed. It will be even better come spring when it doesn't get dark so dang early.

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  8. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oakland, CA
    My Coop
    A bit of free ranging (the old picnic table is in there so Phoebe has a "blind" to duck around if she needs to; she's still acclimating to the flock.)

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    Last edited: Jan 27, 2015
  9. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oakland, CA
    My Coop
    Added a Chicken Fountain. Worth every penny.

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  10. Free Feather

    Free Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    Glad they got into the yard.
    I plan to garden all around my chickens as well. I read that you need at least 250 feet of yard each for them to not decimate all the plants, at least. I am shooting for much more than that.
     

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