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  1. ChickaChickaBoomBoom

    ChickaChickaBoomBoom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 4, 2007
    Auburn, WA
    Who knew that a search for a new pet for my son to somehow match the coolness of his sister's two parakeets would lead me to where I am today?!

    Never mind that he has long since moved on from wanting another pet of his own. Never mind that I wasn't even interested in getting more pets. It doesn't matter. After seeing info on line, finding this site, then spending countless hours reading all of the valuable information that everyone has given, the coop and run are now mostly finished, and inhabited.

    Anyhow, at some point during the spring I latched on to the idea of getting a couple of hens - for myself! I'm still not sure it was the best idea, since we have many close neighbors, but the many drives home from a stressful work environment gave me ample opportunity to think about something much more enjoyable and relaxing - chickens.

    One thing before going any further - I'm not a craftsman. I'm impatient at times, have little or no skill or experience building things, and lack the tools to do a great job keeping things straight, level, neat, and smooth. I basically used a circular saw and a jigsaw, but the jigsaw broke part way through, so it was down to the circular. It's interesting trying to cut out a window from a sheet of plywood using a circular saw, but I found out it can be done. Sort of.

    Anyhow, here are the pictures of the past few months of coop/run construction.


    This is the area I've been working with. A roughly 450sf area on the side of our house where our two male rabbits, Cupcake and Lil' William, have been living for the past year:
    [​IMG]


    Looking straight on, this will be the area for the new hens (Lil' William looks on):
    [​IMG]


    My son Jagger, along with Cupcake, help lay out the coop and run area:
    [​IMG]


    The base is put in, and the rabbit-hutch-turned-chicken-coop is set in it's general place:
    [​IMG]


    Lil' William inspects the framework for the run:
    [​IMG]


    The coop has height added, plywood panels added, and a base made:
    [​IMG]


    The inside of the coop shows where the hens enter (top left), their 2x4 roost with sand tray underneath, and the nesting area on the top right. Following suggestions, I put in a removable plywood base with peel-and-stick linoleum squares added for easy cleaning. The sand tray now has sand in it, and the rest is loaded with pine shavings. BTW, they don't use the roost, and either sleep in the nesting area or by the door:
    [​IMG]


    After struggling with what to do about the roof, I finally brainstormed a sort of removable panel approach. There are three, 2'x4' panels that sit at an angle so that rainwater can run off. The hole for accessing the eggs is roughed in - a temporary cover is on it now, but will be replaced by the time they start laying. Their food and water are accessed from this end under the coop:
    [​IMG]


    The backside of the progressing run:
    [​IMG]


    A close-up of the picture frame window - thanks Barg for the great idea!:
    [​IMG]


    An end view of the run, showing how the food and water are accessed from inside the run by walking under the plank to the coop (yet to be added):
    [​IMG]


    Finally, this past Monday the 16th my son and I drove 50 miles to adopt our three new hens (the sun has gone away this week):
    [​IMG]


    Another end view, showing the plank, and my son on his stool:
    [​IMG]


    Ginger, Clucks, and Giggles enjoy some cantaloupe:
    [​IMG]


    As stated in another thread, our buff colored girl Ginger was only with us one night. She was a very loud morning girl, and we live so close to the neighbors that I thought her surprisingly loud morning demeanor would be too stressful to both me and the neighbors, so she went to live with someone who had a lot more space to work with. Clucks and Giggles, our two Black Australorp crosses (crossed with either RIR's or Americaunas - we don't know which), are much quieter, and will fit better into our specific situation.

    Here they enjoy their first time out of the run after 6 days "cooped up":
    [​IMG]


    Giggles roaming around:
    [​IMG]


    Clucks taking a dirt bath while Giggles watches:
    [​IMG]


    The more or less finished coop and run, showing how I can remove one or more roof panels for easier access to the run:
    [​IMG]


    Thanks for the opportunity to participate. Any feedback and ideas are appreciated, as well as any input on Clucks and Giggles. Specifically, any idea on which cross they look like more, BA+RIR or BA+Am.?

    -Dave
     
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Good work! Giggles is a black sex link and so is Clucks if she also has gold neck feather flecks. Dunno about the golden one though.. could be a golden sex link but it doesn't really have any red. Someone else might be able to tell for sure.
     
  3. ChickaChickaBoomBoom

    ChickaChickaBoomBoom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 4, 2007
    Auburn, WA
    Quote:Thanks Silkiechicken. The two of them came from someone who has 30-ish hens and roosters roaming free, and she was pretty certain they were a cross between the ones mentioned, but to be honest, I have no idea. They do have a pretty green tint to their feathers which is somewhat hard to see, but hey, if they are sex links, then I guess they should be good egg producers :).

    One question for you too - living in the Puget Sound area, you are familiar with the weather. This week has been kinda wet, and the sand in the run has been wet most of the time. Do you use sand in your run (if you have one) at all, and if so, does it dry out ok?

    I think I need to add fold-up overhangs of some sort so that there can be a rainshadow when needed.

    -Dave
     
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    I have multiple runs but my birds also all free range. The runs are temporary so they can stretch before being let out. I just have them on dirt floors in the runs and layer on the straw when it gets wet. (It's a dirt floor because it aways starts out weeds but they dig it all up and it turns to dirt. ) I usually try to keep them on higher ground and if it is low, just build it up. All my coops are movable so I don't worry about cleaning anything out and just move the whole thing every year and grow veggies on it. Get giant zucchinis! They make great fertilizer. For roofs, I use those blue or heavy duty grey/brown tarps. I run the tarps about half way down each side and it keeps the inside a bit dryer. My setup is far from fancy like yours.

    Even my lay boxes are on the ground so when stuff piles up, I just pick them all up and move it. Reduces raking and straining of cleaning anything. Just till it in :p For your setup, I would recommend pine shavings for the inside areas on the wood floor. As for your sand run. I don't have any experience with it. If it's dampness is a problem, you could always put straw or shavings down and rake it out into your compost bin when it gets too dirty. Straw does have a tendency to mold though which is its drawback for being cheaper than pine shavings.

    A thread with pics of my mini coops can be found Here My larger one is 8x8 and 5 feet tall so I can walk into it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2007
  5. ChickaChickaBoomBoom

    ChickaChickaBoomBoom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 4, 2007
    Auburn, WA
    I like the portability of your setup Silkiechicken. Very convenient. If I could do it all over again, I'd go much simpler and cheaper - I sent way more money than I thought I would!

    I think I'll try some sort of overhang for the run so that at least it'll be a little drier.

    -Dave
     
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Thanks. It was built for that reason. If I needed to be within extention cord distance it could be. If I wanted it across the driveway and down a ways, it could be. But as all things go. We always end up spending more time and money on projects!

    I see you have neighbors so looks is a consideration for you. An overhang would work out well and look good to keep it a bit drier. Good luck!
     
  7. barg

    barg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2007
    Looks great dave, and that window is fantastic, what a great idea [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I always see things wrong , Wish you had a closer pic of their combs but,
    Doesnt it look like one of the black ones has a Pea or rose comb and the other one almost looks like a buttercup comb?

    They probably both have single combs but in the pics thats how it looks to me.
     
  8. Standard Hen

    Standard Hen Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2007
    Massachusetts
    How nice, just goes to show that you can have a few chickens anywhere! The blackies definately look like sex links as I have some and they are identical.
     
  9. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Good job!
     
  10. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2007
    Connecticut
    Looks great!
     

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