My “Log” Chicken Coop! I’ve been meaning to brag about the new coop for awhile now. It is one of those drawn out projects… the slow finishing types. The electric light switchs still need to be wired! We built our original coop in 1998 when we first moved to the farm. The run was about 100′ long to accomodate 100 ring neck pheasents we got as day old chicks and the run was half hardware cloth (dug 8″ into the ground) with the rest being fishing net so the pheasents didn’t fly up and break their necks. We only had the pheasents for the first year and after that stuck with layers. We learned the hard way that ideally the run should be electric half way up and on the top to prevent predators. Aside from the odd bald eagle or hawk dive bombing the coop, we rarely lost a bird. Each winter we lost more of the run until it was about 30′ long and patched and rewired with chicken fencing to allow the snow to easily fall through. My boyfriend (now husband) despised fixing it every winter, patching it until the next year. His ongoing dream for the last eight years has tbeen to burn the coop!!! In April 2015, his dream came true! Old Coop 2014/2015 was the first time in a decade that I lost my layers to wildlife. We had some bald eagles (and golden eagles?) nesting nearby and as you are not allowed by law to shoot them, we lost hen after hen to them. I decided to start keeping them inside the run (instead of letting them roam free during the day) and decided we needed to provide them with more space to roam 24/7. The new coop planning started in the Spring and they were moved in by April. My new coop priorities were: 1) Protected space 24/7. My biggest chicken annoyance is when you have to lock them in and open them up each day. It is no secret that I don’t like mornings! However, to ensure safety there are precautions that must be taken… *a – the sides have very durable hardware cloth which should be dug 8″ into the ground as typically predators only dig about 6″ before giving up and moving onto easier coops. *b – the top should be completely secure with some type of fencing or netting. We used 1.5″ diamiond shaped chicken wire as it is thin enough that the snow falls through. *c – there is electric fencing wire half way up the run on the 2×6 and on the top of the run on the 2×6. If an animal manages to climb past the middle electric, the top one will get it! Not a fun experience and certainly not worth the pain as there are easier coops to raid! 2) Levi was adamant about building something solid so he used pressure treated posts in the middle (instead of 2×4 supports) and 2×6 all around for the top and middle boards. 3) There is a sliding door to the hen house, however, the only time I use it is to lock the peacock inside if I have to catch him. It is nice to have just in case. 4) There is a covered side area which seems to be the favorite for the hens to hang out in. They like to look through the hardware cloth door in anticipation to being fed scraps when I come down the hill! It is also nice for shade in the summer and protection from the elements in the winter. 5) There are branches around the coop for the peacocks to sit on at various levels, there is a mirror in the hen house for entertainment, and there is a tire with sand in it for dust baths! The ducks also have two duck baths to play in (in the summer the hens stood in them as well to cool off)! 6) My last coop had nesting/laying boxes that had a perch in front but the box didn’t go all the way up so I found the peacock walked back and forth across the boxes, breaking eggs. The new coop factored in a Pinterest idea with nine buckets to lay in. This is nice as they can come out for cleaning, yet aren’t ideal sitting places so they are actually used properly! I LOVE them! It took awhile to get nine free buckets but finally did! We considered having a door to access them from the back (without going into the coop) but I decided I’d like to go in as if I’m not forced to go into the coop each day, I may miss something important – like a health issue or lack of food, etc. 7) We added in a fenced off “baby” section for new chicks, expectant mothers, etc. So the chicks can be closely introduced to the other birds, yet are safe in their own section. There is less cleaning and I’m not in a rush to kick them in with the big birds! When I don’t have chicks I leave it open for the other hens or I store extra bags of feed in it. 8) The base is a live floor. There has been some controversy on which floor type is best. My last floor was wood and it eventually rotted out. It was hard to clean and even with only a dozen birds it stunk after a week. The cost of bedding was ridiculous when factored in. I am very careful with introducing new birds and try to source them from good places without disease. So far I’ve been lucky and have never had a disease in my coop…. so I wasn’t overly worried about that. I decided to try a live floor and so far it is working well! It doesn’t smell and I don’t feel bad if I spill water etc as it just soaks into the ground. It has gotten some poop/hay mixed into it but worst-case scenerio I can scrape it out and put some new dirt down. I hear leaves and peat moss are great to compost the chicken manure. I like that it is less mainenance and they like to dig/kick through it sometimes. 9) Perches (inside and out) are all hand peeled small logs/railing material that are different enough that they don’t get blisters/marks on their feet from standing on the same thing all the time. 10) Easy maintenance. We used Sashco’s Autumn Aspen/Cascade stain for the exterior log work which is very environmentally friendly and lasts a long time. It also looks great as it is very light colored. I haven’t taken photos since it was stained but next spring I will take some of it in its glory! 11) The coop has a light 24/7 which can be moved to the baby coop for heat or left in the middle of the coop for laying production. I don’t care what people say, I want my girls to have heat in the winter so they are more comfortable! So far I LOVE THE NEW COOP and the hens love it too! Levi says it will outlast our house! HAH! Currently we have about 60 birds which in a 1600sf coop is about 26 feet per bird to roam around in safely. I love that I can go away and they require almost no care (except egg collection) and that they are always safe. I will let them out but only if they are supervised as they can be killed by eagles in minutes. This year we had a cougar circle the coop and even then I wasn’t worried as breaking in is a lot more hassle than most predators care for. The least I can do for my hens is give them a safe place to live. I mean, I can’t imagine it is fun laying an egg each day!!!