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Small suburban coop in-progress

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by vasher, Apr 21, 2016.

  1. vasher

    vasher Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okie doke, this is what we've been working on for the past couple weekends. It is for our 3 chicks (bantams + an Ameraucana) with room for a couple more. Never built one before, and we've been kinda winging it after pouring through these forums and many trips to Home Depot.

    [​IMG]


    It's 4x10, and the frame is 4ft tall (well, 4ft studs + thicknesses of base) with an extra 1 foot rise in the front for roof slope. 8 and 10 foot lumber is easy to find. I will have to hunch over a bit to get inside, but made the executive decision for this to keep the profile of the coop beneath our privacy fence height. It is light enough for us to pick up with ease or me to drag it around with some difficulty, and I want to keep it that way in case of something. We originally intended to make a more traditional enclosed coop, but looked around, lots of other local coops had a 3 sided shed style. Decided partway through building to go with that.

    What's left is to build the main door, attach the hardware cloth ($$), and put on the roof ($$). Hardly anything at all. [​IMG] Total cost will end up in the $400 range: $100 for hardware cloth, $100 roof panels/special attachments, $200 lumber (mostly cedar + PT) + outdoor screws/connectors. And also extra $50 in miscellaneous stuff that we somehow needed. Does not include table saw, impact driver (LIKE SCREWING THROUGH BUTTER), other tools that we already had. Srlsy, self-tapping screws and that impact driver saved us from despair. Those star bits, my god.

    [​IMG]


    We're going to use ribbed metal panels with a foot overhang on the front and back and however much we can get on the sides after cutting them up. The back two feet of the coop is floored with plywood where the nest box will go and will have sand covering. They can use the platform area if they don't feel like perching or want to pile up in a chicken ball. Then I just pull open the rear door and rake whatever gross leavings they have behind to the bottom of the run. My plan is to have a higher 'main' perch towards the front walled section of the coop area that they can hop to, and their poops will drop to the ground. If that doesn't work out for whatever reason, it shouldn't be too hard to add another plywood panel.

    I'm intending to make the rafters and purlins out of 2x2s to keep weight down vs. 2x4s.

    My initial plan was to have it directly on the ground, but BF thinks we should keep it on concrete blocks. Still mulling over that one. Also thinking about if we should put a ceiling over the coop part directly in case rain blows a bit horizontally and bypasses the main roof.
    This is hard! But kinda fun. But also stressful. And chickens are not grateful at all. [​IMG] Any last minute suggestions, 'nooo you built a chicken deathtrap', etc. comments? [​IMG]
     
  2. vasher

    vasher Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Rafters up and mostly straight, door framed, and most of the hardware cloth in. We bought some gray polycarbonate panels to put up as a roof instead of metal is it was much lighter, about the same price, and lets in sunlight. Slightly worried about the height of the roof in the front as I'm not sure the overhang (~a foot) will be enough to keep rain out of that section if it starts blowing horizontal. On the other hand, we don't really get wind this low to the ground due to all the privacy fences and houses/trees blocking it all. I might leave it with just hardware cloth over the eave area and add a ceiling to the coop section if I notice rain getting in.

    Super proud of that door as it fits with a millimeter all around and swings smoothly.

    Thing that did not go well: Cedar boards apparently needs lots of dry time before installation as all of our 'siding' has shrunk a bit. [​IMG] Little gaps between them now, so it is on our list of things to redo before it gets cold enough to need tight coop walls. Bah.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2016
  3. vasher

    vasher Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Seattle
    Ok, it's out and the little buggers are in. Buried few layers of paving stones to support it and prevent stuff from digging up. There's a 'ceiling' to the house part that drops in for extra prevention of blowing rain in.

    [​IMG]


    Still some finishing touches to do such as adding screws to support the staples and some cosmetic changes, but they are out of our living room yay! Removable roost for now while they are little, will add one higher up and another in the run section when we figure out where they like to hang out. Also looking over 'big chicken' water and feeders and thinking about nest boxes.


    [​IMG]


    This is the inside, open sided coop they're going to sleep on and later lay eggs. We bought way too many shavings for them as chicks, so going through those until we switch to sand. That bottom is removable for easy cleaning. Planning on putting bark in the run after they eat all the grass.

    Ladies inside.

    [​IMG]

    Sunbathing.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  4. vasher

    vasher Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pieced together a feeder from 2" pipe parts. It works really well! Except they can scoop out food kind of easily, but not nearly as bad as their round chick feeder. Thinking about how to fix this. [​IMG] Still looking for nice waterers. The mason jar one they use now gets slimy and gross after only a couple days.

    [​IMG]

    Chickies are starting to look like actual birds now. We let them out after work.

    [​IMG]

    They make a bee-line to hop up for their treats, then get to work de-bugging the dirt around our house. Much friendlier than they were in the house, weirdly.

    [​IMG]

    I'm getting worried the EE'er is a roo. He/she is the leader of our little flock; the two bantams follow, coo, and love him/her. It'll be a sad day if we have to get rid of him/her. [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I want to let them out all day, but I'm worried about raccoons or hawks getting them without us around. They are at least pretty good at putting themselves away during dinner.

    [​IMG]

    But want to be let back out afterwards. [​IMG] So far, they don't seem to be using the roost inside and still pile up in a fluffy ball in the corner. Whatever floats their boat, as far as I'm concerned. The solar lights I found at Home Depot clearance, and light up just enough during the night for us to check if we remembered to lock up the coop.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Pretty nice!
    Would love to see the details of the 'drop ceiling'.
    I don't think that's a cockerel ...probably an EE rather that an Ameraucana tho.
     
  6. vasher

    vasher Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks!

    It's not very fancy: a sheet of 1/4" plywood a smidge longer than the coop floor that we can drop onto brackets attached to the coop frame if the weather gets bad (maybe not until October if this weather keeps up [​IMG]). We hammered out four L-brackets to obtuse angles: two attached to the top of the wood frame in the front, and two at the bottom of the coop window strip at the back, so maybe a 4 inch slope overall as their coop ceiling.
     
  7. vasher

    vasher Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Waterer has been getting intolerably gross after only a couple days. I don't really understand this but suspect that it may have to do with the lack of chlorine in our area's water. Have added a tsp of apple cider vinegar to see if it helps, but I don't think there's going to be much of a change in pH.

    Today was lawn mowing day, much to the displeasure of the chickies. Cutting off all the delicious grass heads and creating a racket. Chickies have not de-foliated the run nearly as fast as I have been expecting, so I'm waffling between going full-on mulching or waiting out the 'mostly weeds/grass but also lots of poops' stage. I sprinkled lawn clippings liberally throughout as an intermediary step.

    Grassed run and food puddle they've created:

    [​IMG]

    Speaking of, I've noticed them sneezing more often with this type of feeder. A quick head flick and 'choo'. It might be a coincidence and they've picked up some respiratory bug from wild birds, or from all the crazy eye-watering pollen levels in the air, or something else entirely. Will keep an eye out, but for now it's quick sneezing only after eating and grooming (which they do frequently, admittedly).

    Most of their feathers in, still weird ugly pins around the head:

    [​IMG]

    I've been noticing wildlife during after-work yard activities, some benign (at least to chickens. Now to our garden beds...[​IMG]):

    [​IMG]

    but also at least one Bald Eagle and owls scouting out the area. The numerous crows in our block seem to keep away most birds of prey, but it's nesting season and everybody seems to be gearing up for mouths to feed. Chickies vigilant about all potential threats and are quick to sprint for cover. Still not letting them out without supervision. [​IMG]


    Also, coop survived its first heavy rain and came out with bone-dry shavings, so I consider our roofing attempt a success. [​IMG]
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Get the waterer up off the ground with a brick or two if stuff is getting kicked in there.
    Best to rinse and refill every day anyway, organisms floating all over will easily grow in an open waterer.
    Consider going to a horizontal nipple waterer, one of the best moves I ever made - can take some 'training' tho.

    Those feeders are 'clever'.... but certainly don't eliminate 'billing out' of feed.
    Sneezing/head shaking is fairly common when eating or drinking too exuberantly.
    Watch for gorging on too many fresh grass clippings, can pack their crops and go sour.
    I'll assume you know about grit but http://www.jupefeeds-sa.com/documents/GraniteGrit.pdf

    Maybe more advice than you asked for.....or asked for at all, haha...sorry, can't help myself sometimes.

    Head is the last place to feather out...it is funny looking, especially when the down is still stuck to the ends of the pins.
    Good news on the roofing success....your photos are gorgeous!
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2016
  9. Athaid

    Athaid Chillin' With My Peeps

    Wow very nice! You've given me some good ideas.
     
  10. vasher

    vasher Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 11, 2015
    Seattle
    Thanks! I appreciate any/all advice also as I've done a bit of research on how to go about things but haven't much experience.

    I've been putting a handful of chick-sized grit (I think granite) next to their feed every few days. It seems to disappear, though whether they are eating it all or scratching it into nothingness is beyond my knowledge. If they want different size rocks, gonna have to forage around the yard. :)

    We found a couple waterer inserts that I guess are nipple types--red plastic squares with metal rods sticking out and threading on the other end. I was expecting more of a ball-bearing rodent type thing. It does not resemble a nipple either. [​IMG] Planning on putting pvc pipe + nipples through the coop with a bucket outside, but maybe I will be lazy and attach the nipples to the bucket directly.

    I'm really excited for when the bantam chicks fill in. I've become one of Those People at work and show off pictures to officemates. Also, coworkers have approached me asking for extra eggs. A few months early, but why not. Sadly, not sure this flock is actually going to produce many eggs anyways. OEGB are listed as either "good", "terrible", or "fair" egg layers, whatever that means--1 egg a week? 3? Who knows!

    The creeping feeling of chicken math? [​IMG]

    I found this article on crops and grass: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/impacted-slow-and-sour-crops-prevention-and-treatments. Kind of worrying! It seems to be the avian equivalent of colic?
     

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